There is an old advertising strategy called “pulsing,” whereby the advertiser will begin many months before an event or product release by dangling a “teaser” to consumers. Then, as we get closer to the release date (or the event), the advertiser will increase the frequency with which we see the advertisements. By the date itself, we will be so inundated with the marketing campaign that (theoretically) we will be bouncing off the walls in excitement.
This is an easy concept to understand in terms of Hollywood summer blockbusters. We get a “teaser trailer” one year in advance, which builds buzz and awareness. Then we get a “full trailer” during the Super Bowl. Then, in the month before the release date, we get TV ads, and radio commercials, and billboards, and magazine ads. All of this is supposed to build to a crescendo for the Friday-night release of the movie, where the long lines and movie theater craziness will actually become a story in and of itself.
I don’t know that this same craziness can be created with a book release, simply because reading is such a patient act, and readers tend to be so much more reserved with their excitement. Reading isn’t even an act that you (generally) share with others, as you might a movie release or a concert. Occasionally a book release is a massive cultural event (see: Harry Potter) or becomes a sort of word-of-mouth phenomenon with longer legs and more staying power than most movie releases (see: Fifty Shades of Gray). But this is so far outside the “norm” that each of these two stories are indeed stories: they’re bizarre exceptions to the rule.
So I wonder if it’s possible to use the advertising strategy of “pulsing” for the release of a relatively low-key literary novel like mine? What sort of “buzz” can one create for a book by a first-time novelist? What sort of excitement can one create for any book release, for that matter, since most readers do not rush out to buy a book with the same sense of urgency that they might rush out to the theaters for opening night of a film? For even our favorite novelists, we generally just add books to “wish lists” and “check-out carts” and then wait for some opportunity (months from now, perhaps?) when we are going to buy something else, thus pushing our total order above $25 to qualify for free super-saver shipping. Book releases are immensely exciting for authors, and for friends/family of authors, but even on the day of a book release: no one is reading the book at the event. Even when people buy the book on “opening day,” it could be weeks, months, before readers have finished the book (or before readers clear their current queue to even make time for the book!).
How does “pulsing” work, then, for a product so slowly consumed?
This is just another of the awful questions that I ask myself as I attempt to market my own book, American Fraternity Man. There’s no end to the considerations and the self-promotional opportunities and the ensuing self-doubt, is there? But here we are, a week and a half from the release date, and now I am attempting to “pulse” the internet with the first glimpses of the book cover:
No, I can’t touch it yet. It isn’t yet a physical product, but I’ll tell you what: that’s a good-looking book. Here’s a close-up of the back:
Let me know what you think, and let me know your own views on “pulsing” and “book release excitement.” Have you ever been truly excited for a book release, in an “I must get it the day it comes out” kind of way?
(And if you want to get American Fraternity Man the day it comes out, just stop by Quantum Leap Winery in downtown Orlando on Saturday, June 8th, from 2 – 5 PM. That’s the launch party, and I’ll be signing books and drinking wine all afternoon!)
Today is Wednesday, March 27.
Tomorrow night, we will celebrate the release of 15 Views Volume II: Corridor, a book which collects stories about the Metro Orlando region, and stories about the Tampa Bay region, all written by writers representing those areas. (“Corridor,” if you’re unfamiliar is the name given to the stretch of I-4 that runs between Orlando and Tampa…commuter hell.)
This is a book that I co-edited with the talented John Henry Fleming, whose Fearsome Creatures of Florida (a literary bestiary of all the legendary and mythological creatures said to inhabit our weird state) is a true undiscovered gem. Definitely a must-read for anyone who–like me–loves the strangeness of this state, and thinks that there’s something dark and ancient and maybe-evil lurking about.
We were lucky to get a fantastic roster of established/ award-winning writers, including Peter Meinke, Jocelyn Bartkevicius, Jeff Parker, David James Poissant, and Susan Hubbard. But there are also a number of emerging writers whose names you might not know today, but who will certainly become household names in no time: Jaroslav Kalfar, Leslie Salas, and Ed Bull. Seriously. Great. Writers. The collection also features a number of comics (one written by Robert Venditti, of The Surrogates fame), and a script from the bizarre and awesome Pat Rushin (whose film, The Zero Theorem, directed by Terry Gilliam, will be released sometime around awards season). And the interior of the book is decorated with paper-cut art from the super-talented Lesley Silvia. Some of it needs to be seen to be believed. My name is on the cover of this book as “editor,” but really, I’m just lucky to be mentioned in the same breath as some of these folks.
The pre-sale (in which you can order the book at a discount) runs until tomorrow at Burrow Press’s web site.
After that point, you can buy the book on Amazon and other major retailers.
The release party is tomorrow: Thursday, March 28, at 6 PM, in Urban Re-Think in Downtown Orlando. Here’s the link.
Buy a copy. Have a drink with the authors. Celebrate the literature of Florida’s I-4 Corridor.
I’m not sure if I’ve posted about it here before, but now’s as good a time as any.
Our second sequence of “15 Views of Orlando” stories began a few weeks ago, and it’s going full-steam ahead.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of the “15 Views of Orlando” collection, it’s pretty simple: because Orlando, Florida, is so under-represented in film/ literature (and because the city is viewed through such a skewed Disney lens), we wanted to create a piece of literary fiction that would do the city justice. So we assembled 15 total writers and tasked them with writing a 15-part story (“loosely linked”), with each story focusing upon a different location within the metropolitan area of Orlando. (Hence, 15 “views.”) The first incarnation of this story sequence proved to be extremely successful, and you can order the book from Burrow Press (links are everywhere on this page). The book was released in January, and it’s doing very well so far.
So, in Spring 2012, we decided to find 15 new authors, who would focus on 15 new locations, and write a brand-new 15-part “loosely linked” story sequence. The expectation is that we’ll be able to create a new “15 Views of Orlando” book each year, with proceeds from sales benefiting local literacy groups. And man, have our new authors from the 2012 edition done a tremendous job so far. It’s been absolutely exciting to read the first few stories.
The 2012 edition of “15 Views of Orlando” is currently unfolding at the Burrow Press Review, one story a week, and we’re now at Part 5, “Stay” by Ed Bull. So if you haven’t checked out “15 Views of Orlando” (the 2012 edition), now is the time to click the link and start reading. All five parts are available online, and it’s easy to catch up before part 6 is posted! (Other authors include Susan Hubbard, comic writer Robert Venditti, interviewer Jana Waring, and bartender-poet Teege Braune).
Ed Bull, by the way, is a great young writer, and you’ll be able to appreciate his stand-alone story even if you don’t have time to read through the other parts of the story. He’s also got a story called “Teeth” at Burrow Press Review, which you can check out at the provided link.
But the subject certainly calls for some exclamation points.
If you didn’t know (i.e. you don’t ever talk to me, or you don’t follow my facebook status updates, or you just randomly stumbled upon this blog), I’ve got a brand-new book coming out: it’s an anthology called 15 Views of Orlando, and it’s an attempt at finally offering an honest portrayal of the city of Orlando in literary fiction. I assembled 15 Orlando fiction writers to write one long loosely-linked story that wanders through our fair city, and the result is indeed impressive and surprising. (I love me some self-congratulation.) And because Orlando writers love our community, all proceeds from book sales will directly benefit Page 15, a literacy non-profit which conducts writing workshops for Orlando public school kids. If you don’t live in Orlando, buy a copy of the book and feel good about your purchase supporting a great cause. If you do live in Orlando, you need to get to our release party.
Details of the release party follow here, in a blog post from Burrow Press publisher Ryan Rivas:
Remember: we’ve got a huge book release happening in exactly one week.
That would be the 15 VIEWS OF ORLANDO book release:
15 Views editor Nathan Holic, and authors Hunter Choate and J. Christopher Silvia, were recently interviewed on WMFE’s Intersection. You can listen to that interview and excerpts from the book here. Pre-order the book while you’re at it. There’s no better way to support what we do; and, in this instance, the profits from the book are going to benefit Orlando kids.
Big weekend for me.
I started off with the “Other Words” Conference in St. Augustine, where I sat on a panel that paid tribute to the late great Jeanne Leiby.While my panel discussion centered upon Jeanne’s “courage and talent” mandate in her old fiction workshops, you can also check out the tribute I wrote over at the Burrow Press blog. If you’ve never met Jeanne, this should give you a good idea of her life as a writer, editor, teacher, and mentor…and if you did have the pleasure of meeting her, I invite you to leave comments on that blog posting.
Once I got back to Orlando from St. Augustine, I immediately headed downtown (braving the closed streets and intense Abercrombie cologne smells resulting from the annual Gay Pride Parade) for the second Literary Death Match. I don’t think that LDM posts video or audio, but there are definitely some images of my reading available at the following link…
Here’s my disclaimer: I didn’t know I was reading at the event. I hadn’t planned on it. But, as judge (and former Orlando Magic player) Adonal Foyle said of my performance, I stepped in “like JJ Reddick, coming off the bench to nail a three-pointer,” when one of the performers did not show. I found a story that I’d published at an online literary journal, and read from the screen of my cell phone.
Check out the photos. I need a haircut. I’m wearing a shirt that’s probably a decade old, and jeans scooped from the floor of my bedroom. I had a beer beforehand, while I was watching the first half of the Bears game and waiting for the venue to open up. Now…check out the photos of the other well-groomed contestants. Ask yourself: which one of these does not belong?
Ahh, Literary Death Match. Thank you for having me. Hopefully I didn’t embarrass myself too much.