You've probably heard that "It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good." It's an ancient proverb that has come to mean that a wind that is bad for many people, can be good for others.
- The same windstorm that drives a boat off its course and onto the rocks might also help a becalmed sailing ship to reach home swiftly and safely -- and can power the windmills on the land.
- A wind that is no good for someone is unusual and ill indeed.
- Probably nothing is bad for everyone.
When Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died in 2011, The Associated Press said, "As macabre as it might seem, Jobs' death Wednesday will only add to the Apple mystique - and profit." The iPhone, iPad, iPod and Mac likely got short-term sales boosts as consumers paid the ultimate tribute to Jobs. It's a commercial phenomenon that also occurred when Michael Jackson's album and song sales rocketed after he died in 2009.
Simon & Schuster moved up the publication date of its biography, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson from November 21 to October 24. Even before publication, the book was ranked #1 on Amazon's overall bestseller list and #1 on three other Amazon bestseller lists, because of pre-orders (including my order).
In my Independent Self-Publishing: The Complete Guide, I wrote, "Remember that the mere publication of your book is not usually sufficiently newsworthy to impress editors and writers. Only the most desperate small-town weekly would publish an article with the headline: 'Local Woman Writes Book.' Your news release needs a news hook. The hook is the main point of your release. It can be a theme, statement, trend or event on which you “hang” your news release. If an important person just got married, promoted, fired, elected or killed, a book about that person should be newsworthy . . . ."
I certainly don't recommend that you murder someone you wrote about. But, if that person should die without your intervention, be prepared to take advantage of the promotional possibilities, like Simon & Schuster. Biographer Walter Isaacson was interviewed a great many times, and Simon & Schuster sold a great many books.
(top photo from "Gilligan's Island" TV show.)