View Full Version : Odd bit of promotion

08-06-2007, 09:41 PM
This morning on the radio I heard a spot with a woman from the Wall Street Journal about market research on kids' lunch boxes -- ok, a little odd, but they have to find something to talk about. (Apparently the big issues with lunch boxes nowdays are insulation, outside pockets, and stowability in backpacks. At least in New York.)

Then one of the hosts said something to the effect of, "So I see you wanted us to mention you'd written a book?" Ok, so she's written something about the history of lunchboxes, back-to-school trends, something like that...no.

It's a romantic comedy about an incompetent female private eye.


She tied it in by saying it would be fun light reading when the kids go back to school. But still...huh? The host was confused too; he said something to the effect of "So this is what you call moonlighting, right?" (She didn't agree.)

In a way I suppose it worked...it got me to look up the book. But on the other hand I only looked for it because I had my writer hat on and was trying to figure out why someone would use an unrelated professional appearance to promote a novel, and what I thought of that.

So what would y'all think of that situation?

(This (http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0446697842/ref=s9_asin_image_1-1966_p/002-8547022-6367203?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-1&pf_rd_r=12G6WS25FZZKHQ74HNP5&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=278240701&pf_rd_i=507846) is the book.)

08-06-2007, 09:54 PM
This may be my fault (or at least the fault of the magazine I work for).

We routinely advise authors to find a hook that will interest the media, even if it has nothing to do with their book. The idea being, I believe, that any exposure is good exposure.

This magazine is not the only place giving authors such advisement. A lot of PR practices are built around pitching the author and whatever it is they happen to feel comfortable talking about... anything that will get them on the air, on television, or in print media.

Used to be just non-fiction, but novelists are getting in on this too -- I've done a lot of ads for HarperCollins (though thankfully, most of them are close to the subjects of their novels).

Sad, but true...

08-06-2007, 10:01 PM
Funny. I attended a panel at NASFic about the ethics of self-promotion, where the lines were, what to do, what was going too far. One of the differences the panel brought up was the difference between Blatant Self-Promotion (BSP) and Blatant Shameless Self-Promotion (BSSP). The latter seemed to involve crossing the line from acceptable to questionable or poor behavior.

Kate Thornton
08-06-2007, 10:38 PM
Here's the best lunchbox murder book I've read - it's the second in Sue Ann Jaffarian's series: http://www.amazon.com/Curse-Holy-Pail-Odelia-Mysteries/dp/0595276369

Her others, Too Big To Miss and Thugs & Kisses (not out yet, but I got a taste of it) are equally funny and feature a *smart* sleuth.

Oh and she does the usual kind of promotion for her books - book signings, interviews, etc.

08-07-2007, 02:52 AM
A lunchbox mystery? Oh, my! That's awesome.

Thinking about this today, I think what threw me most was that she was introduced as "with the Wall Street Journal". My employer (large corporation) has pretty strict policies about what can be said in association with the company name, and I don't think promotion of a book not published by them would qualify -- even tagged onto an interview about something related to their business. The lunchbox connection seemed odd, but a bit more understandable after mulling it over. But then I have zero experience in book promotion (not having a book to promote yet), so I wasn't sure if either element genuinely was odd or just something I hadn't encountered yet.

08-07-2007, 03:21 AM
If you're on a radio program for any reason at all, you're a complete idiot if you don't get in a mention of your book, no matter what the book is about.

08-08-2007, 06:04 PM
Here too authors are regularly wheeled out for anything and anything, and the quid pro quo is a mention of the book. When my first novel was published I got a LOT of extra publicity because I'm home-schooling my son (which is still very rare here).

I've had journalists ring me looking for somebody for a feature who has marital troubles, who was a victim of domestic violence, etc etc - unfortunately (I say severely tongue in cheek) none of those applied and i had to miss out on that publicity opportunity.