New York Evening Post, October 1809 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 KNICKERBOCKER."
A later response claimed that the gentleman had been seen by passengers on the Albany coach.
In mid-November, the gentleman's landlord ran a notice in the paper. He stated that "a very curious kind of written book" had been found among the gentleman's things left in the lodgings. He said he would sell the book to pay for the delinquent rent if it was not promptly paid.
These notices made the rounds of the citizens of the area, and created a great buzz indeed. On December 6, 1809, the book was published. A History of New York by Diedrich Knickerbocker became an instant success. It was only much later when it was discovered the actual author of this comical history was 26-year-old Washington Irving.
You may remember this same Washington Irving was also the author of Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
Hmmm. Think this same concept would work today? Authors always have a quandary when marketing their new books, and there a lot of them out there - both books and authors. (As you can see by the right side of this page, I am among them.) And it's always the same thing - folks can't buy your book if they don't know it's available. And they also want to know it might be something of interest to them. Evidently he found a way to get the attention his book needed.
Irving appeared to enjoy writing more than law. However, these three books appear to be the bulk of his successful literary efforts. But they were good, weren't they? Well, two of the three of them for sure. I have not read his History of New York. I wonder if I could find a copy of it somewhere. Surely in this day and age it can be found somewhere via the Internet. I will have to try to find it, to see if it stands up to the other two books.