Thursday, January 25, 2007

Book Promotion Reminder: Controversy Sells

Yes, he's an ex-president. But I probably wouldn't have heard a word about Jimmy Carter's new book, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, if Carter hadn't refused to debate an ever-controversial (and headlines-grabbing) figure: Alan Dershowitz.

As I understand it, Brandeis University invited Carter to speak about his book.
Dershowitz found out about the invitation and insisted the speaking engagement be changed to a debate. He, helpfully, offered to serve as Carter's sparring partner. Ultimately, Brandeis University declined Dershowitz's generous offer. Carter then faced the stage by himself -- and enjoyed more media coverage (including this Boston Globe article) than he ever could have imagined.

So here's a book promotion reminder for today: if you want people to find out about your book, find a controversial news hook, and hang your book publicity campaign on that peg. Or, if you don't have time for all that, then just find a way to get Alan Dershowitz's dander up. Or find another opponent whose wrath can buy you instant access to the limelight.

If you can manage that, then the media will follow you everywhere. Then your book publicity campaign will take care of itself.

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