David Sunshine Uses Comedy to Sell a Serious Novel
At the top of Morrow Wilson's profile page on Facebook, is a picture of a leopard, staring at you, saying, "I don't always read. But when I do, I read David Sunshine by Morrow Wilson. Stay literary, my friends." But a Facebook parody of "the most interesting man in the world" beer campaign is only the beginning.
On YouTube, Jane Austin, Leo Tolstoy and Socrates are just some of the great figures of literary history who "endorse" David Sunshine. Shakespeare comments, "I wish I'd said that." "It is the best of books, it is the best of books," enthuses Charles Dickens; "Never has one novel done so much for so many," says Winston Churchill.
Like clockwork, press releases go out to the media twice a month, and appear on the websites of newspapers from The Sacramento Bee to the San Francisco Chronicle to the Cincinnati Inquirer to the Miami Herald, 30,000 to 40,000 exposures each time.
Traditional radio interviews are also in the mix along with readings and book-signings in non-traditional places: the world-famous theatrical restaurant, Sardi's, a Columbia College alumni event, The Players, this country's oldest theatrical and literary social club have all been New York City venues.
Morrow Wilson wrote and set David Sunshine in the 1960s as a comic expose of television in its post-Golden Age.
And the young novelist was surprised when his book turned out to be too hot to handle.
Says Morrow Wilson: "The first publisher who took it on backed out at the last minute and another publisher made it clear they feared being sued by the recognizable characters of a burgeoning television industry."
Four decades after he had chronicled TV in the age of "Mad Men," Morrow Wilson reread his book and made the decision to publish it now. And though the expose was no longer a worry (or a reason to buy the novel), David Sunshine, says Morrow Wilson," tells the classic story of an innocent young man who comes to the big bad city, in this case, idealistically trying to improve a tough and cynical TV industry."