Thursday, April 19, 2007

Competition for your book promotion efforts.

A mass murderer with a gun in each hand, aiming at the camera lens. A latter-day Marilyn Monroe, striking a variety of provocative poses, sometimes with her handsome young son by her side. Flooded roads, washed-away vehicles, and submerged houses.

These are the images the media is bombarding us with, and this is what the media considers newsworthy.

Well, okay.

But, to authors and publishers, Virginia Tech, Anna Nicole, and catastrophic weather events aren't only something to think about. They're also competition for the media's attention.

Can book promotion go on, as usual, when there's a mass murder at a college, and everyone in the country is seeking answers? Is book publicity to be thought of -- unless you're the half-sister of Anna Nicole with a book of your own -- when it takes an endless number of weeks to work out the parentage and custody arrangements of a deceased pseudo-celebrity's baby? Is your book publicist even supposed to be calling newsrooms around the country when people in multiple, far-flung states have been seeking shelter from devastating floods and are trying to figure out where they'll be living once the water recedes?

Bad news events aren't only riveting. They're also all-consuming happenings that can derail our plans for book promotion.

But you know something? If our book promotion plans have to put on hold, we can still consider ourselves fortunate if our loved ones were not involved in trauma or tabloid stories, and if our family and friends' psyches and homes are intact on this April day.

Book promotion is important. But it ain't everything, says the realistic book publicist.