Why Bad Things Happen to Good Titles: A 27-point pre-launch checklist
September 28, 2012

In some ways, books are like humans. They enter the world as babies, full of potential and opportunity, with proud parents boasting great visions for their future success. But as they grow, something happens and very few become the success their parents hoped they would be.

When the same thing occurs to books, their authors usually never fully understand what went wrong. But you can improve the chances of your offspring's success by using a checklist to predict if a particular book has a chance of becoming successful.

Below are some general characteristics of a potentially winning title. How does your title match up?

‘The Casual Vacancy’: The reviews are in
September 27, 2012

Will it break a record? Probably. But is it good? That’s the big question of the day, as “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling’s first adult novel, “The Casual Vacancy,” hit shelves this morning. It was protected by a number of security procedures, including a stringent non-disclosure agreement, so only a few reviews leaked out before the 1 a.m. EST embargo time.

Same book but not: Publishers offer titles in adult, kid versions
September 27, 2012

When HarperCollins publishes the memoir of a Rutgers University football player who was paralyzed in a fourth-quarter tackle, it's doing so with two different titles targeting two different audiences.

"Believe" by Eric LeGrand is being simultaneously published this week with twin titles -- one for adults with the subhead "My Faith and the Tackle That Changed My Life," and another for middle-grade readers, subtitled "The Victorious Story of Eric LeGrand."


Would Hemingway Blog?
September 26, 2012

I know many writers are hesitant to the idea of blogging. It feels like just another social media chore, but nothing can be farther from the truth. In fact, blogging is probably the ONLY form of social media that 1) draws from a writer’s strengths and 2) doesn’t try to fundamentally change our personality.

Yes, as a social media Jedi, I will tell you that it’s a good idea to tweet and learn to use Facebook, but I’m also going to tell you something you already know.

PR Stunt: Activists Sink Amazon Bestseller with Fake Reviews
September 26, 2012

We’ve written a good bit about the use and abuse of fake ‘user reviews’ recently, and we couldn’t help but share this bizarre story of a “crowdsourced” effort to sink a certain Amazon bestseller—all organized and executed by people who hadn’t actually read the book in question.

The reason for this anti-PR stunt is a little unusual. The book, titled “Tinderbox: How the West Sparked the AIDS Epidemic and How the World Can Finally Overcome It“, is by (almost) all accounts a well-researched tome that traces the history of the AIDS epidemic.

Show Notes: Kindle and Google and Nook, oh my!
September 25, 2012

“Search drives sales,” said Google’s Gavin Bishop at a much-anticipated Monday afternoon session at the two-day Digital Book World Discoverability and Marketing conference at New York’s Metropolitan Pavilion. Bishop delivered results from a study the search giant did of 250 New York Times bestselling titles from 2010-2012, analyzing 130,000 search queries on said titles across laptops, smart phones and tablets.

'Clifford's Biggest Birthday Party Ever' Kicks off with 50th Anniversary Celebration
September 24, 2012

Scholastic Media, a division of Scholastic Inc., the global children’s publishing, education and media company, today hosted ‘Clifford’s BIGGEST Birthday Party Ever’ – a live webcast event streamed to classrooms nationwide that kicks off a year-long 50th birthday celebration of Clifford the Big Red Dog®. In honor of the celebration, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of the City of New York,proclaimed the day as 'Clifford The Big Red Dog® Day.'
Approximately 5,000 classrooms nationwide registered to participate in the event via livewebcast and watched as hundreds of first graders from New York City schools participated in the party in front of Scholastic's iconic SoHo headquarters. The children met Clifford’s creator, Norman Bridwell, shared their own birthday wishes for their favorite Big Red Dog, participated in some BIG birthday activities that reinforce the social-emotional, literacy and language skills that Clifford espouses, and finally, sang “Happy Birthday” to Clifford as a giant BIG red dog was revealed along the façade of the Scholastic building.

Show Notes: Report from the Digital Book World Marketing and Discoverability Conference
September 24, 2012

“If you came here looking for a map, good luck,” joked Perseus Book Group's Rick Joyce, noting that figuring out the new world of discoverbility is “not about map following, but about map building.”

While the metaphor might seem extreme, when it comes to marketing and discoverability in the Internet age, publishers really are, like the early explorers, in uncharted territory. This was the theme of opening keynote delivered by Joyce,  Perseus's Chief Marketing Officer to the gathered publishing professionals at the Metropolitan Pavilion for the first Digital Book World Marketing and Discoverability conference.

To Catch A Sock Puppet
September 23, 2012

It was the crime writer, on Amazon, under an assumed name, stabbing his fellow novelists in the back. The plot was uncovered earlier this month by thriller writer Jeremy Duns, who revealed the poison penmanship in a series of tweets. “This is RJ Ellory writing about his own book. And he has done this for them all, and yes, I’m proving it in the next few minutes,” Duns tweeted, before exposing Ellory’s pseudonyms. Ellory confessed, and the ensuing scandal prompted hundreds of writers to sign a pledge condemning sock puppetry.

Random House Group unveils "emotigraph" charting online mood to promote new Sebastian Faulks novel
September 21, 2012

The Random House Group has launched an ‘emotigraph’ digital campaign, charting the mood and thoughts of the digital world, in order to promote the new novel by Sebastian Faulks, A Possible Life.

Having launched today, the emotigraph will capture and display pictures, text and posts, updating constantly to illustrate the current mood of the digital world based on ‘hashtags’ used by Twitter and Instagram users.