Saturday, September 15, 2007

Why crime pays and presents a book promotion opportunity

Nearly anything can be a book promotion opportunity. A longtime fugitive from justice (and, allegedly a mass murderer) named Whitey Bulger may have been spotted, and photographed, in Italy.

The Boston Herald boasts a columnist by the name of Howie Carr who apparently once got on the wrong side of Whitey Bulger and his gang, and as a result, was threatened by them with bodily harm. Which would tend to make one like Carr, except I don't know very many Bostonians who can stand him (his arrogance and intolerance for everyone and everything shine through every one of his Boston Herald columns), but that's a whole other story. Anyway, it turns out that Carr wrote a book about Bulger called The Brothers Bulger (for those of you who live outside of New England -- yes, Whitey Bulger is one of several siblings, although he seems to be the only brother who was overtly involved in organized crime).

Today's Herald printed a Howie Carr column that talked about the potential Whitey Bulger siting in Italy and...yes. You guessed it. Howie Carr managed to mention his book twice in his column. Both times, he got in there the complete title of the book.

The column closes with a conversation that Carr had with someone who had heard that Bulger may have been spotted in Italy. Carr's conclusion: "I hope he’s right. Think of my book sales."

Yes. Nearly anything -- even the potential capture of a mobster who has been on the F.B.I's Most Wanted List for years -- can be turned into a book promotion opportunity. I'm glad that Howie Carr sees this thug's potential capture as his big break.

To others, Bulger's capture would mean that he can finally be tried and, hopefully, convicted of multiple murders and terrorizing on of Boston's neighborhoods. To Carr, Bulger's capture would mean that book sales would soar.


Monday, September 03, 2007

Book Promotion via Blog Tours

Do you want some quick and easy visibility for your book? Ask bloggers to provide it.

Yes, blog tours represent a book promotion opportunity that most authors, publishers, and book publicists have known about for awhile. But now blog tours have made it into the mainstream press. The New York Times published an article about Amy Cohen's blog tour for her book, The Late Bloomer’s Revolution.

A Times-reading colleague sent me a link to this article and asked, "Yes, but how do they do this?"

It isn't rocket science. To arrange a blog tour, you contact bloggers and request that they review your book (or publish a Q&A, or that they come up with their own idea for featuring your book). How do you find bloggers? Use a blog search engine. Technorati's blog search engine gets all the press, but I prefer Google's. Make a list of prospects, draft your pitch, and then start making those overtures.

Arranging a blog tour isn't as easy as, say, buying a media list, and sending out your media kit and book to everyone on it. There don't seem to be an prefabricated list of bloggers who might participate in blog tours. There hardly could be, given the fact that most books would need to be promoted on blogs that are narrowly focused on a particular topic and reach small numbers of highly targeted readers.

Nonetheless, arranging a blog tour is worthwhile. Even the New York Times says so!