Jon & Kate's alleged troubled marriage may make me break out in hives, and I want to stick pins in my eyes watching Spencer and Heidi. But if Kate hurled a copy of my new book, SPIN, or Heidi put the book next to her Bible on the nightstand - my sales would go through the proverbial roof. Like it or not, the celebrity "blessing" is the culture we've created, and it's reaching epic proportions. Despite having been a publicist - thus armed with the knowledge that the majority of today's trends are manufactured by hardworking spin-doctors and marketing gurus - I still fall victim to the same PR traps as everyone else.
Case in point: I needed to find a place to tame my uni-brow in Los Angeles. Of course I couldn't go just anywhere to get my eye shrub trimmed. After doing some research I settled on the lovely day spa that counted Ricky Martin, Jessica Alba, and Renee Zellweger as clients. There were other salons that would have done an equally first-rate job - but like so many others I put my blind faith in these A-listers. This is precisely why salons, restaurants and nightclubs pay top dollar to their publicists. The equation, sadly, is pretty simple: get a celebrity, get business.
I knew all too well that this was precisely the formula I needed to sell my first novel, SPIN. It's dark, edgy and some might argue a bit controversial - but without any celebrity endorsement or attachment, it will get about the same amount of media attention as a book on mathematics.
Our obsession with celebrity-dom has crossed over from the pages of Page Six and Us Weekly into the social networking stratosphere - landing smack dab in the middle of Twitter. Instead of obsessing over where Gwyneth goes for a macrobiotic meal or where Lindsay partied till the wee hours of the morning, we've now become more interested in celebrities' Twitter habits.
Will bloggers soon write that Samantha Ronson and Sarah Silverman tweet each other about holding in their pee? Or that Elizabeth Taylor and Kathy Ireland are twitter pals? It's uncharted publicity territory, so I'm not sure. But if they do I want to be in the mix.
So I signed up for a Twitter account and immediately began to follow celebs like Ashton "@aplusk" Kutcher, Mrs. Kutcher and Oprah. But simply following these celebrities wasn't enough. I had to get at least one of them to follow me - for a coveted endorsement. The whole plan reeked of a Paris Hilton publicity stunt. But like Paris and other great media manipulators before her, I trudged on in my quest to be a member of the "twitteratti" to increase book sales.
Sound shallow? Absolutely. But before judging, consider this: Ashton Kutcher beat CNN in a contest to reach one million Twitter followers. He comes off as incredibly likable, spiritual and smart all in under a hundred and forty characters. Suck on that media giants.
I knew I needed something funny and attention grabbing to grab the attention of my new celeb "friends". I said to myself, and my two French Bulldogs sitting at my feet: "Piece of cake. One hundred and forty characters. No problem."
I stared at the @RobertRave window with great excitement. Finally my very own forum to express what's on my mind at all hours of the day. I was my own CNN, breaking news about my life twenty-four seven.
Fast forward to hours later.
And to a blank twitter box.
If I was going to get celeb endorsements, er, followers before the release of my novel, I needed backup. I called one of my best friends, MTV News correspondent/ Producer/ Documentarian/Girl About Town, SuChin Pak. (Please note my obvious name drop - now will you order my book?)
"Can you tell me what to write in my twitter box?" I asked.
"No," she said.
And like a five year-old I whined, "But why?"
"Because that space is for your thoughts, not mine," she argued.
"What kind of friend are you?"
SuChin ignored my tantrum and quickly changed the subject to something uninteresting like Obama's financial reform or the crisis in Iran.
"Could you repeat that last part?" I asked. And she did. "Okay, now slower," I said.
"Are you typing as I'm talking?" she asked, sounding utterly disgusted.
"What? Uh, no," I said.
There was a long pause and then finally she said, matter-of-fact, "And now you're deleting it to cover it up."
After apologizing to SuChin for blatantly trying to trade on her celebrity for book sales I asked:
"You're friends with Benji and Joel Madden, right?"
"Yes, why?" SuChin asked.
"I'm just saying that maybe you could ask them to follow me and... Hello? SuChin? Hello?"
Could you blame me? I needed to sell books. All my creative energy had been exhausted trying to win at least one celebrity follower. I was certain that this celebrity follower would then buy my book, fall in love with it, and tweet about it. This is why, of course, I work alone and should be heavily medicated.
So here I am at 35 years old staring at my Twitter page, trying to get validation from celebritwits half my age. I've worked countless hours writing and re-writing SPIN. I've poured over marketing plans, developed pitches and called every media contact that I've ever met. Yet still, I'm waiting for @MileyCyrus to follow me on Twitter - all in the name of publicity.
Follow Robert Rave on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RobertRave