Friday, December 2, 2011

"Bookapalooza" By the Numbers

So I received multiple reports on how last night’s Ehrlich “Bookapalooza” event went.
Sources tell me that 120 tickets were sold – far less than the banquet room’s capacity, and far below the 1000 or so tickets which event organizers had hoped to sell. Organizers dropped the ticket price from $125 to $100 to spur interest.
Further, press was banned from the event. No doubt the anemic ticket sales had a lot to do with it. Otherwise, why would a fledgling author promoting his book pass up earned media coverage?
Nonetheless, the event reportedly raised about $20,000 for the state GOP, thanks to at least one angel sponsor stepping up at the very last minute. That’s no windfall, but it’s more than twice the amount the party’s “Red White and Blue” dinner raised last summer.
Delegate Bill Frank, who has been assisting the party with fundraising, was reportedly working the phones diligently. He deserves credit for getting the event into the black.
The problem here isn’t that folks didn’t work hard to plan this event. Rather, the problem was that the event itself was based on a flawed premise - namely, that applying the rules that usually work for planning a successful political fundraiser also pertain to a book launching. 
It may be possible to get people to pay $125 (or even more than that) for the chance to listen to and mingle with a presidential candidate or sitting governor.  But convincing people to shell out big bucks to get a copy of a book they can buy on for $16.30 and get signed for free is a tough sell, especially in a bad economy.
Forget about “Turning the Car Around.” It is time for the state GOP to turn the page.
No party should ever be relegated to becoming a tool to perpetuate the ambitions of only one politician - or, in this case, a former pol.
Rolling out celebrities from the party’s past won’t solve the party’s fundraising and leadership problems. Instead, the party needs to pick the right leaders and start articulating a compelling alternative to the state’s political status quo.
Alex Mooney's departure presents an opportunity here, one I will elaborate upon at length in future postings. But in the meantime, I'd like to see a young, energetic woman step up and put a new face on a staid old party. Hillary Foster Pennington, call your office.


  1. The MDGOP should be most grateful to the Angel Sponsor you mentioned from saving this event from being a total debacle.

    Larry Hogan was speaking last night - and not at the Bookapalooza. Proof to your point that it's time to move on, up and away from the past.

    Joe Steffen

  2. There were several events across the state last night that competed with the Ehrlich event. In fact, the BCRCC originally had our Holiday Soiree and Art Exhibit ( , my shameless plug) slated for that night, but changed it when we found out about Bookapalooza.

    The fact that others didn't shows me that the MDGOP doesn't garner the respect they should. The question is my mind is WHY? This is what we should be asking ourselves, and once we find the answer, we need to then ask...What can we do to get our mojo back?

    RJC- I'm flattered, really. I only hope that whoever the next Chairman of the MDGOP is will be one with a strong, fresh vision whose only agenda is to build up a respected brand for the MDGOP that becomes the life source of the grassroots movement in MD, restores confidence in conservatives, and can think outside the box to get R's elected across the state.

  3. Mr. Mooney amuses me. He manages to lose a relatively Republican seat in what was a good year locally in Frederick, so he runs for Maryland GOP chair. Can't raise money, so he decides to seek a Congressional seat.

    Talk about failing upward.