Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The book promotion dream -- and the book promotion nightmare.

Here's the book promotion dream.

You'll schedule an interview for yourself (or your book publicist will schedule an interview) on a national radio show that reaches tens of thousands -- or maybe even millions -- of people, and many of them will rush out, or click online, to buy your book.

That's the book promotion dream.

Now here's the book promotion nightmare.

That interview will be scheduled on a show that airs exclusively via the XM Satellite Radio network during the time period when, due to a technical glitch of some sort, the network is partially down, and you don't know exactly how many subscribers will still be able to listen to the show, but you know it isn't the number that you were expecting. And there goes that opportunity to sell books -- up in high-tech smoke.

Of course, glitches happen in media outlets that don't rely on satellite technology. So, if your national radio interview is scheduled on a more traditional show, keep up your guard. Anyything can happen and, in the world of book promotion, it often does. Breaking news blows your topic off the host's top shelf and forces the producer to reschedule (or not to reschedule, as the case may be). And, as we approach yet another holiday weekend, remember that, even if the interview proceeds as scheduled, timing matters, too. There are fewer people listening to the radio during long holiday weekends, so bear that in mind as you're scheduling interviews. There's nothing like scheduling that national radio interview and then looking at your calendar and noticing that you've locked yourself in for a time when there just won't be the usual number of listeners.

There you have it. The book promotion dream (scheduling a national radio show) and the book promotion nightmare (having the timing of that national radio show, because of a high-tech failure or just bad timing) dash your hopes of selling thousands of books.

To authors whose interviews have aired on the XM Satellite Radio network in the past couple of days, or will air before the technical issue is resolved, my sympathies. Know that you're not alone. This time, you've lived the book promotion nightmare. Next time, you're entitled to enjoy the book promotion dream.