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Oh my God, I think I want a Kindle

POSTED BY doug ON May 21, 2010

Friends, I’m going to be straight with you. Ever since excited whispers starting bubbling up in the book industry about the Amazon Kindle way back when, I adopted my very first willfully stodgy stance on new technology. “Download all of your reading material onto a SCREEN? Blech! I prefer to read my Kafka in print, thank you!”

And then, I tried to find a seemingly out-of-print book yesterday. I found it on Google Books online, and thought – “hey, neat! I’m so clever, I’ll just print it out!” Except, you can’t print out anything on Google Books. From what I can tell, you can’t download PDF’s of the books for purchase, either.

It was then that the scales fell from my eyes, and I heard myself saying: “Oh my God, I think I want a Kindle.”

I’m not a student, but the book I needed was for a study group of sorts. It occurred to me then how much more convenient it would be for a student to download all of his or her needed texts and – wait. You know all of this already, don’t you?

KINDLES ARE MORE CONVENIENT! Of course they are. It just so happens that I’m a book publicist, and beyond that, a book nerd, and have been clinging to my antiquated pages-between-covers model for a while.

I suspect I am not alone.

Now, we could talk all day about how much we’ll miss our old, beat-up novels when they are one day obsolete, but I think a more interesting question, for those in our field, is this:

How will e-readers – and e-books – affect book publicity?

Here are three possibilities:

1. Our galley mail-outs will change dramatically. Can you imagine not packaging up 100 copies of your shiny new galley for media? What if, one day, we simply uploaded a galley to one central website, and invited media to check it out? NetGalley is already doing this, and I remember meeting with the founders long ago when operations were just getting started. I personally think this is a genius idea, but one that requires a little coaxing from media. See, big-time media outlets already get zillions of emails a day, so unless my relationship with a contact is rock solid, counting on them to open up an email cheerily notifying them, “Your galley copy is ready!” is a risky strategy. Instead, I think a social media approach might work best: Send TwitVites to pertinent media members to check out the galley, then follow up with something slightly more in-depth.

2. Amazon reviewers will likely be included in our media outreach. I know many publicists do this already, but I admit I’ve been rather lax on this front. We’re in a moment right now of “citizen journalism,” and I think we can safely include highly-ranked Amazon reviewers under that umbrella. Like iPhone applications, there is something quite impactful about opening up a book’s Amazon page and see 20, 50, or 500 Amazon reviews, and with e-books, it will become even easier to get copies out to reviewers in a big way. Authors should also work with their publishers and publicists, and start compiling small armies of Amazon reviewers – friends, family, etc. – early on in the publishing process, at least 3 months before the book officially releases. Then when the book is unleashed on the general public, it will already have an impressive store of reviews in its wake.

3. An author will no longer be associated with their books, their brands. Yuck, I hate that those words just came out of my typing fingers. But at a SXSW panel earlier this year called “A Brave New Future for Book Publishing,” one of the panelists noted that soon, books will not resemble pages-between-covers (tear!) but motherships for a much larger, more multi-media package. That means if you’re a cookbook author for example, readers might enjoy video demos of your favorite recipes – available on the Kindle, or on some other device we haven’t even come up yet. (Oh wait – the iPad.) Publicists can use these little extras to plug your book when they outreach to media, both the tradtional kind and social media, citizen journalist-kind.

The only caveat to that last point is fiction, which lends itself slightly less to “branding” and multi-media extras. And what will we do then?

Here’s what I’m going to do. Secretly grin, as I pull them out one by one from my purse, in their original paper form. At my favorite coffee shop. Touching their worn pages, the bulky, numerous mess of them, probably staining them with bits of latte. Convenience be damned.

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TV lessons from a yo-yo “pro”

POSTED BY doug ON May 19, 2010

All of us at PR by the Book got a good chuckle last week when we watched these two videos of Kenny Strasser (aka “K-Strass”) pranking TV stations KQTV and KODE in Missouri, pretending to be a yo-yo champion. What ensues are two of the most uncomfortable (yet comical) TV interviews we’ve ever had to […]

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They call it “Spray and pray” – don’t do it

POSTED BY doug ON May 14, 2010
They call it “Spray and pray” – don’t do it

Contacting thousands of media simultaneously with the same pitch (spraying) ought to result in some coverage, right? (praying). It may, but it is more likely to alienate the media and cause you to lose precious opportunities instead. Not to mention, the coverage you receive is not likely to be the coverage you were after. Here’s […]


What do Tyra Banks, Hilary Duff, and Henry Winkler have in common? They’re all YA authors

POSTED BY doug ON May 11, 2010
What do Tyra Banks, Hilary Duff, and Henry Winkler have in common? They’re all YA authors

Photo credit: As further evidence that YA (young adult) fiction is currently the hottest ticket in town, Tyra Banks has just inked a a three-book deal with Delacorte Press for a YA fantasy series entitled Modelland. It is a cross between Harry Potter and America’s Next Top Model, and will hit bookstores everywhere summer […]

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Favorite mom/child reads for Mother’s Day

POSTED BY doug ON May 7, 2010
Favorite mom/child reads for Mother’s Day

Have you read a book with your mom today? If you’re any older than say, about 12, the answer is probably no. But for young children, the answer is often a resounding – yes! In honor of Mother’s Day this weekend, here is a list of some of our favorite children’s book titles for moms […]

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