Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Promo Gizmo Halo Cool

M.J. Rose, known by many in these parts as the industry's most persistent voice regarding the need for publishers--and authors--to be pro-active in terms of the marketing of books, has once again put her money where her mouth is. This week the paperback of her Anthony-nominated thriller THE HALO EFFECT comes out from Mira, and--not surprisingly--MJ refuses to settle for the status quo. Among other marketing initiatives (which she writes about at her blog), she hired VidLit to produce a movie-style promo.

Let me say, emphatically, that I think it's a knockout. (If anyone thinks VidLits can only work for funny books, think again.) I was so impressed that I had to track her down and ask her a few questions.

MMP: I loved the HALO VidLit--wonderfully evocative and atmospheric, and it definitely makes me want to read the book. Are you happy with how it turned out?
MJR: Not to overuse the word, but I'm thrilled. I'd seen a lot of Liz's work and knew how well the form worked for humor, as you pointed out, but this was the first thriller she worked on. I couldn't be more pleased.

How involved were you in making it?
MJR: I brought the idea to my publisher and they loved it. And then they blew me away when they signed up to do not one, but three - one for each of the books in the series (July 05, Jan 06, July 06). Knowing that they were going to be putting so much behind this effort, I really wanted to come up with some unusual marketing ideas with the Vidlit once it was completed. But creatively, it was Liz Dubelman's creativity that made it work and her talent that pulled it off.

How long did it take to produce?
MJR: Liz at vidlit.com would be the one to ask--I suspect she can adapt to different timetables. But mine took about three months.

What did it cost?
MJR: Liz charges by the minute--not minutes of her time, but minutes of finished product. It's in the ballpark of $5000 per minute.

How is your publisher using it?
MJR: First we came up with the idea of doing blog ads for the book that link to the Vidlit. So for the next two weeks ads will be all over the blogshpere. I'm thrilled (that word again) that Mira decided to do this. It's pretty innovative and required them to be willing to test an unproved concept. In addition there are some huge email lists that the Vidlit company itself markets each Vidlit to. My ppublisher is also looking for some other innovative venues for this one and future Vidlits but that's under wraps until we know for sure. I do have it on my laptop which I show to everyone I can stop in the street, on the train, at the nail salon, etc., (no, just kidding).

So you're feeling pretty good about this?
MJR: Very. It sure does seem to me like there's a different level of excitement this time than there has been for any of my previous books. Mira has totally supported this novel; everyone from the sales force to the publicity department has been terrific. Yeah, I'm thrilled. (That word again). The icing on the cake is that the book became an international bestseller today. Another first for me.

And what's this "Blog-a-Thon" promotion?
MJR: I got five sponsors to agree to donate a combination of a dollar each to Reading Is Fundamental. So for every blog that links to my VidLit, RIF gets $5. My goal is to get 500 blogs, which translates to $2500.

The campaign is called "Good Books/Good Cause" and if it's successful we'll see about expanding the program to include other authors too. I'm working with publicist Lauren Cerand.

What're you up to so far? How many blogs are on board, I mean.
MJR: We just sent out the first wave of letters to bloggers this morning and there are three more waves to go out. But as of 2 PM today [Wednesday] about twenty-five people have written to say they are already putting up the links.

Who's your editor at Mira? You know me--always looking to get in a plug for a good editor if I can...
MJR: She's not just good, she's wonderful. Margaret O'Neill Marbury, who is executive editor at Mira Books. You know, everyone loves to talk about all the first novelists who get the big push and how lucky they are. That I'm getting this sort of push on book five, well, I'm incredibly appreciative, and I have Margaret to thank.


Little Woman with a Big, Old House said...

Hey Mad Max,

Another anonymous book publishing professional here. I'd love to know what you think of my first post at http://agentoo7.blogspot.com/ --Agent 007

A VOCATION OF UNHAPPINESS [Courtesy Georges Simenon (1903-1985)]

"Writing is considered a profession, and I don't think it is a profession. I think that everyone who does not need to be a writer, who thinks he can do something else, ought to do something else. Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness. I don't think an artist can ever be happy."

PRACTICAL MARKETING [Courtesy Zornhau, 2005]

"They should put the 1st couple of pages up in subway adverts. Having read them several times, you'd feel compelled to try the book - if it was any good."

PLATE OF SHRIMP [Courtesy Alex Cox’s REPO MAN, circa 1984]

"A lot of people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch of unconnected incidences and things. They don't realize that there's this like lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything. I'll give you an example, show you what I mean. Suppose you're thinking about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly somebody will say like "plate" or "shrimp" or "plate of shrimp" out of the blue, no explanation. No point in looking for one either. It's all part of a cosmic unconsciousness."