Video Kills the Bestseller: Rove’s Demise

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Karl Rove, former senior adviser to George W. Bush and now a Fox News man, has a book out that is topping the bestseller list at Amazon.com – but two authors of a new business book want that spot and have made a viral video in hopes of stealing it.

Rove’s book, Courage and Consequence (not a sequel to Pride and Prejudice, though it would be cool if Rove penned Jane Austen fan-fiction) annoyed the authors of business book Rework, which was languishing at the #2 spot on Amazon.com.

So they did something about it: they launched a cunning viral video in the style of a political attack ad. In fact, the video is so good that if it weren’t designed to mock Karl Rove’s book, it would likely get the nod of approval from the neo-con mastermind himself.

As Ryan Tate at Gawker put it, the video is an “awesomely fun takedown.”

But did it help sales of Rework? That’s the important question. You can make the greatest viral video in the world, but it doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t boost the bottom line. According to Rick Horgan, VP & Executive Editor at Crown (an imprint of Random House), which published Rework, “It’s gotten the strongest viral pick-up on a book video I’ve seen since I’ve been at Crown.”

And Katie Wainwright, the imprint’s VP & Executive Director of Publicity, told MainStreet that “given all the great publicity and buzz we also have working for this book, it’s impossible to determine to what degree on its own the video has affected sales. We can however say without a doubt that, from the phenomenal reaction it’s received since it went live, it is most certainly helping.”

Alrighty then. We weren’t expecting exact sales numbers from anyone there – publishers typically don’t release information like that – but it sounds like the VPs and “deciders” at the publisher are thrilled with the video’s media attention. And as someone who had a book published a while back, I know that getting your publisher excited is half the battle. An excited publisher can mean more marketing push and more books on front tables next to whatever tome Oprah Winfrey raved about last week.

Want to get your own book published, and then adapted for film or TV? Read my interview with a successful novelist who shares his candid tips for making it big.

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