Every time I attend a marketing meeting I’m always asked the same question: what have the national NPRs said? Often enough, contacting producers is like banging my head against a brick wall. I email, I use the pitch page, I sometimes call (depending on the book / producer) or resend a book with glowing reviews. Still banging head against wall …
Now, I work on some pretty terrific books published by a well-respected imprint, so I know it’s not the books. Back in March 2008 when I started this endeavor, I estimated that 100,000 authors are published each year, but apparently Bowker, the publisher of Books in Print, says 276,649 books were published in 2007. (That doesn’t include the Print on Demand titles which brings the total to 400,000+).
My initial estimate of NPR author interviews (about 600 of them annually, or a dozen interviews per week) was also a little low — since I began keeping track of this at the end of March 2008, the number of national interviews each week has ranged from 15 to 25. I’ll be generous and say 25 interviews per week for the purposes of this tally, which means that exactly .5 percent of books make it to a national NPR show. In other words, getting interviewed on a national NPR show is about 20 times harder than getting into Harvard. (And on the other side of the fence, the national NPR producers are dealing with 20 times more “applications” than the Harvard admissions office. Not pretty for them.)
So I thought it would be fun — and informative — for all of us book publicists to keep track of how many books are actually covered each week. Every week I’ll be tallying what books have been covered on the national NPR shows (since all good book publicists know that a national NPR interview is almost the Holy Grail of radio publicity).
On Thursday evenings / Friday mornings I’ll post a roundup of the national NPR book stories of the week. The first person to send me the imprints (not publishing houses but imprints, where applicable) of all the books mentioned (maybe a dozen or so) will win the NPR Books Grid. What is the NPR Books Grid? The Grid is an Excel spreadsheet listing the titles, authors, subjects, shows, interviewers and post-interview Amazon rankings of all the book stories for that week. For those of you who know how to use the alphabetize function in Excel, you’ll know that you can then organize the columns to see which shows or interviewers have been covering the most books in what subjects. If tracking down the imprints of these books sounds like a wild goose chase to you, think of it this way — regardless of whether you win The Grid, you will have just familiarized yourself with all the national NPR book stories for that week.
Email your answers to bookpublicityblog[at]gmail[dot]com.