Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hype, Hype, Hype

There is nothing that bugs me more than to lay out my hard-earned bananas on a book only to read it and discover the content doesn’t live up to its hype. And I see publishers do this all the time. Being in the business, I realize that it’s a great way to sell books, but at some point you get found out. I feel it’s vital for the hype to live up to the story residing between the covers.

This reminds me of The Bridges of Madison County. I mean, EVERYONE loved the book. My good friend thrust her copy into my hands and gushed about the fabulous love story, the sex, blah, blah, blah. I’m probably the only person alive who hated this book.

I came to the opinion that people got so swept away with the hype they didn’t stop to analyze what elements made the book so good. After watching the dismal “person on the street” interviews and how little the liberal voter actually knew of Obama’s background, I became convinced that Obama’s “publishers” had done an equally brilliant job of hyping a “book” with zero content.

“Obama’s going to fix the economy!” one lady swooned.
“Obama’s going to put gas in my tank and pay my mortgage!” another screeched.
“Obama is going to make this country great again!”

When the interviewer asked who was responsible for the Fannie Mae/ Freddie Mac debacle, their expressions became as blank as a clean blackboard.

It was painful to watch these interviews because these folks had no clue to the realities of the liberal agenda. They go as far as CNN or MSNBC and believe whatever pabulum these propagandists spew out. Obama is an empty story comprised of great cover art, top notch publicists, a publisher who has a bottomless budget, and a readership that has had no exposure to great literature.

Sadly, the Republican publishers’ best efforts resulted in Cranky Old Men Without a Plan, a book with lousy cover art, a small budget, and content that tried too hard to emulate Obama’s story. Cranky failed to sell through, and that’s why Obama became a bestseller.

So now that Obama is a bestseller, will there come a time when some of those readers will decide to reread the book? And if they do, will they love the story just as much as they did the first time? Or will they begin asking “where’s the beef?” Will they suddenly find fault with some of Obama’s supporting cast and ask for more character development of William Ayers, Rev. Wright, etc?

Being in the publishing business, I’ve seen bestsellers plummet from the NY Times Bestseller List. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey comes to mind – a piece of fiction that was hyped as a memoir, and pissed of Oprah after her pathetic, unsuccessful attempts to defend it. Will Obama’s readers abandon him just as quickly? A book has to deliver the goods in order to maintain solid, steady sales.

In the meantime, it would be nice if the Republican publishing house decided to overhaul their management and redefine their mission statement. They need to get authors whose content can stand up to a harsh readership and close scrutiny. I bet they’d sell more books and gain a lot more readers.

1 comment:

crankylitprof said...

Don't feel bad --I thought "Bridges of Madison County" was a smoking pile of rhinoceros turd. Even Clint Eastwood couldn't save the movie version.