Meet bestselling author Randall Hanson.
Which is great, but a little weird. Because Hanson wrote his book back in 2009. He hadn’t had sales anything like this in nearly a decade.
Of course, As Hanson is quick to admit, his sudden status has nothing to do with his skill as an author. Instead, it’s because way back when, he happened to choose the same name as what would later become an anti-Trump book that’s now literally the number-1 book in the country.
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, is by Michael Wolff. Hanson’s book? Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany, 1942-1945.
Different subtitle. Different subject. Different book, entirely.
I don’t think I need to rehash the history of Wolff’s Fire and Fury. If you’ve been alive and sentient in the United States during the past 10 days ago, you’ve probably heard already. It’s a blockbuster, controversial book, and it was likely to be a big hit.
Trump’s lawyers responded to its publication by sending a cease-and-desist letter to its publisher. Trump had a thing or two to say himself, on Twitter.
I authorized Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book! I never spoke to him for book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist. Look at this guy’s past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2018
This did nothing to dampen sales. The exact opposite, in fact.
The publisher* responded by moving up its publication date, and increasing its print run from 150,000 to 1 million. Besides driving Wolff’s book to the top of the bestseller list, Hanson’s book also slip-streamed its way up the list, too.
Some readers complained that the book didn’t even mention Trump. Which is impressive, suggesting they read Hanson’s entire book about the Allied air campaign over Germany in World War II before commenting.
Regardless, the whole thing caught the author off-guard. Not that he was complaining.
— Randall Hansen (@ProfRAHansen) January 6, 2018
“Cheque,” by the way, because Hanson is a Canadian professor. He’ll have to wait a month or so to learn just how many copies he sold. All thanks to confusion over a title–and to Trump.
*Disclosure: I’ve published two books with Henry Holt & Co., back in 2008 and 2010, working with the same editor, John Sterling, who worked on Wolff’s “Fire and Fury.” If you’d like to make my books accidental bestsellers, you can find them here and here.