Monday, August 11, 2008

Example of ineffective publicity/marketing/outreach

I am helping to promote (EYG) which is a website based around TNT's "Saving Grace," and its main character Grace Hanadarko who happens to be an unfiltered and unapologetic woman. The site was created by TNT as a community site for discussion of their show. TNT hired 6 influential women to head up the community as bloggers: a novelist, a comedian, a musician, a journalist, and the creator of the show, Nancy Miller. Users can blog on the site too and contribute to forums. There is a link below to a current blog posting. Let me know if you can post about the site.

Well, I'm posting about the site but maybe not quite the way you wanted, bucko.

Much like telephone solicitors at the dinner hour, "personalized" spam like this is counter productive.

It's clear the fellow who wrote this (or at least the one whose name was attached) is a refugee from print publicity. The dead giveaway: "Let me know if you can post about the site." That's essentially a translated-for-blog version of "let me know if you are going to write about this in your newspaper column." Anyone who knows anything about the web has their name, their show name and other key words set on google alert so you KNOW when someone is writing about you.

Now, why is it ineffective you ask?

First, it has absolutely nothing to do with kind of blog I write. This is like querying theatrical agents not literary agents about a novel you've written. Yes, it's an agent, but....

Second, they're not pitching a blog or site written by a fan of the show. It's a thinly disguised corporate shill trying to round up fans. I'm not against fan round ups at all. Round up as many as you want; hog tie em and brand them if you want. Just don't think that because you're doing so I either care, or want to discuss it (oooh!! new TV show website, paid bloggers!) or find it worthy of mention. As one of my author's Child might have said "Not shiny, not new, not fun...ick!"

If they want to give inside access, info, and studio tours to bloggers who write about TV shows, cool. But to create "a blog" and pay people to write it defeats the glorious plain spoken brute honesty that is web discussion. It would be like Random House sponsoring Absolute Write. No no and no. (Well, wait, how much money is there??)

I really value the uncensored blood carnage that is the electronic frontier. I'm not always happy with it, but I really like it, so it sort of offends me to see these guys trying to mimic it...and worse, mimic it so badly.

So, why even post about this at all? Because at some point when you are published, you'll be the one writing these emails asking for attention for your book.

The key thing about writing to bloggers and in fact every reporter, bookstore, and contact you have on your list is that it must fit what they do and be personal for it to have a hope of success.

Yes, it takes a LOT longer to do it this way. Yes, you can have very limited success if you do it wrong. It's worth it to do it right.

Start paying attention NOW to blogs, and book sites, and book writers that talk about books like yours. KEEP NOTES. Bookmark sites. Be ready.

I want to write about how fabulous you are not about how blindingly old fashioned and out of touch with reality your email spam makes you look.


Chris Eldin said...

I wanna go to *their* site and do a roundup. It could be like one of those circular arguments of logic--noone ever goes anywhere.

Karen Duvall said...

Have you ever seen that show? No wonder they're desperate.