Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A summer of smart publicity

Ian Rankin has been awfully busy this summer, and has generated lots of newspaper inches by a few well timed and well placed remarks. The cleverest thing about this personal drum-beating is that it all seems, superficially, to be about other people. But note, if you will, that I. Rankin Esquire, creator of Rebus, gets lots of mentions along the way.

First there was the Val McDermid business, noted here on Sunday. Wouldn't surprise me if Ian and Val cooked that one up over a couple of drinks.

Then there was his statement, made to an audience of 600 at the Edinburgh book festival, that his wife had seen J.K. Rowling back where she started out, namely, scribbling furiously on the text of a new novel in an Edinburgh coffee house. That one worked wonderfully well. See for instance, the Sunday Times.

All of that was smart enough. But hell, it doesn't stop there. The Rowling story turned out to be a double whammy.

When contacted by the Guardian, for further details of the J.K. goes in for crime story, Rankin revealed that he had made the whole thing up. And, once again, the headline is about Rowling, catching everyone's eye. But the picture is of Rankin. (Link from the Bookseller.)

By the way, I got thumped by a feminist commenter last week, for referring to Val McDermid as a big, heavy, butch-looking lesbian, all of which she undeniably is. 'I notice you don't comment on Rankin's looks,' said LizH, with an audible sniff, before flouncing off to check up on some other sexist blogger.

Well, OK, since then I've done some research. And I can now reveal (exclusively) that Ian Rankin is actually an albino dwarf. Three foot six in his Addabit shoes (as endorsed by Tom Cruise). Not many people know that.

Yes, I do realise that he doesn't look like an albino dwarf, in his newspaper pictures. That's because he uses a body double for his publicity photos and public appearances. You would too, if you had to stand on a box and buy several items from Max Factor every time you wanted to make a speech.


Kitty said...

What timing! Today Ian Rankin made the NY Post’s infamous Page Six:
TOP-selling mystery writers Ian Rankin and Val McDermid are at each other's throats. Rankin, who pens the Inspector Rebus series, started it by suggesting women authors are more bloodthirsty in their writing than men and are "mostly lesbians as well, which I find interesting." The Times of London reports McDermid, lesbian author of "Wire in the Blood," is livid about the crack. She responded: "[That's] arrant rubbish. I find that statement so offensive I can't even begin to start . . . There are certain kinds of books in which the only way in which you can be honest is to write about violence in a very direct way."

Anonymous said...

Aren't all great writers to be found in the corner booth of a coffee house, wearing a beret and scribbling furiously about the human condition?

Anonymous said...

You can crack on McDermid's looks all you like, but any woman who has the brass tacks to wear a kilt when interviewing the Prince of Wales is alright by me.

Anonymous said...

I take issue with you sir! To suggest that albinist dwarves are somehow equal in offensiveness to trogolodytes is demeaning, insensitive and wholly inaccurate! Your elitist sympathies, a stark contrast to our blue collar ethics, reveal an eggregious ignorance of the class differences. Trogs live off our waste and inhabit our sewage systems! And albinism is an environmental job hazard for wee mine workers! We have beautiful testicles, not the brass tacks those Troggy poseurs possess! Nonsense! Pshaw! Shame on you!

David Isaak said...

Val McDermid is a woman? I wasn't aware. (Val Kilmer isn't. Neither was his relative Joyce Kilmer, of "I think that I shall never see" fame.)

Then again, I was 16 before I discovered Evelyn Waugh was a man.