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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Controversy Sells Books, Unless the Publisher Cancels


Could a cookbook that doesn’t publish until October have been a best-selling book on Amazon in June?

Paula Deen, the now disgraced celebrity chef, has been making headlines for her use of the “N word.”  As a result, everyone dumped her, from the Food Network to Target to Home Depot and others.  For many, bad publicity is not good publicity.

Unless you’re an author.

All it takes to hit the best-seller list is call someone a name.  It’s interesting that people reacted to racial controversy by buying her book.  It’s not like the book is a memoir or a tell-all.  It’s not even out for four months!  But people get a name in their head, Google it, and get curious.

This happens all of the time.  Readers will buy books by or about names they recognize, regardless of the content, quality or subject matter.

This proves that PR can sell books.

People flock to the trending topic of the moment.  They can be that way.  They like books involving murder, sex, and scandal – or books by people who lived those things.

However, you can’t sell a book if the publisher pulls it.  Ballantine Books had a five-book deal with Deen that kicked off with this fall’s book.  However, the day after it hit number one on Amazon, Ballantine pulled it.  The New York Post reported that Walmart told the publisher it would not carry the book.

In a nation that prides itself on free choice and capitalism, there’s a lot to be questioned when books are yanked.  Apparently there’s no set policy on how to act when operating under clouded circumstances.  Look at eBay.

They recently yanked sellers from selling the 15-page funeral program for the late actor James Gandolfini.  Bids of $1,000 were being obtained.  But after Patriots star tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested for double murder, the site didn’t remove the sale of his jersey that got bids of up to $300.

There is no doubt that controversy or even negative publicity sells products - -but only if those products are made available.


Interview With Author Kat Canfield

1.      What type of books do you write? I write romance novels but with a theme entwined so perhaps I can inspire the reader to research more into the theme. Romance is a great way to teach about human behaviors, cultural differences, and how really humanness really joins us all together.

2.      What is your newest book about? My latest published novel, Only Love Twice, is about a fiftyish couple who meet and fall in love in a modern world from when they both married the first time. They are multi-cultural, she is an American and he is westernized Saudi but still has the Arab roots. I had hoped to show that in a post 9/11 world we need to learn about a different culture to understand why some hate us but that it is only a small part of that culture and basically they are just like us.


3.      What inspired you to write it? It just came to mind and I went with it. It is hard to explain really. I have explained it by saying a Jinn (a desert spirit in Arab mythology like a Muse in Greek mythology) has inhabited my mind and guided me to write this. Are they not the guiding influences for all writers? It was just a fantasy I had while daydreaming and I decided to put it to paper. That daydream just kept going until we have wonderful story.

4.      What is the writing process like for you?
Writing is my new full time job. When I started working on the novel, I did not realize how much novel writing was like a full time job. Even when not working on a novel I am writing a blog, making comments to other blogs, Facebooking and other social media, all to help market myself and my writings.

5.      What did you do before you became an author? Before I took on writing a full length novel, I was a police officer for twenty years. Writing needless to say was an integral part of police work. The experiences of police work gives me real life stories to incorporate into my novels. A lot of my friends ask me to tell stories about those days so what better way than in a novel?


6.      How does it feel to be a published author?  Amazing!! It is a long, slow, scary process. When you get to hold that first book in your hands it is wonderful. You look at it and think, "I created this. Wow."

7.      Any advice for struggling writers? To aspiring writers I say, keep going and never give up. Someone out there will like your work you just have to keep plugging away to find that one person who will take the chance on you to publish your work.

8.      Where do you see book publishing heading? The future of publishing is heading toward e-books, self-publishing, internet writing (like blogs), and away from hard copy and public libraries. Now you can have your own library with thousands of titles in a small thin tablet. That mean everyone, the masses, can have a huge library with all the books they love. That does not mean hard copies will completely go away. Hard copies will be signed and personally autographed by the author which will make them worth even more than the posted price of the book. Collectors will always collect so they have personal hard copy libraries. The digital world will benefit everyone.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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