Fight Club and Choke novelist Chuck Palahniuk answered reader questions on Reddit this week. When one reader wrote “It’s rare for a writer’s first book to be as successful as Fight Club was,” Palahniuk clarified and shared some inspiring insight into his career:
Please let me address a misperception. ‘Fight Club’ was a huge failure. Most of the hardcovers were going to be pulped. They were unsold when the movie opened… and then the movie was a flop. It has taken years ( decades ) for the story to build an audience. What’s amazing is that it still resonates for young readers; it’s never become dated. ( he shakes his head in disbelief )
One reader asked about the future of journalism:
I was in a similar boat, as part of the generation who watched “All the President’s Men” and decided to become journalists. ( stupid, stoopid, stoopid ) We glutted the field. Likewise, my friend and fellow writer, Chelsea Cain, was a journalism major ( and got her post-grad degree ). The good news is that journalism trains you to be observant and to communicate clearly ( if not spell accurately ). Those are the skills that will save you.
The novelist also talked about his unorthodox promotion strategy, sharing boxes of strange materials with his readers:
The boxes! I’m always looking for clever, novel things to send but my favorites are boxes of chocolates. They seem like such a luxury. The oddest thing ( thing? ) was some of the cremated remains of the writer Shirley Jackson, who wrote “The Haunting of Hill House.” Her daughter sent me the ashes, and I sent them ( in a carved antique box ) to my editor, Gerry Howard. I wish I had more of the same to send my editor at Byliner, Amy Grace Lloyd. She deserves some baked writer ashes … Sometimes I takes me days to compile a box. Usually — and I’m getting more careful about this — I look for clever, useful, beautifully packaged things. My theory is that if I vary them it’s more likely at least one thing will occur as a delight for you.
( secret? I try to send smells, sounds, flavors, and i avoid sending more words. gosh i hate to type. )