Monday, December 08, 2008

Book promotion campaigns face new challenge

If your book promotion campaign revolves around book reviews in the traditional media, you'll be facing an increasing challenge. Major market newspapers have already begun checking in with their financial woes. We know that the Christian Science Monitor is only publishing a "real" newspaper once a week now, and is solely publishing online the rest of the time. We've heard about cutbacks at major newspapers all around the country. Now we can add the financial troubles of two more newspapers to the list: the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.

According to an Associated Press story that I just read on, the parent company of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times -- Tribune Co. -- may be planning to file for bankruptcy-court protection. Here we are, book publicists, publishers, authors, and others who are in the midst of book promotion campaigns, asking newspapers to review their books. And there are the newspaper publishers, telling us that they just can't afford the editorial space we're asking them to provide.

No one can predict how deep the recession will get or how profoundly it will affect the publishing industry. Even without the recession, no one can predict from one moment to the next the ways in which the publishing industry will evolve, and the ways in which book promotion efforts will need to change. But we can say, with certainty, that online book promotion efforts will grow increasingly more important.

Editorial space on the Web is virtually free and unlimited opportunities exist for gaining online visibility. On the other hand, real-world newspapers (and, of course, magazines) are fighting for the opportunity to publish every single page now, and our book promotion needs don't fit their business plan at the moment (unless we're willing to pay for advertising, which is a whole other discussion).

The broadcast media is there, and radio and television shows will have airtime for authors for the foreseeable future. But, if the print media was at the core of your book promotion campaign plan, this would be a good time to re-think your approach to book promotion.

Book promotion opportunities still exist, and they always will, no matter what happens with regard to the economy. But a shift toward online book promotion strategies makes sense now, and it will almost certainly make an increasing amount of sense as we move forward.

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