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Spotlight: IBPA Member Achievements

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Getting More from Good Publicity


Liz Jansen of Trillium Wordworks kicked off 2012 with a round of television and motorcycle show appearances. In Toronto, the Global TV Morning Show devoted almost six minutes to an interview with her and plugs both for her book, Women, Motorcycles and the Road to Empowerment, and for her Toronto cycle show appearance a few days later.

Before the cycle show, Jansen was also interviewed for seven minutes on a Rogers Communications cable program, Daytime, which airs in Mississauga, a Toronto suburb. These interviews, and Jansen’s appearances at cycle shows in Washington, DC, New York City, Cleveland, Minneapolis, and Chicago helped her launch her book, she reports.

“Perhaps of even greater benefit was the ability to post links to these events and appearances on my Facebook page and on my tweets and to distribute them to key contacts with large audiences,” Jansen notes. She credits Colleen Swider, the PR person for the Toronto motorcycle show, for the television interviews, which resulted from Swider’s references to Jansen in press releases.

App Attention

Treasure Bound Books publisher and author Karen Robertson, who just issued Author’s Guide to Book Apps, was interviewed for an hour for a program titled “Secrets to Creating Children’s Book Apps.” A February episode of Publishing Insiders, an online radio program, it’s archived at blogtalkradio.com/thepublishinginsiders/2012/02/08/secrets-to-creating-childrens-book-apps.

Getting Ink in the Air

Bill Birnbaum of Douglas Mountain Publishing in Sisters, OR, underscores the importance of staying visible and responding when media people express interest. This past autumn, he received a call from a writer for Alaska Airlines’ in-flight magazine. The focus: people who retire to do something “outside the box.”

“During our brief chat,” Birnbaum explains, “he seemed most interested in the fact that my wife Wendy and I had, upon retirement, sold our home, put everything we owned in storage, and moved to the Peruvian Andes to volunteer.” During a lengthier interview a few weeks later, Birnbaum told the writer about living in Peru and the volunteer work he and his wife had done there, he in economic development, she in an educational after-school program. They didn’t talk again, but Birnbaum made sure the writer had the URL for his blog, which is updated frequently.

In January, a friend returned from a trip on Alaska Airlines and called the Birnbaums to say with great excitement, “I opened the magazine to find you looking back at me from an Inca ruin in the Andes!” That photo is spread across the top half of a page and the Birnbaums’ story takes up another half page in the airline magazine’s “Reinventing Retirement” feature. Adds Birnbaum, “I was delighted to discover that the article includes a mention of my new book, A Lifetime of Small Adventures.”

Old School Ties Spur Sales

Bookseller Pierre Camy, who manages the Espresso Book Machine print-on-demand program at Schuler Books in Grand Rapids, highlights what an author’s alumni publications can do for sales. After Larry Vanderleest cold-called NPR about his self-published garbage memoir, Garbio, Scott Simon interviewed the author on Weekend Edition in February 2011, and Schuler Books sold more than 500 copies. The book is still selling well, Camy reports, “in part because of a detailed review that appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of the Spark,” published at Calvin College, which is also in Grand Rapids.

Talking About Infertility

Julie LeClair, who wrote and published Grade A Baby Eggs: An Infertility Memoir, as Victoria Hopewell, was interviewed twice in one week last month. She appeared on the television talk show The Literati Scene, which streams in the Boston area and is archived online at chanz.tv, and on The Jordan Rich Show on Boston’s CBS-affiliate talk radio station WBZ 1030.

Using HARO

With “What to Do About Reviews (and Other Media Coverage)” fresh in his mind from the March issue, Usher Morgan, CEO at Library Tales Publishing Group, suggests reading HARO (helpareporter.com) when trying to place feature stories about authors and their topics.

“We use it quite often,” he says about the thrice-daily free email bulletin that lists what specific reporters and writers need information about. Regarding the challenge of getting books reviewed, Morgan emphasizes the value of locating appropriate online publications. “Reviews on blogs and Web sites that are not as popular as the big newspapers are much easier to get. A blogger might review your book simply because he/she receives a copy.”

Seen in PW

IBPA members with titles in Publishers Weekly’s recent “Spring Offerings” included Globe Pequot, Berrett-Koehler, Chelsea Green, Square One, Sourcebooks, Poisoned Pen, Candlemark & Gleam, C&T Publishing, Chicago Review Press, Columbia University Press, Johns Hopkins University Press, Sellers Publishing, and Fulcrum.

Poisoned Pen’s Driven was one of PW’s “Top 10: Mysteries & Thrillers,” and Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel from Sourcebooks Casablanca was among the “Top 10: Romance.”

The same issue covered the Sourcebooks 19 percent revenue increase in 2011, driven in part by e-book sales, which now reportedly account for 28 percent of the company’s total revenue. Sales to gift stores and mass merchants were also mentioned as important in the revenue increase.

Not Your Usual Publishing Party

Berrett-Koehler Publishers invites IBPA members and the general public to join its 20th anniversary celebration this coming summer. The party kicks off July 19 with BK’s annual shareholder meeting, of which a press release says, “That might not sound all that exciting, but this is more than a review of our 2011 results—it’s a primer on the state of the publishing industry.” That evening there’s a dinner with some of the company’s bestselling authors as speakers, including Ken Blanchard and Brian Tracy.

All day the next day, BK will host a “community dialogue” with the company’s authors and other “thought leaders,” exploring “how we can individually and collectively increase our capacity to create a world that works for all.” For more information: bkconnection.com/20thAnniversary.asp.

Fiction in the Classroom

Fletcher House’s first two Cottonwood novels, about two young boys during World War II, are being used in the U.S. history curriculum in high schools in Williamson County, TN, where author Gary Slaughter now lives, and they have been approved for use in high school social studies courses in Michigan, where the novels are set. The trilogy will conclude with Cottonwood Summer ’45, to be published in May.

Highlights for Honk

Ambush Publishing owner Sonja Klein keynoted the 35th anniversary celebration of the Barbara Bush Library in Houston last month, and she’s also celebrating a contract with Gazelle Book Services, which will publish English-language print editions of her 2011 title, Honk If You Married Sonja: The Travels and Essays of Sonja Klein, for distribution in the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.

Spotlight is compiled by Linda Carlson (lindacarlson.com), who welcomes members’ news of unusual special sales, licensing deals, significant media coups, movie and television options, and other achievements at linda@ibpa-online.org. The focus of this column is as much about how you accomplish something as what you accomplish, so details and specific how-to’s are important. For her other monthly articles in the Independent, Linda often emails members to ask about their experiences. To ensure you receive these messages, check that you have her email address in your address book. Please submit your news for Spotlight in the text of your email (no attachments). Remember to include links to any media publicity, your name, your title, and the name of your publishing company as it appears in the IBPA membership directory. Since information for this column is needed at least eight weeks in advance of an issue’s publication date, news you submit by April 5 can be considered for the June and later issues. News that is time-sensitive should be directed to lisa@ibpa-online.org for consideration for the IBPA e-newsletter Independent Publishing Now.

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