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Palin's on the road again, with Hoosiers in sight

GONE "ROGUE": The second stop in the day's book-signing tour was Noblesville, Ind., a city chosen for its support base and sales potential.
GONE "ROGUE": The second stop in the day's book-signing tour was Noblesville, Ind., a city chosen for its support base and sales potential. (Sam Riche/indianapolis Star Via Associated Press)
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Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 20, 2009

FORT WAYNE, IND. -- Tina Andreadis doesn't have much experience in Republican presidential politics.

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But as Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue" national book tour delivers stump speeches, long lines of sign-bearing supporters ("Ft. Wayne Loves Sarah Palin") and hyperbolic media scrutiny throughout the country, the HarperCollins publicity director is taking on the role of campaign manager.

"I am on the bus," Andreadis says.

On Thursday morning, that campaign-style coach displaying Palin's face, Facebook address, Twitter alias and SarahPAC information sped toward Meijer, a superstore in Fort Wayne for the second stop in an all-out publicity push that is also strengthening the former vice presidential candidate's ties to her political base.

And the Manhattan-based Andreadis is helping organize it all.

Andreadis, whose Facebook page reveals she is a fan of Arianna Huffington, Barack Obama, and, yes, Palin, spent the afternoon directly to the Alaskan's right as she signed book after book and posed for picture after picture in the store's decor section. Palin, 45, wore a black jacket, black pencil skirt, purple boots and an unwavering smile. Andreadis, 39, wore chunky glasses, long brunet curls in a ponytail, a cream-colored sweater, jeans, silver sneakers and a look of exhaustion. Having joined HarperCollins about four years ago, after a stint with Time Warner Books, Andreadis lives and works in New York. Her past projects have included publicity for the novelist Michael Chabon and talk-show personality Steve Harvey.

"I've never worked on anything of this scale," she says.

By the metrics of this particular campaign, Palin has been an unvarnished success.

Andreadis says that about 300,000 books were sold in the first day alone and that an additional 300,000 books have been printed after an initial batch of 1.5 million. She says the tour schedule has been and will be intense because "what the governor wanted to do was spread around the country as much as possible."

According to Andreadis, Palin and the publicity team at Harper developed the road map for the book tour "based on where her fans are and where we thought we could sell the most books." She says that Palin clearly had wanted to return to Michigan, where she kicked off the campaign Wednesday, because, as she made clear in the memoir, she felt the McCain campaign had abandoned the state.

Andreadis says there's a short window before bookstores stop holding signings because they gum up the busy holiday shopping period.

"That's why we are squeezing events in," Andreadis says, noting that the day's second event is in Noblesville, Ind., a town traditionally far off publishers' radar.

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