Another Promotion Idea Factory

Not another one, I groaned to myself as I pulled this book out of the envelope. I’ve got a number of how-to books on my shelf (which I’ve read) about publicity and book promotion. I can empathize with M.J. Rose last week who was a panelist last week at ThrillerFest in a workshop called Buzz Your Thriller. She told about reading Jacqueline Deval’s great book, Publicize Your Book. M.J. told the audience, “It’s like a Bible for publicity. After reading that book, I was so depressed.” Why? Because as M.J. said, you can’t let yourself get frustrated reading this information. “You can’t do everything J.A. Konrath says to do in your blog.” J.A. Konrath was also at ThrillerFest (I didn’t connect with him) but he was also at the event. If you don’t know, J.A. Konrath is in the middle of a two-month book tour where he’s determined to reach 500 bookstores this summer. Now that’s a lot of bookstores. I’m afraid I fall into the category like M.J. Rose who admitted she isn’t that outgoing to meet and greet that many bookstore personnel then the people that come for the signing. No matter what it’s an interesting strategy. To some degree you may find these promotion books frustrating but keep in mind this simple fact: you can’t do everything but you can do something.

Author 101 Book PublicityOK, back to my groaning with this new how-to book called Bestselling Book Publicity by Rick Frishman and Robyn Freedman Spizman which is part of the Author 101 series (don’t get confused because each of these books say “Author 101” in huge letters but the name of the book is something else—and this one has a green cover). I know Rick and Robyn wrote this book to fit into their series of how-to books and Rick is a true expert in this area of promotion because is the president of Planned Television Arts, which is one of the top PR firms in the country. I read this book and it has terrific content. I plan to highlight some of it during the next entry or two on the Writing Life. Here’s a key aspect of book promotion from their introduction, “In order for people to read your book, they must first hear about it, learn that it exists. If they never hear about it, all the amazing information you’ve compiled, all the new ideas you explained, and all of the poetic descriptions you composed will never penetrate their minds. If readers don’t know about your book, your words won’t have a voice.” They continue to talk about the fierce competition for our attention as readers. Then say, “Every author—from the most noted, perennial bestseller to the complete novice—needs to publicize his or her book. Even if your publisher’s in-house team is promoting your title full steam, you also must promote. It can be the difference between its being widely read and not read at all.”

How’s that for a dose or reality?

Here’s the key reason all of us can learn something from this new book, “To publicize your book, you can employ an endless assortment of tactics, the options are virtually unlimited—a bottomless pit. No single formula, guaranteed method, or foolproof recipe can make every book succeed; however, many approaches do work. As professional publicists and authors, we’ve used those approaches. They have succeeded for our clients and us big-time. Now, we want to teach them to you in this book…When we agreed to write this book, we fully understood that we couldn’t cover all of the bases; that it would be impossible to teach you every book-publicity tactic that has ever worked. You see, unlike baseball, publicity doesn’t have just four bases, it has thousands of them, and publicists—a remarkably inventive group—keep devising more every day.”

Welcome to another promotion idea factory. Bestselling Book Publicity contains some great insight and I’ll be back to highlight some of it.

3 Responses to “Another Promotion Idea Factory”

  1. relevantgirl Says:

    There seems to be two ways of thought about publicity/marketing (I know, two different beasts). One opinion is here:

    I disagree. I think there was a time when novelists could “do their job” and write, but now it’s part of our job to help with publicity and marketing. What kind of advice do you give an author who simply wants to write?

  2. Terry Whalin Says:

    In some cases, excellent writing from an author is all you are able to get from this person. Maybe they have a full-time day job and no interest in the marketing aspects. If you want their writing, then you have to take what they give you–without the marketing efforts (which will have to be handled another way). I guess the plea is for some level of balance–excellence in craft and storytelling–yet also spending a bit of energy on promotion.

    If the author has no interest in promotion then the publisher’s option is not to take the work and press on to someone else who does have energy in this area–that’s the real risk for the writer–and especially with the high volume of possibilities that come across an editor’s desk.

  3. JA Konrath Says:

    What kind of advice do you give an author who simply wants to write?

    If you want to write full time, expect there to be full time hours.

    Even if it takes you two hours to write a single page, that’s still four pages a day. In 100 days, you have a book.

    The rest of the year should be spent promoting that book.

    Publishing is a partnership between writer an publisher. Your publisher helps you write the book, in the form of editing. You can help them sell the book, in the form of self-promotion.

    Ignore this at your own peril.

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