Wednesday + Josie Brown = Hype Hell
I think it’s cool that they’ve isolated the area of the brain that triggers the craving for a cigarette, so that they can turn it off for good.
Apparently this region, known as the insula, holds the key to a lot of human behavior, including, if what I’m reading in the New York Times is correct, such social emotions such as “lust and disgust, pride and humiliation, guilt and atonement. It helps give rise to moral intuition, empathy and the capacity to respond emotionally to music.”
Let’s hope that next they find that niche in our noggins that encourages our urge for a good book. Then the question from our editors wouldn’t be “How little will she take?” but “How much, and how quickly can she deliver it?”
Until that time comes, we’ll have to be a bit more creative in marketing the books we already have on the shelves to potential readers. Let’s take a page from these revered scientists and put all five senses to work on that goal:
Touch. Reach out to readers, both those who are familiar with you, and those who may want to know you better. You’ll do this through a blog in which you’ll journal your thoughts, at least once a week, on your website. It doesn’t have to be about your books or writing. Write about something personal, like a recent event that touched you emotionally; or something that tickled your funny bone. Your readers want to learn about you as a person as well as an author. And by allowing them to comment, they give you a chance to learn something about them, including what they like the best about your plot and characters.
See. Keep your eyes open for unique opportunities to promote your book. For example, last year I ran into a shopping party planner who did quarterly themes. “Do you do anything around the Oscars?” I asked. “Yep!” she answered. We’re throwing an Oscars party at a great venue with tons of big-screen TVs to view the event, and a fashion show of gowns…” Since my book has an Oscar scene, I saw it as the perfect tie-in. One of my favorite booksellers set up a table of my books there, and with 400 women all in a buying mood, you better believe we sold out. My only regret (and the booksellers’) is that we didn’t have more copies there.
Smell. Not every event surrounding the promotion of you book will pass the sniff test. For example, if you’ve got an event scheduled, but the bookseller is less than responsive to your questions about the promotion they will be doing, keep pushing for answers. Better yet, don’t be afraid to take matters into your own hands, like sending out media releases and doing event listings in the local media. No, that shouldn’t be your job. After all you wrote the book, right? But face it: unfortunately in this day and age, authors can’t afford to sit on the sidelines when it comes to controlling how and when their books are promoted. So put your pride in your pocket, and write and distribute that press release. You’ll lose your pride it altogether if no one shows up at your booksigning.
Hear. Keep your ears open about possible promotional opportunities. That means talking to other authors, as well as booksellers, about events, online groups, or tried-and-true promotional methods. By doing so I’ve had other authors invite me to join their signings, and I’ve done the same to them. This crossbreeding of fan bases has been mutually beneficial. Everyone loves happenings, be they the authors, the readers or the booksellers.
Taste. Figuratively, this means don’t do anything that will reflect badly on your image or your book. The readers and fans that love you and your books are golden. Why do something that will make the think twice about spending their hard earned dollars on your book? Example: Yeah, it’s great that the press has taken to the plot of your book, and the requests for media interviews are rolling in. That said, are you sure you want to be interviewed on Howard Stern? One poorly timed joke – at your expense – can cost you more than future fans. Like, say, your reputation. So, choose wisely.
Josie Brown left the advertising industry to become a crusading investigative reporter. Sadly, in our voyeuristic culture vulture society, there is an insatiable demand (and better pay) for celebrity journalists, which is how Josie came to rub elbows (not to mention egos) with the rich and famous. She still writes about celebrity, sex and scandal, only now as fiction (which, she insists, is just as strange as what she knows to be fact). Her latest novel is IMPOSSIBLY TONGUE-TIED.You can read about her books on her blog: http://www.josiebrown.com.