The inside scoop on the book world

By EW Staff
Updated March 09, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST

Eggers on his Face For someone who supposedly doesn’t care about the size of his readership, Dave Eggers knows how to get attention. The author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius has just put an e-mail exchange he had with New York Times reporter David Kirkpatrick on the Web version of McSweeney’s, Eggers’ magazine. The posting includes their correspondence and e-mail interview prior to Kirkpatrick’s Feb. 14 profile of Eggers marking Vintage’s paperback release of the memoir. He accuses Kirkpatrick of printing quotes from their e-mail communication that were marked ”off the record,” and of siding with Eggers’ former agent in her lawsuit against him. ”Your story was not very good, or honest, David, and you know it,” Eggers writes, and then explains his reason for publishing all of Kirkpatrick’s e-mails. ”I hope to illuminate the journalist’s mind: how a writer starts by telling me he is a fan of my work, supports my company’s endeavors, etc., then writes a snippety little thing full of sneering and suspicion,” writes Eggers in his posting. Kathy Park, a spokesperson for the Times, responds that use of the off-the-record quotes was authorized by Eggers’ publicist and editor at Vintage. ”Dave [Kirkpatrick] did an honest job of reporting and writing and went to great lengths to get Mr. Eggers’ input into the story,” Park says. (The paper did run a correction of a minor error made as a result of information ”provided by a publicist at Vintage Books.”) The exchange has drawn so much interest in the publishing world that some observers wonder if Eggers didn’t utilize the fight to promote the paperback. ”Is it some sort of brilliant marketing strategy?” asks a longtime Eggers watcher. ”I’m not saying it is, but it just might be.”

Tribal Counselor Survivor mastermind Mark Burnett is shopping Extreme Success, which tells the story of how he went from selling clothes on Venice Beach to being one of television’s hottest producers, or at least the one who made Richard Hatch a celebrity. ”It’s an inspirational business book,” says Burnett’s literary agent, Scott Waxman. ”His personal journey is what holds the book together.”

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

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