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.