Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Book Promotion During the Holidays

Can you conduct an effective book promotion campaign during the holiday season? Maybe -- but it will take far more work to get book publicity during the last couple of weeks of December, and the first week of January, than it would during the rest of the year. You'll receive fewer responses from the media decision makers now than you typically would expect.

But does that mean that you shouldn't try? It depends on your tolerance for hard work, which is what book publicity campaigns require. If you don't mind making more phone calls, sending out more emails, and filling out more online forms to garner fewer book promotion opportunities, than go for it. You have the advantage of competing against fewer people than usual who are pitching producers and editors. Also, you have producers and editors with last-minute cancellations who might be inclined to cover your story, or grant you an interview, when ordinarily they wouldn't. On the other hand, the reason fewer people than usual are pitching during the holiday season is because fewer media decision makers than usual are at their posts, so it's a double-edged sword.

For those with a book to promote, think of the holidays as an opportunity to bond with people in the media who have the bad luck to be working now. Or, to those of us who work hard all year long pitching stories to the media, think of this as a good time to be working out a plan for approaching the media after the first of the year -- when newspapers, magazines, radio studios, and television studios are once again fully staffed and ready to go.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Book Promotion -- a 2006 Retrospective

Scandals. That's what book promotion was all about in 2006: scandals in the publishing industry. Check out the Newsweek article, "The Book Scandals: Can't We All Get a Life?, " by clicking here

Most of the publishing industry scandals cited in the article were free book promotion opportunities for the publishers and the authors. How many people had heard of Running with Scissors until everyone started buzzing about whether the autobiography were true or the bizarre (yet entertaining) imaginings of an advertising executive's mind?

But the scandals didn't result in book sales across the board. For example, the cancellation of O. J. Simpson's book didn't result in book sales because, of course, there wasn't any book to sell. It did result in the most media attention I've seen for any book in quite some time, but the book promotion didn't help anyone. Similarly, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life received way more than its fair share of book promotion opportunities, but where is the book now? Not in stores, unfortunately for its author and publisher.

The bottom line, I think, is that 2006 has taught us that scandal may be one way to garner book promotion opportunities. But book promotion opportunities are no guarantee of book sales. And, more importantly, those who participate -- willingly or unwillingly -- in book scandals rarely come away with their reputations and dignity intact.

Which would you rather have: a slot on a national TV show, or your soul? For me, that's a no-brainer. (Besides, there are other ways to get booked on a nation