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Category books:


“It Has to Be about What You Stand For, and Who You Are”

posted December 23, 2010

Posted by Erin Brown in authors books marketing publishing social media

Jane Friedman (of the blog There Are No Rules) had a much-tweeted-about post last week titled “When (or Why) Social Media Fails to Sell Books.” Ironically, I clicked the link in the same spirit as the naysayers Friedman so often contends with—those who are hungry for some confirmation that this Facebook/Twitter stuff is just an unfortunate fad (like the infernal skinny jeans: surely this will pass in another season or two). But, of course, Friedman is not heralding the coming end of social media. Rather, she is pointing out the flawed logic in expecting social media to justify itself with direct sales figures or in rejecting social media after you tweet out a few links to reviews of your book . . . and the big sales bump doesn’t come.

Friedman’s not the first person to remind us that self-promotion—or “building a platform”—in the digital age is a nuanced and long-term project, a leap-of-faith investment, whose dividends are hard to quantify. But she hits the nail on the head nonetheless. Be creative, she is is saying. Participate. Bring something of immediate value to the table, and (this is critical) be willing to give it away.

Most importantly, it has to be about more than selling books—or whatever your goal might be. It has to be about what you stand for, and who you are.

Self-promotion, with integrity. Is that it? Coincidentally, this is the title of a great piece in Publishing Perspectives about Stephen Elliot and the interesting and innovative ways he has generated a following, both as founding editor of the online magazine The Rumpus and as author of The Adderall Diaries. With his house-to-house reading tour, his weekly personal e-mail to 5,000 subscribers, a self-designed iPad app for his book, and other outside-the-box initiatives, Elliot seems to exemplify much of what Friedman is talking about.

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Who’s Got Bieber Fever?

posted November 12, 2010

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in Bookselling book design books digital media publishing trends

I was going to write about Portland State University’s partnership with Hewlett-Packard and Lulu to create print-on-demand books, but then I came across this video. It may not be more newsworthy than the new print-on-demand machine, but it is much funnier, and sometimes that’s what you need.

I suppose the video clip IS somewhat newsworthy, though, since I was not even aware that pop star Justin Bieber had published a memoir. Well, until just recently I was not even aware of Justin Bieber at all! He’s not just another pretty face, dear readers! He sings and dances, and he is a published author. Lest you think I am being too sarcastic, here’s a confession: I saw Justin Bieber on the season finale of Shaq Vs., and I actually found him to be quite charming.


New Bookstore Fills Unique Niche

posted September 3, 2010

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in Bookselling book design books trends

It’s supposed to be a bad economic climate for brick-and-mortar bookstores, and it seems booksellers are closing their doors left and right. It might come as a surprise, then, to hear about the opening of a new bookstore, one funded by the federal government. The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), responsible for all sorts of government publications since 1861, recently opened a retail bookstore in Washington, D.C. The store is actually a reopening of sorts, since a GPO bookstore has been in existence since 1895. The new store was redesigned to mimic more closely contemporary booksellers. The redesign and renovation were handled in-house by GPO employees.

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Now THAT Is What I Call a Book Trailer

posted August 16, 2010

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in Bookselling authors books marketing publishing social media uncategorized

I have to confess that I have not really understood the point of book trailers. It seems counterintuitive to market a book with a video, but perhaps I just need to rewire my brain. Well, if more book trailers were like the one above for Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, then I would completely be on board. It’s clever! Funny! Heart warming! Of course, not all authors are connected enough to have celebrity authors and famous actors appear in their book trailers, but I think there’s a lesson in the trailer nonetheless: it’s okay to have some fun.


Now THAT Is What I Call a Book Tour

posted August 5, 2010

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in Bookselling authors book design books events marketing trends

Lynch

There are probably plenty of writers out there who kind of dread book tours, but author Jim Lynch isn’t one of them, or at least he isn’t at the moment—he has found a way to combine pleasure with work. An avid sailor, Lynch cruised from his home in Olympia, Washington, to various booksellers in the San Juan Islands (in the Seattle area) during a weeklong tour at the end of July. He promoted two of his novels on the tour: The Highest Tide, his first novel, and Border Songs, recently issued in paperback.

Lynch’s sailboat is a 1970 Bristol 32. He kicked off his tour on July 24 on Shaw Island as guest speaker at the Shaw Island Historical Society Annual Meeting. His final stop was on July 31 in Anacortes at Watermark Books. Lynch also made stops on San Juan Island, Lopez Island, Orcas Island, and Lummi Island. This month he will be traveling on land in Oregon and Washington. For more information visit his website. Also check out this article about his nautical tour in the Wall Street Journal.


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