Like most authors, B.J. Novak is using the days ahead of his upcoming book release to tease out clips for hungry readers to consume. Unlike most authors, Novak is using Instagram as his platform.
The comedian known for his role on The Office where he was a writer, producer, and cast member, unleashed the first exclusive clip from his upcoming book on Instagram Friday. The book, One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, comes out Feb. 4, but Novak wanted to try out a “soft launch” of the book, and picked a rather unusual medium to drive his message — the social network known almost exclusively for its images, not its text.
The platform may seem like an odd choice for revealing new written work, but not for Novak. His Instagram handle, @picturesoftext, is mainly just that: images of words. Novak was excited to add his own creations to the mix.
“When I wrote the book I certainly aspired to put pieces in The New Yorker in advance of publication… but I also daydreamed that I’d write something good enough to be a hit on Instagram,” he said in an interview with Mashable, calling the soft launch an “experiment.” “That’s as much an achievement as anything else these days. It’s where people spend their time; it’s where I spend a lot of my time. I wanted to reach people that might not look up from their phone enough to discover something outside of it.”
Novak Instagrammed the cover of his book on Wednesday (the cover is just text, too), the first excerpt on Friday, and plans to share more excerpts throughout the weekend and into next week ahead of the book’s launch on Tuesday.
Instagram is not the only area Novak has focused on promoting his book, although it will be the first place with exclusive clips. He also released a funny video alongside Mindy Kaling, his cast mate on The Office. Novak says he considered other social networks for releasing snippets of the book, and will most likely share some announcements to Facebook and Twitter, but he’s committed to testing out Instagram for the next few days.
“I’ve always been drawn to the visuals of words,” he explained.
“One More Thing” is a collection of stories that Novak has been brainstorming for years, he says, essentially all of the ideas that he didn’t have time to pursue while busy writing The Office every week. Instead of turning toward television or film with his stories, he decided that sharing them in a book worked best.
If Novak seems like a lover of the written word, he is. He’s also authored a picture book called “A Book With No Pictures” in an attempt to get young kids interested in text.
“I’ve always been a big reader of fiction, and a student of fiction. I never thought it would be the kind of thing I would write myself,” he says. “I really did have this desire to entertain and express these ideas and daydreams and thoughts and characters and phrases as best I could, and this turned out to be the form for it.”