Thursday, February 17, 2011

Senator Scott Brown scores book promotion win

Scott Brown, the Republican senator from Massachusetts (did I really just say that -- it still sounds amazing to this life-long Bostonian?), just scored the biggest possible book promotion win. Everyone is talking about his about-to-be-published book (Against All Odds: My Life of Hardship, Fast Breaks, and Second Chances) -- an autobiography that, among other things, details sexual abuse that the senator suffered when he was ten years old. If a book could receive more publicity than this one has, this book publicist can't imagine it.

Sixty Minutes taped an interview with Senator Brown. The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Daily Beast, ABCNews, CBSNews, Yahoo News, and just about every other news organization in the country has discussed Senator Brown in the context of his upcoming autobiography.

Virtually every political figure publishes an autobiography and, while most of them turn into book promotion -- and, with that, persona promotion -- opportunities for their authors, the media attention Scott Brown's book is receiving is off the chart. You can't click on a web site, or turn on the TV or the radio, or open up a newspaper, without hearing about the senator's new book. Why are all of the producers and editors going out of their way to help promote Senator Brown's new book?

My take on it is that, for whatever reason, some people feel that Scott Brown has provided too much information. The sexual abuse in his childhood, they hold, was his personal business, and he should just do the manly thing, keep it to himself, and move on. In other words, incredibly enough -- and unintentionally, I'm sure -- this book contained enough controversy to keep producers and editors excited about the story and to get their readers, viewers, and listeners interacting with the story. Any time readers, viewers, and listeners participate in a story, the story grows.

Thus, Senator Scott Brown and his publisher are sitting on a goldmine: a book that everyone is talking about. That's what book promotion does best: it finds a charismatic author (that would be Senator Brown, in this case), a worthwhile message or three (the book's title, Against All Odds, says it all), and adds a dash of controversy (intentional or not) . . . and creates a bestselling book.

That's what I think Senator Brown has here: a bestseller. Kudos to him and to his publisher, and I hope the book continues to receive publicity and positive attention from the media. This is book promotion at its best, and it's exciting -- particularly, for this Boston-area book publicist -- to see another great Boston book promotion story!