by Erin Mitchell
If the headline above immediately made you think of this movie or this song, then you’re old enough to have experienced the vast and fundamental changes in publishing over the last few decades. But you know what? Sometimes they still make me shake my head…
This week, a Publisher cancelled the release of a book only a few weeks before the drop date. The Author was very public about his reasons for leaving (his long-time) Publisher. Then another Publisher announced a contract with the Author, and on we go.
I’m sure things like this happened in the 1930s and 40s, but we sure didn’t see them play out right in front of us, blow-by-blow and play-by-play. Some of the commentary has been quite…passionate, and therein lies an important marketing lesson: If you don’t have something nice (or productive) to say, don’t say anything at all. Or if you must, say is privately (like, on the phone…email is so not private, dude).
While I was still getting my head around how the above played out, the GOP debate happened. I didn’t watch it, but I have watched the commentary. Again, passion reigns, and some folks are saying some stuff that, marketing-wise, they really shouldn’t.
Which leads to another marketing lesson: Nobody should change who she or he is, but try not to offend readers unless it’s absolutely necessary. Or is part and parcel of your brand.
I’m not saying to never discuss art or politics, just that when doing so, taking a considered and respectful tone is advisable.
Speaking of respecting readers, that store that's giving refunds for GO SET A WATCHMAN? It's undertaken a good publicity stunt. But make no mistake, a publicity stunt is exactly what it is and all that it is. It's not a moral stance. So those who were horrified at the publisher for publishing an unedited and questionable manuscript as a stunt but are cheering for this are being hypocritical.
I just don't see how a bookstore encouraging people to return a book and publicizing this effort is good for reading. Or readers. I'd be much more impressed to see a store hosting, say, a discussion group to talk about Harper Lee's books (both of them or either of them...you know what I mean). That's a story I would click.
Then, as if the world wasn’t mad enough, I installed Windows 10. I mention this only because I’ve seen a lot of folks skeptical about installing it. I was too, but I like it. No problems so far.
Finally, I leave you with this: Real Genius is 30 years old this week.
Like I said…mad world.