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Best publicity stunt of the day: Lemony Snicket and Seth collaborate on new series

Quill & Quire is not in the habit of publishing emails, but this one demands sharing.

This afternoon, Q&Q was blind-copied on a correspondence between Vikki VanSickle, marketing and publicity coordinator at HarperCollins Canada, and the curmudgeonly children’s author Daniel Handler, better known as Lemony Snicket. The email revealed the “confidential” news that HarperCollins Canada is publishing a four-book series by Snicket, with illustrations by Canadian artist Seth.

From Lemony Snicket:

From: LemonySnicket
Sent: Wednesday, February 08, 2012 11:43 AM
To: Vansickle, Vikki
Subject: RE: Lemony Snicket Announcement – CONFIDENTIAL

My Dear Ms. VanSickle,

As I have already explained at length to you and others in this publishing conspiracy: no.

Take this press release back, please. I have attached it here. I have sympathy for anyone wanting to promote my work, but none of this information can be released.

In particular, I do not want to see this press release distributed to the list of people I’ve taken care to blind copy above. May they remain forever blind to any information about myself or my work.

These books are questionable and contain questions. I, for one, question why anyone would be interested in reading them.

And have the decency to leave Seth out of it. He has enough trouble as a celebrated artist imprisoned in a basement studio in some wretched university town, not to mention the fact that he’s Canadian.

I would appreciate it if you didn’t contact me again. I’ll be in my office until 4.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket

The email was accompanied by a “press release” with a placeholder for a quote from Seth (“if and when he recovers from the trauma of your last encounter”), and a marked-up version of the cover.

The official press release, which arrived 15 minutes later, confirmed that the first book in Snicket’s series, Who Could That Be at This Hour?, will be available in ebook and print formats on Oct. 23.

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