Archive for the ‘Book Expo’ Category

Gimmicks Can Work

June 2, 2007

The Weekend Edition of the Today Show was reviewing books to read at the beach and one of them caught my attention. It was a book called Poolside, or 14 stories from a number of well-known authors about their experiences around a swimming pool. The gimmick for this book is that it’s waterproof. In fact, they had a little plastic pool and fished it out of the water on the show.

I have no idea how the short presentation affected other people but I went to my computer and ordered one. It worked to get me and purchase the book. It’s definitely different and I’ll be curious to see what it looks and feels like–then to read the book. The real test is not going to be the gimmick. It’s going to be what is contained in the pages. If the writing and content is excellent, then I will probably be telling even more people about it.

With the proliferation of books, media and product in the marketplace, it is a challenge to get someone to purchase the book in the first place. The next step is to produce something so excellent the user becomes an evangelist for your product. You want to enable that person to actively spread the word about your book any chance they get the opportunity. It’s some of the principles of Greg Stielstra’s excellent book, Pyromarketing. If you don’t have it, get it and I recommend you read his introduction. I’ll be watching my mailbox for my copy of Poolside so I can check it out for myself.

One more thing: Numerous times in these entries, I’ve recommended snipurl.com. Their site has undergone a major overhaul. They say they are in beta mode but I applaud their improvements to the site. If you’ve never used it, register and log on to the site because then you can create your own private abbreviations for various links. It’s a terrific resource that I use throughout my day.

The Unknown City

May 6, 2007

Several years ago at an ASJA luncheon, I had the opportunity to meet lifelong New Yorker Pete Hamill. Whether fiction or nonfiction, Hamill writes about New York City.

I love the feeling in New York City with its rich heritage and diversity. It’s fun for me to melt into the crowd and ride the subway to different parts of the city. I often purchase a seven-day unlimited pass to ride to different parts of the city. It’s normal for New Yorkers but it stirs a sense of adventure for me to go uptown or downtown on the local or express trains.

Later this month, New York will be the host for Book Expo America. In honor of that event, Publisher’s Weekly included a stirring piece from Hamill about his city. Hamill writes, “Nobody truly knows New York, not even most New Yorkers. The city is too large, too dense and layered to be intimately known by anyone. I was born here, the first son of Irish immigrants, during the first term of Franklin D. Roosevelt. I grew up on the streets of Brooklyn, attended schools here, and worked for more than 40 joyous years as a reporter and columnist on the newspapers of the wider city.” I loved how the heritage and memories of the long tradition of the city are woven into this article. I hope you will read the entire article.

How can you weave this type of emotion and detail into your own writing? Can you capture the sense of place in your nonfiction magazine articles? Can you take me to the place with your fiction? It takes continual creative work for each of us to find the right words for each piece of our writing. Many people aren’t willing to do this work. Today I’d encourage you to lift your head and rise up beyond the ordinary in your writing. You can do it with the right amount of energy and effort. Let’s learn from the example from Pete Hamill.