The Washington Post

Clinton knows about ‘Hard Choices’

A customer buys Hillary Rodham Clinton’s new book, “Hard Choices,” long with other groceries at the Pentagon City Costco in Arlington. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

(This post has been updated with video)

Some news reports have it that sales of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s new book on her days as secretary of state, “Hard Choices,” are not going well. An anonymous source called it a “bomb.”

Publisher Simon & Shuster begs to differ, saying it’s sold a not-too-shabby 100,000 copies since it went on sale June 10.

And Amazon lists it at No. 4 in the “all books” category, just behind the paperback “10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse: Lose Up to 15 Pounds in 10 Days!”

Clinton is out there on book tour getting great publicity and showing she apparently knows a thing or two about bookselling. The key is to mention the book and the title repeatedly in the course of your interviews. (Kind of like that old “Mr. Subliminal” character on Saturday Night Live.)

Mr. Subliminal by shundriad

In a 60-minute CNN interview and Q and A session with Christian Amanpour before an enthusiastic audience at the Newseum, she used the word “hard” nine times and “hard choices” eight times. Amanpour mentioned “hard choices” 11 times. Clinton also “my book” or “the book” six times.

Folks who know how to move the merch know it’s especially important to get the brand name in at the end of the pitch. Clinton and Amanpour were phenomenal closers.

With Amanpour leading the way, they bantered back-and-forth in the last minute or so talking about a”hard choice” or “choices” a stunning seven times.

That is not easy to do. In fact, it’s pretty hard.

We weren’t the only ones to notice Clinton’s speaking product placement. “The Daily Show’s” Jon Stewart had a little fun with Clinton expertly name dropping her book Wednesday night. The relevant part begins around minute five.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.



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