Quick hits: Vampire manuscript hijacked, Sarah Palin and paying for praise
Some of us love Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. Others (apparently only me) have really missed out on the literary phenomenon (hey, let me get through the stack of books on my bedside table and then I'll jump on the Twilight fanwagon). Apparently, Meyer's rabid fans couldn't wait to read the final installment in the series, as someone illegally distributed the unfinished manuscript online. Consequently, Meyer is putting the book on hold to protest this act of piracy. On her website, Meyer states, "The manuscript that was illegally distributed on the Internet was given to trusted individuals for a good purpose. I have no comment beyond that, as I believe that there was no malicious intent with the initial distribution." Now, fans of the series will have to wait an undisclosed amount of time to read the final installment. Way to ruin it for everyone, manuscript hijackers. (Although, now I might have some time to find out what all the buzz is about.)
Getting to know Sarah Palin
When presumptive Republican presidential candidate John McCain chose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate last week, many people outside the state of Alaska were somewhat unfamiliar with the politician. So, when you're unfamiliar with a candidate, what better way to learn more about them than by reading their biography!? Kayelene Johnson's April 2008 biography, Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska's Political Establishment on it's Ear, has taken off since Friday when McCain chose Palin as his vice presidential nominee. The book is currently at number 22 on Amazon's list of best sellers.
Monday's edition of GalleyCat has a great look at how Epicenter Press is handling the demand. No doubt publishers large and small are rushing to throw together their own biographies and political studies on Palin while the timing is still good.
Interesting side note: In 2000 we promoted a Continuum book titled Cardinal Ratzinger: The Vatican's Enforcer of the Faith, by John L. Allen Jr. Unfortunately for us, he was not named Pope during the launch. I'm sure Johnson's publicist (surely she has hired one) is having a field day with this book.
The tricky world of literary endorsements
A couple of weeks ago the New York Times Sunday Book Review featured this excellent essay by Rachel Donadio on the delicate and at times dramatic world of book endorsements. The essay was in response to a new company, Blurbings, LLC, that's offering endorsements for purchase. The service is geared toward self-published authors and has garnered both positive and negative attention. Apparently, Blurbings offers several different packages of book blurbs that authors can use. You don't necessarily pay directly for the blurbs (like ordering something from a catalog,) you write a blurb for a book you like and then allow the author to put your blurb on their book cover. The idea is that if your name is attached to the endorsement, it will motivate the reader to check out your work because your blurb was so great.
From a PR standpoint, endorsements can certainly lend a great deal to a publicist's ability to go out and garner quality media. However, when people know that the blurbs were paid for, it gets a little dicey (think Kirkus Discoveries). As an author, your biggest goal should be establishing your credibility. If you're looking for endorsements for the cover of your book, reach out to the credentialed people in your own network. Send them a copy directly with a personal note. It shows you value their opinion and their seal of approval on your work. Don't ever pay someone to write reviews for your book.