Publish Your Own Book: History of New York and Washington Irving
About the famous writer Washington Irving who self-published his first work History of New York.
Publish Your Own Book
On October 26, 1809, the New York Evening Post printed a notice: "DISTRESSING--Left his lodgings some time since and has not since been heard of, a small, elderly gentleman, dressed in an old black coat and cocked hat, by the name of KNICKER-BOCKER."
A notice in the Post of November 6 reported that such a man had been seen a little above Kingsbridge by passengers on the Albany stage.
In the November 16 Post, "Seth Handaside," landlord of the Columbian Hotel, announced "a very curious kind of written book has been found in his room, in his own handwriting. Now I wish you to notice him, if he is alive, that if he does not return and pay off his bill for boarding and lodging, I shall have to dispose of the book to satisfy me for the same."
With this hoax, Washington Irving publicized his History of New York by "Diedrich Knickerbocker." Irving had the book printed in Philadelphia in order to preserve the mystery in New York. His hoax was so successful that a New York official offered to post a reward for information about Knickerbocker's whereabouts.
After the advance publicity, the 2-volume work, priced at $3, appeared in New York bookshops. Irving was acclaimed "America's 1st man of letters," and the History was said to be "the 1st great book of comic literature written by an American."
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