Pre-publication press works well for authors...
(Tim) Some time ago, I panned another bad book from Inter-Varsity Press--this one on sexuality. Yesterday, the author of the book commented here on Baylyblog saying she wanted to know what our readers thought of her book itself rather than its pre-publication press release.
Rob Bell's followers have whined about people coming to a judgment against Bell's heresies based on his pre-publication video clip, but this is crazymaking. Here's my response to the IVP author and it works with Rob Bell's video ad for Love Wins:
Authors control their book's pre-publication press releases (and video ads), as they also control their bios. Your press release was meant to get people to read your book, but it backfired--with us at least. When the release backfires and is a negative incentive, you did your job well. You told people what your book was about and where it stood and they made an informed decision that they would not send you royalty money and not waste valuable time reading...your misled and misleading thoughts on the meaning of sex in our decadent age.
If you and your publisher erred in what the release said about the content of your book, then issue another press release saying so and have another hack at putting down what the book's true content is in a follow-up press release.
But of course, you already did put down an accurate summary of what your book's true content is and, to your delight, this accurate summary convinced many who are easily deceived that they should pay you royalties for the privilege of reading your book. Your press release worked quite well with them.
But so it did with others of us who came to a negative decision about buying your book.
You can't have it both ways. If you send out a press release prior to publication telling people what your book says and you get some people on board, you can't complain about others who read the same accurate text, come to the same understanding of your book as those who decide to buy it, but for their part, understand Scripture, fear God, and decide to stay far away from it.