Friday, September 7, 2007

Model product placement, Blog Buzz & True Crime

Model product placement

For those of you who keep up with this stuff, New York Fashion Week is well underway in Bryant Park. In an effort to bring attention to their latest release, Skinny Bitch in the Kitch: Kick-Ass Solutions for Hungry Girls Who Want to Stop Eating Crap (And Start Looking Hot!) Running Press had models strut their stuff on the catwalk wearing T-shirts advertising the book. In an interview with Shelf Awareness, Running Press CEO David Steinberger said, “We felt it was the right week to bring attention to the book.” On the front, the T-shirts have a picture of the cover of the book. The back reads, “The Bitch is Back.”

How’s that for product placement? Almost as good as having Victoria Beckham carry it around LA.

So far the original Skinny Bitch diet book has managed to sell 200,000 copies and remains on many bestseller lists. Personally, seeing a gorgeous model who probably never works out (and eats tons of carbs a day) advertising a diet book is a bit of a stretch for me. Nevertheless, Running Press’s creative PR efforts are obviously paying off.

Buzz for this blog!

Thanks to the Grumpy Old Bookman for a great write-up about Phenix & Phenix and this blog. Here’s what he had to say:

“Phenix & Phenix is a firm of publishing publicists based in Austin, Texas. Their main web site contains some interesting information for published writers and for those who wannabe: they report, for instance, that their self-published client Sherrie Mathieson is about to published by Random House. Which is a nice encouraging story for first thing in the morning -- though note, please, that it is a non-fiction book. Ninety per cent of publishing is non-fiction, a statistic often overlooked amid all the razzmatazz.

More to the point, perhaps, Phenix and Phenix staff have just started a blog. This makes available further chunks of free and valuable information for writers. See, for example, the piece on how to get ink in a publishing trade journal; or how to prepare for a radio/TV interview.”

Those of you who aren’t avid readers of Grumpy Old Bookman should check it out. Listed by The Guardian as one of its top ten literary blogs of 2005, Grumpy Old Bookman is one of the most comprehensive blogs that deals with the publishing industry. On the site, you'll find Michael Allen's take on industry trends, book reviews, scam alerts and a very impressive list of links to other book blogs. We highly recommend it!

Stranger than fiction

Anybody see this story earlier this week? Please forgive the tired pun that leads into this section, but is this not the definition of that phrase? After receiving an anonymous tip about a murder that took place in 2000, Polish police arrested and convicted an author who wrote about an eerily similar scene in his novel, Amok.

Here is a brief summary from the AP:

"Police quickly identified the victim as Janiszewski, the owner of a local advertising agency who had disappeared four weeks earlier. But authorities struggled to solve the case and abandoned it after six months.

Five years later, a tip led them to Bala's novel, and the similarities between the fictional and real-life murders. The shared traits aroused investigators' suspicions, although the parallels were not part of the court case.

The judge said Bala was driven by jealousy to kill Janiszewski, whom Bala suspected of having an affair with his estranged wife. Prosecutors said Janiszewski and Bala's wife had become friends, and spent a night together in a Wroclaw hotel in the fall of 2000.

Hojenska said a host of circumstantial evidence led to the verdict."

This case has been the subject of intense media coverage across Poland and, now that the AP picked up the story, the rest of the world. I can’t turn up a link to the book on Amazon, but wherever Amok is being sold, I’m sure it’s selling well. The moral of this story? Careful what you write about...a reader might mistake your knack for detail for real life experience.

The author, Krystian Bala, has been convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He was not quite as lucky as his lead character, who was able to get away with the crime.

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