The Book Publicity Blog

News, Tips, Trends and Miscellany for Book Publicists

How book publicity is like the World Cup

Under duress, I watched the World Cup final between the Netherlands and Spain yesterday.  Okay — so it wasn’t really “duress,” but everyone kept posting about the match on Facebook, and Versus wasn’t re-airing Stage 8 of the Tour de France until 5 p.m., and I was feeling lazy after running 12 miles in the heat, so I figured I might as well subject myself to the drone of thousands of vuvuzelas (yes — there’s an app for that) to see what the fuss was all about.

Of course, all the shots missed / were blocked for just about forever, until Spain finally scored in overtime and broke the stalemate to prevail.  Which is sort of how book promotion works.

A book publicist tries to “score” with a lot of media, but it can take a while, and “goals” can be few and far between.  Think soccer rather than, say, basketball.  And as with soccer (or basketball, for that matter), a failure to score does not necessarily indicate a failure to shoot — it simply means that sometimes, conditions just aren’t right for a goal.

The bottom line is that no book or author is ever a lock for any show, newspaper or website.  Nor is there a such thing as “only,” as in “only” online, or “only” a local show — these venues can be as tough to book as any other.

Which isn’t to say that eventually you don’t prevail — and knowledgeable, creative publicists can garner solid coverage of their books and authors — but you just may need a little overtime.

July 12, 2010 - Posted by | Miscellaneous |

10 Comments »

  1. Yen, well said!

    Comment by Jessica Napp | July 12, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hi Yen,

    This analogy is so true!

    I tell my authors/clients that PR can be similar to going down the river on a raft. You never know what’s around the next corner — just keep paddling!

    Comment by Skye Wentworth | July 12, 2010 | Reply

    • Another good sports analogy!

      Comment by Yen | July 12, 2010 | Reply

  3. A fresh and timely analogy! Well said.

    Comment by Hillary | July 12, 2010 | Reply

  4. Someone just asked on Twitter how book publicity is like the Tour de France and — although I think she was probably half joking — there also are some similarities.

    One notable feature of the Tour (besides it being three weeks long) is the terrain: there are some flat stages where sprinters dominate, and there are some mountain stages where the ride is more slow and steady (or as slow as a Tour rider ever gets, which, as we saw on Sunday, is still faster than a horse running at full gallop).

    In book publicity also, there are last-minute opportunities (i.e., news) where you jump right in with a pitch, and there are also opportunities which are more of a slow build (many print reviews, particularly for long-lead publications).

    Comment by Yen | July 12, 2010 | Reply

  5. Very well put. Thanks for this post.

    Comment by Marcia Mayne | July 12, 2010 | Reply

  6. Another analogy to be made. You may not understand the details of the game if you aren’t a book publicity expert, just the big picture. But believe me, all of the footwork you see, all of the passing–it serves a purpose and is an essential part of the game.

    Comment by Jean Westcott | July 12, 2010 | Reply

    • Ah, yes — quite right!

      Comment by Yen | July 12, 2010 | Reply

  7. This is a wonderful analogy and is so true.
    I love it, back to the play !

    Comment by Di Rolle | August 1, 2010 | Reply

  8. Book Editor Jobs
    A book publicist tries to “score” with a lot of media, but it can take a while, and “goals” can be few and far between. Book Editor JobsSomeone just asked on Twitter how book publicity is like the Tour de France and — although I think she was probably half joking — there also are some similarities.

    Comment by Book Editor Jobs | August 21, 2010 | Reply


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