Sunday, January 22, 2006

Off-the-Wall, Fun Books Promote Themselves

If your book is silly, off-beat, or just plain goofy, it may very well attract all the media coverage you can handle. In my experience, media hooks that can serve as foils for tragic, fightening news stories always seem to have a place in newspapers and magazines, and on radio and TV, and online.

For example, check out this Mississippi Press article about a neat book called "How to Meditate with your Dog" by James Jacobson.

I don't live with a dog, and I'm not sure I'd invite one to meditate with me if I did, but still -- I wouldn't mind reading a copy of that book. (And, no, I'm not in the market to meditate with my cats, either.) The book looks clever, and it looks light-hearted, and that's often enough for me, as a book buyer. Apparently, editors and producers feel the same attraction to "cute" topics as the rest of us do enough of the time so that you'll nearly always spot a "fluffy" (no pun intended) news feature or two somewhere on a broadcast or in a publication.

With that in mind, I often try to find an offbeat news angle for a serious (and sometimes even an academic) book that seems to be underwhelming media decisionmakers. If you can figure out how to pitch your book in a just-for-fun or even outrageous way, you might find some media takers who resisted your more straight-on story ideas.

It's worth a try, anyway, if you have a sense of humor and are willing to laugh at yourself. You might find media decisionmakers -- and book buyers -- are willing to laugh with you, too.

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