Archives: Publicity

urlWe are thrilled to announce the launch of our new Speakers Bureau! Adding to our multi-pronged literary and marketing approach, our Speakers Bureau features distinct voices in literature who inspire audiences and facilitate progressive thought and conversation. Unlike traditional bureaus, our objective is to focus only on the work of authors and connect them with venues nationwide and globally. 

Our roster features leaders in productivity and leadership Chris Bailey and Rajeev Peshawaria, New York Times and internationally bestselling authors Nicola Kraus, Sam Wasson, and Douglas Kennedy, Olympian Ginny Gilder, award-winning neuroscientist Susan Peirce Thompson, and more. At Lucinda Literary, we take immense pride in connecting our authors to the broadest audiences possible, and are excited to explore the vast, uncharted territory we see in matching authors to venues.

We are currently seeking to expand our Speakers Bureau through the referrals of colleagues in publishing. We are not accepting unsolicited submissions at this time.

If you are interested in booking one of our speakers, visit: http://www.lucindaliterary.com/request-a-speaking-appearance/.

richardcohen

Our Book Jacket of The Week is Richard Cohen’s How To Write Like Tolstoy out this week from PenguinRandomHouse. We love the final cover art, which showcases an orange sketch of Leo Tolstoy sporting blue spectacles. We love the colors, we love the font, but most of all, we love the content inside! Apparently, we’re not the only ones.

“This book is a wry, critical friend to both writer and reader. It is filled with cogent examples and provoking statements. You will agree or quarrel with each page, and be a sharper writer and reader by the end.” – Hillary Mantel

“An elegant, chatty how-to book on writing well, using the lessons of many of the world’s best writers…” – Publishers Weekly

“Lush and instructive . . . [Cohen] is a generous tour guide through his literary world.” – Kirkus Reviews

These 12 essays are like 12 perfect university lectures on the craft of writing fiction... interesting, charming, and engaging.” – Library Journal.

Get a sneak peek beyond this lovely, colorful cover on LitHub. You can purchase How To Write Like Tolstoy here.

Richard Cohen is the former publishing director of Hutchinson and Hodder & Stoughton. Works that he has edited have gone on to win the Pulitzer, Booker, and Whitbread/Costa prizes, and more than twenty have been #1 bestsellers. The author of By the Sword, an award-winning history of swordplay, and Chasing the Sun, a wide-ranging narrative account of the star that gives us life, he was for two years program director of the Cheltenham Festival of Literature and for seven years a visiting professor in creative writing at the University of Kingston-upon-Thames.

Visit Richard’s website here or follow him on Twitter @aboutrichard or Facebook @RichardCohenAuthor.

imagesWe coupled up with superstar booker Ashley Bernardi, principal of Nardi Media, to talk about her work with authors and some lessons she’s gleaned from what really sells books to how authors can approach media themselves. (Though, we’ll be honest, it’s a heck of a lot easier with Ashley in your corner.) Here’s what she had to say.

1) What are the challenges authors face in getting booked on radio/television?

One of the main challenges that authors face is making the pitch relevant to the news cycle. We can overcome this challenge by using recent data, statistics, and research on the subject that was written about about to make the pitch buzzier and more relevant to the news cycle. Producers and reporters are fact-driven, so if we can present them with facts that tie in news of the day/week/month, and use the author and book as a jumping off point for a conversation about it — we usually see traction. I always try to use numbers, data, demographics, and more, to tie in a pitch. Sometimes the pitch is not just about the book itself – but where the author grew up, where he/she is based, and more. There is so much we can work with and that’s the best part about the process!

2) What can authors do to make themselves more attractive media candidates, and get a producer’s interest or attention? What are the most important “ingredients” to include in one’s pitch?

The approach to pitching radio and television varies, as well as the particular show you are pitching. Know who you are pitching and what the show has covered recently. Remember that a producer/reporter will do research on you, so it’s your job to do research on their show. What has been covered recently? Any pieces or segments that you liked or stood out to you? Is there a connection to your book or subject matter?

Another important factor is the pitch itself. You can and should specify and tailor a press advisory based off what a show covers. I usually never work with one generic press advisory. If you give a broad blanket advisory to every single national radio and television show, you won’t see results. But if you can tailor press advisories to specifically what a show covers (health, finance, etc), you’ll see results.

The most important ingredients to a broadcast pitch: Pre-existing video of the author(s) in an interview setting, street credibility (ie prior media placements in print, online, TV, radio), a pitch tailored specifically to what the show covers or has been covering, and making it newsworthy using recent statistics and data.

3) What kind of interviews are most effective? Does it always need to be a national media hit to cause an impact?
Obviously a national television or radio hit creates a big buzz and a wide range of exposure, but don’t discount the local radio stations, especially NPR affiliates. People who listen to NPR read books. I’ve had book authors do local interviews with NPR affiliates around the country, and they’ll see their book sales and Amazon ratings increase just from one radio interview alone.
There is also a huge added bonus to television and radio in today’s media world: online exposure. Nearly every television and radio segment now gets published online – which is a whole new audience reached!

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It’s expensive to launch a “successful” book, whether the investment is the publisher’s, yours, or a combination of both. And by successful, I’m not even talking about New York Times bestsellers, whose successes seem as much the result of a quantifiable financial investment as they are the result of unquantifiable variables like reader enthusiasm and sheer serendipity. By successful, I’m referring to any book that earns out its publisher’s investment and sells through its first printing. Any author who’s gotten that far should be immensely proud.

Here are some of the most critical costs I’ve seen responsible for creating a successful book:

*Print run (the number of books printed)
*Co-op (exhibition or shelf space the publisher is buying, whether at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.com, to offer your book exposure to browsers. Involved explanation here.)
*Marketing & publicity (ranging from advertising to a freelance publicist)
*Buying back books (for events or giveaway/review purposes)

For authors who receive an advance in the tens of thousands of dollars, a robust first print run, co-op, or hefty publicity/events support isn’t likely. And even the rare, proactive publicist who works with you at your publishing house…his/her efforts may simply not translate. If your hope is to exceed expectations and give your book a real shot on the market, you will need to find ways to supplement what’s lacking in the publisher’s investment.

Here are some ways to properly prioritize your time and energy that won’t cost you a dime, excluding gas money.
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Presentation at Lucinda Literary/ WeWork's offices - Fulton Center.

On Thursday evening, we hosted a presentation on publishing for The Fresh Air Fund’s job shadowing program. Fresh Air is an amazing organization founded in 1877 with the simple intention to give inner city kids the experience of “fresh air”–at summer camps far from the streets of New York. Since then, it has become more like a family, offering children and their parents all kinds of educational resources throughout the year, and closely monitoring kids to ensure they stay on course to graduate college.

As part of the presentation, we created the short quiz below to discover which job in publishing was best suited to their personality traits. Take it yourself, or share it with young people curious about publishing careers, and tell us below the post how accurate you found your results.

What Job in Publishing is Right for You?

Choose just one answer for every question.

Choose the best quality combination to describe your personality from those below:

  1. Dreamy/Creative
  2. Thoughtful/Introverted
  3. Articulate/Passionate
  4. Talkative/Social

When you were little you wanted to be or were most drawn to the careers of:

  1. Artists
  2. Teachers or doctors
  3. Lawyers or CEOs
  4. Singers or Actors

You often find yourself:

  1. In your own world: observing people and imagining their lives
  2. Reading and helping friends with their schoolwork
  3. Socializing with other people, where you are often the storyteller of the group
  4. Browsing the internet, watching television and movies, communicating with friends

What interests you most in a career is:

  1. To leave something important behind for generations to come–a legacy
  2. To help others
  3. Learning about business and making money
  4. Working in a fun, fast-paced, social environment

You feel happy and stimulated when:

  1. Expressing yourself
  2. Giving feedback to others
  3. Helping others solve problems
  4. Positive feedback and rewards

You feel [fill in the blank] way about money:

  1. It doesn’t really interest you beyond the minimum you need to live your life
  2. You’d like to make a good living
  3. Making money is very important
  4. It’s more important to have a fun and fulfilling job than to make money

You feel [fill in the blank] about rejection:

  1. It hurts, but it won’t ever stop you from putting yourself out there.
  2. You find you’re able to make a rejection when necessary in a polite way.
  3. You can deal with it.
  4. It’s the worst thing ever.

It doesn’t bother you to:

  1. Be alone for hours in the day
  2. Do detail oriented work. You like the feeling of progress!
  3. Discuss or deal with money
  4. Talk to strangers. You can always find things in common with people!

keep-calm-and-check-your-answers-9

Mostly 1’s? Your personality is well-suited to be a writer.

Author

You are imaginative, creative, like to observe others, and are happy being in your own world—which is essential for all the hours you’ll need to spend writing if you have a career as an author!

 

 

Mostly 2’s? You could be a book editor!

Editing an English language document

You really thrive helping others (as you would be helping writers), and you have a natural strength for long, detail-oriented work, which will be necessary for all the manuscripts you’ll be editing.

 

Mostly 3’s? The best role for you in the publishing industry could be as a literary agent.

Lit Agent

Like editors, you enjoy helping people, and like publicists, you are social creatures, but your passion for business differentiates you from the rest of the pack.

 

 

Mostly 4’s? Book publicity would be a great career for you.

talk_to_my_publicist_jadedstarlet_couture_tank-rdf89eb12ed6b4c649346c38a680f4610_8nhmp_324

You love people, entertainment, and pop culture and are always in the know about news and trends. Working in a fast-paced environment and booking media for authors will bring you joy and immediate satisfaction.

“The sport of book promotion is more of a relay race than a sprint.”

It’s almost a cliché to hear an author complain about his or her publicity team. But the fact of the matter is that celebrity has become as important as literary merit, with more titles competing for consumers’ attention than ever before, so authors need to work just as hard as their publicists to promote their work.

That can be frustrating, unless you’re able to “rewire” the way you approach publicity. It begins with remembering that you and your publicist are on the same team, and that the sport of book promotion is more of a relay race than a sprint. There’s no recipe for guaranteed attention, but with the right partner, you can at least have a hand in orchestrating your book’s destiny. As an author and a publicist, here are a few things we’ve learned.

1) Rewire the way you think about publicity.

What does publicity “success” mean to you? If it’s getting an interview on NPR or a book review in the New York Times, you should be plugged into those outlets, knowing the kinds of authors and subjects they cover. While it’s always difficult to attract national media attention, if you can convince your publicist that your book should make the cut—e.g., based on the success of comparable titles, or news trends—you’re giving her the artillery she needs to make the case for you.

If national media isn’t available to you, it’s time to rewire. Coverage by a wide network of bloggers, a Facebook post by a celebrity author, or a viral op-ed in Huffington Post gives you a lot of exposure and often translates to sales. Website analytics yield more data than offline media. We can’t recommend enough that authors follow their traffic, experiment with posting online, and actively engage with reader communities to exploit the loudspeakers of social media.

For Bianca’s book launch, a series about a vintage-obsessed 12-year-old girl who’s carried away to different historical eras, we found immense support from YA and style bloggers, who hosted Bianca on a blog tour and posted images of her book on Instagram. When drumming up book reviews proved difficult, we placed larger profiles about Bianca in adult fashion outlets.

Read the full essay with Bianca Turetsky at PublishersWeekly.com 

Marketing begins with an immediately accessible concept. As more books go digital and jacket art becomes a less important draw to readers, your title becomes your best (or worst) marketer. Look at the New York Times Bestsellers list each week: you’ll see common words repeating almost formulaically by category. How can one tap this formula? Simply by paying careful attention, even just looking at your own bookshelf or Kindle queue. Here are some of the top-selling titles we found to guide you in the right direction. Some might surprise you!

1. Guide to, Ways to, How to: 1,638,764 / 194,230/ 584,472

Practical titles caught us as the most prevalent: promising to fulfill something you need. But you don’t necessarily need to have written a self-help book to use these phrases.  Toby Young’s memoir How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, a spin-off of the famous prescriptive business title: How to Win Friends and Influence People picks up on these buzzwords. Even fiction authors can take advantage: think of Melissa Bank’s breakout book, The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing.

Get creative with nonfiction help titles too by remixing classics like “What to Do When…” (119,112 in Search Results on Amazon) or calls to action, like: “How to Start…” (107,615 in Search). Readers browsing for particular information, whether for personal or professional interest, will respond to both the authority of a “How to” title and the originality of your spin on it.

2. Lives/Life: 1,665,413/1,665,455

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry: A Novel, Life Beyond Words, My Horizontal Life, The Secret Life of Violet Grant… We were surprised by the number of books on bestseller lists containing these words. Three possible reasons: the word “life” implicitly suggests an arc, or progression, or wholeness to a story; it caters to voyeurism, an intimate look at someone else’s life; and finally, it brings a kind of drama through that voyeuristic lens. Many readers appear to respond to a title that feels both honest and sensational.

3. Children: 1,649,100

Everyone love talking about kids: Their kids, other kids, genius kids, and “those darn kids!” So it’s no surprise “children” is a popular search title. There are plenty of self-help books on how to raise a child (The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children). However, other popular fiction writers are also quick to play to our parenting sensibilities, like bestselling YA author Ransom Riggs’ novel Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, or Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children.

4. House/Home: 1,124,405/481,749

A house: one of the most basic units of life. Houses and homes are close to our hearts as well as our wallets. A self-help or style book focused on the house or home would do well to include these keywords, but even fiction books like House of Leaves by  Mark Z. Danielewski and Summer House With Swimming Pool by Herman Koch can capitalize on the ubiquitous and comforting nature of these words.

5. Perfect: 1,057,687

Are we more perfectionist than ever? Apparently so! Popular book titles reveal a lot about human psychology. Using the word “perfect” seems to automatically guarantee a better shot at bestsellerdom, from the book-to-film, A Perfect Storm, to self-help (and in this case self-published) bestsellers, like Creating Your Perfect Lifestyle.

5. You/Your: 776,534  / 486,158

Frame the topic of your book around a well-placed “you” or “your” and you have immediately established a connection with potential readers. You can go the more traditional route: Seeing the Big Picture: Business Acumen to Build Your Credibility, Career, and Company, or… Welcome to Your Brain and Don’t Look Behind You are playful takes on this tactic.

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Marketing your book is almost as vital to your success as writing it. Unfortunately, adequate marketing practices often come at an unfriendly price if not backed by a publishing house with a big budget.  Luckily, an industrious few have begun to investigate new ways to spread the word about their work and reduce personal expenses.

PubSlush, a startup modeled after Kickstarter (but for books only), aims to help self-published authors achieve the financial resources to get their projects off the ground. (Another up-and-comer to watch is Publishizer.) Today, Pubslush’s Development Director, Justine Schofield, shares a few star examples of crowdfunding campaigns, with some takeaways for how other writers can use the model successfully.

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Did you know The Washington Post has its own eBook series published by Diversion Books?

I didn’t, until this superbly succinct page-turner came my way. At just over 100 pages, Steven Levingston, the Post’s nonfiction editor, describes in equally devastating and uplifting detail, a moment in the life of JFK that forever changed him.

Of course, the book is for you to read, but in the meantime, let’s just relish this gorgeous cover. It really says it all, doesn’t it?

TWP epub cover-Kennedy-FINAL

About the Book

A sensitive portrait of how a profound tragedy changed one of America’s most prominent families.

On August 7, 1963, heavily pregnant Jackie Kennedy collapsed, marking the beginning of a harrowing day and a half. The doctors and family went into full emergency mode, including a helicopter ride to a hospital, a scramble by the President to join her from the White House, and a C-section to deliver a baby boy, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, five and a half weeks early with a severe respiratory ailment. The baby was so frail he was immediately baptized.
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Trying to publicize a book, particularly by way of newspapers and magazines, can be so challenging for already published or just publishing titles that authors in this position are often turned down by publicity firms. Finding the right publicist has become a bit like finding an agent.

There is enormous value to be had in the months until publication, and when consulting with writers, this has become the starting point of any conversation. Carving out ample lead time to promote or think about promotion can make the difference between a book published proactively and a book published reactively. With 3-6 or even 8 months to plan what you want your publication to look like, the reading world is your oyster. You can begin to craft a marketing strategy including those blue sky ideas that, when you’re publicizing a book retroactively, will be near impossible to achieve. With 3-8 months ahead, you can do a lot by way of networking, social or otherwise, and have a much better shot at mainstream publicity.

But for lack of knowledge or budget, or for relying too heavily on their publishers, many authors find themselves in the retroactive position. Instead of tossing in the towel come what may, I think there are avenues to market or publicize your book in a way that builds an audience perhaps slowly, but also more meaningfully and permanently. Before you begin, it’s crucial to shift your objective from ‘buy my book!’ to ‘learn about my book and see if you like it.’ Don’t fall prey to algorithms and popularity contests. What good are those thousands of followers and friends, those form letters to no one in particular, if these are not people who would realistically enjoy your book?

Here are a few ways to use free social platforms available to everyone to genuinely connect with readers at an individual level:
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