Dateline: above the garage in Portsmouth RI, 17 June 2004
In case you missed it, my webmaster posted a copy on my site's front page. It's the second ad I've heard of. First one was half-pager for 17 May issue of The New Republic. This once is a nice size (one-third width of page and runs from top of page to crease) and nice placement (above crease, page 9, Arts section). Does it drive traffic and sell books? Putnam described it to me as a "connect the dots" effort for anyone who may have seen or heard about the book on CNN, Headline News, Fox, CNNfn, CNBC, NPR, CSPAN, etc. and just needed to be reminded: "Oh yeah, thaaaaat book!"
My main man at Putnam, Editor-in-Chief Neil Nyren says the books are still moving out of their offices at very solid speed, with significantly more than half the run already in circulation. Assuming the industry standard percentage gets returned unsold, we're already into the tens of thousands of books sold, which feels awfully good because that number sold already surpasses the typical first-printing run of the vast majority of books like mine (political, hefty). I always knew the book would do the usual sort of business for it's type, but this is going way beyond thatówith the NYT Best Seller designation to boot (something very few of those books achieve andófranklyóonly a couple or so hundred achieve in non-fiction across an entire year). So no complaints. As Neil predicted, this book would sell well but in a steady, building fashion. The NYT BSL achievement was driven by the CSPAN Book Notes appearanceófabulous but an anomaly.
Meanwhile, the push for more PR is neverending. Just signed up for live NPR On Point show on 28 June. Just agreed to interview by French journalist writing for L'Express, which is just about the coolest, biggest mag in France. Still waiting on London's Daily Telegraph profile, but if it's anything like the AP effort, it will appear far later than I expect. But that's fine, having PR pop up regularly over the summer is just what the publisher ordered. Just yesterday I got a nice plug online from The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, although it referenced the original Esquire article only and not the book. But still, any mention is better than none and a good mention is better than a bad one, and this one was good.
Over the longer haul, several possibilities exist. I'm working to get on this PBS show out of San Jose called Uncommon Knowledge. Arranging that one is mostly logistics, because you need to get to CA to film it. Got a proposal in front of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for a documentary based on the book. Should get a thumbs up or down by end of summer. Putnam's still pushing me to some big interview shows, and I've signed up to do some pretty big conferences in the fall. Then there will be the hoped-for next iteration of this site. All in all, plenty to look forward to.
But yeah, I'd still the reviews. Washington Post promised one, but we're still waiting (many papers tend to run about 2 months post pub date for everything but instant best sellers). I'd love one from the Wall Street Journal, but they do so few, and Jaffe's story was a quasi review of the best sort (front page), so that's probably too much to hope for. As for the Times, I know exactly who I'd want to review it: David Brooks. But I fear that dream date is already come and gone as a possibility. Word I got from Putnam is that once Times passes on review, they don't change their mind.
Eventually I will stop whining, but damn it! It's all I got for now. Still, gotta take the NYT Best Seller list on Sunday over any review. I just hope to God they don't print some abbreviated version of the list (like to only 12 or 13!) so they can shove the Children's List or How-To List at the bottom of the column, cause they it would feel a bit like a technical knock-out. Even in this virtual age, you want to hold the paper in your hand.
But just in case . . . †
Published: June 20, 2004
1 DRESS YOUR FAMILY IN CORDUROY AND DENIM, by David Sedaris. (Little,Brown,$24.95.) The humorist's latest collection of essays.
2 EATS, SHOOTS & LEAVES, by Lynne Truss. (Gotham, $17.50.) An Englishwoman expounds on the use and misuse of punctuation marks.
3 BIG RUSS AND ME, by Tim Russert. (Miramax, $22.95.) The host of "Meet the Press" remembers his father and the other important teachers in his life.
4 PLAN OF ATTACK, by Bob Woodward. (Simon & Schuster, $28.) A behind-the-scenes account of the Bush administration's decision making as it drew up plans to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein.
5 *FATHER JOE, by Tony Hendra. (Random House, $24.95.) A noted satirist recalls his decades-long friendship with an English Benedictine monk. Excerpt
6 BATTLE READY, by Tom Clancy with Tony Zinni and Tony Koltz. (Putnam, $28.95.) The evolution of the United States Marine Corps, from the Vietnam era to the post-9/11 years.
7 ALEXANDER HAMILTON, by Ron Chernow. (Penguin Press, $35.) A biography of the first Treasury secretary and chief author of The Federalist Papers. First Chapter
8 MORE THAN MONEY, by Neil Cavuto. (ReganBooks/HarperCollins, $24.95.) A financial journalist who has multiple sclerosis presents portraits of other people in business who have overcome obstacles. (+)
9 FOUNDING MOTHERS, by Cokie Roberts. (Morrow, $24.95.) The ABC News commentator details the lives of the many women (Abigail Adams and Martha Washington among them) who "raised our nation."
10 ON THE DOWN LOW, by J. L. King with Karen Hunter. (Broadway, $21.95.) Exploring the lives of ostensibly straight black men who have sex with men, and the health consequences for the black community.
11 *SECRETS OF THE CODE, edited by Dan Burstein. (CDS Books/Squibnocket, $21.95.) Essays by a variety of experts ó theologians, art historians, scientists ó on themes relating to "The Da Vinci Code."
12 THREE WEEKS WITH MY BROTHER, by Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks. (Warner, $22.) The novelist and his sibling describe their trip around the world.
13 AGAINST ALL ENEMIES, by Richard A. Clarke. (Free Press, $27.) President Bush's former counterterrorism coordinator criticizes the administration's handling of events before and after the 9/11 attacks. First Chapter
14 THE PENTAGON'S NEW MAP, by Thomas P. M. Barnett. (Putnam, $26.95.) A military analyst assesses the prospects for war and peace in the 21st century.
15 REWRITING HISTORY, by Dick Morris with Eileen McGann. (ReganBooks/HarperCollins, $24.95.) A former adviser to President Bill Clinton "deconstructs" Hillary Clinton's autobiography, "Living History."
16 *TRUTH & BEAUTY, by Ann Patchett. (HarperCollins, $23.95.) A novelist recalls her friendship with Lucy Grealy, the author of "Autobiography of a Face."
Got it? Flaunt it!