Matt Miller is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress; a contributing editor at Fortune; and the host of "Left, Right & Center," public radio's popular week-in-review program. Miller's first book, The Two Percent Solution: Fixing America's Problems In Ways Liberals And Conservatives Can Love, was published in 2003, and was a Los Angeles Times bestseller. His latest book, The Tyranny Of Dead Ideas, was published by Henry Holt/Times Books in January 2009. Miller served as Senior Advisor to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1993 to 1995. He lives with his family in Los Angeles.
Question: How have you been innovative in marketing your books?
Miller: I updated my website, you know, have a new blog, a running contest on dead ideas that people can nominate their own dead ideas because the idea of dead ideas tends to resonate with people, and once you ask people about dead ideas, they’ve usually got three or four in their office, you know, in their work place, in their marriage that they can mention. I guess, one… I don't think this is a new way of marketing, but it took me a while just to hit on the idea of dead ideas as the sort of the hook for the book. I knew I wanted to try and reach people and wanted to talk to people about rethinking a bunch of outmoded ways of thinking that we have, and it just took me a while. Once I hit on the idea of dead ideas as the vehicle for communicating that, a bunch of things sort of fell into place, but I’m not sure that’s different than, you know, an author in the 1850’s trying to find the right concept to frame their book around. We just sold the rights in China, which I was actually curious about, and I haven’t read my e-mail yet because I’m trying to, I want to learn for the book tour how to say the phrase “dead ideas” in Chinese so I can… And, actually, it was funny because the book is mostly US focused, and I actually thought the fact that it sold in China sort of suggest, maybe unsurprisingly, an interest that the Chinese have in the idea that, you know, the American way isn’t necessarily economically all it’s being cracked up to be, and so a little curiosity in the East about the dead ideas that exist in America.