Friday, October 2, 2009

I Said I Was Not Going To Write About Sarah Palin

I said I was never going to write anything here about Sarah Palin. I said I would not contribute to her celebrity. I said I would not add to the incessant use of her name to get a click, buy a paper or tune in to the news. There is little of importance (unless you happen to be a comedian looking for material), behind whatever the teaser line is.

I admit that I check. I am not one of her fan base. But rather one of those who see it
analogous to slowing down when you see a car wreck. You don't really want to look, but you find your fascination with the horror makes you slow down. You can't help yourself.

Besides, what has she really got to do with my observations on life after Corporate America? It turns out, more than I thought.

Her infamous memoir is about to hit the stores and it appears she is giving Dan Brown's historic presale figures competition. Which is troubling. Dan Brown, has a story to tell. Dan Brown has a track record. Dan Brown is intentionally writing to entertain the reader. Sarah Palin does it by accident with her unusual twist of the English language.

As an author trying to get published in a difficult economic environment I can only say I am appalled at the kind of advance she received. Dan Brown has earned getting a huge advance. She has not. Her advance supposedly was in the $7 million range. I cannot begin to tell you how many new fiction and non fiction authors who have a great story and are capable of writing a sentence by themselves would be over the moon to get a $200,000 advance. Thirty-five new voices could be heard out of that $7 million!

I can hear the bean counters now. Oh, but would that sell? Unfortunately, we won't know. Because the fragile publishing industry is not necessarily concerned with good new talent, but in how much and how quickly the money can be pushed forward. Or at least the appearance of it.

I don't know anyone who is going to buy her book. I know I won't. I don't know where the advance sales are coming from. But after spending 25 years selling media I am skeptical. I can't help but wonder who is really making those purchases. I can't help but wonder where these figures are coming from.

Could it be possible that the numbers are inflated from large group sales from her backers and supporters who want to make a statement that she is more popular than she really is? That she actually has something to say. Maybe. Maybe not.

So yes,there is a reason for me to write about Sarah Palin today. Her book deal and all the greed that surrounds it is a perfect example of what goes on in Corporate America. Try as she may to say there was another reason she stepped down as Governor of Alaska, it was because of the money. She was able to access the cash on this advance sooner than later. Harper Collins made the offer because of money. They anticipated that her publication would cause a stir and the money would flow. It was not offered because of a good story line, fiction or non fiction. It certainly wasn't because she could write. They paid someone else to do that part. It doesn't matter whether anyone is going to take the time to read her memoir, the advance sales are already there. Whether there will be enough to recoup her enormous advance, not to mention the cost of printing, remains to be seen.

It's a good thing for her she got this deal. Word has it she is not selling as well on the lecture circuit. I guess there are no ghost speakers as there are ghost writers.

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