Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What a racket!

Publishers Weekly reported this nugget yesterday:

In a deal inspired by current bestseller and Oprah phenomenon The Secret, Thomas Dunne has announced that his imprint at St. Martin’s will publish Karen Kelly’s The Secret of the Secret in August. This will be a wide-ranging analysis of Rhonda Byrne’s book; Madeleine Morel at 2M Communications sold world rights.

Kelly, a former editor at Warner Books who has also worked as a ghostwriter, will talk to media and publishing professionals, scientists, psychologists and philosophy experts to help explain the success of The Secret and whether its message, on the power of positive thinking, really works. Kelly will also reveal The Secret’s scientific and religious influences and investigate the lives of eminent figures like Shakespeare, Einstein and Plato to see if these men did, as Byrne claims, all share The Secret.

Do you want to know the real secret? The Secret is rehashed self-help that has been expertly marketed (check out the website) and The Secret of the Secret is based on a time-honored publishing stratagem: you can make easy bucks by glomming onto the success of another book.

The really real secret is you've gotta be crazy to buy either of these books. Did you read the Newsweek article on Rhonda Byrne and the book? Her advice apparently includes this gem: "If you see people who are overweight, do not observe them, but immediately switch your mind to the picture of you in your perfect body and feel it." I, for one, will never again gaze upon any book that isn't a Oprah pick. Instead, I look away and envision my very own bestseller.

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