Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sebastian Faulks, Dan Brown and Publicists

What do Dan Brown and Sebastian Faulks have in common? Perhaps a better question would be what do their publicists have in common? Happiness, I suggest. More column inches than you can shake a stick at. And all for free.

Dan Brown managed to inflame large portions of the worldwide Christian community through suggestions in his book The Da Vinci Code. The story is gripping enough but the prose is ropey and large parts of it seem unedited. If its ideological opponents had just kept their mouths closed it would have been forgotten within a couple of years. But the call of publicity proved too tempting. How many column inches were devoted to the argument? I would hazard a guess that it was many times that which was devoted to, for example, malaria. But then, no one is arguing about malaria. It kills between one and three million people a year. What’s to say?

Sebastian Faulks an experienced journalist himself, knows a thing or two about the workings of the newspaper industry. He must have had a fairly shrewd idea of what would happen when he just happened to mention to a journalist that he’d read the Quran and found it: “a depressing book” and “the rantings of a schizophrenic” and “very one-dimensional”.

Coincidentally, he has a new book out.

Of course, after that the papers were hungry for more coverage and he had a chance to say that he was quoted out of context and that he blamed himself really. “I am not the first and probably won’t be the last to have ruffled some feathers, though I feel sad about this, because my new novel, A week in December, is carefully researched, and, among its main characters, presents a hugely sympathetic and loving Muslim family”.

I can just imagine the publicist’s smile, that dreamy, far-away look.

So - if you are seeing signs of depression or stress in your publicist, the answer is simple. You need to stop messing around honing your prose and get down to work. Burn a flag or break an icon. Perjure yourself and go to prison. Sleep with someone famous and accidentally publish the video on Youtube.

You know it makes sense.


Paul Lamb said...

Promotion is such a subtle artform. Please tell me more of these things!

Rod Duncan said...

Paul - is that a serious or an ironic request?


Rod Duncan said...

OK - have now written one on publicity.

Paul Lamb said...

Well, it was a comical request, but I see that you have written a very informative piece on true promotion. Thanx.

Rod Duncan said...

I couldn't resist the challenge!