Thursday, May 15, 2008

More confessions of a book publicist

This book publicist has to confess something: this morning, she wrote on a wall. But it wasn't vandalism or desecration. No. The wall in question was a Facebook feature. And another thing: this book publicist was invited to write on it, and that makes a difference.

At least, I think it does.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am not only a book publicist. I am also an adult, and in a perfect world, I wouldn't have to ever log onto Facebook, mySpace, or any other social networking venue. I could beg off and let the young'uns play in their virtual world while I limited my communications to, well, the real world.

But here's the thing. Book promotion is what I do for a living, and although I'm still conducting book promotion campaigns the way that I did 15 years ago, I'm also integrating new book promotion strategies that weren't even invented 5 years ago.

To me, keeping up with the new methods of communication and media outlets is an important part of my job. How can I function effectively as a book promotion specialist if everyone under age 25 is scrawling on a Facebook wall, and reading other users' Facebook walls, unless I can scale a Facebook wall, too?

And how can I know that mySpace is "out" and Facebook is "in" until, as a registered user of both sites, I've noticed a lack of activity on one site and a surge of activity on the other?

Ultimately, how can anyone promote books if she's only targeting traditional media outlets, and media consumers under age 25 don't even turn on their television sets except to watch DVDs?

So, yes, I'm exploring some of the social networks, and I'm toying with texting instead of emailing, and I'm twittering, and I'm keeping up with everything that's invented, as it's invented, and I think anyone who's seriously contemplating a book promotion camaign has to be experimenting with more media outlets, and more types of communication, than the old tried-and-true venues.

Sure, we're adults. But those who spend their free time writing on Facebook walls won't necessarily hold that against us. And twittering? That's as legal for us grownups as it is for the college crowd. Unless new laws are now published first on Facebook....

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