Here’s a completely revolutionary idea: Work for nightmarish overlords of institutions people are fascinated by, and then put the experience into a book about how it’s actually worse than everyone imagined. American Apparel’s publicist Ryan Holiday is apparently planning to do just this, according to reports that he landed a major book deal with publisher Portfolio, which will allegedly earn him $500,000 or more. However, the New York Observer’s Emily Witt writes that she got a copy of the proposal from a book editor, which reveals the book is not exactly the kind of tell-all early reports suggest it will be:
The Press Release
The press release announcing the sale of this book is the perfect opportunity to create a compelling yet fake spectacle about the book. Relying on the fact that blogs and media outlets simply take for granted whatever is stated in a release, we will state in the press release that the advance given for this book was a spectacular sum … That the information is all fake and part of a social experiment will be revealed later in the book itself — as evidence of the gullibility of the web and proof of concept.
Witt also reprints a section of the proposal called “fake leaked chapters”, which explains that the book will profess to be a tell-all about Dov Charney, and fake chapters will be released to bloggers under the guise that they were too controversial to put in the book.
Again, this will be revealed later as proof of concept to the media outlet of our choice. The revelation will be a bombshell and cement Confessions of a Media Hit Man as a media sensation.
And according to this proposal, the book offers details of “wrongdoing” carried out by people like Nick Denton and Ariana Huffington, who “will be surreptitiously notified of these embarrassing revelations in advance and baited into responding.” So it’s a book bitching about bloggers and media people? We’d actually rather read the fake American Apparel accounts. By the time those come out, everyone will have forgotten about this overly complex publicity plan and can just enjoy these tales for what we want them to be: worse than everyone imagined.
So, is this proposal brilliant or just douchey?