Monday, February 01, 2010

How To Become A Best-Selling Author

One good way is to keep buying your own book.

A lot was made of Sarah "I'm just an average person/beauty queen/vie-presidential candidate" Palin's book Going Rogue and its high number of sales. The numbers, which are big for a non-fiction memoir, have been touted as further proof of Mz. Palin's unstoppable popularity and the American people's hunger for her home-spun wisdom.

The only problem is that of the sizable amount of sales her book has pulled in, over $63,000 comes from Palin's own PAC, which was ostensibly founded to help Republican politicians. In contrast, that same PAC gave out $43,000 to people actually running for office. Or for those who can't do the math, this supposedly bold political action committee has spent over $20,000 less on political action than it has on copies of its founder's book.

This is actually a pretty standard conservative ploy -- find someone with a lot of money (either yourself, which is usually pretty easy for conservatives, or a crazy, rich backer) and have them buy thousands of copies of your book. This artificially inflates your sales numbers, causing the book to look popular and shoot up the best sellers lists, not to mention driving an increasing amount of media attention your way. Combine with some shoddy fake journalism on your side (like Fox News doctoring footage of the crowds at your book-signing to make you look a lot more popular than you are), and you create the fiction that your book is really popular and selling well, which in turn, drives people who otherwise wouldn't have paid any attention to buy a copy for themselves, thus further artificially inflating your sales numbers.

That being said, I don't really have a problem with her faux populism or artificial sales numbers, I'm just jealous because when I write my first book, there's no way I'll be able to fake the kind of numbers Sarah Palin can, even though my book will be full of actual text about real things instead of crazy babbling disguised as "straight talk."

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