Thursday, August 26, 2010

Talking Up The Book

This week I have been thinking about book publicity...not because I have a book coming out...although a few friends here have...(general jubilation) but because of the hype of Mockingjay on a lot of the blogs I read. 

The Hunger Games was a sleeper that woke up really quickly after it won critical acclaim. But it was already gathering a huge youth readership through word of mouth.  It is a cracking read...

A couple of days ago I was in a chain book store in the mall that likes to promote itself as the specialist book store and I witnessed two teens come up to the counter and ask for Mockingjay. The store manager was behind the counter and he didn’t know if they had the book or when they might be getting he looked up on the computer and found that the arrival date was uncertain. 

I was slightly gobsmacked and being the interested (nosy)person that I am, I got into conversation with the manager. 
Did you know how huge the arrival of the third book is in the States? Oh really I didn’t think it was that huge.(Did this guy read any industry newsletters?) Well isn’t it interesting that you are getting teens coming in to ask about the book? Yes I’m only on the front desk for a few hours a day and I’ve had four requests from Teens about the book. (well duh isn’t this telling you something?) 
So I asked how many copies of the book they had ordered? Oh 10 do you think I should order more? Yes!  

Ok anytime you have TEENS coming in to talk/ask an adult behind a counter in a BOOKSHOP about a BOOK and you have seen no publicity about the book... wouldn’t it suggest that maybe there should be some investigation...
Basic store publicity (five minutes on the store printer) a sign in the shop window...'Order your copy of Mockingjay now! The cost of a teaspoon full of ink and five minutes could result in big book sales of hardcover books, not to mention street cred with teens... (On Twitter I note today the comments that bookstores have piles of Mockingjay taller than the sales assistants...)   

So how can we effectively market our books?

Maureen Crisp has got the kiwi perspective.

I asked long time Book Publicist Kathryn Carmody a few questions about how authors can plan their publicity and promote their forthcoming book. Kathryn very kindly answered the questions and added a few more to think about.

How far in advance should you plan Book Publicity?
Generally speaking, the earlier the better. It's August now and I'm talking with bi-monthly and glossy consumer magazines about November and December titles. The sales reps are selling November titles into bookstores this month too.

What is the most effective thing the Author can do to promote their book?
When you're being interviewed for a media story, remember to request that the book's title be mentioned. It's seems an obvious thing to do but you'd be amazed how often stories run without mentioning that there's a book at all.      

Are different types of publicity more effective than others in terms of book sales?
Because publicity works by referral from sources one trusts, community networks can be every bit as helpful as, for example, an interview with a top-rating radio host. The interview that is published or broadcast nationwide will help your book reach a wider audience faster but it's not unusual for a major interview to come about because a journalist saw a story in a newsletter and decided to follow up.
Timing is a part of the answer to this question too. Media coverage can be coordinated so it coincides with a book's actual availability: its in-store date.   

What publicity tools would be useful for an author to have on hand?          
The book’s media release; an eye-catching author photo (with photographer's credit) and the book's cover image, both as 300DPI JPGs, total file size not larger than 1MG; a corded phone to improve the sound quality of your radio interviews; a website with all the usual things but also a shopping facility that points to your local bookshop and a mailing list that fans can subscribe to, for advance notice of your next book.

Kathryn is a successful freelance publicist who is in demand because of her specialist skills. She is always willing to help and advise writers. She volunteers her time and skills frequently from Spinning Gold to Storylines...and is a valuable member of the (children’s) writing community here in Wellington. (Thanks Kathryn!)
Over on Craicerplus My Amplify page I have links to articles on
Eleven Beloved Children’s Books With Seriously Dubious Lessons
Seth Godin To No Longer Publish Books Traditionally
How to submit your book to Penguin without an Agent (this is a helpful article if you want to take advantage of Penguin UK opening their email to unsolicited submissions)
13 Writing Rules To Live By- (Tahereh is a genius so say I)
12 Deep Thoughts From Chip MacGregors Mail Box
Character Names To Avoid

I’ll leave you with the book trailer for Mockingjay....


Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (The Final book of the Hunger
Uploaded by expandedbooks. - Classic TV and last night's shows, online.


KC said...

Thanks for your kind words Maureen, it's a fun job with excellent colleagues.
Fancy Penguin UK taking unsoliciteds until October, think I'll go point that out to a few people...
- KCx

KC said...

Thanks for your kind words Maureen, it's a fun job with excellent colleagues.
Fancy Penguin UK taking unsoliciteds until October... Think I'll go point that out to a few people, would hate them to miss it. - KCx

Maureen said...

Yes I think that news is worthy of two comments myself! Stop and think about it readers...Unsolicited Manuscripts to Penguin UK...In your dreams...NOT! Go and find out how to do it...warning for a limited time...
(hint...check my Amplify page...all the info is on there)

Melinda Szymanik said...

all fantastic information Maureen although I can't help lamenting those days when all writers had to do was write the book

word ver - alegi, what dumb countries have instead of an army

Maureen said...

alegi- Interestingly Switzerland maintains it's neutral status through controlling the worlds banking...there was a move to make New Zealand neutral by having it become the repository of the worlds information...think very big computers holding very sensitive information....It hasn't happened yet because the US is relying on it's military hardware/software to do this....

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