Kim Weiss Publishing Services
 





New hair for a new day (an aside)

August 23, 2009 at 8:00 am

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thank goodness for great hairdressers and the imac photo effect application

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Beach picnics are recommended at dusk – no books about it!

August 22, 2009 at 8:37 am

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Fly on the wall – Reporting in Launch Meeting – Spring Titles 2010

August 21, 2009 at 10:41 am

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2010! That number has such a science fiction-y ring to it. How do we abbreviate it? “That book’s slated for 0-10?” or “10 is the pub date?” This zooming fast millennium stuff is still taking some getting used to.

Onto the event of the week:  HCI’s Spring 2010 Title Launch meeting. I’ll try to recreate it as best I can so you can feel like a fly on the wall yourself.

It’s 10:30 am, Thursday, August 20. More people than are probably legally allowed to be in the conference room start spilling in. Usual chairs around the standard faux blonde wood conference table and additional chairs placed around the perimeter of the room. Some attendees with yellow pads. some with bottle water or soda, some empty handed.  I show up with the standard gear plus my iphone. (I’m pre-occupied with flight plans for an author on tour).

Before us on the table or on the seats of the outer chairs are orange cellophane bags filled with tootsie pops. lkit kat bars. green plastic frogs and gold coins NOT filled with chocolate. (I didn’t get the symbolism of the coins). Catering was courtesy of HCI managing editor, Carol Rosenberg. She’s very playful.

Our illustrious editorial editor, Michele Matrisciani, commenced the meeting with a title about the crash of flight 1549 on the Hudson. This one’s a story collection written by the survivors of the event.  It’ll come out at the first anniversary of the crash in January. Good choice and good publicity fodder in my book.

Spicing up the HCI list are two sex-centered books. Yes, sex, from the publishers of everything wholesome and nice. One is about healthy sex for sex addicts and the other is healthy sex for my peeps – the over 50 set. We’re thrilled about that one for a lot of reasons not withstanding my personal curiosity!

We’re going to learn how to “live well with bad credit” this spring, how to keep our dogs healthy and slim, how to live like nobility, experience the power of hope, learn Jen Singer’s formula to “stop second-guessing ourselves”  during baby’s first year, read about successful secrets for domestic adoptions, and teach  girls to decode the lies being sold to them by teen boys.

If you’ve ever heard of the play, “A Jew Grows in Brooklyn,” then you’ll understand how lucky we are to have signed a book with its creator, Jake Ehrenreich.   He’s a delightful storyteller with whom I’m tremendously excited to work.

There’s a book for runners and a book for bird lovers. What these two have in common is that two of us HCI employees have been vying to get something published on these subjects for YEARS. Finally, our wishes have been manifested and we’ve expressed our passion by respectively contributing stories to the books. You KNOW that I don’t run, so three guesses which book is mine?

A powerful new title focuses on a young man’s weight loss and how he actually “cut himself in half.” The other is a compelling true story about a video game addict.  Anyone out there relate?

My presentation, leaving out just a few titles, seemed to go along quite fast, didn’t it? Not quite so smooth and succinct are the real meetings. Picture people  cutting into the editors’ presentations with comments about the title not expressing the right message, or the listed shelving category being off, or that a competitive title mentioned in the hand-outs is archaic, or who actually is going to buy this book. It’s all over the map and the people who usually talk at these meeting say their piece. (That includes me, big surprise) If I’m lucky enough to have some early media interest in a title or if there’s something to be said about publicity value, I’m there.

Now, it’s about 11: 50 and our stomachs are growling. We’re getting a little cranky in the tone of our comments and thinking that we’ll never get through the remaining pages before lunch time.  We’re reassured that the rest will move swiftly and they do. We’re now more cognizant of dawdling over details and we sail through.

It’s 12: 30ish and we’re home free.

There’s a round of applause for the great list and the presentation by the authors. Everyone is happy and dashes off to their salads and sandwiches.

And, my touring author’s flight is resolved.

All is well in the world.

2010? Bring it on!

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Stand by – really good post coming after our Spring 2010 Title Launch meeting

August 20, 2009 at 8:56 am

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Your trusty fly on the wall will return with some good stuff about our spring title meeting for the 2010 season. Sit tight!

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Fly on the wall: How long does it take for a book to become a bestseller

August 19, 2009 at 6:59 am

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How long does it take for a book to become a bestseller? Dang if I know the answer to that question. (Dang?)

Here’s my shot. It can take days and it can take years. If you have the top tier media in the palm of your hands  – all of it – at the release of your book, it could be fast. One or two author appearances on the major network morning shows (preferably Today and GMA, sorry CBS, love ya but sales is sales). An interview with radio diva Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air, a NY Times book review and/or feature in the Style section, and excerpt in O magazine. That ought to do it. Even one good interview or story in one of these media could catapult a book alone.

How often does that happen? Even in the large publisher’s caches these books are but small percentages in their vast lists of titles. You could almost say, it’s relative. But, it’s really not.

It’s hocus pocus.

Coming from a publicist, that might surprise you. I’ve written about the “magic” factor more than once but I really don’t want to expound too much on that here. A book can get on a bestseller list but the real trick is sustaining it. That’s even harder. When you’ve “shot your wad” in your first weeks of pr campaigning, all I can say is, you better have a damn good book that people like, really like. The word of mouth is what’ll save the day.  Without it, all the smoke and mirrors in the world will not a long-term bestselling book make.

An anomaly in bestsellerdom was the strange behavior of the HCI title, A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer. Years after the book was published it continues to make consistent and substantial sales every week.  The book languished for nearly two years before anyone really heard of it. At that mark, the author was invited to be a guest on the Montel show (may it rest in peace and succeed on the radio waves). Montel, who is well known for championing causes that often go under the radar, made Pelzer and the subject of child abuse the centerpiece of his entire hour show.

The show hit a nerve and from that point on the book just sells and sells. More media came about, the author managed a hefty speaking career, the book started being read inside of schools and history was made. Even though the text is often graphic and hard to take, readers can’t put it down. The best side effect besides the obvious sound of the cash register is the tremendous light the book shines on the issue at hand – child abuse.

Watching this book become a bestseller was rewarding on a lot of levels.

So, now we have a really compelling book that hit the NY Times bestseller two weeks ago and we’re ready for people to let us know how much they like it. Reviews are nice, articles are welcome but when people buy the book and then order more copies for friends and family, that’s what I’m talking about. Getting It Through My Thick Skull is on the hot seat right now and is postured to start making its “performance.”

The bestseller can be an elusive event but if you don’t pull out all your stops, it’s not likely to happen. Never mind the top tier media that makes the perfect formula. There are only so many seats on that stage.  Creativity is king and maneuvering the new media landscape can get you lots and lots of sales.

Your creative ideas are welcome here.

Just kidding, sort of.

Get out there and sell your book!

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