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.