Your Books (And Writings) Sucks!
February 13, 2006 10:11 PM   Subscribe

Donald Trump Can Boost Your Book Sales. Just piss him off and watch your Amazon sales rank climb. [a new yorker link]
posted by adrober (11 comments total)
He really needs to scan that shit.
posted by I Love Tacos at 10:32 PM on February 13, 2006

Aw, tacos. You have to quote it in context.
After which he seemed content to occupy himself otherwise, until last summer, when the Times reviewed a book I wrote, “Character Studies,” which included my portrait of Trump. “That Trump is already a caricature of a caricature makes him too easy a target, with neither the foot speed nor the wit to defend himself,” the reviewer, Jeff MacGregor, wrote. Three weeks later, the Times Book Review published a delightfully deranged letter from Trump in which he set forth his credentials—“I’ve read John Updike, I’ve read Orhan Pamuk, I’ve read Philip Roth. . . . I’ve been a best-selling author for close to 20 years. Whether you like it or not, facts are facts”—and dispensed with both MacGregor and me. We were “losers” who “just don’t have what it takes.” Facts.

Immediately, “Character Studies” levitated many thousand notches on the Amazon list. How could I thank Trump? Money, I thought, he likes money. I wrote him a check for a thousand dollars, then sensed that that was excessive. I tore it up and wrote another check, which I sent, along with a letter:

“Dear Donald: Thank you so much for that wonderful letter to the New York Times. . . . Though I’m sure that you, as an author, are aware that it’s considered bad form to pay the people who review one’s books, I nevertheless enclose a check for $37.82, a small token of my enormous gratitude. You’re special to me. Also, I enclose a couple of Band-Aids. Because you seem unable to stop picking at this particular scab, these should come in handy. Cheerfully,” etc.

Two weeks later, an envelope arrived, cream-colored with a gold-embossed “TRUMP” logo and, inside, my letter, returned, with a neatly written message from Trump in thick black uppercase letters: “MARK—YOU ARE A TOTAL LOSER—AND YOUR BOOK (AND WRITINGS) SUCKS! BEST WISHES DONALD P.S. AND I HEAR IT IS SELLING BADLY.” I treasure this memento. Indeed, it is now framed, along with a photocopy of the cashed check for $37.82; evidently he needed the money.
posted by Tlogmer at 10:35 PM on February 13, 2006

I read that on the plane on Friday. I showed it to everyone.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:36 PM on February 13, 2006

were there snakes on the plane?
posted by Balisong at 10:44 PM on February 13, 2006

Here's the best part, from Timothy O'Brien's appearance on On The Media last month (the year's wrong at the top of the page):

TIMOTHY O'BRIEN: Donald himself, in the years when he fell off the list, in the mid-'90s, when he had hit this wall because of gorging on debt that he couldn't repay, Donald himself said, "Every year the Forbes 400 comes out and people talk about if as it were a rigorously researched compilation of America's wealthiest people instead of what it really is, a sloppy, highly arbitrary estimate of certain people's net worth...that's vintage Donald. When he's down, he'll tell his critics that their opinions don't matter and when he's up, he desperately courts their good wishes. It's part of his strange ego.

Keep reading for more about the idiocy of the Forbes list:

TIMOTHY O'BRIEN: They really didn't explain their accounting, you know. And I spent actually a lot of time with their reporter who was working on the piece, and he had no knowledge of Trump's actual history with some of his larger properties in Manhattan. Properties that were in dispute, he made no attempt to speak to the other side. Forbes, in this year's list and last year's, claims that Donald controls 18 million square feet of property in Manhattan, which is an absolute impossibility.


TIMOTHY O'BRIEN: He just doesn't. And I asked the reporter, "Are you guys going to get into that?" and he said, "No." And I said, "Well, why not?" And he said, "Because my editors told me not to." If they really dig into it and really do due diligence, they're going to understand how severely they've been spun by Donald.

BROOKE GLADSTONE: So since we know now how Donald derives some value from the list, what sort of value does the list derive from listing Donald?

TIMOTHY O'BRIEN: Well, you know, what's very interesting is this year I think they had pictures of maybe four or five, quote, unquote, "billionaires" associated with the list, and Donald's was one of the biggest pictures they had on the list - [OVERTALK]


TIMOTHY O'BRIEN: - even though he ranks on their list in the 80s. And that's because Donald Trump is a very recognizable business figure. I think Gallup did a survey around the year 2000 of the most recognizable or famous businesspeople in the United States, and Trump was number one.

BROOKE GLADSTONE: So Donald brings sex to the Forbes list.

TIMOTHY O'BRIEN: And marketability.

posted by mediareport at 10:46 PM on February 13, 2006

Damn, I miss the New Yorker. That was great.
posted by cali at 10:50 PM on February 13, 2006

good fun.
posted by shmegegge at 11:59 PM on February 13, 2006

click here to buy the book and make Matthowie some sweet affiliate cash (not to mention boost its amazon sales rank, which seems to be the most important metric of book sales these days :P).

Theres also an audio CD version
posted by delmoi at 6:52 AM on February 14, 2006

Heh. After reading the article, I can't help but feel that the writer, Mark Singer, is just trying to goose some sales of his old book, Character Studies. Oh well.
posted by delmoi at 7:07 AM on February 14, 2006

Well delmoi, you've hit upon the point which makes this article ever so slightly uncomfortable, for me at any rate. Singer is obviously being ironic in his mock-selfishness, and the delight with which he sinks to Trump's petty level. He then proceeds to jokingly celebrate the profit this renders him, in terms of his skyrocketing position on what is apparently the literary hit-parade.

This is all well and good - we can sit back and laugh about how Trump's own arrogance and poor grammar undermines his own point. However, we are being delivered this particular little parable about wealth, capatalism and stupidity via an article in the New Yorker.
Now, I've never personally written anything for the New Yorker, but i imagine they pay by the word, and not in cents. So Singer is in fact taking his mock-selfishness one level further, by humiliating Trump on a national scale all over again, and incidentally sorting his book out once again with some significant publicity. Thereby being even more selfish. Ha ha.

Now, I want to put this down exclusively to one reporter's deep love for a funny, clever and ironic story - but how far is he allowed to profit in the name of jest, without blurring the line between himself and Mr Trump?
posted by jrengreen at 9:02 AM on February 14, 2006

I am reminded about once a week that there is no such thing as bad publicity. Whether that's a good thing is another question.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:39 AM on February 14, 2006

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