A Britney Spears book tour: No TV, no podcasts, lots of Instagram

Ahead of the release of his blockbuster autobiography earlier this year, Prince Harry sat down with “60 Minutes” — and “CBS Mornings,” “ABC News Live,” “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” and others. Paris Hilton did “The View” and spoke with the BBC. Kerry Washington has appeared on NPR’s “Fresh Air” and “Good Morning America.” Arnold Schwarzenegger chose Kelly Clarkson and Howard Stern.

But for Britney Spears, the endlessly searched and speculated about pop star, who released her memoir “The Woman In Me” this week, was mostly Instagram.

To fuel the excitement for one of the most anticipated celebrity memoirs of the year, Pre-release areas in people magazine, but Spears has avoided face-to-face interviews since 2018, even while in a conservatorship that strictly controls her life and career. (In the book, Spears mentions the arrangement in a 2016 interview and writes that it should be redacted.)

Now legally allowed to do and say what she pleases, however, Spears has pushed back, essentially throwing out the playbook for promoting a celebrity. Singer and her team let the book do the talking, its gossipy nuggets and denunciations of 13 years of conservatorship feeding a steady stream of press coverage and social media chatter.

Her reluctance to do interviews, part of a mistrust seeded by decades of insensitive coverage, didn’t seem to affect early sales: the book hit No. 1 on Amazon’s best-seller list; Complete sales data won’t be available until next week. But the lack of any significant publicity or public appearances for Spears, 41, is conspicuous to professionals in the publishing and public relations world.

“It’s completely out of the ordinary,” said Eleanor McManus, a former booking producer for CNN’s “Larry King Live” who now serves as a crisis manager. McManus said he was watching TV Monday morning to see which shows would tease a conversation with Spears. “Who got the first interview?” I was thinking, she said before realizing the answer was “nobody”.

“The only time you recommend not doing an interview is if you can’t control what the subject will say or if what he or she says will damage their brand,” he added.

But some experts suggest that Spears’ strong social media following may be all she needs for a successful book launch. With the rise of celebrity memoirs, if the subjects have a sizable audience for them, they don’t need to engage with traditional media as they once did, said Madeleine Morel, an independent literary agent who represents ghostwriters.

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“The whole thing is about the size of your site,” Morel said. “Can a book bring an audience?”

Spears is actually known for communicating these days through her free-flowing and often cryptic social media posts. Her most critical commentary on “The Woman in Me” didn’t come in Vogue, Oprah or even a cheeky appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” but via social media, she alternately thanked, scarred and shared news about the book. Contrasted with more than 100 million followers on the sites.

It’s not like traditional media isn’t interested. Spears said in a voice message posted on Instagram last year that she had been approached by all kinds of outlets after her conservatorship was terminated in late 2021.

“I’ve had opportunities for interviews with Oprah and other people, lots and lots of money, but it’s crazy,” he said. “I don’t want any of that.”

A rep for Spears declined to comment and the memoir’s publisher, Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, did not respond to requests for comment about their unconventional strategy for promotion.

So far, Spears’ traditional media involvement has been limited to pieces in People magazine — including the Spears bombshell. Had an abortion Along with email quotes attributed to the singer — during her relationship with Justin Timberlake — and a cover photo of Spears smiling on a Tahiti beach, it was obtained by “Britney Brands” rather than the magazine’s photographer.

The publisher helped arrange the international re-release of the 2002 film “Crossroads” starring Spears. That issue features interviews with director Tamra Davis, who made her own wave news Notes About Spears.

In Spears’ own recent comments about the book, she said: He teased the media Focusing on his past, the memoir essentially retells his life story.

“I don’t like the headlines I read…that’s why I quit the business 4 years ago!!!” He wrote. On Instagram. “My intention for this book is not to recount my past experiences, that’s what magazines are doing, it’s dumb and silly!!! Since then I’ve moved on!!!”

She deactivated her account for a while A picture of a cake It said “see you in hell”. On the day of the book’s release, he shared a promo Mail Reading: “My story. On my terms. At last.” (She later deleted the post from Instagram.)

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Most celebrities who sell books combine old-fashioned media appearances like the “Today” show and the late-night circuit with a dedicated social media strategy and new, friendly outlets like the podcast Armchair Expert and On Purpose with Jay Shetty. , life coach and influencer.

Actress Jada Pinkett Smith, who released a memoir this month, did all of the above. There was also a flood of his media appearances A comic object On “SNL.”

“I’m sorry if I sound a little tired,” said comedian Eko Navodim, who plays Pinkett Smith. “I’ve been on the ‘Today’ show 14 times in three days.”

Author Neil Strauss, who has worked on books with Mötley Crüe, Marilyn Manson and Jenna Jameson, said celebrities can run the risk of making themselves bigger than the book through overexposure. “Sometimes by talking about it, you can hurt it,” he said, adding that Spears “seems to have a lot of trauma around the media.”

In her memoir, Spears described the unfair focus on her body as a mother during a series of public protests in 2007 and 2008, and her father, James B. Spears, giving her control over her personal life and finances.

She wrote that she felt exploited when her father and her management arranged an interview with Diane Sawyer following her breakup with Timberlake in 2003. “It’s absolutely disgraceful,” Spears writes. “I wasn’t told what the questions were going to be beforehand, and they were 100 percent uncomfortable.”

Strauss, the famous collaborator, said, “He was analyzed and studied beyond what any man should be.” Still, he admitted, echoing others in the industry, that it was “very unusual” for someone of Spears’ stature to do no interviews. Bob Dylan, too, was a nasty media foe for much of his career. promotion His Memoir In 2004.

Paul Bogarts, a veteran Book Advertiser The author, who led campaigns for the best-selling memoirs of Bill Clinton and Andre Agassi, said the power of a celebrity speaking publicly about their book can be greater than the media mining it for a story.

“When they get the word out about their book in the world, it becomes a 24-7 coverage-palooza,” Bogarts said, adding that most publishers require contractual agreements about promotion. “You want them to be visible,” he added. “It’s difficult to secure a multi-million dollar advance in the absence of such agreements.” (The figures released put a price tag on Spears’ memoir, which was announced last year. $12.5 million And $15 million.)

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Another major selling point for celebrity memoirs would be the subject’s own voice in the audiobook version, but in this case, Spears also largely opted out. In a short introduction to the audiobook version of “The Woman in Me,” Spears said she chose to read only a small portion of her 275-page book because the process of retrieving its contents was “heart-wrenching.” Except for a minute and a half, actress Michelle Williams spends the rest of the book’s five-plus hours reading.

Spears’ most loyal fans have no problem letting her work do the talking. Over the years, the mantra for many supporters has been “leave Britney alone,” especially after the singer Upset fans Earlier this year, she temporarily deactivated her Instagram account for calling the police out of concern for her well-being. she She expressed her objections Another emergency call was made last month. (Spears said they were props.)

“A lot of the feelings in the book are instances where she was forced to do things against her will,” said Jordan Miller, founder of Spears fan site BreatheHeavy.com, which helped launch the “Free Britney” campaign. Greater public focus on conservatorship.

“It’s nice that he’s going in the opposite direction of what’s been going on in terms of regular promotions,” he added. “It’s like, ‘Here are my words, you can read them. Here are the photos I want you to see. I’m going to get all this approved.’ In the context of everything that has happened, it is very refreshing.

But for a celebrity memoir to be considered an event worth the investment, given the purchase price, experts said, it needs to reach more than just superfans.

“It’s going to be a big release, but I think they could have done more to make it a real moment,” said author Anthony Bossa, who wrote the books with Slash, Tracy Morgan and Artie Lange.

Otherwise, “you’re going to be a flip in the cycle,” he added.

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