Author Offers Shares Of Himself On Stock Exchange

Photo Dennis Doyle

Photo Dennis Doyle

Alison Flood writing in the Guardian:

Publicity might be the lifeblood of the book trade these days but author Cathal Morrow is going public in more ways than one with plans to float himself on the London Stock Exchange. Having previously wangled sponsorship from a private equity company to fund a year without lying – he’s writing up his exploits as the book Yes We Kant – Morrow is hopeful that patrons looking for a more unusual investment will back this latest project, Me Me Me Plc.

“Rather than one company owning part of the intellectual property of a project, a lot of people will own a smaller part of me,” he says. Morrow is offering a total of 30,000 shares in himself at £10 a piece (he’s retaining 30%, “the vital organs and so forth”). Because he’s not legally allowed to sell shares in himself, what investors are actually buying is a signed photo of the author, with the shares given for free. Morrow is also looking for non-executive directors and sponsors.”…

Certainly that’s one approach to deal with the often harsh financial reality of being an author. As an author myself, I’m curious to see how this shakes out. Maybe we can start renting out space on our book covers and foreheads for sponsorships, if this gambit doesn’t pan out.

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  • http://www.victoriangothic.org Haystack

    I’ll stick with my K-Mart stock, thank you. *g*

    His book itself was little more than a publicity stunt–another of those “One year…” memoirs. I think that before you become an author, you should make sure that you actually have something meaningful to tell the world, but I may be old-fashioned in that respect.

  • http://www.victoriangothic.org Haystack

    I’ll stick with my K-Mart stock, thank you. *g*

    His book itself was little more than a publicity stunt–another of those “One year…” memoirs. I think that before you become an author, you should make sure that you actually have something meaningful to tell the world, but I may be old-fashioned in that respect.

    • http://twitter.com/agent139 James Curcio

      As an author, I agree with that sentiment. But in terms of the point of this “reality art” or whatever you want to call it, the most ideal version of it would have a book that is completely blank, or has the same word over and over again. Because I think the point is in part about commodity in the marketplace, and how little that has to do with the message, at least until it gets to the eyes and ears of a person who chose to bought it- and there are SO many steps between concept, writing, and that point. SO many.

      • http://www.victoriangothic.org Haystack

        For some reason that brings to mind the A&F catalog where all the models were nude.The product is becoming less important than the myths and affinities that you build around it.

        The recent Jane Austen mashups also come to mind. Here are books with no real literary content that became bestsellers because the concept of them was funny enough to generate a huge amount of publicity. Those might be the closest thing to the blank book or the nude A&F catalog that we have seen in publishing so far. I may be wrong, but I’m guessing that not to many people actually read them; they seemed more like novelty items to me.

        Clearly the trend in publishing is for authors to generate much of their own publicity, which usually consists of building a platform or community around their writing (e.g., Scott Siegler, Mur Lafferty). I think it’s a good thing overall–it’s democratizing. You get a chance to show that your work can generate readers without having to go through a gatekeeper (i.e., editor) first.

        At the same time, we’ve reached a point where so much of our media consists of veiled advertising or one sort or another. News reports that are copied from corporate press releases, publicity stunts, talk shows that consist almost exclusively of guests with something to “plug”–even blogs like this one. You get the sense that when it comes to success, one’s artistic/scholarly ability is secondary to one’s ability to generate attention; that the price of democratizing the marketplace is that we become salespeople first and writers second.

        • Cathal Morrow

          I agree with you entirely, writers should have something to say, and I believe I do. Time will tell, of course, whether I’m right or not. Cheers, Cathal

  • http://twitter.com/agent139 James Curcio

    As an author, I agree with that sentiment. But in terms of the point of this “reality art” or whatever you want to call it, the most ideal version of it would have a book that is completely blank, or has the same word over and over again. Because I think the point is in part about commodity in the marketplace, and how little that has to do with the message, at least until it gets to the eyes and ears of a person who chose to bought it- and there are SO many steps between concept, writing, and that point. SO many.

  • http://www.victoriangothic.org Haystack

    For some reason that brings to mind the A&F catalog where all the models were nude.The product is becoming less important than the myths and affinities that you build around it.

    The recent Jane Austen mashups also come to mind. Here are books with no real literary content that became bestsellers because the concept of them was funny enough to generate a huge amount of publicity. Those might be the closest thing to the blank book or the nude A&F catalog that we have seen in publishing so far. I may be wrong, but I’m guessing that not to many people actually read them; they seemed more like novelty items to me.

    Clearly the trend in publishing is for authors to generate much of their own publicity, which usually consists of building a platform or community around their writing (e.g., Scott Siegler, Mur Lafferty). I think it’s a good thing overall–it’s democratizing. You get a chance to show that your work can generate readers without having to go through a gatekeeper (i.e., editor) first.

    At the same time, we’ve reached a point where so much of our media consists of veiled advertising or one sort or another. News reports that are copied from corporate press releases, publicity stunts, talk shows that consist almost exclusively of guests with something to “plug”–even blogs like this one. You get the sense that when it comes to success, one’s artistic/scholarly ability is secondary to one’s ability to generate attention; that the price of democratizing the marketplace is that we become salespeople first and writers second.

  • Cathal Morrow

    I agree with you entirely, writers should have something to say, and I believe I do. Time will tell, of course, whether I’m right or not. Cheers, Cathal

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