Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rebecca Skloot and HeLa Book Head Straight to Top of the Charts

Who would have thought that a book about aggressive cancer cells and the woman they came from would hit the top of the bestseller charts? When I wrote about Rebecca Skloot's "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" the day before it came out, I noted the great pre-pub press it had gotten, but I had no idea that in its first week it would be as high as number 2 on the sales chart, or that it would reach a similar position on the New York Times bestseller list.

Of course, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" has a lot going for it. It's an engaging, well-written book that is both an intriguing medical drama and a fascinating personal story of Ms. Lacks and her descendants.

What's more, Ms. Skoot is not only an experienced and knowledgeable science writer but an enthusiastic spokeswoman who loves talking HeLa and is adept as using social media to promote her book.

She's also open to using regular media that one might not think of for promoting a general interest science book. Yes, she's made appearances on CBS Sunday Morning and ABC World News, but she also was a guest on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report (I was fortunate enough to be in the audience for that taping).

For anyone interested in learning about HeLa and the Henrietta Lacks story, I recommend reading the book of course, but also trying to see Rebecca Skloot on her extensive book tour, which she's calling The Immortal Book Tour.