The Trajectory of Book Publicity

By Stacey J. Miller, Book Publicist
S. J. Miller Communications
[email protected]

What does book discovery mean to authors and publishers? Everything, obviously. Book discovery is the whole purpose of book publicity and brand building: when authors and their books receive media attention, build their brand, and expand their online footprints, then they can differentiate themselves from competing authors and books (and videos, blogs, and the like), and they can persuade potential readers to purchase their books. Book discovery, then, is tied into book promotion and brand building which, in turn, directly affects book sales.

So what does Trajectory, a Boston-based firm, have to do with book discovery? According to an article in ThoughtCatalog, Trajectory will change everything about book discovery. Through Trajectory, authors and publishers will be able to match their books’ content, setting, mood, and more to books that readers have already bought and enjoyed. Think of Trajectory as — potentially — the Pandora of books. “If you love Neil Diamond, you might want to listen to Barry Manilow” (which is Pandora’s territory) becomes, “If you loved The Giver, you’d probably enjoy The Hunger Games” — which Trajectory would base on algorithms about all of the elements that make up a book’s content rather than on strictly sales information.

Just as authors and publishers currently consider it critical to get their books into the search engines, and to allow their book discovery to happen both organically and through concerted book promotion efforts, they may — according to ThoughtCatalog — soon be focusing on book discovery through Trajectory. Trajectory, it seems, is already forming partnerships with the major players in the world of book publishing.

So what will the trajectory of book publicity look like once the DNA of books can be scanned to see whether or not they’re a match for books readers have already bought and loved? Authors and publishers: stay tuned to find out!

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A Year of Books and Mark Zuckerberg, Part 2

By Stacey J. Miller, Book Publicist
S. J. Miller Communications
[email protected]

Yes, Mark Zuckerberg, famed founder of Facebook, has launched an online book club. Now, what does that mean for book sales? Take a guess. Go ahead.

Sales of the first Mark Zuckerberg selection, The End of Power, have soared. The Telegraph‘s Rhiannon Williams provides these details:

* Since Mark Zuckerberg chose The End of Power, its sales have increased 775 per cent.
* The paperback version of The End of Power was, as of the Telegraph’s writing, the 8th bestselling book on Amazon (and it was a number one category bestseller in several categories). At the time of this writing, however, it’s number 49 (it’s ranking as a number one category bestseller, however, is undiminished).
* Again, as of the Telegraph’s writing, Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook book club had 189,000 members. That’s up to 215,884 members as of now (and this book publicist is one of them).

So, if you guessed that Mark Zuckerberg’s endorsement of a book would boost its visibility and increase its sales, then you’re right on the money. Come to think of it, I always thought Mark Zuckerberg and Oprah Winfrey had a lot in common. Both of them have global influence and the respect of millions of people…and both Mark Zuckerberg and Oprah Winfrey are incredible people to have behind your book promotion campaign!

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A Year of Books and Mark Zuckerberg

By Stacey J. Miller, Book Publicist
S. J. Miller Communications
[email protected]

Could Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, be the biggest thing to happen to book publicity since Oprah? If he has his way, he will.

According to, Mark Zuckerberg has committed to starting a book club in 2015. He will read a book every two weeks, and he has invited his Facebook followers (and, presumably, the media) to join him. Mark Zuckerberg is calling 2015 “a year of books.” Amen to that!

So here are the big questions. Which books will Mark Zuckerberg read? How will that affect the books’ discovery potential? Could books ever receive a bigger book promotion boost than they’d get from Mark Zuckerberg’s endorsement?

The lucky book that will launch Mark Zuckerberg’s book club is The End of Power by Moisés Naím. As a book publicist, I expect to see Mark Zuckerberg’s book choices carrying as much weight as any television show could, and certainly, Zuckerberg’s support of a book will mean as much as any media personality’s in the world. Personally, I have some interest in what books the U.S. president is reading. But I really want to know the books that Mark Zuckerberg (and his followers) are reading, and what they have to say about those books.

This book publicist will also be curious to see whether Mark’s book club choices will include ebooks as well as traditional books, and self-published books (independent books, that is) as well as mainstream books.

However it plays out, I offer kudos to Mark Zuckerberg for using his influence as a thought leader for good…to get people reading books, and for giving the authors he chooses to support the best book publicity opportunity they could ever dream about. Go, Mark! And, of course, go readers! Log onto Facebook, and join Mark Zuckerberg’s book club today! Happy new year, book lovers!

Posted in book discovery, book marketing, Book Promotion, book publicist, book publicists, book publicity, book review, book reviews, social networking for authors, social networking for books | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Publicity Tool

By Stacey J. Miller, Book Publicist
S. J. Miller Communications
[email protected]

Believe it or not, here’s a book publicity tool you once had and will probably want again for the duration of your book promotion campaign: a landline.

Yes, as a citizen of the world (besides being a book publicist), I know that just about everyone has traded in his or her landline for a cell phone. It’s the economical and reasonable way to go. Why pay for landline telephone service that you don’t need?

But for authors who are planning book publicity campaigns, here’s an unwelcome surprise. You probably will need a landline to participate in radio interviews. Some radio show producers still check to ensure that the phone number authors provide are landline phone numbers and not cell phone numbers. Those radio show producers, certainly, are becoming relics, and they do sound strangely archaic trying to convince authors to find landlines to use.

However, this book publicist’s motto is: the radio show producer is always right. If the radio show producer will book a radio interview only if the author has a landline available, then guess what? You need a landline to do the interview. You’re not going to talk the radio show producer, who doesn’t accept cell phone numbers for radio interviews, that your cell phone line has never been garbled or gotten disconnected. The radio show producer has heard it before, and it’s nothing personal. It’s just that every radio producer has had problems with other interviewees’ cell phone lines and isn’t willing to risk bad on-air audio again — for any author, even for you.

So, even though you may not keep the landline telephone service at the conclusion of your book publicity campaign, you’d be wise to have a landline — or access to a landline — available for the duration of your book publicity campaign. Don’t miss out on opportunities because you’re unwilling to hold onto old technology! What’s old to some people is still an indispensable book publicity tool.

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Book publicity via Twitter

By Stacey J. Miller, Book Publicist
S. J. Miller Communications
[email protected]

Can Twitter be part of your book marketing and book publicity campaign? It can, according to what this book publicist has seen and what novelist Helen Clark has experience (see her excellent Huffington Post blog, “Making Twitter Work for Your Book“).

Twitter, like blogging, can connect authors with their target readership quickly, and can be instantly gratifying. Book marketing means making those connections, and using those connections to build your brand, and Twitter can be an important part of the platform that you use to sell your books and your expertise. In other words, yes, Twitter can be part of your book marketing and book publicity campaign.

But here’s the down side of using Twitter as part of your book promotion campaign. Unlike other book publicity strategies, such as participating in media interviews and writing articles (that byline you as their author and include a link to your book web site), Twitter doesn’t have a beginning, middle, and ending. Building your brand via Twitter isn’t something you can schedule into a few hours a week, and it isn’t something you’d necessarily want to outsource and have a book publicist do for you.

Finding the right followers on Twitter, and reading (and responding to, or retweeting) the tweets that those you follow compose, takes time. Composing tweets, and deciding what to post, and when to post them — and, perhaps, figuring out what not to post and learning why not to post it — is an infinite pursuit that can occupy endless hours of your time. Now, if you’re going through a dry spell as a writer, or if you’re such a successful author that you can afford to take time off from writing in between book promotion campaigns, then you might well have the time that building your brand, and expanding your name recognition, on Twitter takes.

Otherwise, if you’re like most authors, you’ll tweet as a small (but important) part of your book promotion campaign. You’ll set a limit on the number of hours you’ll devote each week to Twitter, and you’ll use that time wisely. And, the rest of the time, you’ll engage in book publicity activities that may lead to slightly delayed gratification.

But, if delayed gratification leads to book sales, who’s complaining? Not I, says this book publicist.

Posted in author platform, author publicity, book marketing, Book Promotion, book publicist, book publicity, twitter | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book publicity idea: book giveaways and book contests

By Stacey J. Miller, Book Publicist
S. J. Miller Communications
[email protected]

It may seem like a counter-intuitive book publicity idea: giving books away instead of selling them to generate book buzz. But, just as book publicists (and authors and publishers who are conducting book publicity campaigns) give away books to book reviewers (and producers, editors, journalists, and bloggers) to garner book promotion opportunities, it makes sense to directly give books away to your intended readers via book giveaway or contest.

Because you can tweet about book giveaways and contests, and post them via all of your other social networks, it’s a wonderful opportunity to spread the word about your work — and to reach your targeted readership without encountering interference from a media gatekeeper. But there are certain conventions and, more importantly, legalities that apply to book giveaways and contests, so see the way other publishers handle these issues…and learn from them before you integrate these strategies into your own book publicity campaign. For example, Orion Children’s Books is currently sponsoring a competition to win children’s books (read about it in ParentDish).

Take a close look at the way Orion Children’s Books is running its book giveaway, and see what you can learn from it. Maybe it’s time to think about expanding your book publicity campaign to include something a bit out of the ordinary. You never know which book publicity strategy will work best for you, so try as many as you can.

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A lesson for this book publicist.

By Stacey J. Miller, Book Publicist
S. J. Miller Communications
[email protected]

A radio producer sent me a positive response to an email pitch yesterday. Eager to book the radio interview for my client, I read the email from top to bottom — and, unfortunately, I noticed that the producer had prematurely hit the “send” button, so the email was truncated. I let the radio producer know, so that we could get that book publicity interview locked in, and I expected an instant reply. It took about 24 hours to hear back from him, though, and that taught this book publicist a lesson.

Book publicity is my world, and it takes up most of the space in my head, day and night (and weekends and holidays, too). But that’s not true for everybody.

Somehow, that was refreshing to learn. The whole world does not always move at a break-neck, it-has-to-get-done-this-second-or-else pace, just because it can. Just because I want to get media interviews for my clients does’t mean that producers and editors and journalists sit by their smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops thinking about nothing except my authors and their book publicity needs. People still have lives beyond book publicity and book promotion. It’s an important reminder — for this book publicist!

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Guest Blog by Author John Taloni

Science Fiction is Everywhere

A Guest Blog by Author John Taloni

As a long-time fan of Science Fiction, it’s been interesting to see the genre grow and grow, to the point where it is now just about everywhere.

In the days before Star Wars came out (yes, and dinosaurs still roamed the Earth) only a few people could make a living writing science fiction. SF fans routinely referred to the “Big Three” of Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein, or included the more Fantasy oriented Bradbury in a “Big Four.” Their works included technology as a major component of the story. Asimov postulated intelligent robots following three laws. Clarke was famous for the monoliths of “2001.” Heinlein developed an entire “future history” that included warnings of the dangers of nuclear meltdowns. Bradbury’s famous “Martian Chronicles” considered the effect of a new environment on the human race.

There were science fiction conventions, but they were small things. Regional conventions were lucky to have a few thousand attendees, and it took the annual Worldcon to break ten thousand. “2001” was the only movie to take science fiction seriously.

And then Star Wars came out, and both popularized Science Fiction and destroyed the old market. Suddenly old series’ got new sequels from the “Big Three,” with outsize payments to match the new attention paid to Science Fiction. SF conventions swelled in size.

But this came at a price. The comfortable science-based stories of the past were superseded by fiction of a less rigorous bent. Was Star Wars actually science fiction, or a fairy tale with robotic elves? Whereas “2001” postulated a realistic voyage to Jupiter (Saturn in the book) Star Wars just waved its hands at the issue and said “we’ll jump through hyperspace.” Ships moved through no propellant other than a bright light at the back.

And in the post-Star Wars world, science fiction exploded. The market grew by leaps and bounds. And along the way, fantastic inventions became possible, then easy. Anyone who dreamed of having a Star Trek Communicator could have one by the 1990s in the form of a flip phone. We outgrew that faster than we could think and are now carrying around portable tablets with far more computing power than was used in the Apollo missions. We approach the truly fantastic: The Japanese now have an implantable cell phone. Niven and Pournelle postulated a machine-style of telepathy with people swapping messages by computer in the book “Oath of Fealty.” With that implant and Google Glass people can swap messages in real time.

Arthur Clarke once quipped “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” How would a person living in the 1950s perceive today’s communications technology? Likely as magical.

We are not quite yet at the stage where Kirk can give a series of orders to a computer and wait for an analysis, but we are getting close. Search engines put an entire world’s worth of information at our fingertips. Crowdsourcing provides information better than old authorities could do, and Wikipedia’s accuracy is as good as the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Science Fiction has grown so much that many people now refer to SF as “Speculative Fiction.” It is as good a moniker as any. There are fantastic elements in almost any genre of writing. Romance books now include Paranormal Romance. Urban Fantasy has become its own genre. The Big Bang Theory eats up the TV ratings. Summer blockbusters include several science fiction movies every year. Along the way, people have become accustomed to considering the fantastic as not implausible, but simply something we haven’t gotten around to doing just yet.

Conventions have grown accordingly. San Diego Comic Con has long outgrown comics and is now dedicated to the entire speculative fiction genre. It gets over 100,000 attendees a year. Other conventions routinely break the 10,000 attendee mark. Consumer products abound. Doctor Who gets released on film for one day and makes $10 million in box office.

And yet, a small voice in me says, “What about the hard science fiction stories of the past? What about the realistic trips to the Moon, to Mars; Niven’s Ramships that scoop ambient hydrogen for fuel, or Heinlein’s generation ships that would take a hundred years to get to their destination?” Well, a look at the marketplace shows that they’re still there. Alistair Reynolds does books about traveling from star to star at sublight speeds and does a pretty good job on the physics involved. Kim Stanley Robinson wrote a trilogy on settling Mars and making it habitable for humanity, and each step used existing technology or stuff we could make with just a little innovation. The hard science fiction market is still there, but the speculative part has grown and grown.

Technology itself has increased the market for SF. Online magazines proliferate where before only a handful of print magazines could exist. E-books allow authors to reach niche audiences, and without the need to print and distribute physical books, those authors can make a living with a higher cut of the buyer’s dollar. Some have given up publishing houses altogether.

As a society, we have learned to consider the fantastic as possible. With unbound imaginations, we are remaking the world. It began with a small number of authors saying “what if.” Now fiction feeds technology and technology suggests fiction in an endless circle. The future is boundless. We need only imagine it.

John Taloni is the author of two books that merge realistic science fiction with the fantasy element of intelligent cats. The first, Crisis on Stardust Station, tells the story of the cats coming to the aid of the stranded humans following a solar flare. Along the way they must rebuild Earth’s solar power satellite network, or face abandonment by a ruined Earth. The second, Shadow on the Moon, tells of a far greater danger waiting on the Moon. Earth’s sun will go supernova if they fail – but there are shadowy allies awaiting them as well.

Crisis on Stardust Station:

Shadow on the Moon:

John Taloni can be found at:

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What price, eBooks?

By Stacey J. Miller, Book Publicist
S. J. Miller Communications
[email protected]

How much should eBooks cost? Is Amazon correct when it postulates that every eBook should be priced at $9.99 or less? Or are publishers correct in assuming that book sales hinge on many variables (such as book publicity, genre, subject matter, etc.), and numbers are impossible to predict based on price alone?

Can it be that, if all eBooks sold for $9.99, then — all things (including book publicity and book marketing) being equal — the only books with a competitive advantage would be those that cost less than $9.99? And would that mean the price of eBooks would fall until, finally, it cost more to sell an eBook than it would to just give it away (in the same way as you burn up more calories chewing celery sticks than you take in)?

Carolyn Kellogg, an LA Times staff writer covering books and publishing (@paperhaus at Twitter), muses about eBook pricing, and the veracity of Amazon’s contention that “For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99.” Click here to read it.

This book publicist’s hunch is that the jury will be out on the best eBook pricing for years to come and, in the meantime, publishers and Amazon will be duking it out over who has the right to decide what eBooks should cost. The Amazon/Hatchette feud isn’t going away anytime soon. Other pricing wars are just waiting in the wings.

There has never been a better time to be an independent publisher. And there has never been a more confusing time to be an independent publisher. Or, as a famous author once said, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”

Posted in author publicity, book marketing, Book Promotion, book publicist, book publicists, book publicity, eBook promotion | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Wattpad is here.

By Stacey J. Miller, Book Publicist
S. J. Miller Communications
[email protected]

This book publicist uses technology for every book publicity campaign (whether it’s a book marketing campaign that includes social networking outreach or whether it’s a book marketing campaign that revolves around traditional book publicity opportunities). So I’m surprised to say that I am hearing about Wattpad for the first time.

Wattpad, according to a goodereader article, boasts more than 30 million users, and it allows authors to write, post, and share content. That would seem to be a great way to bring a book’s content to readers which is one of the main goals of book marketing.

However, as the article points out, some sort of system must be put into place to protect authors’ copyright. From what the article says, it seems Wattpad has found its vehicle for protecting authors’ copyright: Open Stories, a Creative Commons option. So now authors can share their content with readers (and, one hopes, can gain new readers) with Wattpad. This will provide a book publicity opportunity that authors need. And, at the same time, the content will be protected through a Create Commons license.

Does technology get any better than when technology meets book publicity?

This book publicist is properly impressed.

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