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Spotlight August 2012

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Now Slated for the Big Screen

Trolley Car Press has sold film rights to Third and Long by Bob Katz, winner of the 2011 Benjamin Franklin Award for popular fiction, to producers Robert Papazian and James Hirsch. Sports Illustrated wrote “Think: ‘Friday Night Lights’ meets ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’” about the story, which describes how a dying factory town finds new life when a former Notre Dame football star is hired as the local plant manager. And the press got a comment from sportswriter and radio commentator Frank Deford, who called the book “an engagingly sweet tale of first impressions, second chances.”


Editions in Other Languages

The novel Noble Vision, first published in 2005 by Winged Victory Press, has just been issued in translation by Grito Sagrado, the Buenos Aires publisher that purchased worldwide Spanish rights.


Barking Planet Productions has contracted with Beijing Chongxianguan Books Co. for the Chinese mainland language rights to the Planet of the Dogs series of children’s books. The three titles—Planet of the DogsCastle in the Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes—are stories about dogs coming to earth in ancient times to teach people about love and loyalty, and to bring peace to the land.


Two Parenting Press titles by Elizabeth Crary were recently issued in translation. Kids Can Cooperate, one of the company’s earliest books, was published in Polish by the Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities, and Help! The Kids Are At It Again was published in French by Editions J.C. Lattés of Paris.


Attention for Mental Illness Books

Bridgeross Communications author Sandra Yuen MacKay, who wrote My Schizophrenic Life: The Road to Recovery from Mental Illness, was interviewed on Canada’s Global TV in a news feature, “Courage to Come Back,” about her mental illness. (See globaltvbc.com/video/courage+to+come+back/video.html?v=2233371035&p=1&s=dd#news+hour.) Another Bridgeross author, Susan Inman (After Her Brain Broke), was invited to speak at the annual convention of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Seattle in June.


For a Successful Launch

Turtle Light Press chose to launch Nick Virgilio: A Life in Haiku during National Poetry Month at the opening of the exhibition “American Haiku Masters” at Rutgers University. This resulted in coverage by three Philadelphia-area radio stations and by the Philadelphia InquirerPhiladelphia City Paper, and Inside Jersey. The university’s in-house publication, Rutgers Today, also publicized the exhibit and launch, and Cornell University’s Mann Library Daily Haiku featured one of Virgilio’s poems each day in May.


Distinction Press got significant publicity in two Vermont papers and a turnout of more than 100 people when it launched Draw Logs from Dowsville: The History of the Ward Lumber Company at the local historical society’s annual potluck. The event was held in the Moretown (VT) Town Hall, which happens to be adjacent to the Ward Clapboard Mill, which opened its doors to the public that day for a demonstration of cutting boards with the same equipment used when the Wards founded their business in 1872. One of the lumber company’s last owners, Owen Ward, now in his late 80s, came from Florida for a book signing at the event. Another happy coincidence that may have increased the attendance: The potluck served as the kickoff for next year’s celebration of the town’s 250th anniversary.


Spreading the Cheese Coverage

Chelsea Green title, Cheese and Culture: A History of Cheese and Its Place in Western Civilization, was recently reviewed in the Washington Post. Because the Post syndicates its reviews, its lengthy writeup appeared in such other metro dailies as the Seattle Times.


Media Mentions

Square One authors Judi and Shari Zucker, whose new book is The Ultimate Allergy-Free Snack Cookbook, were pictured in Shelf Awareness after the Books Inc. store in San Francisco’s Marina district hosted an event for the twins.


Two well-established indie publishers (and IBPA members), Interweave and Sourcebooks, were recently praised by the chief marketing officer for publishing giant Perseus, Rick Joyce. Interviewed for Digital Book World (digitalbookworld.com/2012/discoverability-and-marketing-are-publishing-company-differentiators-says-perseus-cmo), Joyce said, “Good editing, good marketing, good publicity, good sales, these are the things that publishers have long competed on. . . . You have to add value. . . . The folks who are doing it in interesting ways have authors coming back to them for their second and third book. Sourcebooks is doing some interesting things. Interweave is doing some interesting things. . . . What they’ve realized is that their clients want more than just books; they want supplies and how-tos and they have great e-newsletter and huge open rates.”


Promotions That Proved Out

When queried about giveaways for one of this issue’s articles, three IBPA members described other kinds of promotions that have been effective for them.

Peter Malia says that the only promotions Connecticut Press has offered in the past year are short-term discounts of 25 percent, and free shipping. The shipping offer is by far the more effective in prompting sales. “Our unscientific read comes down to this,” he says. “The single most powerful word available to the public is free.”


At Mole Publishing Co., Mike Oehler reports dramatically increasing his sales by offering two books at half price to everyone who pays full price for his $95 set of DVDs on underground housing and survival. “The beauty of this is that I’m still getting more for the books than I do with the Amazon Advantage program,” he notes.


Dave Lieber at Yankee Cowboy Publishing, who uses two giveaways to “lure” people to his table for post-speech purchases, uses another sales technique as well. The author of Watchdog Nation: Bite Back When Businesses and Scammers Do You Wrong, Lieber writes The Watchdog investigative column for the Fort Worth (TX) Star-Telegram and offers members of every audience a free information sheet on reducing electricity bills (in deregulated Texas, most people are overpaying for electricity because they don’t know how to shop for utility service, he says).

His other sales technique: “At the very end of every talk, I swear the group in as new citizens of my Watchdog Nation, and I invite each audience member to come to my table and get my sheets and their own ID card, which they can use to threaten people who try to hurt them (for example, businesses, utilities, and banks) by saying they know me and they will feed me the story for my column.”

f course, when people get to Lieber’s table, they see his publications. “I’ve given out possibly, 60,000 of these sheets in the past four years,” Lieber says. “The information on the sheet is specific to Texas, so it’s not in the book. I chose electricity for the promotion, because electric rates was the newspaper column topic that got the greatest response—reprint requests have numbered in the hundreds. I knew audiences craved that information.”

As for the citizenship card? Lieber, who averages 30 book sales per speech, and sells 4,000 to 5,000 books a year, explains, “People were using my name when they threatened to expose unethical businesses. So I just made it official and easier with the card.”


A Tool for Book-Club Visits

Erica Bauermeister, one of the novelists who contributed to the November 2011 article “Book Clubs, Part 1: The Benefits,” made 120 group visits in the next six months, including her first using FaceTime, the video telephone software developed by Apple Inc. For more info: apple.com/mac/facetime.


Spotlight is compiled by Linda Carlson (lindacarlson.com), who welcomes members’ news of unusual special sales, licensing deals, significant media coups in the last month, movie and television options, and other achievements at linda@ibpa-online.org.

The focus of this column is as much on how you accomplish something as on what you accomplish, so 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) and remember to include:

● your name and title

● the name of your press as it appears in the IBPA membership directory

● your email address

● URLs for the archived editions of any media stories you’re telling us about

Since information for this column is needed about eight weeks in advance of an issue’s publication date, news you submit by August 10 can be considered for the October and later issues. News that is time-sensitive should be directed to lisa@ibpa-online.org for consideration for the IBPA e-newsletter.

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