Monday, March 30, 2009

Facebook Survival Guide had a great article on what you need to know to avoid embarrassing your kids and yourself on Facebook.

Check it out here: Facebook survival guide for awkward adults

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What a difference a year makes

I'm in Boston getting ready for the start of "Publishing Books, Memoirs and Other Creative Non-Fiction" conference, which is put on by the Harvard Medical School's Department of Continuing Education.

It's a sweet gig--the conference is at the Fairmont Copley Square and Boston is always fun. This is my fourth year and it is one of my favorite trips each year. I'm due to give a media training workshop at 2:30 PM each of the next two days and then a speech on the broader publicity process Saturday at 11:30 AM.

As I prepped today on the flight up to Boston it was pretty eye-opening to think about how much I've had to revise last year's presentation. Each year I go through the normal updates but this year was almost a total rewrite. It is amazing how much the publicity process has changed in just one year...

Social networking?

Last year: "If you have time, I suggest a MySpace page for your book."

This year: "A commitment to social networking is no longer an option, it's a requirement. By the end of the weekend you should start building your presence on Facebook and Twitter and thinking about viral strategies for your book."

Newspaper coverage?

Last year: "Although slowing down, daily newspaper coverage - in print form - remains one of the most realistic and sought after targets for authors and publicists."

This year: "Thanks to mobile extensions, Twitter applications and clicks per day, online extensions of traditional print outlets like the New York Times are more visible bookings for authors and publicists."

Mommy bloggers?

Last year: "It's a cute trend we're starting to see--moms reviewing books, commenting on pop culture and generating conversations with each other in their spare time. It must keep them busy."

This year: "Mommy bloggers have become one of the most influential target markets for books online. Any book targeting women 25-55 has to resonate with this segment of the market. Oh, and they're making a fortune off of ad revenue. The more popular mommy bloggers have opened the door for the dudes they married to leave their jobs and stay home and count money."

Blog tours?

Last year: "Apparently, New York Times thinks we should send our authors on "appearances" around the internet."

This year: "Blog tours, online book giveaways, author guest posts, etc. are crucial to every book publicity campaign. Try giving your bloggers a time range - a 3-4 day window, for example - to post their reviews, giveaway, etc. in order to spike Amazon rankings and increase the book's search engine optimization."

How much will change between 2009 and 2010? Any thoughts?

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

NYT on SXSW and the WWW

The New York Times reported yesterday on the pulse of South by Southwest in a down economy (consensus: people apparently do still have funds for a festival blowout such as SXSW). Joining the field of literary PR long before the age of the blogosphere and Twitter, I can't help but reflect at times on how the daily functions of a publicist truly are evolving on a daily basis.

Case in point: "The declining audience for mainstream media has all sorts of antecedents. But it was obvious after a few days here that the people formerly known as the audience were too busy making content to consume much of it, unless it came from their friends. The medium is not the message; the messages are the media." [David Carr for NYT, "Messages are the media"]

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ground Zero at SXSW

Here in Austin, it's SXSW madness this week. Everywhere you turn, there are badges being flashed, iPhones snapping pictures, and hipsters feigning ennui with Kanye's show confirmation (while secretly PUMPED). We love it terribly.

A few updates from SXSW Ground Zero, from the worlds of publishing, PR, and media:


"Publishing has never been in my lifetime in such a powerless state as it is now."

It was the quote that launched a thousand tweets at the SXSW panel "New Think for Old Publishers" on Monday. By now everyone's read GalleyCat's report, and here in Austin, we thought it presented a fine opportunity to open the discussion for the future of publishing. Social media, eBooks, the Kindle, etc. are changing the way those of us in the lit world conceptualize production, distribution, and consumption of books. Take a look at the links, and then tell us: What are your thoughts on the matter? How do you envision the future of publishing?


We caught up with HARO's Peter Shankman at Aces Lounge on Monday, for the Sassy Interactive Party put on by Do512, Action Figure, and VM Foundry. Next time we saw Peter, it was on the interwebs, backed by some rockin' Bon Jovi:


Tomorrow night, we'll be at USA Today's Pop Candy Party at The Belmont. We love Whitney Matheson and we know you do too, so give us a shout if you're headed out there!

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Memoirs We Wish Existed

Currently I am working with Rick D. Niece, Ph.D., the President of the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Ark., whose memoir, The Side-Yard Superhero, just hit the bookshelves on Sunday.

His poignant memoir captures his childhood adventures as a paper boy in small-town America. Not that I was a paper boy, but being from a small town myself, the story was right up my alley. Which got me thinking, what other memoirs should I be reading. Or better yet, what other memoirs need to be written?

Here are just few I wish would hit the bookshelf:

Former President, George W. Bush – We’ve seen Oliver Stone’s take, now I want to hear from the man himself. Tell me about growing up as a Bush, what your 8 years as President of the United States was like and what you think your greatest achievements were?

Thriller hitmaker, Michael Jackson – We’ve read The Enquirer and watched your Barbara Walter interviews. Now I want to know what your daddy was really like, your fascination with monkeys and how many plastic surgeries you’ve actually had?

CBS Late night host, David Letterman – You’ve been a late night talk show host for years and worked with some of the most talented. Who is truly your favorite guest, do you and Oprah really hate each other and why won’t you marry your son’s mother?

Speaking of Oprah – She has her own talk show, magazine and radio show, why not her own book? I need more Oprah, we love you!

Our material girl, Madonna – Now that you’re single and dating again. I want to know what went wrong with Guy Richie, what life was like without a mother and how your 3 kids changed you from that pointy bra wearing woman.

Those are just a few of my wishes, which memoirs have been your favorites? And whose memoir would you most want to read?

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