A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.
The Written World, Martin Puchner’s insightful narrative also chronicles the inventions – writing technologies, the
printing press, the book itself – that have shaped world religion, global politics,
commerce, people, and history. Here are some excerpts:
made a difference.Previously, texts in
China were written on bones, strips of bamboo, or silk, all either cumbersome
or expensive.Paper, by contrast, was
cheap yet durable, so that written matter could be efficiently stored and
preserved.Its smooth surface and
thinness allowed much more information to be condensed into a small space,
making it feasible to keep extensive records, which laid the foundation for
sophisticated bureaucracies.It was also
easy to transport; indeed, some of the Chinese texts in the Caves of the Thousand
Buddhas had come from more than a thousand miles away."
was not the first to think of using movable letters and combining them to form
pages that could be printed.Just as
with the pilgrim’s mirror, others had done so before him. He had long known
about the relatively simple technique of carving images into wood and using
them like stamps to make copies, as was routinely done in making playing
cards.As long as one didn’t care too
much about quality, the same could be done with words.Small booklets had been made this way, with awkward
wooden letters allowing readers to decipher the printed words with some
woodblock technique had come from the Far East via the Silk Road, which
connected China to the Mongols and Uighurs, who in turn maintained trade with
faraway Constantinople and thus indirectly with the rest of Europe.In Mainz, known for long-distance trade,
Gutenberg was also in a good position to hear rumors that the Chinese were now
producing printed books not just by carving text page by page onto whole blocks,
but also by making individual letters and then assembling them to form
sentences.Such letters were sometimes
made of harder, more precise materials, including ceramic and metal alloys."
most ferocious reactionary was an Austrian by the name of Adolf Hitler, who
promised to put an end to the red tide sweeping Europe.While imprisoned for a failed coup in 1923,
he wrote an autobiography that was also a campaign biography for his future
political career.Once he had seized
power, he was able to foist this text on his subjects in a gigantic vanity
publishing project.At the height of
Nazi rule, Mein Kampf became the most
widely owned book in Germany, going through 1,031 editions totaling 12.4
million copies; every sixth German possessed a copy of Mein Kampf, with counties required to give a copy to all newlyweds."
as The Communist Manifesto had been
catapulted to the forefront of history by the Russian Revolution, so its
prestige has suffered since the fall of the Soviet Union.Today it is once again considered outdated,
as it was in the 1850s and ‘60s. In the past, the Manifesto has been able to rise again from obscurity, adjusting to
new political realities. Even now, it is finding readers who feel that this
text predicted our current backlash against globalization.Be this as it may, what is certain is that The Communist Manifesto became one of
the most influential texts of the modern era within a few decades of its
emergence. In the first four thousand years of literature, few texts have been
able to shape the history so effectively."
beginnings of the Nobel Prize had been much more modest. It had been endowed by
a Swedish weapons manufacturer and inventor of dynamite who was hoping to leave
a legacy in the sciences and the arts. The Swedish Academy, the body
responsible for the prize, at first chose many writers who did not stand the
test of time.But thanks to a generous
endowment and increasing experience, the academy developed ways of avoiding the
more blatant types of favoritism as well as other pitfalls and managed to
establish its prize as the single most important one in the world."
most striking feature of literature has always been its ability to project
speech deep into space and time.The
Internet has supercharged the first, enabling us to send writing to any place
on earth within seconds.But what about
time?As I started using the last four thousand
years of literature as a guide to the changes taking place around me, I began
to imagine literary archaeologists of the future.Will they be able to unearth forgotten
masterpieces such as the Epic of
answer is far from certain. The endurance of electronic media over time has
already emerged as a problem because of the rapid obsolescence of computer
programs and formats.If we are lucky,
future historians will be able to transcode outdated data sets or reconstruct
old computers to access otherwise illegible files (must as the cuneiform code
had to be reconstructed in the nineteenth century).Librarians warn that the best way to preserve
writing from the vagaries of future format wars is to print out everything on
paper.Perhaps we should carve our
canons into stone, as Chinese emperors did.But the most important lesson from the history of literature is that the
only guarantee for survival is continual use:A text needs to remain relevant enough to be translated, transcribed,
transcoded, and read by each generation in order to persist over time.It is education, not technology, that will
ensure the future of literature."
matter what future historians will find, they will understand better than we do
just how transformative our current writing revolution will have been.What we can say for sure is that the world
population has grown even as literacy rates have risen sharply which means that
infinitely more writing is being done by more people, and published and read
more widely, than ever before.We stand
on the verge of a second great explosion – the written world is poised to
change yet again."
you underperforming when it comes to getting book publicity and if so, what can
you do about it?
order to fix a problem, you need to properly assess it. Identify, thus far, your book PR campaign’s
strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities. What areas have potential
for success – and which ones have proven to be unviable?
doesn’t just mean you aren’t achieving results that you hoped to achieve or
even thought reasonably possible to obtain. It means you are below expectations
or the norm. You know you can still do better. So how will you fix this mess?
by identifying what has worked so far.
Think about why it worked.
Continue with that approach. Was
it the angle pitched? Wasn’t it something
you did to convince others to cover your book? what was the method used to reach the media (phone vs. mail vs. in-person
vs. snail mail)? Did you have a
connection that was leveraged? Was there
a tie-in to the news cycle?
look at what hasn’t worked. What could
be modified or overhauled about your approach?
look at upcoming opportunities. Are there upcoming story angles that you should
utilize, given the news cycle or holidays or honorary days that are coming up
to tie into?
an under-performing PR campaign needs to have goals or revised ones – and it
needs a rededication or commitment to achieving them. Will you spend 20 minutes a day on PR? An hour?
area to explore is that maybe you need help.
Are you prepared to hire someone to help you market and promote your
at what you can expand to and try that you haven’t yet explored. Try seeking bookstore signings or using
Goodreads if you haven’t yet done so.
Look to calling people to present yourself as a speaker or look into
buying digital pay-per-click ads. Look
to fellow authors to trade resources and leads.
Think – and act -- differently if you want different results.
other option, in reaction to an underperforming campaign, is to simply, stop
trying. Shut it down and write it off as
a big mistake and simply move on with your life.
so that would be a bit premature, extreme, and unproductive, but in certain
rare cases it might be the way to go.
Perhaps you guessed wildly wrong about your book’s potential appeal and
it’s time to stop the bleeding.
most authors are bullish about their books and every book needs time and
resources to succeed. Take a good look
at things and seek to make changes and improvements. By retooling your book
publicity campaign you’ll have a chance to make it a success.
be clear, the question really is not should an author an author invest in either book marketing
or book publicity, but rather, how much of each?
marketing covers sales and advertising, including things like speaking, book signings, website development, and handing out fliers.
publicity covers the media, both traditional media (TV, radio, print, online)
and social media (blogs, podcasts, FB, Twitter, LI, Instagram, You Tube).
need not to choose one over the other but to be involved in both – in big
quantities of time, money, and effort.
though I’ve been involved in promoting authors and books to the news media for
nearly 30 years, I will state that book marketing may be more important than
PR.However, to succeed at selling your
book, you’ll need some help from the news media.
coverage in the news media not only yields more book sales as a direct result,
it also positions you to gain brand credibility and authority in the eyes of
the organizations or people you seek to sell and market to.In order to land a speaking engagement,
bulk-book buy from a company, or an introduction to movers and shakers, you’ll
need to have some street cred that the media can automatically provide for you.
think if you were to prioritize your efforts, you would need to juggle your
choices and opportunities, often executing multiple things vs. doing just one
thing at a time.For instance, you can
send your book for review to USA Today
while pitching a podcaster for an interview, while running a Facebook ad, while
speaking at a local church, while soliciting several organizations to purchase
lots of books.But some activities are
dictated by a timeline, strategy, and resources. Let me explain.
things need to be done during a key window of time. To schedule bookstore
appearances you need at least two months lead time and to seek out a speaking
gig in front of popular or prominent organizations you may need to act 6-12
months in advance.To seek book reviews
at major print outlets like PW,Business Week, or Family Circle, you need to send them a galley three and a half to four
or five months prior to book publication day.
if I had to choose how to spend an hour today to push my book, I would split my
time up so that 30 minutes goes into book publicity and 30 into marketing.
Depending on where I have success or how the two play off of each other, I’ll
determine how to reconfigure my time allotment next week or next month.
shouldn’t feel they have to choose between book PR and book marketing.The choice is really do something for your
book vs anything else. Make time for your
book and it will take off.
of the most common questions authors ask publicists is:“What types of media – or which specific
media outlets – really sell books?”
answer is simple:“All of them.”
live in a world where the media is carved into many parcels.Look at the media landscape – it contains
four major types of media:
media type can be local, regional, national, or international.Within each type you have many forms of
coverage.For instance, with print media
you can hit daily or weekly newspapers, magazines, newswire, trade journals,
airline magazines.You can have book
reviews, interviews, feature stories, news stories, by-line articles, book
excerpts, or calendar event listings, gift guides, or mentors in a roundup of
Online media is diversified and could include social media,such as blogging, tweeting,
facebooking, and youtubing.It can be
the dotcoms of traditional media, such as CNN.com
or forbes.com.It can be online-only websites, like HuffPost. It can also be bloggers or
podcasters. The coverage can range from online book reviews and interviews to
feature stories and guest-posts.
need to diversify their media portfolio, but which media really moves the dial?
1.Big Media That Influences Other Media Leading
authoritative media outlets such as Vogue,
USA Today, New York Times, Today Show, NPR, Wall Street Journal, AP, etc. really set the agenda.
2.Popular Online Sites
Things can go viral once they are posted
online.There are certain sites,
bloggers, or podcasters that stick out -- based on clicks and traffic – but also
based on being specialty-based.The
best sites to push a sci-fi novel are not necessarily the same as those to hawk
a health book.
A good book review in Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, NYT, WSJ, USA Today, and a handful of leading
book review sections at major publications can really get bookstores or
libraries to buy in.
sales depend on key factors, from the quality of your book to competition,
price, distribution, packaging, publicity, marketing, advertising, and trends
in society at large.Go after media
that’s big, popular, and viewed as important – but also go after smaller,
achievable media.It all adds up and helps
move book sales.
DON”T MISS THESE!!!
What is the payofffor
authors to getting a million clicks?
want lots of good media for their books.
They always ask me: “How do we
get more reviews?” Here’s the answer.
get book reviews, a number of things need to happen. First, in order to get
reviewed by a print media outlet you will need to follow their
instructions. For instance, a
publication like Library Journal
generally wants to receive a galley (an advance review copy of the book) some
three and a half months prior to its publication date. If you send it later
than that you essentially undermine or destroy your chances of getting reviewed
some publications do not want self-published books for review. If that publication won’t review such books
and your book is self-published, don’t bother contacting them.
some publications, such as Publishers
Weekly require that two copies be sent to them, not one. Please honor that
you need to identify which book reviewer or person your book is to be sent
to. Don’t rely on someone at the
publication to sift through mail and make a choice for ypu.
it comes to digital media, bloggers and online reviewers need to be contacted,
usually by email. Many of them would
like to be pitched at least six weeks prior to publication, but many are fine
with being contacted within a few weeks or months after publication date. If they want a copy of the book, many will ask
for a digital copy. Net Galley and Good Reads
can be helpful, but they are not a substitute for you reaching out to online
online websites, like HuffPost, or
others who may do book reviews, you can send a physical copy or solicit them
with a digital copy. It depends on the particular needs of the media outlet.
what should you send to them with the book?
A press kit is helpful but what they really need is a short letter that
gets to the point of why the book is unique, relevant, and interesting. Identify your credentials and show why you
are perfectly positioned to pen this book.
Lastly, highlight why the book is timely, better than competing titles,
or what stands out that they should feel obligated to review it.
about the specific media outlet that you are contacting and not so much about
your book. Put the focus on them – not
you. Ask yourself: What would they want? What type of coverage do they give to books
in this genre? What do I know about the
individual I’m contacting at a specific media outlet? How can I make the pitch
customized and personable?
that book reviews can come out of luck and the odds are against you, given the numbers
of books published and the number of submissions for review. They also come
based on a book’s merit, personal connections, and how well you pitch it at the
right time. In the end, if your book really is special – and you’ve done
everything right, you’ll get some reviews and those reviews, if favorable, may
help you get additional book reviews or other types of media coverage.
it comes to print media, consider the following outlets to approach for book
·New York Times
·USA Today Books
think of general or specific magazines to approach. For instance, if it’s a
business book, submit a copy for review to business publications such as Inc, Forbes, Fortune, Fast Company and Bloomberg Businessweek.
forget book reviewers at newswires, such as Associated
Press, Gannett, UPI, Reuter’s and others.
are dozens of leading daily newspapers to approach, from Miami Herald, Boston Globe and L.A.
Times to Houston Chronicle, Denver Post,
and San Diego Tribune.
are general magazines, such as Time,
Newsweek, Parade, and Reader’s Digest,
to women’s men’s, sports, psychology, science, politics, and others to
explore. There are also trade
publications of a specific industry, regional magazines, and major newsletters.
book reviews is one of the many important things authors and publishers need to
pursue. Do it methodically, thoughtfully, and on time and you at least stand a
small chance of breaking through.
DON”T MISS THESE!!!
the payoff for authors to getting a million clicks?
I've always enjoyed reading John Grisham's novels. His court drama's are
gripping and captivates me from beginning to end. I also follow serious court
cases, as there are plenty of juicy stories to be had, and writing articles or
novels about the outcome of a trial, is never boring. The ability to play with
words and sketch the characters, are endless. The procedure in a courtroom has
always captivated me. I suppose it's because of the fact that there is so much
respect on my side for the Law, that I just had to try and put it down on
paper. There is justice in a court of law, and then there is also injustice. I
like portraying the justice side of the system.
2.What is it about?
a courtroom drama about a young boys' life that is abruptly turned upside down
and into turmoil. He is involved in a vehicle accident, and wakes up three
months later, paralysed from the waist down. He later finds out that the doctor
who treated him during his stay in hospital, didn't execute all the necessary
tests on him. The young boy hires a Lawyer to sue the doctor for negligence and
malpractice. Although the doctor is summoned and a pre-trial takes place, he is
unwilling to settle, and the case goes to trial. Once here, the respondent
realises his mistake, but it's a little late to turn the clock back.
3.Why should people
think it makes quite a good story, and there are plenty of people worldwide who
can relate to the same circumstances. There is a twist to the story, of course.
The book has only facts in it, no thumb sucking. During the writing of this
book, I did extensive research, and was surprised to find that doctors actually
have lawsuits going on all the time. It's like an extension of their
profession, and most of these cases are settled out of court.
did you overcome in writing it?
wouldn't call them challenges, rather broadening of my horizons. I learnt a lot
about medical conditions and their treatments, which made me a lot more
knowledgeable around certain aspects, including the law and Justice system as
well. I now know that there is a huge difference in the way that the Justice
system in Europe and the USA works, as well as on other continents. It was a
challenge in itself getting the information I had gathered, sorted out and
weave it into the story so it makes sense. That was the biggest challenge I
had, but not so difficult to overcome.
advice do you have for fellow writers struggling to break through?
There is so much
competition out there when it comes to writing. It's very difficult to become acknowledged and
counted under the top earners as a writer/author, but if you persevere in your
dreams and goals, something should happen sooner or later. Someone will sit up
and take note. All it takes is courage to pursue what you want; that; and
belief in yourself. If you don't believe in yourself, who will? Believing in
yourself and your degree of writing, builds character.
6.Where do you see
book publishing heading?
publishing has changed immensely during the last year, not to mention the last
decade. It's an ever changing field, with new technology driving the printing
industry on a day to day basis. Who knows where it'll all end? You could for
instance, download an e-book on your smart TV in the next couple of years. The
fact that digital printing is taking over, is definite. Printed books are on
the decline, so what will happen to the smaller Vanity Presses? I think they'll
start fading out as technology takes over. Not a nice thought, but what to do