Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Is TV really dead?

We're hearing so much about the "sexy" media these days: YouTube, iPods, MySpace ... and the question here is: is book promotion about focusing exclusively on the latest, emerging media venues, or is it still about scoring traditional media hits?

In other words, is TV dead? Or does book promotion mean proceeding as though nothing has changed, and pitching your story idea to book review editors, and television and radio producers, and seeing what book publicity opportunities you can shake loose?

So many authors are coming to me these days with great trepidation about the death of TV, and they're nervous because, no, they're not watching YouTube and they're not glued to their iPods -- but they're convinced their potential readers are. I can hear the panic in their voices as they postulate that the media outlets they know and understand are dead or dying, and they must find another book promotion avenue instead.

Well, I'm not buying it, and neither is Geoff Colvin, editor-at-large of Fortune Magazine. In his article, "TV Is Dying? Long Live TV!," Colvin explains that the Web is actually increasing television's audience. "Despite (or because of) the Web, we watch more television than ever," he puts forth. Although we have a staggering number of alternatives to television, most potential book buyers -- and most media consumers in general -- are still watching more television than ever before.

That means, while a smart book promotion campaign (and an effective book publicist) will include online tactics, the traditional approaches to the tried-and-true media outlets must be part of the equation. You can publish your press release online, but you still have to pitch the producers of "Oprah" and "Good Morning America." You can upload your book trailer to YouTube, but you still have to let the editors at USA Today and The Wall Street Journal see the value in your story. You can join the social networking sites, but you still have to tell National Public Radio and Westwood One Broadcasting that they'd be remiss if they didn't invite you on to share your perspective, and your expertise, with their listeners.

New book promotion opportunities arise every day, and it's critical that we follow the changes and eagerly approach the next "big thing" in the media as it reveals itself. But a book publicity campaign that assumes television, radio, newspapers, and magazines are irrelevant isn't a book publicity campaign at all -- at least, in 2007, and for the forseeable future.

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