Monday, December 13, 2010

Book promotion in exchange for privacy?

Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites can be important and highly-effective components of a comprehensive book promotion campaign. But this book publicist wouldn't make social networking the sole component of a book promotion campaign; social networking -- at least, at the moment -- means sacrificing several things including privacy.

According to a article, "The internet and the 'end of privacy,' " social networking as come a social necessity for some of us, so that segment of the population might be to share too much information with others: our politics, our online purchases, our vacation plans, and the like.

But, for the rest of us, social networking is a tool, not a necessity. It's an excellent tool for book promotion, although it's not the exclusive means of obtaining -- and retaining -- a high book publicity profile for your project. But it's one of many book promotion tools.

The question that authors, publishers, and book promotion specialists must ask is: what's the real cost of social networking? It's wonderful to see people buzzing about your book -- but you're giving up something to see that happen. You're exchanging your privacy in exchange for the book promotion value of social networking.

Privacy in exchange for book promotion might be a fair exchange ... but I wouldn't count on social networking as the book promotion solution for every author, publisher, and book publicist. This book publicist values her privacy, and she wouldn't give it up willingly as long as there are other book promotion venues.

And, fortunately, there are many book promotion venues out there. Social networking enjoys an inflated sense of importance now, because it's still new. But when the shine wears off, some of us will be left wondering what we've given up in the name of book promotion. A little bit? Too much? Or everything

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Want the world's best book promotion opportunity?

The world's best opportunity is pretty easy to come by. All you have to do is become president of the United States. Do that, and your new children's book will be published by Random House; enjoy a first print run of half a million copies; garner as much media attention as it can handle; and rake in the cash (in this case, I'm glad to report, the cash will be donated to a scholarship fund for children of disabled war veterans).

So if you're struggling for book publicity opportunities, you know now what you have to do to garner those media interviews and book reviews. Become president of the United States, and book promotion opportunities will follow.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Imagine if your lost manuscript gathered this much book publicity.

NPR. Time. NBC. New York Magazine. MediaBistro.

Imagine if the discovery of one of your lost manuscripts garnered that much book publicity. "This old thing?" you might ask modestly. "Really?"

I wish Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel, of course) were here to see all of the book promotion hype revolving around the discovery of this unpublished manuscript, titled All Sorts of Sports.

Book promotion isn't always about selling books.

Sometimes, book promotion is also about knowing how very much you are loved.

This book publicist happens to believe that Dr. Seuss's lost manuscript -- shoot, and even Dr. Seuss's lost grocery list -- deserves all the media attention it garners. Good for you, Dr. Seuss! Good for your All Sorts of Sports! Good for readers everywhere!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Book promotion thought for the day.

Here's my book promotion thought for the day.

A book promotion campaign isn't an advertising campaign. Don't confuse the two.

Book promotion provides authors with opportunities to disseminate their messages and provide their expertise to potential book buyers. The goal is to establish credibility.

Advertising touts a book's assets and provides reasons why people should buy it.

As a point of clarification, book publicists do not conducting advertising campaigns. Book publicists conduct book promotion campaigns.

Book publicists let the media decision makers know about the messages their clients would like to deliver. If the producer, editor, host, or reporter is interested in hearing that message, then the book publicist will have a match. On the other hand, journalists do not want to hear or read advertisements for books. A book publicist who sends journalists ads in the guise of story pitches or guest pitches risks his or her reputation and stands to burn brides.

So, authors, keep in mind the difference between book promotion and advertising when you're working with book publicists. And please understand why, when you ask a book publicist to help you disseminate an advertisement for your books to the media, your book publicist must decline. Thank you in advance.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Today Show gives Rick Sanchez a book promotion opportunity. Ugh!

It amazes and disturbs me that NBC's "Today Show" (or, at least, the "Today Show" portion of the MSNBC web site) gave former CNN anchor, Rick Sanchez -- now most famous for venting his Anti-Semitic perspective on a national radio show -- a book promotion opportunity. Check out the last sentence of the story, if you have the stomach for it, which mentions Sanchez's new book (the title of which, please notice, I am not mentioning here).

So what's the takeaway? I guess the takeaway is that sometimes, authors and publishers who deserve great book promotion opportunities get them. And, sometimes, authors and publishers who do not deserve any book publicity opportunities get them, too.

As a book publicist, all I can do is choose my projects carefully ... and trust that I'll know about the Rick Sanchezes of the world before I can even imagine taking on a book promotion campaign for them.

For more information on Rick Sanchez's hurtful comments, and the consequences (for him, happily), please click here.

Perhaps CNN ought to screen its anchors a bit more carefully next time.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

A book promtion opportunity -- if you make it happen.

Here's a book publicist's dream come true.

A client emailed me yesterday and said, "My topic is in the news, bigtime. Please send out a pitch to the media for me."

I agreed that the news story was perfect, and now would be a good time to pitch the media on scheduling interviews for my client. That's how book promotion works best. The author's topic is in the news. The book publicist contacts media outlets, and pitches the author's expertise or opinion or insight, and the media schedules interviews.

Further, I gave my client some guidelines for providing me with the raw material I needed to create the pitch. As a book publicist, I have a preferred style for pitches that I have found to be most effective, so I told the author, "Here's what I need."

After a couple of rounds, the author sent me an email saying, "I'm sorry we missed this opportunity."

That's a book publicist's nightmare. Of course, I emailed the author back and said that we haven't missed this opportunity. (This is an ongoing news story, as it happens.)

However, what makes this a book publicist's nightmare is that the author wouldn't provide me with what I needed to help her. She's right. This news story is providing such a great opportunity for her to receive book promotion hits. However, here's what the author fails to realize.

To promote yourself, you must have something unique: expertise, a controversial opinion, or at least a perspective or insight that's different from what everyone else has. In other words, to garner interview opportunities, you have to frame yourself as a worthwhile guest.

A book publicist can't approach the media and say, "Hey there. I understand that you're busy, but please consider interviewing an author who's saying the same thing as everyone else you're interviewing on the topic." A book publicist (if she wants to receive book promotion opportunities) must say, "This guest would add the following to the ongoing discussion," or "This expert offers an insight that your readers/listeners/viewers haven't yet heard, which is...."

No author has ever received a book promotion opportunity on the basis of pitching the media with, "I have nothing special for you, but interview me anyway, please, because I have a new book out." Well, I take that back. A bestselling author might be able to get away with that pitch. However, authors who aren't yet household names must work for their book promotion opportunities. They must prove that they're worth the airtime/editorial space, and they're worth the reporter/producer/editor's time. More importantly, they have to prove how they will keep the audience from turning to another station or channel, or bypassing that page without reading it (which, obviously, would not please advertisers).

Pitch your unique/controversial/discussion-enhancing opinion or insights, and you'll get the book promotion opportunities. Say to your book publicist, "No, I won't offer that. Just go ahead and pitch me," and -- I guarantee you -- you'll have a book publicist who is living out the nightmare: lost book promotion opportunities, and an unhappy author.

Read. Learn. Do.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Book promotion and self-publishing.

As a book publicist, I'm fielding a whole lot of questions about book publishing these days. People seem to understand that, while landing a publishing contract with a mainstream publisher is still the Holy Grail, it's also possible to self publish without stigmatizing the book project -- and while enjoying all the benefits of publishing a book. A self-published book, of course, can serve as a calling card, help disseminate messages, build credibility -- and, perhaps, even generate some revenue, over time, given a successful book promotion campaign.

The funny thing is that, as a book publicist, I have learned that self-published books have become more and more legitimate for the past, oh, five to ten years. These days, I don't see much of a difference in the media's response to a self-published book and their response to a traditionally-published book. As long as a self-published book enjoys national distribution, and as long as it's professionally edited and competently produced, it enjoys as much respect as a traditionally-published book.

I'm also delighted to find new ways to self-publish books through trusted venues, and I'm especially pleased to pass along this opportunity. The online version of Barnes and Noble has created PubIt! to allow all authors (and self-publishers) to make their ebooks available for purchase online at Read about the official launch of PubIt!, and find the links you'll need to self-publish your own ebook via PubIt!, at Publishers Weekly's site. For me, one of the best pieces of news is that Adobe's InDesign now lets you convert your file to the .PUB format which is exactly what PubIt! requires.

And, yes, you can launch a successful book promotion campaign that revolves around an ebook. You have to be a bit creative, since your ebook's book publicity campaign probably won't include book signings or book reviews. But you have every reason to expect that, as an expert in your field, you can garner interview opportunities using your ebook (and a solid media kit) to establish your credibility.

It looks as though PubIt! is also planning a service that will let authors self-publish traditionally-printed books, too, in the near future. I gather that this upcoming service (if, indeed, it does come up) will go head-to-head with Amazon's CreateSpace service. (Note that Amazon, too, lets authors self-publish their ebooks very easily, too, as long as it's in the Kindle format. And, fortunately, there's a new plug-in for InDesign that can convert an Adobe file into the format required for a Kindle. How cool is that?)

Kudos to and to Amazon for turning experts with books to write into authors with published book. And how exciting for this book publicist to be able to venture into the new world of book promotion for authors who publish directly to the bookselling streams -- and bypass the traditional publishing channels that used to have the power to defeat would-be authors before their words were even set to paper.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A book promotion opportunity from PW Select

Here's a book promotion opportunity for self-published authors that I don't necessarily endorse. But, as a book publicist, I do feel obligated to share it.

It's PW Select, and it seems to be an opportunity for self-published books to share the limelight with traditionally published books -- in Publishers Weekly, no less.

It sounds good, except that when you read the fine print, you discover that -- for self-published authors to take advantage of this book promotion opportunity, they have to pay $149. This fee entitles self-publishers to a listing that will appear in a supplement of Publishers Weekly and in an online database. PW promises that at least 25 of the self-published books they receive will receive a full review, all for that one low price of $149.

Wait a minute. Did PW say it would charge self publishers $149 for a listing and for the possibility of a full review? Hmmm. Since PW isn't offering that deal to traditional publishers, whose books are considered for review without a $149 fee, I'm somehow not excited about the book promotion opportunity that PW is offering self publishers.

It's not that a review in Publishers Weekly wouldn't be worth paying for. It's just that, ironically, if you have to pay for a review ... it isn't worth the paper it's printed on (most of the time -- there are a few exceptions to this rule), as far as this book publicist is concerned.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sometimes, it's okay when book promotion venues leave the airwaves.

Book publicists are happiest when they hear about new radio shows and new television shows, and new magazines and new newspapers, and new sites and new blogs, and book publicists are usually at their unhappiest when they learn about book promotion opportunities' drying up. No book publicist I encountered was glad to hear that "Oprah" was leaving the airwaves, for instance.

But here's one book promotion venue that I'm delighted to do without: Dr. Laura Schlessinger's radio show. Here's a tape of the diatribe that caused Dr. Laura to "choose" to end her radio show of 30 years.

Listen to Dr. Laura's rant, and I think you'll share my relief and delight about the demise of her radio show. A person who would use racial expletives -- or who would even think in terms of racial expletives -- need not have a national forum from which to spew this venom.

Goodbye, Dr. Laura, and goodbye to another book promotion opportunity. But, this time, it's worth losing a book promotion opportunity to say goodbye to Dr. Laura and her brand of intolerance.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lost book promotion opportunity

Yesterday, one of my clients nearly lost a book promotion opportunity. I'd set up a radio interview for the author with the producer. It was to be the author's first radio interview ever -- not only for this book promotion campaign. So I was eager to hear the interview and listened to the radio show online as it streamed live.

The host didn't promote the interview, but I wasn't terribly concerned. The producer had just confirmed the interview the day before, and the author had the studio line as a backup in case anything went wrong.

A few minutes after the radio interview was to take place, the author called me to let me know the producer hadn't called her. "Why are you calling me," I wanted to know. "Why aren't you calling the backup line that I gave you?" The author said, "Oh, is that what you meant by 'backup line?' I thought you meant that was the line I'd call if there was static during the interview and we had to find a different phone line." (I'm still puzzling over the author's reasoning.)

The author called the studio line and hooked up with an apologetic radio show host who said the producer had never put the information about the interview on her calendar, and she knew nothing about the book or the author or the topic. However, the radio show host felt so guilty that she agreed to do the interview immediately, and the author got about 2 minutes of air time (instead of the 6 to 8 minutes she'd been promised by the radio show producer).

Lesson learned. As a book publicist, I sometimes assume that authors will ask for clarification about anything they don't understand about any instructions that I provide for media interviews. However, not every author is a veteran of book promotion campaigns, and some authors need a bit more hand-holding than others. The takeaway, for me, is that I will spell everything out to authors at the start of book promotion campaigns, and if I'm explaining too much, then I will wait for my clients to tell me so.

What could have been a wonderful book promotion opportunity for this author turned into a truncated, brief radio appearance because of a misunderstanding. I take responsibility for that, and I will work hard to ensure that, going forward, clients don't miss book promotion opportunities (or find their book promotion opportunities are truncated) because of their lack of understanding the book promotion process.

And, yes, scheduling mishaps and missed phoned calls are a recurring occurrence with book promotion campaigns. That's one of the things about media interviews that you can nearly always count on: somewhere, somehow, a miscommunication will occur. Have a backup plan! That's my new motto.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Feeling bad about providing a book promotion opportunity?

I just came across a wonderful blog entry by Laurie Gold who provides book reviews for Publishers Weekly called "The Painful Side of Reviewing." In it, Gold reveals that the painful side of writing a negative book review isn't having to read a bad book. Rather, it's having to hurt an author's (and a publisher's) feelings.

Yes, Laurie, you're right. Authors (like all of us) have fragile egos and would rather be praised than criticized. And yet ... the one thing that authors like even better than to have their egos stoked is to have Publishers Weekly -- or any influential print or online media outlet -- acknowledge their books with reviews.

Negative criticism can hurt an author's feelings, indeed. But any author who's granted the book promotion opportunity that a book review, good or bad, provides is far less hurt than the majority of authors out there whose books stand little, or no, chance of garnering major book reviews.

Any book review is probably better than no book review at all, just as -- to paraphrase the old saying -- any book promotion is good book promotion.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Get over blogophobia to reap book promotion benefits

According to, blogophobia is real. This book publicist isn’t making it up, which is a relief, because this book publicist has inventophiba (which is not a term you’ll find in, by the way: fear of making things up.

Since I tell every author and publisher who listen that blogging is an integral part of every book promotion campaign, I can’t help but notice how much of the time I receive push-back. Few authors or publishers argue. They understand that blogging does, indeed, drive traffic to book web sites which is a first step toward promoting books.

But, for awhile, I’ve been noticing that many authors and publishers I talk with – however excited they are about their book promotion campaigns – seem to be experiencing a fear of blogging. They’re afraid of saying the wrong thing, or they’re afraid of saying the right thing (or the incompletely right thing) in the wrong way, and they understand that the Internet is a very difficult neighborhood for those prematurely hit the “publish” button. You can’t get a “do-over” if you publish a blog entry that you’re unhappy with, they reason, so they become immobilized. They delay blogging, and they miss out on the book publicity opportunities that might come their way because they’d rather live with a blank blog than a blog that would impress people as unprofessional, unpolished, or inadequate.

A blog that fails to make a good impression, for whatever reason (typos, sentence fragments, etc.), is a scary proposition. But a scarier proposition, from my perspective, is to have no blog at all.

Failure to blog, from a book publicity perspective, is far more frightening than blogging the wrong thing. Look at it this way. You can blog as frequently you’d like, and building up a robust number of blog entries is a lot like garnering many book reviews on Amazon: you find that one or two entries that are less than 100 percent perfect can be buried beneath the weight of better blog entries that will be more attractive to your target audience.

Blogging can be frightening, because it’s always comforting to have someone else publish your work. It’s always nice to have an editor sign off on your work, and to have a production team ensure that the words you write are ready for prime time.

But, as frightening as blogging can be, it can be a book promotion campaign’s best friend. Blogging can bring the media to you and, even better, it can bring your intended readership to your site – and to someplace where they can buy your book – instantly.

So if you’re blogophobic, that’s okay. You’re not alone.

But take it from a book publicist who has coached dozens of authors and publishers through bouts of blogophobia: if you’re stalled at a blank blog, start filling it as quickly as you can. Don’t worry about copying the styles of bloggers you admire. Leave the research for other projects. Just limber up your fingers and start keyboarding. The blog will happen…and it will become a focal point of your book promotion campaign.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The tougher road to book promotion.

No one ever said garnering book promotion opportunities was easy. But there's a challenging road to book publicity success, and then there's a far tougher road.

Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of Oprah's first book club pick, The Deep End of the Ocean, took the tougher road -- but not intentionally. According to, Mitchard has lost "all her money" in a Ponzi scheme (she's not a victim of Bernard Madoff but, rather, another alleged creep).

The good news for Jackie: she's just made's "most intriguing people" page. That's a wonderful book promotion opportunity, isn't it? The bad news for Jackie: she's just made's "most intriguing people" page in an item that says Jackie is now looking for a job so she can support her family.

Ouch. Jobs are good, and so are the (hopefully) regular paychecks that accompany them. Book promotion is awesome, too...but not this way. No, Jackie. No. Not this way.

Book promotion campaigns include Twitter

These days, most successful book promotion campaigns include social networking. Even those authors and publishers who don't have legions of fans, followers, or online friends usually have relatives and former classmates who are willing to brag that someone they know and love has a new book out -- and word can spread pretty quickly through cyberspace. It's not exactly the viral marketing campaign that, say, turned us all onto Jib and Jab -- but, in fact, letting your followers at Twitter and your friends at Facebook, and so forth, know about your current or upcoming work is just a smart, core component of a comprehensive book promotion campaign.

The Huffington Post has an article about how two major publishers, Algonquin Books and Alfred A. Knopf, are using Twitter as part of their book publicity efforts. Both Algonquin and Knopf have built an online community that will read their tweets and retweet posts that, they believe, will be of particular interest to their own followers (many of whom, presumably, have similar literary tastes).

That's great, and I'm a believer. As I said, I think all book publicists -- and every author and publisher who's involved in a book promotion campaign -- should be using social networking to extend their book publicity reach. However, I had to log onto my Twitter account to see whether, in fact, I was following Algonquin and Knopf at Twitter. I was, in fact. But it's curious that I didn't know I was.

What that means to me is that, since I follow so many publishers (and media outlets and authors, etc.) on Twitter, I rarely see any particular Twitter user's tweets. Algonquin and Knopf may have the best tweets being tweeted on Twitter today (yes, I am aware of how silly that sounds!), but ... well, I personally don't routinely see those tweets.

So does that mean "more is better?" Does that mean that those of us who are using social networking as part of our book promotion efforts should tweet more, hoping that our Twitter followers see at least some of those tweets? Or does it mean that Twitter, and other social networks, aren't as effective as their press? It's impossible to be sure. But, while the jury is deciding, I'll keep on tweeting...and I'll encourage my clients to do the same.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Disappointing book promotion news -- times two

From a book promotion and book sales standpoint, it's hard to know which news is more disappointing: 1) Glenn Beck's novel, which was panned by critics, is the number one New York Times bestseller or 2) Larry King's CNN talk show will end in the autumn.

Both news items are scary for those who care about book promotion and book sales. Beck's novel, which -- based on its terrible reviews -- should have sold a handful of copies, has outpaced more masterfully written titles to leapfrog to the top of a prestigious bestseller list (presumably) because of his strong Fox News's television audience following. That's not supposed to happen. And Larry King's CNN show, which has sold hundreds of thousands of books for the past 25 years and granted book promotion opportunities to authors both deserving and not, won't be there anymore.

This is not good news for book promotion and book sales. It's not good news for book publicists. And, finally, it's not good news for authors and publishers.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Yes, Virginia, you can promote self-published books!

Not so long ago, even this book publicist thought it was nearly impossible to conduct book promotion campaigns for self-published books. But enterprising book publicists consider each book on an individual basis when deciding whether or not to take on a project, and after I'd conducted a few amazingly successful book promotion campaigns for a few great self-published books, I became a believer. Yes, you can successfully (and unapologetically) promote a self-published book.

I know, because I've conducted book promotion campaigns for self-published books by some creative, talented authors. And I know, too, because I've conducted a book promotion campaign for my own self-published book, "101 Recipes for Microwave Mug Cakes."

The Harpo Productions-owned "Rachael Ray Show" (a daytime syndicated talk show) aired a taped segment for "101 Recipes for Microwave Mug Cakes" for the first time in December of 2009, and the show aired again yesterday. Both times, the rankings on both Amazon (which fell to 130) and (which got as low as 114, this time around, and which reached the top ten the first time) reflected the national visibility the book had received.

The coolest part about it is that I'm not alone in experiencing the fact that self-publishing books is more than acceptable. It's the smart thing for most of us to do. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, there are so many new ways to self-publish books that it's almost impossible to keep up with the options. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple ... every company you can think of (and many that you may not have heard of) that sells digital books is providing authors with the opportunity to jump ship from traditional publishing to self publishing. And we don't have to feel squeamish about accepting those opportunities.

If I'd waited for a traditional publisher to come along and express interest in "101 Recipes for Microwave Mug Cakes," the manuscript would have been collecting dust for lo these many months, and I'd long since have lost interest in it. Instead, because I self published the book, I've been engaged in an active and productive book promotion campaign for my own project, and it's been a great learning experience.

So, yes, you can treat your self-published book exactly as if it were a traditionally-published book project. You can conduct a book promotion campaign for it, and you can use it as a hook for disseminating your messages, building your brand, and enhancing your portfolio. I can tell you from first-hand experience that the self-publishing experience can be wonderful and rewarding. So why not get started on your project? There's nothing to hold you back.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I wonder if this was a book promotion ploy.

I wonder if this was all a book promotion ploy on the part of Fergie. Sarah Ferguson, if you haven't yet heard, will appear on the Oprah Winfrey Show to talk about her recent, um, mishap.

I'm wondering, though. Was Sarah Ferguson really desperate enough for cash to get involved in something as sinister as accepting payment from an undercover reporter in exchange for an introduction to her ex-husband? Or was this all just an ingenious book promotion ploy on the part of a clever book publicist to score a booking on the "Oprah Winfrey Show?" I'd love to believe it's the latter.

(But, if you have the time and the cynicism, do check in on that Oprah Show appearance to see whether Sarah Ferguson mentions her new children's book series. Something deep in my soul says she will...because, however mercenary and indiscreet Fergie might be, she probably wouldn't pass up a book promotion opportunity like this one.)

Does John Grisham need another book promotion opportunity?

Does John Grisham need another book promotion opportunity? Maybe not, but that doesn't mean he turned down a book promotion opportunity when NBC's "Today Show" offered him one. Grisham appeared on "Today Show" yesterday to promote his new (and his first) children's book, Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer which is about a 13-year-old who gives legal advice to his friends.

Grisham's "Today Show" appearance made me want to buy a copy of Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer. I probably would have wanted a copy of the book, anyway, since I'm a Grisham fan from way back and an avid reader of children's books.

But I wasn't aware of John Grisham's new book until I happened to catch his "Today Show" appearance. So, even for Grisham, book publicity opportunities are valuable -- in this case, the "Today Show" appearance was valuable for Grisham's publisher and his agent, for Grisham himself, for his book publicist (who gets the credit for booking him on the "Today Show") and for all of his fans. Oh, yeah. And I'll bet it was also valuable to the "Today Show" itself -- what show's ratings wouldn't skyrocket with an appearance from an author of Grisham's stature and popularity?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Talk about a book promotion coup!

Talk about a book publicity coup! Imagine making's list of favorite women writers. How lucky are Jodi Picoult, Elizabeth Berg, Alice Munro, Toni Morrison, Kathryn Stockett, Anchee Min, Maya Angelou, Amy Bloom, Gaile Parkin, Louise Erdrich, and others?

Of course, luck is only part of the reason why all of the women on's list of favorite women writers are as visible as they are. Book promotion is partly luck, partly a question of implementing sound strategies, and partly being gifted enough to generate stellar word-of-mouth sales -- and to keep readers coming back, book after book, for years.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Facebook has become an integral part of book promotion. But...

Facebook, specifically, and social networking, in general, have become integral components of book promotion campaigns. Publishers tell all their authors to build up their base of friends, fans, and followers, and to regularly provide content to them via a variety of social networking venues. Authors, instinctively, know that it's a good idea to set up (or build up) their social networking presence when it's time to start a new book promotion campaign. Sure, it's great to get mainstream media interviews and other traditional book publicity opportunities. But how cool is it to have your old grade school companions buzzing about your new book? You just can't beat it.

It seemed as if social networking sites were doing everything right. Sometimes, their popularity was a bit troubling to the beyond-college-age crowd, but we still respected the staying power and evident influence that these social networking sites wielded.

And now this.

Facebook has been sharing users' private information with so much of the online universe that even serious Facebook enthusiasts have become alarmed. In fact, there's evidence that organized groups of Facebook users plan to close their accounts. Other disgruntled users may do the same once they realize how tough it is to truly opt out of all the automated Facebook sharing.

If Facebook loses significant numbers of users -- and if those who remain limit their communications to their "friends" -- then, of course, authors might find themselves spending less time promoting books via Facebook. They might take their book promotion energies elsewhere...say, to radio networks and newspapers...where the book publicity trail has long been blazed, and there's no danger of wasting energy on an audience that's tuning out on principle.

As a book publicist who appreciates having as many book publicity avenues as possible at my disposal, I hope Facebook finds a way to resolve the concerns its users have about privacy. Social networking can be time-consuming, but the payoff can be bliss -- if the user base grows. At this point, the jury is out on the future of social networking for book promotion and beyond.

For the record, I'm holding onto my Facebook account , but I'm only posting things about myself that I'd be pleased to have appear on the front page of the New York Times. That might be a good short-term solution for all of us.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Blogs and book promotion

Blogs have been an integral part of online book promotion campaigns since their inception. Bloggers are more accessible than book reviewers for the average author or publisher; they have more editorial discretion than book reviewers (who have to answer to their editors and account for their use of editorial space); and they're far more enthusiastic about finding content (Q&A's, guest columns, etc.) than the average newspaper or magazine editor.

So there's always been a close relationship between blogs and book promotion. Also, so many blogs have morphed into books that we've come to expect that popular bloggers will one day publish a book. In that way, blogs can serve as stepping stones to publishing books, and then blogs can act as continuing platforms for book promotion.

I'm no stranger, then to the relationship between blogs and books. But I did have to smile at a line I just read in the Huffington Post. Brenna Ehrlich, a 25-year-old blogger-turned-author, explains the advantage books have over blogs: "It's going to be in bookstores for awhile."


Oh, well. Who knows? Maybe Ehrlich's book will be an exception to the rule. Maybe it will receive so many book promotion opportunities that it actually will make it to bookstore shelves and linger there for good, long while.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Book promotion...for Google's benefit?

Will those of us who engage in book promotion be doing so for the benefit of Google in the not-so-distant future? Maybe.

Google is about to launch Google Editions which will make Google an official part of the book selling world. That means that Google will be a target for book publicists.

This book publicist was just getting used to the fact that Apple, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble were selling digital books. Now it seems that Google has become a part of the ebook universe, too.

Book promotion will never be the same ... which is a very exciting thing, regardless of how you feel about digital books.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

For proactive book promotion, participate in newsmaking.

Citizen journalists are in the best possible position for promoting books. They're not receiving book promotion opportunities. They're creating book publicity opportunities for themselves. Along with pitching reporters (and, of course, producers), they're becoming reporters themselves.

The latest entry into the citizen journalist media category is CivilBeat. The Associated Press reports (via MSNBC) that CivilBeat, which has just launched, was started by the founder of eBay, Pierre Omidyar.

Omidyar believes that citizen journalists will be willing to pay a monthly subscription fee for the opportunity to participate in the news reporting process. As a book publicist, I hope Omidyar is correct.

Every time an author can create a news story rather than become part of an article or segment that some other media decision maker is creating, that author has transformed book promotion from a passive process into a proactive book publicity opportunity. That's the type of book promotion effort this book publicist can get behind!

Monday, April 12, 2010

An very interesting book promotion campaign.

All book promotion campaigns are interesting to book publicists, but there's one book publicity campaign that I'll be watching especially closely: the book promotion campaign for Kitty Kelley's new book. Kelley, as you've probably heard by now, has penned an unauthorized biography of Oprah. You can read about it here.

I'm not necessarily in Kelley's target audience. I've never bought a copy of the National Enquirer, for example, and I try to stick to biographies authorized by either the subjects themselves or their heirs.

However, I do believe that nearly all books worth writing (and publishing) are worth promoting. Therefore, it's tough for me, as a book publicist, to note that Kelley doesn't even have a remote chance of appearing on Oprah's show or any media outlets that might, in any way, be associated with Oprah (and, because Oprah Winfrey has so many friends and supporters in the media, that probably includes virtually all media outlets).

That's too bad, because an authorized Oprah biography would have generated a limitless book promotion campaign. Every media outlet on planet Earth would have competed for an opportunity to interview its author. As it is, Kitty Kelley will have to struggle for even the most modest book publicity opportunity.

Alas for Kelley, but on the other hand, how fortunate for the subject of her book. For once, the subject of an unauthorized autobiography is in a position to control its book promotion potential. Lucky Oprah, and I guess we won't be reading or hearing much about your unauthorized biography in the weeks, and months, ahead!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Want a book promotion push?

Want a book promotion push? Then appear on NBC-TV's "Today" show.

That's what Carol Burnett did and, as of this writing, her new book, This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection ranks number 19 on Amazon.

Check out some of the legends who endorsed Carol Burnett's new book: Billy Crystal, Ellen DeGeneres, Tony Bennett, Hal Prince, and Julie Andrews (you can see their endorsements on the Amazon book page for This Time Together). Book promotion tip number #240: If you want to sell your book, get endorsements for it from this crowd.

I've finished blogging. Now, Carol, you're about to sell another book. Anyone want to join me? And, no, I don't get a cut of sales.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Literary promotion campaigns are enhanced by generosity.

A literary publicist knows one thing for certain: generosity with promotional copies of books will enhance a book promotion campaign while, conversely, stinginess with review copies of books will sabotage a book publicity campaign.

Recently, a couple of authors with whom I work questioned whether they wanted to "comp" all of the books that the media requested. In one case, an author wanted to send only three books for an on-air book giveaway instead of the six books the host of the radio show had requested. The radio show host declined, and that literary publicity campaign fell by the wayside. In the second case, a radio show producer requested a copy of book, and the author questioned whether it was worth complying with the request. "I don't want to waste my resources," said the author. "Unless you can guarantee that the producer will interview me, I'm disinclined to send out a free copy of the book."

I understand, to some extent. Money is tight. It's frustrating to send out promotional copies of books when each copy you send doesn't necessarily result in a book promotion opportunity.

However, as a book publicist, I know that you can't conduct a successful literary promotion campaign unless you send out a copy of the book to all qualified media decision makers (and experienced literary publicists know who is, and who isn't, a qualified media decision maker) who request one. The expense of sending out review copies of books is minimal compared to the cost of holding onto the books and hoping the media will feature your book, and your targeted audience will buy your book, anyway.

It doesn't work that way. Book stinginess sabotages book sales. On the other hand, generosity with review copies of books leads to the literary publicity opportunities you want and need.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Want a quick, easy book promotion opportunity?

Want a quick, easy book promotion opportunity? If you're a healthcare or an insurance expert -- or, even better, if you're a healthcare insurance expert -- then you're in luck if you're currently promoting your book.

Congress's timing was perfect. The healthcare legislation passed at 10:00PM, Eastern Time, Sunday night. What will be the lead story on Monday? You bet. Healthcare.

For every author who is a healthcare expert, and who has something valuable to contribute to the national dialogue about the healthcare bill, this is the best book publicity opportunity that will ever be handed to you. By all means: contact the media and let them know that you have something to say -- immediately! Or, if you're lucky enough to be working with a book publicist, let the book promotion expert know that you're ready to go out to the media with your statement -- now!

Update your Facebook status to reflect your statement. Tweet your statement. Blog about your position. And pitch television and radio producers, and newspaper editors, and magazine editors, and web site editors. Post comments on major blogs that are related to healthcare. Let all your social networking groups hear your statement about the healthcare legislation. And hurry!

Spontaneity counts. If you're a healthcare expert, and you have a book out now -- and if you don't jump on this opportunity to garner media attention and the "eyeballs" of those in your social network -- then other authors will. Don't let your competitors get the jump on you. The book promotion opportunities are there for you now, so seek them out and enjoy them!

And for authors and publishers who are seeking to promote books, this is how it's done. Look for a news tie-in, match your expertise to it, and you're well on your way to a successful book promotion campaign.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Book promotion is also what you do for other writers.

As a book publicist, I'm biased enough to believe that book promotion describes what we do for my clients: the television, radio, and print interview opportunities that come my clients' way, the book reviews we garner, the blog and web site mentions we facilitate, the articles we publish, the press releases we disseminate, and so forth. I rarely think of book promotion as something authors can do for other authors, but a wonderful blog entry by Lisa Romeo reminds me that if you want to receive book publicity opportunities then it's always a good idea to provide support for other authors (and publishers): buying their books, attending their book signings and other events, joining (and participating in) their social networks, and doing whatever else you can think of to bring visibility to others.

Lisa Romeo, who teaches writing classes and wears a whole lot of other publishing industry hats besides, works hard to promote the books of other authors because it's the right thing to do. She hopes that, when she publishes her own book, the authors she's helped will remember her example and provide her with their support. But, even if she never publishes book (although I'm strongly hoping she will!), Lisa will still feel good about supporting authors because that makes her a solid and respected citizen of the literary community.

The challenge is for everyone else in the book publishing community to live up to the example Lisa Romeo sets. Can we do it? I know that I'm inspired to do just that.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Authors on shaky ground should fear book promotion.

As I read between the lines of a March 8, 2010 New York Times article, "Pondering Good Faith in Publishing," something occurred to me: nonfiction authors who haven't been 100% concerned about the veracity of their words should fear book promotion opportunities. An appearance on Oprah's show isn't the Holy Grail if your work would not hold up under careful scrutiny.

Yes, most authors I run into as a book publicist dream of scoring national book promotion opportunities, and many of them do. I haven't run into a situation where that's been a problem for my authors or for me. Then again, the authors I've represented have all written with honesty and integrity.

So I issue this warning not to my book promotion clients, past, present, or future, but rather, to nonfiction authors whose research has been sloppy or who have embellished their stories: steer clear of book promotion for your sake, for the media's sake, for the public's sake ... and for book publicists' sake.

In other words: be honest. Or be invisible.

Monday, March 01, 2010

How to minimize book promotion campaign frustrations.

Here's book promotion frustration #101. A client just emailed me because her publisher's in-house publicist scheduled a radio show interview for this afternoon, and the radio show producer didn't call. My client cancelled other appointments to free herself up for this book promotion opportunity. I emailed her the following:

Your experience isn't unusual. Radio producers (and hosts) usually mean well, but they can easily get sidetracked. I always try to get the radio's studio line when I'm booking an interview, and I assume that, -- 3 out of 5 times -- the author will have to use it. When the publicist you're working with gives you a studio line, hold onto it. Then, if you don't hear from the radio producer a minute or two before your scheduled appointment, call that studio line. Explain who you are, and you should be connected to the host or, at least, you'll be able to reschedule the interview (and you'll be in a favorable position to reschedule the interview on your terms!).

Monday, February 22, 2010

How this book publicist's week started.

This blog could also be titled: How to turn a very nice book promotion campaign accomplishment sour.

So here's how this book publicist's week started. I had to apologize to a media contact for a former client's actions.

What happened was this. Over the weekend, I received an email from a radio show host sending me a link to a lovely book review he'd graciously written and which was published on his station's web site. Because I considered the book review to be a result of a book promotion campaign that I conducted (even though the book promotion campaign ended a few months ago), I forwarded the radio show host's email to the author without first removing the radio show host's contact information. It never occurred to me that there was a reason to strip out the contact information, and there is a practical reason for including it, since I often have clients who are gracious enough to send media folks thank-you notes for providing them with book publicity opportunities.

Wouldn't you know that, this morning, the author carbon copied me on an email he's sent to the radio show host that critiqued the book review and requested a revision? I was mortified -- now I was obligated to email the radio show host, apologize for passing along his contact information to an ungrateful author, and assure him that none of my clients would be contacting him directly in the future.

And all of that happened to this book publicist before 8:00 on Monday morning. Can I start this week over again, please? Book promotion is supposed to be fun! What happened here?

Friday, February 19, 2010

From the NYT bestseller list to jail.

Have you heard about Kevin Trudeau's book, The Weight Loss Cure? Trudeau, whom describes as a "TV pitchman," is the author of Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You to Know About, Debt Cures: "They" Don't Want You to Know About, and The Weight Loss Cure: "They" Don't Want You to Know About. His books have been on the New York Times bestseller list. But because Trudeau's integrity has been called into question, and because he seems to have found himself in a conflict with Judge Robert Gettleman (it seems that Trudeau stands accused of writing an unhelpful book and then rallying his readers to flood the judge's inbox with emails that support Trudeau and his diet book), Trudeau may be headed to jail.

Trudeau may serve a prison sentence and incur a huge fine as a consequence of his actions, but there's one positive thing this book publicist would say about him. If authors and publishers need any extra incentive to always conduct book promotion campaigns with integrity, and to always make honesty the first priority of a book publicity effort, then Trudeau is it.

Kevin Trudeau had achieved the dream of every author and every publisher.

And now he'll pay for it.

And he more than deserves to pay for it, according to the reports I've seen.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Did someone say "51-city book tour?"!!!!

Yes, we all enjoy book publicity, and we all appreciate the value of hard work and guerilla book promotion and dedicated self-promotion.

But -- wow! According to the Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Skloot arranged a 51-city book tour to promote her bestselling nonfiction book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

A 51-city book tour? That averages out to (yes, even this mathematically-challenged book publicist can figure it out) more than one book publicity stop per U.S. state!

It took Rebecca Skloot ten years to publish her book, and all of her hard work and effort paid off. Clearly, all the hard work and effort (and time and money) she's putting into her book publicity campaign is paying off, too.

But...a 51-city book tour? That's the most amazing book promotion effort I've heard of in recent times! I'm glad to see it's paying off for Skloot and for her publisher.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

No book promotion in a blizzard.

I'm postponing a few book promotion activities that I had scheduled for today due to a major snowstorm that's shutting down much of the Eastern seaboard. My clients had a choice about whether to move forward with our book publicity efforts today or postpone them until next week. My advice was to postpone them.

Here's my reasoning. The media will be covering the snowstorm. Even if the blizzard turns out to be a dud, the media will be covering the fact that it's a dud, and the fact that it's a dud will be breaking news. In the even that the snowstorm is as serious as it's supposed to be, the media will be focused on little but that all day today, and probably much of tomorrow, too. Besides which, many members of the media probably will not commute to work in a major snowstorm, and those who do report to the office will rush to complete their urgent tasks so they can go home early.

Thus, this book publicist is treating the snowstorm as if it were a catastrophic breaking news story. Since I'm not now representing an expert on how to survive in life-threatening emergencies, I'll take a break from pitching the media until the snowstorm winds down and cleanup is well underway.

But next will be onto book promotion again! In the meantime, there's plenty of strategizing to be done. Book publicity campaigns and media pitches don't conceptualize themselves.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

How many books will I sell if I invest $10,000 in a book promotion campaign?

An author emailed me today to ask a very reasonable question:

How many books will I sell if I invest $10,000 in a book promotion campaign?

I wish I had a reasonable, pithy response. Unfortunately, the best that I could do was to send him the following reply:

It's very hard to equate dollars spent on book promotion with book sales. Here are the challenges inherent in even taking a guess.

First, the results of PR efforts are, to some extent (although not wholly) unpredictable. I can make predictions (based on my twenty years of experience as a book publicist) about how the media might respond to my pitches (note, though, that I take on only book promotion projects that I feel show a great deal of promise). However, I can't know for certain how the media will respond until the media does (or doesn't) respond. While I work with the media and know have a very respectful sense of how they think and what they want -- the producers/hosts and editors/writers with whom I'm in touch make their own decisions about which books and authors to feature. I can nudge them, and I can influence them, but I can't control them. The fact that I've booked other clients on media outlet A is no guarantee that I can book any other particular client on media outlet A. My media contacts make their booking/featuring decisions on a case-by-case basis.

Second, as a book publicist, it's my job to conceptualize and execute creative, professional book promotion campaigns. Simply put, I pitch stories and articles to the media, and I communicate the results of my efforts to authors, and sometimes, to their publishers. Neither authors nor publishers (nor self-published authors) would have any reason to report their book sales to me. As that's sensitive information, I never ask for it. And I haven't yet had a client who has volunteered it. Frankly, I consider that private business, and I don't want to know it.

Even if I did know how many books a client sold, I'd be unable to take credit for those sales, much as I might want to (particularly if the book were a bestseller). Some successful authors I've represented have had more irons in the fire than a book promotion campaign, and those other activities have helped the cause of book sales. Also, to be fair, nearly all of my clients have received -- and count on receiving -- benefits from their book promotion campaign that transcend book sales. A successful book promotion campaign gives authors an opportunity to build their brand, gain credibility for themselves as experts, disseminate their messages, find speaking engagement opportunities that will pay (or reasons to increase their fees for speaking engagements based on their high media visibility), and so forth.

In short, I can't offer you a scientific formula for deciding how much money to spend on a book promotion campaign. I can, and will, offer up two thoughts, though. First, if you invest nothing in promoting your book, readers are unlikely to find it. There's just too much competition out there for shrinking book-buying budgets to fail to promote a book and expect positive results. To give your book a fighting chance to succeed, you must gain media visibility for it. Second, book publicity is a risky investment. Sometimes, an author's investment pays off in book sales (etc.), and sometimes, it does not. Never invest more money in book promotion than you can afford to lose.

Finally, I've had the great fun recently of promoting my own self-published novelty cookbook, "101 Recipes for Microwave Mug Cakes." While I will not divulge sale figures, I can tell you that -- with an appearance on Harpo Productions' "The Rachael Ray Show," a mention on CNET and on, and a steady stream of placements and interviews and reviews on radio, in newspapers, on blogs, and elsewhere on the Net (you can click here,, to see an overview of my book promotion campaign to date), I've been delighted with the results of my book promotion and self promotion efforts. I've been tickled to find proof of concept. Book promotion can work very well, and help you achieve your goals (of selling books and beyond) if your efforts are meaningful and creative and sustained.

If I were willing to give you a ballpark guess in answer to your question of "how many book sales would a $10,000 investment in book promotion buy me," I'd feel disingenuous, and I just can't compromise my integrity to give you less-than-honest response. Therefore, as counterintuitive as it may seem, I think I help you best by declining to "fudge" an answer to your question.


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Web sites are key components of book promotion.

Book web sites are key components of book publicity campaigns. That's why they have to be done well.

Designing a book web site well does not mean integrating as many Flash components and as much eye candy as possible. On the contrary: anything that distracts the web site's visitors will ensure that visitors keep their visits short. Just as importantly, the very bad design elements that turn off visitors are also likely to turn off search engines. So keep it simple, and do your visitors (and would-be book buyers and media decision-makers) and search engine a favor.

I came across an example of a bad web design choice this morning while scanning the news online (which is the first of my book promotion tasks every day as I seek ways to tie clients' books and expertise into what's happening in the world). While I was checking out's headlines, I was faced with a choice between reading about the CIA's certainty that Al-Qaida will attack the U.S. within a few months or checking out why a Newsweek writer believes Meryl Streep is overrated as an actress.

I chose to read the latter -- or, at least, I tried to read the latter. Unfortunately, the web page featured a black background with a white typeface. Really bad idea. Now, as I look at a white background with a black typeface, I'm seeing horizontal black stripes across the page.

That's unnecessary, and the web site designer should have known better than to create something cute rather than functional. The takeaway? Make sure your book web site designer focuses on readability and search engine optimization. That will work, and you'll have a web site that's an asset to your book promotion campaign. Anything else is just indefensible.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Are book trailers a silly approach to book promotion?

Are book trailers a silly waste of time for those who want to promote books? Laura Miller, writing for Salon, says they are and cites examples of badly-produced (and ill-conceived) book trailers that detract from, rather than enhance, book promotion efforts.

But concluding that all book trailers are a silly approach to book promotion doesn't make any more sense than deciding that blogging for book publicity is a bad idea after you've seen a badly-written book blog, or reasoning that media releases don't work after you've seen an incompetently-handled press release (most likely, one that reads as if it were an ad for a book, which won't accomplish anything, rather than an actual news release, which most likely will help you achieve your book promotion goals).

A good book trailer, on a professionally designed web site (and on You Tube and other video-sharing sites), can be a part of a highly effective, and perhaps even a viral, book marketing campaign. And, of course, a book trailer can enhance your online footprint which means it will improve your search engine rankings. You'll also vastly expand your potential online audience with your book trailer. These are all good reasons to consider hiring someone to create a book trailer for you.

A bad book trailer isn't likely to enhance your online credibility, so avoid the temptation to create a book trailer on the cheap just to have a book trailer. But don't be shy about considering a book trailer as a potential asset to your book publicity campaign. There's nothing silly about them. Book trailers can be an important part of your book promotion strategy. Just hire the right firm to help you get it right. Most book promotion firms would be glad to give you some recommendations (and, no, an honest book publicist will not accept a commission for the referral).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Book promotion campaign on the rocks?

Is your book promotion campaign on the rocks? If your book is with a major publishing house, and your book publicity campaign has stalled before it started, then it might be because your in-house book publicist has James Patterson Syndrome.

Check out the New York Times's article about the attention a James Patterson books gets from its publisher. Because Patterson's vast number of books reliably bring in a tremendous sum of money for his publisher, Little, Brown & Co. gives Patterson's books all of the attention and nurturing they need -- possibly to the detriment of other books that haven't yet proven themselves as moneymakers.

Every major publisher has its James Patterson, and that phenomenon of highlighting one author to the detriment of all other authors is what I call James Patterson Syndrome. It's when your publisher's in-house book marketing team doesn't know that your book exists.

Is there a news story you could speak about? Could you shed some light on a study, or does your novel tie into a trend? Could you lend your expertise to a season or an event? Maybe, but your phone isn't ringing, and your inbox is empty, and it's because your in-house book promotion team's energies are tied up elsewhere.

So, if your book promotion campaign is on the rocks, and you're hearing "sorry, we're just getting no media response" from your publisher's book marketing people (or, worse still, if you're hearing only silence from your publisher's book publicity team), then it's time to take your book promotion campaign into your own hands.

It's time to conduct your own book promotion campaign, which you can do with, or without, help from an independent book publicist, depending on your time, resources, and goals. You don't have to miss major media opportunities because James Patterson Syndrome has eaten up the lion's share of your publisher's time and energy. You can believe in your own book, and you can use the traditional media as well as the online media and social networking to direct your book's destiny.

We can't all enjoy James Patterson's status, skill, and good fortune. But we can make sure that our book promotion campaigns don't get left in the dust before they even get off the ground.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Book Promotion Changes on the Horizon

For book publicists, authors, and publishers who conduct book promotion campaigns, it seems that there are changes on the horizon. The zenith of every book publicity campaign is, of course, a national television show appearance. Almost every author wants to appear on national TV; a select few are lucky enough to have that opportunity.

For years, it seemed that the Holy Grail was an invitation to appear on the nationally-syndicated Oprah Winfrey Show. But, as we all know, Oprah Winfrey has announced that her show is ending, and if we want to see Oprah on the air, we'll have to watch her new television show on OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network), which is affiliated with Discovery Communications. Who knows whether Oprah's new OWN show will still be a haven for authors?

And now another national television talk show host, Martha Stewart, is following in Oprah's footsteps. Martha's television show is moving from syndication to the Hallmark Channel, according to this Associated Press (via MSNBC) story. Never mind the fact that fewer homes receive the Hallmark Channel than receive the broadcast channels on which Martha's show now airs. Martha's programming will be available for three hours every day. That's a trade-off that works for Martha.

The question is, how will the changes in the national television shows work for those who are conducting book promotion campaigns? If moving from broadcast TV to cable TV is a trend for national television shows, and the cable-aired television shows have fewer potential viewers, will these national TV shows continue to be the high point of a book promotion campaign?

We'll see whether other national TV shows on broadcast channels will follow Oprah and Winfrey to cable television. If so, we'll see whether that changes the landscape of book promotion campaigns. It seems to me it could ... and it seems to me it probably will.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

An off-the-wall promotion campaign by Amazon.

Here's an off-the-wall promotion campaign by Amazon: order a Kindle, and if you don't like it, Amazon will refund your money. In other words, if you buy the Amazon Kindle and then hate it, you may have it for free. Huh.

You might have received this odd offer, but then again, you might not have. (This book publicist and frequent Amazon book buyer did not receive the offer.)

I heard about the Kindle promotion campaign that Amazon is apparently running at TechCrunch. I wonder whether anyone else thinks the offer to refund a dissatisfied Kindle buyer's money is as odd as I do. (TechCrunch points out that Amazon isn't making it easy for a dissatisfied Kindle buyer to get that refund, which doesn't surprise me.)

As someone who hopes to buy an ebook reader as soon as the format wars end (or, at least, come to a natural pause), I was hoping to see a different Kindle promotion -- say, agree to buy X number of books through Amazon and receive a free (or vastly discounted) Kindle. It was a promotional offer of that nature that finally pushed me over the edge when I considered buying a DVD player, so I'm confident that a Kindle promotion that's tied into a book-buying obligation would be a solid promotional ploy for Amazon to consider.

But who am I telling? I'm sure Amazon has already considered that idea, and uncomfortable with it, for now.

Well, okay. While Amazon is waiting, we'll see what other types of ebook readers are brought to the table...and we'll (or, at least, I will) spend the time considering which type of ebook reader I'd actually prefer.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Good book promotion news

Here's some good news for those of us who engage in book promotion and book publicity campaigns: there's a new book review outlet in town.

MediaBistro is launching GalleyCat Reviews, a new source of book reviews, on January 25, 2010. Although the editorial guidelines haven't yet been set in stone, the editors are providing contact information for authors, publishers, and book publicists who are interested in getting a foot in the door early. You can find the contact information for GalleyCat Reviews here.

With so many book review opportunities either drying up or in danger of shutting down, it's wonderful to see the online media world step up to the plate with its own book review possibilities. Book promotion and book publicity campaigns always involve the online media, of course, but new book review opportunities from major online media outlets such as MediaBistro gives book publicists an excuse to incorporate an online book promotion component into every book publicity campaign.

See? Book reviews aren't dead. They've simply relocated to online media outlets.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Kirkus is back, and just in time for your book promotion campaign.

Well, Kirkus is back. Kirkus, as you know, announced in December 2009 that it would cease publication, but now both the New York Times and Publishers Weekly have announced that Kirkus is still seeking galleys -- so maybe it's not dead after all (or, at least, not yet). According to Managing Editor Eric Liebetrau, another company is in the process of acquiring Kirkus -- perhaps in time for your book promotion campaign.

No one wants to see a magazine fold, and news that Kirkus's demise was especially troubling to authors, publishers, book publicists, and other publishing industry professionals because book review outlets (if you discount online book review outlets such as blogs and online bookstores) have seriously contracted during the past few years. No one who cares about book promotion wanted to lose yet another venue for potential media exposure.

So it looks as though Kirkus may be with us for awhile longer, if we're lucky. Cross your fingers, everyone, and hope that the news is a good omen for 2010.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Press releases designed to help your book promotion campaign

Editors, producers, hosts, bloggers, and (staff and freelance) writers receive press releases from everyone who is embarking on a book promotion campaign. It's tempting to use buzzwords to get the attention of the media, but I've just read an article that reminded me of a key book publicity concept: "cool" can backfire.

A Time Magazine online article revealed a list of words that Lake Superior State University (which has been releasing such lists for 35 years) recommends we ban because of their over-use. Among those words, unfortunately, are many that you might want to use in your press releases because they're so "in" right now. But "in" words can quickly become tiring, so -- for example -- using "friend" as a verb in your next press release probably isn't going to score you points with the recipient. Using the phrase "shovel-ready" likely won't work any better for you.

So remember that, to get the media's attention and to keep your press release from getting tossed (or deleted, depending on how your delivery mechanism), avoid using the words you hear everywhere -- at least until, once again, the words become "uncool" enough to take their place in our communal vocabularies once again.