Friday, March 27, 2009

Don't squander an easy book promotion opportunity.

Don't lose an easy book promotion opportunity. Well, I say "easy." Actually, it's not necessarily an "easy" book promotion opportunity I wanted to point out, but it is an obvious one -- or, at least, it should be obvious.

I'll change a couple of details so that I won't embarrass anyone involved. but here's the gist of what happened.

I was just reading a magazine during lunch (yes, I know it was only 10:30 in the morning, but I was hungry for lunch and I needed a break, anyway), and I came across an interesting article that was written by a doctor I hadn't heard of before. Naturally, this book publicist's curious eye jumped to the byline, which was about the length that authors hope it will be. This byline read, "Dr. Jane Smith is a pediatrician, author, and a mother of three children under the age of eleven."

And, just that simply, and needlessly, a book promotion opportunity was lost.

Here's what I'd tell Dr. Smith, or her publicist -- and here's what I would stress to every author, publisher, and book publicist. Writing and placing articles in magazines, newspapers, and online are a great way to spread the word about your book. But you have to turn your articles into book promotion opportunities, because that won't just happen by itself. It will happen if you create your own byline and submit it along with your article when you invite editors to publish your article. And, naturally, your article should mention the key points: Your name, your book's title, and the Web site for your book. Then, if the editor invites you to submit more information, that's grand: you can add other key elements of your bio (you're a pediatrician, you have three children under the age of eleven, or you live with four iguanas and 23 guinea pigs, or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are your favorite, or whatever the case may be).

But your article serves to give away enough information to convince readers of your credibility as an expert. The article itself isn't going to sell copies of your book to readers. You can't take a paragraph to say, "In my book, I say such and such." Well, you can take a paragraph to say that, but the editor will delete it -- and, worse still, could consign your article to the circular file rather than publishing it.

So your article can't sell your book to readers, but your byline can. Your byline is your payment for letting the editor publish the article (presuming this is a small publication that lacks the budget to pay authors for submissions, which is where most of the book promotion possibilities for bylined article placements hide). Your byline shouldn't say "Dr. Jane Smith is an author." Your byline should say "Dr. Jane Smith is the author of 'The Jane Smith Book,' and you can visit her online at

That gives your readers all the information they need to buy your book. And that is the difference between creating a book promotion opportunity and, frankly, tossing a book promotion opportunity right out the window.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A book promotion opportunity with

I'm lucky enough to have a friend, Amy Holman Edelman, who is a book promotion genius as well as a corporate marketing guru. She's also a bestselling author (The Little Black Dress and "Manless in Montclair: How a Happily Married Woman Became a Widow Looking for Love in the Wilds of Suburbia."

Her new book promotion brainchild is She just emailed me a letter that she's sent out to a few book publicists. If you're a book publicist and you haven't received a letter, you may want to read it -- so, with Amy's permission, I'm cutting-and-pasting the letter below. And, if you're a self-published author, or you know anyone who is, then take a look at I think it's going to be a great opportunity for self-published authors and their book publicists. And I can attest to the fact that Amy is a brilliant publicist herself (ask her, sometime, how she happened to meet her husband...and what the New York Daily News had to do with it!).

Amy's letter, then:

Do you represent any self-published/POD books? If so, I’d like to tell you about a new website called (IB), like for self-published and POD books.

The reasoning? There are many great books that don't make it into the traditional publishing system. IB will be a place for self-published/ POD books to essentially "come out of the closet" shed the stigma that--up till recently--clung to that category. As Sundance has done for Indie films, IB’s mission will be to promote and legitimize independent books and authors. And with more and more Indie books finding mainstream success (think Lisa Genova's Still Alice, currently #9 on The New York Times bestseller list), the change has already begun.

In addition to visibility and a sales platform, the site will offer authors a website page with their own URL, which can be used to post reviews, promote their books, etc. The fee to the author for inclusion on IB is $149 per year but prior to going live (in about 7 weeks) we will be offering a discounted rate of $99 per year. All books on IB will be vetted prior to acceptance.

The IB Home and Author pages are attached. Please let me know if any of your clients would be interested in participating or send them to to sign up. If you refer an author/ book, your company will get listed—at no cost—on our resource page. Please let me know if you'd like to discuss further.


Amy Edelman

Friday, March 20, 2009

A book publicist takes the Twitter plunge -- for real!

I've finally done it. I was sending an email to a client and, for the first time, I added my Twitter handle (@bookpr) to my signature.

I've been tweeting for awhile, and I'm pleased to count bookstores, libraries, reporters, reviewers, literary agents, authors, and producers among my followers. And I'm getting into a rhythm of letting fellow tweeters know about my clients' bookings and bylined article placements -- all of which, I imagine, will have to add to their online book buzz.

So, yes, I've seen the book promotion potential of Twitter and spent a bit of time experimenting with it over the past couple of weeks. Now I'm getting it, and it promises to be an effective and exciting new way to explore book publicity opportunities.

A few days ago, I took the time to add my Twitter handle to the contact information on my Web site.

But there was something particularly momentous about adding my Twitter handle to my signature on an outbound email. Somehow, adding that information to my signature was a signal -- to the recipient of that email and to me -- that Twitter is becoming an important part of the book promotion process.

I'm eager to watch it working for my clients, and if you're using Twitter (along with other social networks, such as LinkedIn and Facebook), I hope you'll let me know how well it's working for you.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Scribd for Book Promotion

Yesterday, I discovered Scribd. Scribd is the latest hope of publishers and authors who want to promote their books online.

Users sign up, and then they get to see book excerpts, and even full-length books, for free. According to a recent article in TechCrunch, such major publishers as Random House, Simon & Schuster, Workman Publishing Co., and Berrett-Koehler have already begun explore the book promotion value of Scribd. Scribd beats the book excerpts that you can find on Google and Amazon, the article contends, because Scribd lets users embed the book excerpts in their own blogs and on their own Web sites.

And, like Google and Amazon, Scribd levels the proverbial playing field between mainstream books and self-published books. Just as all cats look grey in the dark, all books look equally palatable -- or not -- on the computer monitor. Every book benefits to the same degree from Scribd's book promotion value, regardless of the publisher, or the author's renown.

Which leads me to my own beef about Scribd (and every other site that offers books, or book excerpts, for free. This peeve doesn't involve copyright issues or philosophical concerns (of course I don't want pirated books to abound on the Net, nor do I want paper books to disappear) but, rather, readability.

I tried to read one of Random House's titles online via Scribd, and all I got for my efforts was the beginnings of a headache. Is anyone really going to read a book on his or her computer monitor? I understand that ebook readers are nearly (although, perhaps, not quite) ready for prime time. But does any publisher, including self publishers, really expect potential book buyers to start reading a book -- and to enjoy that book -- while glued to the Scribd site?

It would be nice if Scribd had revolutionized the art of reading a book online, but to be fair, that's not its business. Scribd does have buy-in from enough major publishers that, maybe, I'll simply be outvoted. Maybe potential book buyers and the media will flock to Scribd. Me? I'm not flocking. But that might just be my loss.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mine Magazine Is Here

Print on demand technology has come a long way. Time Inc. is currently experimenting with Mine Magazine. here's the scoop from the Chicago Tribune</span>. You sign up to receive either a print or a digital test version of Mine Magazine here. Both print and digital subscriptions are limited, and it's first-come, first-served. You choose the sections you want, of the five magazines you want, and you'll received the personalized magazine with ads based on your selections.

This book publicist just subscribed to hers, and she can't wait for it to arrive.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Floating Sully's book promotion potential

William Morrow has the right idea. It's advancing between $2.5 million and $3 million for a two-book deal by an unlikely author: the pilot, Captain Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger, who emerged from a plane accident in New York unscathed -- and a hero for not only the 150+ passengers and crew members whose lives he saved, but for everyone in the world who followed the story. You can read about it here.

The question may eventually arise: Can he write?

Let's be honest. What difference will it make? Sully is a national treasure, and he'll have all the book promotion opportunities he needs, for the asking, upon the release of each of his books. We'll see and hear and read the book publicity Sully receives, and we'll check out his books so that we can share some of that heroism, too.

Sully's book deal makes us feel good, and the book promotion hasn't even begun. Way to go, Morrow, and kudos to your acquisitions department. You scored a winner -- actually, two winners -- here.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Will you still be receiving book promotion in 400 years?

Will you still be receiving book promotion opportunities in 400 years? It can happen. William Shakespeare got a pop on "Unique portrait from Shakespeare's life unveiled." Yes. Click here, and you can see William Shakespeare's photo. Supposedly.

Although, since the author himself didn't supply the reporter with the photo, and since his original publisher wasn't able to email, either, I'm not morally convinced that we can prove it's actually William Shakespeare's picture at all.'s interesting to speculate about whether any of today's author's will be receiving international exposure on the largest and most influential mass media outfits in, say, the year 2409.

Be interesting to imagine what book promotion will look like then.