Public Relations · Publishing

Might as Well Post That Picture of Me in Vegas

There’s a theory that all press is good press, and the debacle with Bloomsbury’s upcoming YA release “Liar” makes me a true believer. From Publishers Weekly Children’s Bookshelf: “Bloomsbury Children’s Books has told PW exclusively that it will change the controversial cover of Justine Larbalestier’s ‘Liar.’ Bloggers and the author herself had criticized the publisher’s choice of a white girl with long, straight tresses for a novel about an African-American girl with ‘nappy’ hair. ‘We regret that our original creative direction for “Liar” has been interpreted by some as a calculated decision to mask the character’s ethnicity,’ said Bloomsbury officials.”

Justine Larbalestier’s Liar BEFORE the outcry
Justine Larbalestier’s Liar BEFORE the outcry
Ha! HA! That’s me, laughing really, really hard at Bloomsbury’s regret. Regret? Bull POOP! They don’t regret a thing! In fact, this is me begging: “Oh, Bloomsbury publicity director Deb Shapiro, please teach me your ways!”

Does anyone else think this was the most ingenious way to get this book in the news? I mean, when the original cover for “Liar” hit the web, people were livid. Bloggers attacked Bloomsbury, and as the article states, even author Justine Larbalestier was ticked off. But I read about it, didn’t I? I clicked on the link and read the whole article (Publishers Weekly, July 23).

SEE! DID YOU JUST CLICK THAT LINK? It’s working! Deb Shapiro! Justine Larbalestier! Bloomsbury, it’s WORKING!

This goes along with a point my buddy made on my banned books post from a couple weeks back ( He basically said that, shoot, the people fighting the banning of books should just post the list of “bad” books online, and the sale of those “bad” books would go through the roof! A nice big go screw yourself to the censors. Back to the idea: all press is good press!

Justine Larbalestier’s Liar AFTER the outcry
Justine Larbalestier’s Liar AFTER the outcry
Which is why I must congratulate Bloomsbury and their PR chick Deb Shapiro on this whole “Liar” scandal. Because of the race question, this story hit the press. Because of bad publicity, you’ve received PUBLICITY, which is painfully difficult in this world of YA books, dime a dozen. Geniuses. I wonder…how am I going to make educational picture books scandalous? Hmm…I guess I could go the Disney, Lion King way and sneak “S-E-X” somewhere in the Library of Congress data. Hmm. Not a bad idea.

Read the most recent PW article on this ingenious PR campaign HERE.

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