Twitterature? Yikes!

Okay, I probably shouldn’t care. It shouldn’t matter. But it really bums me out when I hear about book deals like this one:

Book Deal for College Kids’ “Twitterature”
The Twitter revolution continues apace as two 19-year-old college freshman just sold “Twitterature: The World’s Greatest Books, Now Presented in Twenty Tweets or Less” to Penguin.

Penguin’s John Siciliano bought the book, and the deal was brokered by Brian DeFiore at DeFiore and Company. According to LA Observed, the book will be “a humorous retelling” of literary classics in 140-characters or less. The book was pitched by Emmett Rensin (who is the son of David Rensin, a LA Observed writer) and Alex Aciman. (from GalleyCat)

Like the pet rock and those yellow “Baby on Board” signs, it’s the kind of thing I look at and think, “Wow, I can’t believe someone thought of a way to make money off of that!”

One the one hand, I can see why the “twitterization” of a book like War and Peace could be funny. With just 140 characters, you really have to boil the plot down to its essence.

BUT…as a writer I’m thinking, holy crap, can someone do that to my book after it goes into the public domain? Ick! Not cool, on so many levels!

Would YOU like it if your book became Twitter fodder?

14 thoughts on “Twitterature? Yikes!

  1. I guess in order for that to happen, one of my stories would have to become a “classic”. Maybe, by that point, I wouldn't care.

    I've always had mixed feelings about remakes (at least until I wrote one — LOL!) and was never sure if I liked them much. But you know, if anything, they spark an interest and more times I'm on a quest to find the original. Perhaps that will happen with the Twitters …

  2. Hmm, well, I pride myself on being able to tighten & trim, but this is taking it to the extreme.

    I think there are two things–if people were playing with it on Twitter, and making a buzz, it could mean your book had caught people & had caught more. But the idea of a book that is a COLLECTION of these, without them actually being on Twitter? That's kind of silly. Who would read that? I guess someone things people will.

    I don't know. We could drive ourselves crazy with this stuff! 🙂

  3. Suzanne – I can see that the publicity would be helpful for a new book, but for a classic?

    Rena – I think people would have to be familiar with the original or the tweet wouldn't make any sense!

    Becky – Extreme is right! And I'm curious to know who they think will read it!

    Corey – You learn something new every day, huh?

    Meg – Good point. I think a whole book of tweets would get boring!

  4. It is crazy, but if it is meant to be humorous, it might be a funny read. A parody.
    But hopefully it won't become a trend. Americans have short enough attention spans as it is!

  5. It's very hard to boil the essence of a book down. Just think about how hard it is to write a query.

    It might be interesting to see what comes of this. Mainly because different people take away different perspectives from books. And that could mean that one man's tweet is another's trash.

    Reminds me of the parodies that crop up from time to time. They all have their place. And if it sparks an interest in reading more – fantastic.

  6. Wow … this is such a fad-driven publication … that's what makes it disappointing to me. As far as having one of my stories included (ahhhh, I wish for the day!! :-)), that probably wouldn't be such a bad thing considering the publicity (provided the summarization was tasteful!!).

  7. I think this is the kind of book you would bring out at a party, and laugh with — something that would provoke conversations about loved books (maybe). I'm hoping that's how it will work.

    Then again: I'm ancient. I have strange hopes.

  8. The approximately 70 great works are NOT reduced to one 140 character tweet. There are up to 20 per book … and it's humor: you get the story and have a laugh. Rena is correct: these guys have actually read every book they're including. That's what smart college kids to. And Beth's comment is right on the money. This is humor.

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