Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Saturday Treat

This afternoon, when I heard the mail truck roll by, I happened to be gardening. (I call it gardening. Some might call it the legalized torture of hapless flowering plants, but that's another story.) Anyway, I chased the truck like a puppy to retrieve my mail a few moments before the delivery guy would have put it into my mailbox. (Saturdays in the New England summertime can be laid-back and lazy.)

What did the delivery guy hand me? Among other non-bills (somehow, bills never get delivered on Saturdays in the summertime), he gave me a promising manila envelope addressed to -- one of my clients. Hmmm. Well, it's the book publicist's perogative to open such envelopes(particularly, when the return address lets her know that the envelope is from Going Bonkers magazine).

A package addressed to Deborah Collins Stephens from Going Bonkers magazine? That's fun! I thumbed through the magazine and, indeed, found her bylined article, "Dealing with Life's Unexpected Turns: 7 Ways to Keep Your Head Above Water During Difficult Times," on page 43. Great article, and a great placement for it (her byline mentions her book, This Is Not the Life I Ordered: 50 Ways to Keep Your Head Above Water When Life Keeps Dragging You Down and her Website,"

But here was my real Saturday treat. I continued to thumb through the magazine, and on page 58, I found another client's bylined article. It's called "Bing Eating Disorder: Are You at Risk," and, again, the byline references Trisha Gura's book, Lying in Weight: the Hidden Epidemic of Eating Disorders in Adult Women. Lucky Dr. Gura: the byline also cites her publisher, Harper Collins, the book's publication date, and her Web site,

Two clients, two bylned articles, great book promotion opportunities, and nice, breezy July hours to spend outside messing around with a spade and pulling weeds. That's what I call a Saturday treat. Of course, the biggest treat is yet to come: emailing Deborah and Trisha, and letting them know their bylined articles have been published!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Are you using video for book promotion?

Are you using videos, such as multimedia book presenters, as part of your book promotion campaign? One of my favorite vendors for multimedia book presenters, by the way, is AuthorBytes, which designs sites for many of my clients and a whole host of bestselling authors, fiction and nonfiction, whose names you'll recognize.

Anyway, if you are using multimedia book presenters or video of any kind as part of your book promotion campaign, you'll want your book publicist to send the links to media contacts. In addition, you've already thought of using YouTube (along with your own Web site) to house your video. But you may be wondering: where else should I upload my video?

The answer, according to a WebProNews article, is that, once you've uploaded your site to YouTube, you can consider your task done. At least for now, YouTube has crushed the competition. Its videos show up ahead of every other site's videos in the search engines, so if you want to upload your video to the place that most people will go to by default, that place is YouTube.

At least until the next big video site comes along.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Book promotion or overexposure?

Do book excerpts in newspapers and magazines whet the public's appetite for a book, or does it discourage people from buying the book because they've already heard its message?

That's the question posed by the United Kingdom's Press Gazette. In a recent article called "U.S. newspapers thinking twice about book extracts," the columnist postulates: "There is a growing fear that some readers might feel they have had their fill and never bother to buy the book." Perhaps publishers should turn their attention away from excerpts and toward broadcast media interviews, the article goes on to suggest.

Well, I would agree and disagree with that strategy. I agree that book excerpts might deter people from actually buying the book, but I worry that advance broadcast publicity can do the same.

While it's true that book excerpts (which are amazingly hard to score, by the way, unless you're a known author or writing about a newsworthy topic) may "spill all the secrets" and leave readers with no reason to buy a copy of the book, broadcast media interviews have the same potential drawback. If potential book buyers already know what the author has to say -- and if potential book buyers have already read it or, have heard the author say it -- then perhaps those potential book buyers are going to be investing their book buying dollars elsewhere. Why not buy a book that you haven't already dipped into, rather than get a longer, more drawn-out version of the book you've already had a chance to get a snapshot of? Attention spans being what they are, maybe too many book buyers only skim the book, anyway, or flip through the book to get the gist of it. Why offer readers a snapshot of the book via an excerpt, or a television or radio interview, if a snapshot of the book is likely to satisfy the readers' underwhelming appetite for that topic?

There's also the problem of book buyers' short memories and desire to hold onto hard-earned cash. We all have a lot on our minds. What are the odds that someone who's really, really interested in buying a book in June will remember to buy that book when it's published in September? Slim. What are the chances that someone will preorder a book in June, and pay for it in June, knowing that the book won't ship until September? Slimmer.

So, as a book publicist, I prefer to have my clients hold onto their book's main messages until the book is available. That means holding off on interviews related to the book's core messages until the book is available, and the book promotion campaign can begin in earnest.

However, there are some things an author can do ahead of time that don't present a risk of overexposing a book before it's available. They include creating a Web site for the book, and focusing on creating online buzz for that Web site; building an online community so that people visit that Web site again and again (and stick around on that Web site for a long period of time during each visit); and using promotional techniques such as bylined article placement campaigns that will bring visitors to that Web site. All of that can be done before the book's publication date without taking a chance that you'll "shoot your wad" too soon or turn off potential buyers for your book by giving them all the information they want without asking them to pay for it.

So, if you're on a limited book promotion budget and can't afford to approach the major publications about excerpting your book, don't feel guilty. The book promotion strategy you can't afford may be counterproductive, anyway. Focus on doing what you can to bring visitors -- and potential future book buyers -- to your Web site for now, and begin the book promotion campaign when your book is available and can benefit from media attention.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Breaking news from nowhere.

Imagine this. You're in the middle of a book promotion campaign. You've been lucky enough to score a live national radio interview. You're about to go n the air. And then -- out of nowhere -- there's a breaking news story, and your interview has been bumped to make way for the story that every media outlet needs to cover.

Yes. Paris Hilton has been released from jail -- during your big moment.

Anyone who's in the middle of a book promotion campaign today and has been forced to reschedule an interview has my sympathy. It's one thing to have a disappointment or two along the way when promoting a book. It's another thing to have a celebrity story involving Paris Hilton come out of nowhere and squash your big book promotion moment.

Drunk driving? Yes, that's a good reason to be outraged at Paris Hilton. Getting special treatment? That's still another. And messing up book promotion campaigns? You've got it. That's the perfect cap on the reasons why all of us can be steaming mad about Paris Hilton's early release from prison today.