Publisher embraces community
October 19, 2011 11:04 AM   Subscribe

Penguin announces a cover contest for John Green's An Abundance of Katherines. John Green, one half of the VlogBrothers (previously on metafilter), is also a Young Adult novelist. His upcoming book, The Fault in Our Stars, has topped pre-order lists since its title was announced in June of 2011, thanks in no small part to Green's promise to sign all pre-ordered copies of the book (150,000 total, as determined by his publisher). Since the upcoming novel's title release, fan-made covers have made the rounds on Tumblr, some for which Green has expressed admiration himself. As it turns out, Penguin went with a professionally-designed cover for TFiOS, but has also announced a contest to determine which fan-made cover it'll use for the next printing of Green's second novel, An Abundance of Katherines.
posted by litnerd (18 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Just when you thought it was safe to FTBA...
posted by villanelles at dawn at 11:10 AM on October 19, 2011

In November, I will be holding a contest for who can buy me the most expensive car.
posted by pwally at 11:14 AM on October 19, 2011 [6 favorites]

An Abundance of Katherines

We we really need another Henry VIII bio?
posted by kmz at 11:15 AM on October 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

This and pretty much everything he and his brother do makes me think of how lucky kids are to be growing up today. My parents took me to meet authors at signings and readings when I was a kid, but that's nothing compared to the fully-realized and completely accessible community that's available to anyone with a computer and a library card now.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 11:20 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I wonder how much money was paid to the designer of the "professional" The Fault in Our Stars book cover. Because I've got a copy of MS Paint over here, and I'm open for contracts.

The tumblr seems dead...
posted by sixohsix at 11:54 AM on October 19, 2011

villanelles at dawn: "This and pretty much everything he and his brother do makes me think of how lucky kids are to be growing up today."

And how lucky creators are to be working today! John and Hank are just a couple guys who threw something up on the internet, and the internet recognized that they are awesome. Without the internet, I don't know if the kind of work they do (excepting the traditional publishing aspect of John's work) would really be possible.
posted by ocherdraco at 11:55 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Not sure what's going on with the fan covers Tumblr--the link worked when I wrote the post. Maybe they've committed suicide upon the "professional" cover announcement. Personally, I too would like to know how much Penguin paid for that cover. So many of the fan covers were scores better, IMO. But then again, I'm not a book marketer.
posted by litnerd at 11:59 AM on October 19, 2011

I thought it wasn't cool to have a 'design contest' where you get all the designers work on spec for free, and the reward is less than what a professional gets paid.

i.e. what the Obama campaign is doing regarding their jobs poster.
posted by garlic at 12:22 PM on October 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Try this tumblr. The above link seems to be endlessly redirecting towards
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 12:22 PM on October 19, 2011

I think considering most of John Green's fans are teenagers, having cover art credit on an internationally published novel will be enough to override the whole "free design" aspect of it.
posted by litnerd at 12:32 PM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Reminds me of the cover of A Long Way Down. Considering that it's the crappiest of Hornby's novels, that's not a good association.
posted by moviehawk at 1:10 PM on October 19, 2011

I think considering most of John Green's fans are teenagers

posted by odinsdream at 1:30 PM on October 19, 2011

John green is a Young Adult author (except in Europe, where his books are sold in the straight-up fiction section). I know that, statistically, he tend to favour answering questions from the younger members of his audience: first year of high school, going off to college, first kiss, first date, stuff like that. (Search for 'Question Tuesdays' to see what I mean).

I also think that about 80% of his youtube fanbase is female (he mentioned it in a video). I can't remember ages off the top of my head, though.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 1:35 PM on October 19, 2011

I think an Abundance of Katherines should be called a "Hepburn", e.g. "Look at that Hepburn of Katherines over by the library."
posted by Renoroc at 2:51 PM on October 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

I'd heard a lot of good things about John Green, so I picked up An Abundance of Katherines a couple years back.

I was disappointed. For starters, the protagonist counts one of the Katherines twice, because he went out with her twice. No! That's only one Katherine! And you call yourself a math guy, annoying protagonist whose name I forget.

I did learn the word sitzpinkler, however, courtesy of the annoying protagonist's even-more-annoying best friend. (It's German, meaning "a dude who sitz to pinkle.") So it was ultimately worth the read.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:27 PM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

As I recall, misremembering things/accepting a skewed version of reality was kind of the point of the novel, or at least one of them. John Green's protagonists are stupid-smart, shortsighted boys with a penchant for introspection. This is a lot more charming than it sounds. TFiOS's protagonist is a girl, so we'll see how that compares.
posted by litnerd at 5:37 PM on October 19, 2011

I haven't read An Abundance of Katherines, but my name appears there in footnote 82, so I guess it must be awesome.
posted by escabeche at 6:38 PM on October 19, 2011

Former young adult critic here. Hated An Abundance of Katherine's (holy shit, how irritating and desperate was the best friend character). My bosses leaned on me to give it a good review because Green's previous, equally shallow and try-hard book sold surprisingly well. I was forced to write a glowing review. I quit later that month. Damn you, An Abundance of Katherines. I'm sure most of your critical success is manufactured and I'll always resent you for it.
posted by pineappleheart at 8:52 PM on October 19, 2011

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