The Book Publicity Blog

News, Tips, Trends and Miscellany for Book Publicists

Don’t know anyone on Twitter?

Last week a college friend posted a question about Twitter as his Facebook status.  He’d just signed up, he said, and was having trouble finding friends who use Twitter.  Several of his friends — Facebook veterans, obviously — said they’d tried Twitter but “didn’t get it” or couldn’t find anyone.  (Although Oprah, who finally got on the bandwagon and started tweeting, picked up almost 500,000 followers in less than a week.)

Just in time, Wendy Kaufman of NPR’s Morning Edition explored, earlier this week, how businesses are using Twitter as a marketing tool and how individuals use it to keep up with the news in Thumbs To The News: Public Turns To Twitter.  Yesterday, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd debated — in her typical sardonic fashion — To Tweet or not to Tweet.

The dirty, little secret of Twitter is that it’s really basic: it lacks the bells and whistles of Facebook or LinkedIn, no photos, no audio or video, no groups, just 140-character status updates.  The Twitter website isn’t pretty.  It crashes all the time (displaying the much hated “fail whale”).  Still, it works well enough that fire departments use Twitter — among other tools — to track wildfires, doctors use it to share information and L.A. foodies use it to hunt down mobile taco trucks.  (Not to mention it’s a handy tool for those of us in book publicity, allowing us to follow the news and network with authors and others in the industry.)

Guy Kawasaki, Internet guru and How to Change the World blogger, showed How to Demo Twitter earlier this week, covering why one would want to use Twitter, how to find people to follow and what desktop applications can run Twitter.  (That’s the summarized version; for more, check the Twitter section of his news aggregation site Alltop.)

For more Twitter basics, I’ve posted about how to get started on Twitter and how to figure out the Following / Follower lists.

And for a glossary of Twitter terms, try this recent post from Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists.

Lastly, for those of you inclined to regurgitate at another mention of Twitter but who understand that one must nevertheless adapt to change, Dave Fleet suggests (non-Twitter) Social Media Baby Steps.


For those of you in the publishing industry, don’t forget that Jennifer Tribe of Highspot maintains a directory of bookish tweeps.

April 23, 2009 Posted by | Social Networking, Trends | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

More about Twitter — and why you should join

By this point, most people have heard of the microblogging site Twitter.  I’m sure some of you have been meaning to join, but don’t quite know how — or, for that matter, why.  On How to Change the World, Guy Kawasaki posts some tips about how to build a following on Twitter (and why you might want to join).

Personally, I like Twitter because it helps me keep track of what people are doing (or reading).  Journalists I follow often post links to their stories or to stories they find of interest.  Often, breaking news is Twittered since it’s easier to post a 140-character message than an entire story.  Several publishing houses use Twitter accounts to promote their books (which you can find through my account).  In fact, a friend of mine likened her Twitter account to an RSS feed in that all the important stories pop up in her Twitter feed, albeit in an abbreviated fashion.

Of course, you don’t even need a computer to use Twitter — many users Tweet from cell phones and PDAs.  I admit, when I first heard about Twitter in a marketing meeting years ago, I thought it was pretty ridiculous, but used artfully, it’s actually a very effective way of keeping tabs on what’s going on.

November 11, 2008 Posted by | Media Monitoring, Social Networking | , | 3 Comments

Morning Brief — Monday, September 29

For anyone who doesn’t like climbing stairs, I’d just like to note that climbing *down* stairs is actually far more hazardous to your health.  52 flights down and I could barely roll over in bed the next morning.


How do you pitch?  Email?  By phone?  In person?  Guy Kawasaki suggests considering your mode of contact.

September 29, 2008 Posted by | Pitching Tips | | Leave a comment

Morning Brief — Tuesday, July 29

Guy Kawasaki muses about envisioning bigger markets for products on How to Change the World.  You can see how this could apply to book marketing and publicity.  Although I’m just as beholden to the book review sections (or, at least, the ones that are left) and the major shows as the next book publicist, I do think one of the most challenging and fulfilling experiences as a publicist are digging up alternate media venues — whether they be niche publications, local media or reporters with specific interests — and crafting appropriate pitches.


Daily Fix via PRNewser lists eight press release foibles including making vague claims and overusing industry jargon and superlatives.  So no more “pitch perfect characters,” I guess.

July 29, 2008 Posted by | Miscellaneous, Press Material | , , | Leave a comment

Morning Brief — Wednesday, July 16

I was debating whether to eat a banana before an early spin class today, and it occurred to me that I have a very patriotic food allergy.  I am mildly allergic to virtually all fruits (including bananas — hence the debate) except those grown here: apples, oranges, grapes, berries, watermelon, peaches.  Interesting, that.


Jon Greer from the PR blog Catching Flack posts some links about how to pitch bloggers.  The bottom line is you need to be familiar with the blogs you’re pitching.  And unless you only are ever pitching one blog, you pretty much need to set up an RSS reader through which you can follow multiple blogs.  Click here if you need tips about how to set up an RSS reader.


Guy Kawasaki from How to Change the World comments about the difference between pitching old and new media.

July 16, 2008 Posted by | Blogs, Pitching Tips, RSS | , | 2 Comments

Alltop — news (and book news) aggregator

Guy Kawasaki of How to Change the World just passed on some information about one of his sites, Alltop, that aggregates news headlines — and links, of course — in a variety of subjects you would expect: news, politics, culture, entertainment, etc. and many that you might not: extreme sports, venture capital, Twitterati.  One of Alltop’s sections covers books and it’s a great way to see a lot of the latest book headlines in about five seconds.  (Needless to say, it takes a mite longer to actually read the articles.)

Alltop is a bit like an RSS reader that comes with all the feeds preloaded (and may be particularly useful for those of you who have not set up readers).

April 24, 2008 Posted by | Media Monitoring | , | Leave a comment

Using Facebook to efficiently market stuff

For authors who are pretty Net savvy but who could use some additional pointers, Jesse Stay’s post on Guy Kawasaki’s blog How to Change the World should come in handy.  Stay talks about things like how to syndicate a Facebook blog, how to upload photos and change status by phone, how to post information only to certain demographics and more.

April 3, 2008 Posted by | Online Marketing | | 1 Comment

Morning Brief

The popular How to Change the World blog posts some information about how social networking actually works.  For those of you who have yet to sign up for a social networking profile, try Facebook first — we’re pretty much all on there.  (Although MySpace is still the biggest social networking site, Facebook and other sites are growing much faster.)


I read a post this morning on Booksquare about the future of reading/books and I wasn’t initially going to link to it here, but then I read a second post by on the same topic on the Penguin blog.  Kassia Krozser on Booksquare focuses more on youth online and the ramifications that has for us as publishers who will one day be trying to sell to that market; Clay Shirkey on the Penguin blog writes more about the logistical inconveniences of books.  Given that many tweets (that would be people who use Twitter) today consider email too troublesome, we should think long and hard about what Krozser and Shirkey are saying.


There’s been a lot of talk about book trailers lately.  If you haven’t already seen it, you may want to check the book trailer channel on YouTube.

March 17, 2008 Posted by | Book trailers, Online Marketing, Social Networking | , , , , | Leave a comment