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.