Thursday, October 15, 2009

Parody Book Marketing Plan Rings Too True

The New Yorker's book marketing plan parody in this week's issue is very, very funny. Too bad it's also very, very realistic.

The e-mail sent to an author by "Gineen" (pron: Jeannine), an intern who is replacing the promotion department, characterizes the overwhelming paralysis that grips authors of a certain age when they're encouraged to do more than "give a talk" to the women's group at the local country club and do a book signing at the closest Barnes & Noble.

Full of laugh-out-loud instructions regarding promoting books online -- "If you already have a blog, make sure you spray-feed your URL in niblets open-face to the skein." and "Then just Digg your uploads in a viral spiral to your social networks via an FB/MS interlink torrent." -- the parody also skewers the always-out-of-the-office schedule of any publisher's editorial and promotion staffers. (I've heard that this particular aspect of the parody is dead on.)

It is a realistic portrayal of book promotion from the perspective of an "I'm not ready for this!" author, but at the same time, the over-the-top missive from Gineen could actually be a dream come true for the "typical" author. For example, Gineen says, "I’ve attached a list of celebrities we think would be great to blurb your book, so find out their numbers and call them up." The average author would have to -- and does -- generate their own celebrity list (and of course gets nowhere with it, but many Oprah-struck authors don't realize that it's a waste of time).

For most authors, there's no blog help or celebrity list development. They have to identify and contact the best people to write cover blurbs, write their own announcement releases because the staff publicist doesn't have time to do it justice, create their own media lists for review copies, blog/tweet/post, schedule book signings (yawn...), generate story ideas for traditional media, create their own virtual book tour, and on and on.

The parody, funny as it is, is just another indicator that more and more authors will need to start creating and executing their book's marketing plan themselves. Even those who used to get that support can see that Gineen the intern can only do so much for her long list of authors.

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