stripping down to sell books

There’s an article in the Washington Post (“Leaping at the Chance“) about a conversation between editor Nan Talese and one of her authors, Valerie Martin (author most recently of Trespass). The question:

What will it take to get the American public to pay attention to Martin’s book?

They have some pretty outlandish suggestions, but in fact they both know the answers. There are a couple things that would make this happen.

[asa book]0385515456[/asa] 1. With the right publicist and a lot of money, any book/author can be thrust into public view. Show your face on the big talk shows, get celebrities to talk about it, and voila. Best seller. This approach is the easiest and most expensive, and clearly would require Martin’s publisher to invest heavily. Which I am sure they’d be willing to do — if she were already on the best seller list.

2. A scandal is a quicker way to get to the best seller list, which Nan Talese knows very well, as she was the editor of Frey’s A Million Little Pieces. (I posted about that here.) You can listen to Nan (on YouTube) telling her version of what happened with Oprah, which is extremely interesting.

3. A scandal that escalates and becomes a legal matter, even better. Ask Cassie Edwards about this. I have no figures, but I’d bet that her sales have not suffered as a result of the plagiarism kerfuffle.

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