Friday, 04 November 2011 00:00What caused me to write this column had more to do with former Vice President Dick Cheney’s new book than anything else. He certainly had “hooks” in his book to get media attention. Former Secretaries of State, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, blasted Cheney over comments in his book. Getting media attention is what writing a book is all about.
When I first wrote my book about the Panama Canal, Global Passage, one major book publishing company took a hard look at my book and came back to me with a comment that the book needs a strong “hook.” It did not matter that I had laid out the history of the Canal, my direct involvement as a board member and chairman, and a full explanation of the current Canal expansion effort in Panama. Something was needed to get the book more media attention.
The unnamed major book publisher said that I should add details about “China taking over the Canal.” Now, while I did cover the direct involvement of China at the Canal, the charge that China is taking control of the Canal is absolutely not true.
Let me explain.
At each end of the Panama Canal, there are port facilities – remember that is a plural. China, the second largest user of the Canal, after the United States, operates a port facility at each end of the Canal – just as do business interests from the United States.
Operating a port facility at each end of the Canal does not in any way lay claim to a country taking over the Panama Canal.
After the go – a – round with the publisher over the China issue, I decided to self-publish the book. As I do my Power Point presentations about the Canal all over New York and Florida, there is always an interest in my book. As a result, I have had nice book sales over the last few years. Interestingly, when I do give the Panama Canal Power Point, there is always a question about China’s role at the Panama Canal. Recognizing that issue, I now have a picture of my wife freely walking through one of the port facilities controlled by China.
Even as I write these columns each week, I try to have a “hook” in the title to create interest on your part in reading on. I hope that the “hooks” I try to use each week actually work?
At the same time, it is too bad that we need to use “hooks” to get attention. It is probably, in part, the reality of today’s 24-7 news media. And believe me that is not about to go away in our time.