September 7th, 2006

Is this any way to sell a book?

Is this any way to sell a book?


There was a story on National Public Radio about Here's how it begins:

KAI RYSSDAL [So that's how you spell his name!]: Pity the first time author. Or any author for that matter. Months and years spent slaving over prose. And it all comes down to getting good publicity. Anything. A decent review or two Maybe a book tour. Maybe an ad for the book in a national newspaper. But those ads can run tens of thousands of dollars. So some publishers are turning to the web. It's a kind of ad we're more used to seeing on the big screen. Ashley Milne Tyte reports.

ASHLEY MILNE-TYTE: Liz Dubelman worked in the entertainment industry for years. As a keen reader, she often wished publishers would bring the same marketing gusto to their product that the movie business did to theirs. So a couple of years ago she approached a publishing house . . .

LIZ DUBLEMAN: . . . And I said to them, "I go to a lot of author readings, and oftentimes there are seven people in the audience."

She suggested another way to boost readership: bring animated book trailers to the Internet. Since then, her company, VidLit, has made about 40 trailers for major publishers. At a few thousand dollars each, they're a fraction of the cost of a print ad. The trailers are a playful marriage of words, images and sound effects.

Each one is e-mailed to a large mailing list, and posted on video sites like YouTube. Here's one for the book Trump Nation:

BOOK TRAILER: To add to your fortune once you've hit the big time as a billionaire you should, one, convince opponents of your sprawling riverside development that two key benefits of your project are richer neighbors and better TV reception . . .

Dubelman says, "The idea is to be able to cut through the clutter and find a book by sampling it just as you would finding a piece of music."
My random musings:
It's not completely analogous. A vidlit is not like reading a book.

Hearing various readers say, "he said," even sotto voice made you remember that they are trying to translate a reading experience into a video.

This might be a good way to capture teen readers.

Do I hope that someone will make a vidlit of one of my upcoming teen thrillers? You bet!
Here's an explanation of the idea from vidlit.

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Unpublished? You really should be reading Miss Snark right now

Right before Labor Day, Miss Snark accepted a bunch of query letters and first pages. She put them, one by one, into what she calls the Crapometer and then posted each one and her comments for all the world to see.

While occasionally, well, snarky, her comments are right on the money. You can see exactly why she loses interest - and learn from other people's mistakes.

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