Friday, November 30, 2007

Bad timing.

Here's a serious case of bad timing. Just when Amazon is trying to sell its new eBook reader, Kindle, there's a thief -- or thiefs -- out there who have figured out how to add fraudulent charges for eBooks to credit card statements. Check your credit card statement -- and hope that you don't find a ten dollar charge from a company that sells eBooks (unless you've bought eBooks recently). Otherwise, you could be the victim of this particular scam. Read what little is known about it here.

This book publicist hasn't had the privilege of promoting eBooks yet. In fact, this book publicist is eager to promote eBooks -- when the time comes. (And I'm confident the time will come when "book promotion" includes the promotion of eBooks. It will.)

And I was hopeful about Kindle. All signs looked good; apart from the initial version 1.0 goofiness (and absurdly high price point) of the product, Kindle promised to turn all book lovers into eBook buyers -- eventually.

And now this: charges for eBooks that were never purchased turning up on credit card statements, and are causing aggravation from the very people we hoped would turn into eBook fans. This is a case, I think, of very, very bad timing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Be a Kennedy, or Just Publish Like One.

A client with a self-published book asked me the other day how he could get a mainstream publisher interested in taking on his book. Turn your book into a bestseller, I told him. Then the publishers will pursue you. Otherwise, find a literary agent...and good luck.

The rule of the publishing industry is that there's no such thing as "coming out of nowhere" and being an overnight success. A major publisher may nuture an unknown author and help that author's book become a bestseller, but it will not happen instantly. It will take consistent hard work, and the stars in the universe will have to line up in that author's favor...and then, it will still be mostly a question of luck. The best book publicist in the world can only arrange media interviews. The most successful book promotion campaign can only ensure that people know about a book. But that won't ensure that people will the a book or that a book will reach the New York Times Bestseller List.

However, rules are made to be broken, and they're especially likely to be broken if you are a name brand -- for instance, the way that Senator Edward Kennedy is. Ted's upcoming memoir (to be published in 2010) has already been covered by the Associated Press, Fox News, local newspapers, and radio stations from coast to coast. In case you missed the story, read it here. Nine publishing houses participated in an auction to buy Ted's memoir. The lucky winner was the Hachette Book Group USA.

Is that the end of Ted Kennedy's book promotion campaign? Please. Don't make me laugh. Ted's memoir will receive all the book publicity in the world, because its author is...Ted Kennedy. As the publication date nears, media attention will be Ted's for a snap of the fingers, just as an astronomical advance was his for the twitch of his magical nose.

And that is the story of Ted Kennedy's memoir -- years away from publication, and already a phenomenal success in the making. So if my client were to ask me now what he could do to interest a major publishing house in purchasing his self-published book, I'd have a different response. I'd suggest figuring out a way to marry into the Kennedy clan. Hyannisport can be a nice place to vacation in the summertime.'s on the water, anyway.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Book promotion and self-esteem

What can we learn from Howard Stern? He likes himself. He really, really likes himself. Although this book publicist isn't sure why Howard Stern likes himself, he does. He likes his show, he feels good in his own skin, and apparently, he thinks he's a good human being with something positive to offer the world. Here's an Associated Press article in which he waxes eloquent about, well, himself.

Okay, I'm sure many skeptics are thinking that there's a fine line between self-esteem and narcissism, and I'm not going to argue that here. I'm just saying that Howard Stern clearly feels good about himself, and that's probably a key part of why he's successful.

Now here's the part of my thesis that will strike many as bad news. When you're in the middle of a book promotion campaign, you have to tap into that sense of self-worth to make your book promotion campaign work for you. You must feel good about yourself and your book, and you must be able to communicate that good feeling to media audiences to maximize your credibility and convince them that your message is worth hearing, and your book is worth buying.

Howard Stern is not my role model, and I'll understand if he's not yours, either. But I'll take the lesson that I've learned from him and pass it along. Self-esteem is an integral part of a successful book promotion campaign. Not a Stern fan? Okay, then here's another example. Think: Judge Judy. Whatever it takes to motivate you to suspend your modesty and self-doubt for the duration of your book promotion campaign, do it! Book publicists want to hear that you feel confident. That will help them feel confident about you, and that could make all the difference when they're pitching you to the media. So tap into that reserve of good feelings about yourself, and convey it to the media. Your book promotion campaign will thank you for it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The media never sleeps.

The media never takes a vacation, even if it is the day before Thanksgiving. This book publicist has been getting calls from the media, non-stop, all week. And, perhaps, the media's a bit needy now because so many experts and authors are taking a break from their book promotion campaigns to celebrate the holiday. Good! More book promotion opportunities for my clients!

If you're in the midst of a book promotion campaign, it's your call -- but I wouldn't take the day off, if I were you. Today promises to be a productive one for anyone who needs book publicity opportunities and is available to answer the telephone or respond to email.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, but stick with book promotion just a little bit longer today, if you can. I think it will pay off for you.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Skeptical about online book promotion?

There are many authors and publishers out there (and you may be one of them) who believe the impact of online book promotion efforts is negligible, and that the only book publicity that matters is real-world buzz (that is, getting book reviews in traditional magazines and newspapers, and scoring interviews on radio and television shows). Traditionalists, beware: you might want to reconsider the power of the Internet.

Here's a tale from Reuters (as it appears on about a young man who was looking for a needle in the haystack. The young man spied the woman of his dreams on a subway train, and then the object of his desires got off the train and walked off into the sunset. Except her would-be suitor couldn't get her out of his mind, so he set up a Web site specifically to find her. Yes, this brave and optimistic soul posted his cell phone number as well as his artistic rendering of his Fantasy Woman from the train on the site, and the leads started to pour in. Media attention came his way (of course). And, believe it or not, he found the woman. (According to the Reuters story, the Prince Charming removed his cell phone number from the Web site and now is making a bid to regain his privacy.)

No, the intrepid man isn't an author (at least, he's not an author yet). But he did want to promote his cause, and didn't turn to "Oprah" or "Good Morning America" or "All Things Considered" or "USA Today" to do it.

He turned to online promotion.

And it worked.

Food for thought, isn't it? Next time you're tempted to "stick to what's been proven to work for decades" in your own book promotion campaign, remember the man who found his mate (or, at least, he hopes so) by creating Internet buzz about his search. If an Internet promotion campaign worked for him, isn't it reasonable to try it and see what effect it might have on your book promotion campaign?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Marie Osmond Is Not Having a Good Day.

Marie Osmond hasn't been having a good couple of weeks. I don't mean to be flippant. Marie and her famous siblings lost their father yestday, and that's horrible. A few days before that , Marie fainted on a live television show (she's all right, apparently). And now this: a now-defunct publishing company that she once owned published a sex telephone number in a series of books aimed at little girls. Here's the story.

Marie says -- and I believe her -- that the phone number was given to another company once Marie's company no longer needed it, and Marie didn't know who ended up with the number and, therefore, didn't realize that the children's books containing the phone number would be problematic.

Fair enough. But, huge fan of the Osmonds (okay, it was Donny Osmond, but still) that I was, I really don't want to hear another word about Marie Osmond for a long, long time.

Book promotion means getting your name into print, onto the airwaves, and on the Internet, and that's all good. But, for heaven's sakes, let's give someone who has had a rough couple of weeks a break.

Marie, be well, and know that no one can seriously blame you for failing to check out the new owners of the phone number that your company published in its children's books. And I'm so sorry about your father. He must have been an amazing human being. Look at his wonderful children -- and, yes, I am partial to your brother, Donny.