Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Quick Hits

What, no BEA?!

This is the first post Memorial Day Tuesday that I haven't been gearing up for Book Expo America in six years. We made the decision to send a very small crew this year for a few reasons, including a recent trip to NYC for a launch party and a guess that this year's event won't be much of one.

I will miss a few things about BEA, including seeing good friends, getting a good pulse for the fall lists, swiping a few free galleys, the first-ever BEA Tweet-up and, you know, high-fiving the Pope:

I won't miss trying to catch a cab during a Friday afternoon downpour, waiting 20 min for $5 coffee, sore feet from walking the show floor all day or 6:30 AM breakfast meetings.

If you will also be vicariously attending BEA through Twitter, join me in following the BEA 2009 hash tag on Twitter: #BEA09.

For those heading to NYC, check out the Book Publicity Blog's list of things to download before you make the trip.

The Noticer is a bestseller

Late last week we received word from Thomas Nelson that The Noticer debuted on both The New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. It is #6 on the NY Times Hardcover/Advice list and #15 on the WSJ nonfiction list.

This book has been the subject of a large amount of well-deserved buzz this spring and is one of the best team-based campaigns we have been involved with.

For those of you who have yet to take part in the social media movement inspired by the book, The Noticer Project, you can read pages and pages of notices on the website and begin noticing those who have made the biggest impact on your life there as well.

It has been exciting to watch a campaign that has combined the best of traditional media with social media for the same purpose--to attract readers to a very good book by one of the best storytellers in publishing.

Amidst the shots publishing takes from those who label it slow-to-adapt and too dependent on print media, this launch is a very good example of how the industry is adapting and finding ways to reach readers in new ways.

For those who haven't read the book, through the end of May, Thomas Nelson is running a special where if you buy a copy of the book you can receive it in every format with which it is available. I highly recommend it.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Micro persuasion" is the new black

I don't know if it's the adorable graphics on Twitter, or the fact that words like 'tweet,' 'twittering,' and 'tweet-up' make us feel like we're communicating in cartoon-language, but many authors and book industry individuals can't help but smirk - still - when we extol the very real virtues of Twitter.

"But you can interact with consumers in a way you normally wouldn't!" we cry. "Even media tweets! Oprah has started tweeting!!"

"Yeah yeah, 'Twitter.' I get it. Real cute. Have you called the New York Times yet?"

Phrases like "old media" and "new media" are fraught with connotations ("stodgy" and "over-hyped" come to mind), so let's not even go there. Instead, Dear Reader, I'd like to turn your attention to an article that released this week from The New York Observer about publishers' changing attitudes towards social media. Here's a chunk:

"The central insight driving much of the outreach that publishers have undertaken online is that, if used with finesse and attention, social media platforms like Twitter can be used deliberately to generate that invaluable, heretofore elusive phenomenon known as word of mouth...publishing houses have sought to integrate themselves and their authors into various online communities of readers, and to interact—meaningfully!—with the individuals who participate in them. While they make no attempt to conceal their affiliations, the publicists and marketing people who man their companies’ accounts on Facebook and Twitter aim to be seen not as corporate promoters, but as friends taking part in a conversation."

Most people now understand what the point of social media is. If the book-buying public is a classroom, and Oprah, The Today Show, and The New York Times our teachers, Facebook and Twitter are the notes we pass in class. It feels fun, almost conspiratorial, and if you're already on-board with social media then I don't need to preach to you anymore. Except to say:

Our "teachers" have taken up the notes. And they want in on the party.

I've been hearing a lot about "the open web" lately, and the gist is basically this: EVERYTHING, all media, is going social. "Well, duh, that's what the comments section is for," you say. But by "social" we don't just mean "interactive" - the open web will reverse the top-down way media currently works (saw a book on the The Today Show, blogged about it, my readers bought the book), and instead, foster a network of online channels where the biggest stars interact the most places. From MicroPersuasion.com:

"Tomorrow, as everything becomes social, you will be able to shop Amazon directly from within your iGoogle page without ever having to visit the site. What's more, Amazon will show you what your Gmail address book friends have publicly said about a product and/or its category in any one of thousands of online communities. Finally, to help you further Amazon will offer an aggregated view of your friends' friends opinions in a way that protects their identity....

Marketers need to really embrace the fact that it's peers and their data, rather than brand, that will become the primary way we make decisions. The greatest rewards will go to those who embrace and participate in as many communities as they possibly can in credible ways."

For the sake of argument, let's switch out "marketers" for "publicists" and "brand" for "big media" - Oprah, Today Show, etc. If micro persuasion pans out, we'll pay a LOT more attention to those little notes our friends are passing us, rather than the algebra lesson our teacher is writing on the blackboard. (Especially if your friend is @johncmayer, in which case you might have to deflect his 10,000,000 daily notes with a sturdy Trapper Keeper).

Now, book publicists have always placed a high premium on relationships, but that's about to go into overdrive as we look down the road to 2010 and beyond, as consumers become the media. In five years, we may very well be saying, "Oprah likes Eckhart Tolle's new book? Who cares? My ex-boyfriend, my second cousin, that girl I met at a party last weekend and my accountant all like the new Martha Beck book, so I'm going with that."

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chicken Soup for the Soul honors America's moms

To Chicken Soup for the Soul, every mom is a power mom, and tomorrow the brand is throwing a Mother's Day bash in Manhattan to honor America's moms.

Here is a shot of our very own Tolly Moseley in front of the Lincoln Center Barnes & Noble with a sign promoting tomorrow's event (Barnes & Noble has done a terrific job promoting it with us).

If you live in NYC or surrounding areas and you are looking for the perfect way to honor your mom for Mother's Day, we hope to see you at the event!

Here are the details:

Every Mom is a “Power Mom!”
You are cordially invited to:

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms
Book Launch Party
Friday, May 8
Lincoln Center Barnes & Noble, 1972 Broadway, New York City

Just in time for Mother’s Day, this book launch will honor stay-at-home moms, multi-tasking moms, Blackberry moms, mompreneurs, rock star moms, and every mom in between!
A very special “Power Moms” panel will be hosted by some of our story contributors:

Liz Lange, Founder of Liz Lange Maternity
Jane Green, bestselling author
Victoria Colligan, Founder of Ladies Who Launch
Amy Newmark, Publisher of Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC
Wendy Walker, Editor of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms

The panel will be followed by Q&A and a book signing.
We hope you can join us for this event!

Presented by:

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Shop Local

For all of our authors, we encourage them to set up book signing events when their book releases and during their publicity campaign. We think this is a great way to build local support! We also encourage our authors to add a link to their website where readers can purchase a copy of their book. This link is usually Amazon.com.

But as Josie Leavitt, a blogger for Publishers Weekly points out, if authors expect local bookstores to carry their books, to feature their books on a variety of applicable displays and to host events for them, authors should add links to the local bookstores in their area.

For more advice from Leavitt, check out http://www.publishersweekly.com/blog/660000266/post/1970043797.html

Friday, May 1, 2009

Quick hits: Friday, May 1st 2009

Happy May Day and good morning, ya'll.

I'm getting ready to speak about literary publicity this weekend at the Dallas/Fort Worth Writers Convention. I love speaking to writers groups and I’m certainly looking forward to this event.

Before we all sign off for the weekend, I thought it’d be fun to take a look at some of this week’s happenings in the industry and literary world. Here’s a round up of relevant headlines:

Congrats to this year's Edgar Award winners
The Mystery Writers of America announced this year’s Edgar Award winners. This prestigious annual prize is named after, appropriately, Edgar Allan Poe. Some highlights in the winner’s circle include “In Bruges” for Best Motion Picture Screenplay and The Killer’s Wife by Bill Floyd for The Simon & Schuster-Mary Higgins Clark award. Take a look at the full list here.

No more religion beat at the DMN
Sad news: The religion beat at the Dallas Morning News was laid to rest this week. According to Rod Dreher's post on BeliefNet, the last two religion reporters are being reassigned to cover schools. You can read Dreher's take on the decision here.

Kindle's popularity growing among the over 40 set
CNet had an interesting article in their "Crave" column yesterday: 70 percent of Kindle owners are over the age of 40. David Carnoy posed the question, "What's the average age of Kindle owners?" back in March and received 700 responses. The final tally yielded some interesting results.

The timeliness of the message
I don't know if you guys have heard, but apparently there is an illness called "Swine Flu" sweeping North America. (That was sarcasm.)

This latest epidemic has fueled book sales and deals for a couple of authors. John M. Barry released The Great Influenza over five years ago. As of Thursday, the book had reached the top 100 on Amazon's best seller list. The book covers the ins and outs of the 1918 influenza pandemic. On Thursday, Henry Holt announced they are publishing biologist Nathan Wolfe's The Viral Storm, a book about the ways in which viruses and humans evolve together. Sounds like a beach vacation read, eh? See the full story here.

I (heart) Geeks
Yahoo's "Book Talk" offered up a fun interview with "self-proclaimed geek" Garth Sundem on Wednesday. Sundem's latest book, The Geek's Guide to World Domination: Be Afraid, Beautiful People, offers a pi's worth of facts for the Geeks among us. I say "a pi's worth" because the book contains 314.15 tidbits for readers. Per the article: "314.15 facts -- which is a decimal computation for pi -- in a compendium of usable and totally useless bits of information that geeks would relish." Obviously, this book speaks to me. My favorite Q&A from the interview:

Q: Is it easier being a geek now?

A: "I think it is because geeks now can connect, they are online and have support groups and they find they are not alone. Culturally we've gotten geekier. It's an information age. Even the cool kids are on Facebook which should be geeky but it's not! Look at Hollywood: in movies back in the 1980s like National Lampoon we would laugh at the geeks. Now we laugh with them."

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