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The Going Rogue Book Tour Draws Crowds and Controversy

Sarah Palin's triumphal passage through heavy GOP districts has all the trappings of a political campaign.

by
Donald Kent Douglas

Bio

November 22, 2009 - 12:04 am
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The acquisitions editors at the Harper Collins publishing house must be floating on cloud nine.

Initial sales for Sarah Palin’s new book, Going Rogue, released under the Harper Collins imprint, are going through the roof. The demand for the former Alaska governor’s political biography confirms what heartland conservatives have been saying since August 2008: this woman is hot! Three hundred thousand copies flew off the shelves on November 17, the day of release. Meanwhile, Harper Collins has announced another print run of 100,000 copies. This will put the total run of initial hardback volumes at 1.6 million. Online bookseller Amazon.com reports that online sales figures for Going Rogue made the title “one of our bestselling nonfiction books of 2009.”

In step with the latest in mass-marketing techniques, Governor Palin is now barreling full-steam through a high-profile nationwide book tour. Breaking out with a one-hour network interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Palin’s first-week media sit-downs included visits with Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Barbara Walters. Palin is also scheduled to visit 32 cities for book signings across the country. And first reports are phenomenal. In Grand Rapids, Michigan, thousands of enthusiastic supporters waited overnight, in 30 degree weather, at the Woodland Mall to meet the “hockey mom” from Wasilla.

The next day a crowd of 1,100 people showed up for a book signing in Noblesville, Indiana. As the Indianapolis Star reports:

Calling her devotees “hardcore patriots,” Palin arrived Thursday night at the Borders bookstore at Hamilton Town Center amid hundreds who chanted “Sarah! Sarah!”

It was among the first stops on a book tour to promote the former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee’s best-seller, Going Rogue.

“My story. My words. Unfiltered,” Palin told more than 1,000 before signing copies.

“You guys are hardcore patriots, and I thank you so much for being here,” she said to fans as they waited outside.

“I wrote my book dedicated to good Americans like all of you; hard-working, patriotic Americans. … We had a great time a year ago in Indiana, but I think I’m having even more fun now.”

Palin was referring to last year’s campaign stop at the nearby Verizon Wireless Center, which drew 24,000.

Actually, the Indianapolis Star piece omits the controversy that followed after the Noblesville event. It turns out that hundreds of supporters (who had waited hours in line for wristbands) were stiffed by Governor Palin when she wrapped up the event at 9:00 P.M., before completing the book signings. By Thursday afternoon, Palin had issued an apology on her Facebook page. But YouTube videos now available online — featuring disgruntled signature-seekers booing and screaming “sign our books” — are providing the latest fodder for Palin’s political enemies on the radical left. Netroots bloggers are linking to unhappy comments left at the Facebook page by people turned away. Gleefully aggregating some of the disappointment, Rumproast blog claims to quote Tina Houser, who was a campaign volunteer for the McCain-Palin campaign last year:

I had been in line for hours and we were given a mass produced signiture sticker. There were some people who stood outside angry wanting to return your book. I already bought the book, all I wanted was to meet the woman and the family I have strongly supported over the last year.

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