Lucky author Andrew Young. Bits and pieces from THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER about all the players in the John Edwards scandal keep sales of his book THE POLITICIAN brisk. The latest from the tabloid is that Rielle Hunter is still nursing Edwards's daughter Frances Quinn. The latter is two years old and must have a mouth full of teeth.
Right now, THE POLITICIAN is at #654 on Amazon.com. That's amazing for a book which has been out there a while. Meanwhile JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR by Lloyd Constantine was published more recently. It's at #66,485 on Amazon.com. Since Constantine's book is on the much more compelling saga of Eliot Spitzer's fall from grace, it should be the magic circle of the Amazon.com Top 1000. But, it's not.
Perhaps Constantine's publicist should feed some juicy tidbits to THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER. That publication, which could bring home a Pulitzer, is an author's secret weapon.
The young man who jumped to his death yesterday from the Empire State Building in Manhattan was Cameron Dabaghi, a Yale student. That makes him a member of that high-profile suicide phenomenon taking place on college campuses such as NYU and Cornell.
A few years ago I researched and published an article on the so-called "Fragile Generation" in college Download 0611_FRAGILEGEN. The emotional vulnerability characteristic of the Millennials seemed a result of both helicopter parenting and the advent of drugs which allows the mentally ill to function well enough to matriculate at college.
But that's only an attempt, and probably a feeble one, to explain why young people are checking out. Is it that, as we know, suicide is socially contagious and students come to see this extreme measure as a solution to their challenges?
They lost their editorial positions at Conde Nast.
For some like Joanne Lipman, former head of now-disappeared PORTFOLIO, the fall from grace was from a great height. For others like Pilar Guzman, former head of now-folded COOKIE, the way down wasn't from that kind of pinnacle of success. Guzman told John Koblin of the NEW YORK OBSERVER, who did this follow-up on these former editors, that she wasn't part of the limo crowd at Conde Nast but rather a strap-hanger. However, it still represented a major loss.
Every one of these exiles from mainstream media who Koblin interviewed fell hard and have still not recovered. Falling is a brutal experience, particularly in this economy of scarcity.
But even in better economic times it's usually an emotional game changer. Former INTERVIEW writer Mark Matousek published a book in 2008 titled WHEN YOU'RE FALLING, DIVE. That rich source of wisdom deconstructs the dynamics of loss in general and describes how others, including himself, got on the other side.
On that other side, we are different than who we were. Maybe not better or worse, just different. After my own career collapse in 2003, I saw the world in binary terms:
That brings in business or doesn't bring in business. Forget the latter.
The person on my network is useful or not useful. Ditch the latter.
That assignment will teach me something or keep me stuck where I am. Don't take on the second kind.
That prospect will respect my time, which of course is money, or will waste my time, through which I don't make as much money. Have a cover story prepared why I can't service the time-waster.
Those who haven't fallen yet, I hope you won't. But if you do, know that the devastation you feel is a normal - and healthy - response to loss. There are ways to the other side, but no shortcuts.
Baby Boomers, once known as the Woodstock Generation, might be rebranded as the front lines of the Gray Revolution. This could be the way of extending the shelf life of a generation which had been able to achieve unique influence and power. Once again, it could become the game changer in social and economic trends.
In BUSINESS WEEK, Chris Farrell reports that by 2018, about 14.6 million additional nonfarm jobs will be created in the U.S. The Baby Bust generation, which followed the Baby Boomers, is too few in number to fill these jobs. The anticipated gap between manpower demand and supply will be bridged by keeping Baby Boomers in the labor force. As a result, predicts Farrell, "companies in all kinds of industries will face demands to overhaul the workplace to make it friendlier to aging employees."
Baby Boomers likely will be the first generation which never retires. They could be employed into their 70s, 80s and even 90s. However, this could happen without the expected hostility from younger generations which supposedly resent Baby Boomers taking jobs and promotions they want. That Gen War might never take place. In fact, X, Y, and Millennials might turn to Baby Boomers to mentor them on how to play the game.
My new book OVER-50: HOW WE KEEP WORKING could become the bible of how Baby Boomers get, keep and move onto better jobs.
Will the world become an even more brutal place for those who are good at going to school? The poster boy for that has been Larry Summers who was encouraged to leave his president's job at Harvard. Summers might be leaving the Obama Administration. Post-schooling, we tend to become our own lost generation.
Just as predicted, the "C" students became the bosses of us the "A" students. Our social skills were often marginal so we struggled with isolation. And to recapture past glory, we frequently returned to school for yet another degree which didn't improve things much. We just weren't all that good at life.
That troubled pattern could become even worse as the knowledge economy mutates into the Creative [Richard Florida] or Right Brain [Daniel Pink] one. Craigslist still has ads requiring "degree from top school with high GPA." But employers who are naive enough to want that will probably be soon out of business. The value of schooling might have already reached a point of diminishing returns.
There are the phenomenon types like Sarah Palin and Elizabeth Gilbert. Their personalities or experiences created a signature which made their books mass-market sellers. Then there are the rest of authors who don't have a prayer selling their books generically. For the books to move, they have to be positioned and packaged for separate target markets. That micro-marketing is nothing new. What is new is that it's a necessity.
More than a decade ago Westport, Connecticut book publicist Meryl Moss, who now operates Media Muscle, educated public relations groups about promoting books to niches. For example, if the book was on parenting, it would be pitched to trade associations representing parents, organizations of mental-health professions, and so on. We all agreed back then that seemed a good idea but an awful lot of work. Most authors or their publicists didn't invest that sweat equity.
Now, there's no choice. For most books the mass market disappeared along with TV as the dominant medium. It's almost a waste of money and time to issue a generic press release. Instead, there should be multiple press releases and other custom-made promotional tactics aimed at niches and niches within niches.
For example, Bob Dilenschneider's book AMA HANDBOOK OF PUBLIC RELATIONS can be cut up in bits and pieces. Then it can be served in individual dishes to college upperclassmen with their mind on getting the edge in the job market, correctional facilities with programs to lessen recidivism, Job Corps, small businesspeople, clergy trying to reposition their churches for 2010, the exiles from once-stable professions, ranging from law to journalism, and Hispanic entrepreneurs. [Disclosure: Because of my role in preparing the AMA HANDBOOK, I receive 50% of royalties.]
The same applies to Lloyd Constantine's book JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR. A very small part of it is really about Eliot Spitzer. A lot more of it involves issues of judicial activism, the role of the state attorney general, is leadership still needed, the mystery of marriage, dynamics of male friendship, and political public relations. If the book could be promoted through those perspectives, it could be right up there with Andrew Young's THE POLITICIAN. The latter has legs, I am convinced, because the John Edwards's saga contains so many diverse aspects. Young rarely covers the same ground on any of his myriad talk-show appearances.
There is a large market for books as people struggle to figure out this brave new world of 2010. To reach that market, authors and publicists have to work much harder.
A smart move in many ways, Seton Hill University, Greeensburg, Pennsylvania, is providing the incoming class of '10 a Mac and iPad. Some debate if students need both but my take is that one can never have too many digital gadgets. This is part of the Griffin Technology Adventure Program whose mission is to cultivate digital literacy among students.
This positions Seton Hill as a pioneer in digital outreach in areas outside major metro locations. Greensburg is far enough from even Pittsburgh to be considered somewhat isolated. When I attended Setonn Hill [Class of '67], that rural setting was considered quaint for a liberal arts college. Currently, though, it could be perceived as a disadvantage in nailing down useful internships. However, thanks to their digital devices, students can telecommute to their placements around the world. About 80% of my assignments represent total telecommuting relationships.
In addition, this will keep Seton Hill on the radar as other organizations track this development. Research projects could be launched, with an educational institution without this kind of program as a control group. What will the impacts be on the quality and price of education?
Also, the class of '10 will be more marketable. They are participating in a high-profile experiment and nothing will be better to chat up on their interviews with prospective employers.
Career change should be just another business problem to solve. Well, that's not the way most professionals are going about it. More often that not, when pushed into shifting career gears, even the best and brightest fall apart. The past grabs them by the throat. They become stuck in "I coulda" and "I shoulda." The four other demons which attack them are Self-hate, Ambivalence, Fear and Immaturity.
But there's a way to exorcise the demons and get on with moving onto What's Next. That way is described in this lecture to the New York Bar Association Download LectureNYSBA. Also covered is the 2010 way to create resumes and cover letters and manage interviews. All that has changed since the 20th century.