Friday, August 22, 2008

Wacky ways to get yourself known

I've always been fascinated by strange, creative and off the wall publicity strategies. From time to time I like to post ideas from the field - especially publicity stunts that go beyond what many people believe to be "traditional media"

The following story was submitted by Shana Mahaffey
Publicist – San Francisco

When Kemble Scott's debut novel SoMa was released, he figured he probably wouldn't be getting on Oprah. As a new author, the chances of getting any publicity were slim to none. He thought it would be especially tough for his book. Set in the underground of San Francisco, he knew that newspaper editors (especially book review editors) tend to ignore work they think is too edgy.
So Scott decided to take the pitch for his book directly to readers.

What could be more democratic than YouTube?

He created a series of companion videos that told the true stories that inspired the novel. Even though SoMa is a work of fiction, the places featured in the book are real. The videos revealed a side of the city few in mainstream society knew existed. Collectively, the videos have been viewed about 60,000 times. That was enough to create buzz for the book.

Scott went from being a relatively unknown writer to hitting the San Francisco Chronicle's bestsellers list the first week the book was for sale. That was before Scott had done a single public appearance, and without any coverage from mainstream media.Eventually SoMa would hit #4 on the bestsellers list. And the story of the YouTube videos became a marketing vehicle itself.

Scott was the first to use YouTube to promote a work of fiction this way, and that led to mentions in newspapers and on the notorious blog ValleyWag. An estimated 300,000 different books are published each year in the United States, so it's a monumental task to get one to stand out from the crowd. It's also widely believed that books don't benefit very much from traditional advertising. That's why you don't use TV commercials for books. Instead, books tend to succeed by word of mouth, like one neighbor telling another over the backyard fence. Now, in the grassroots age of the Internet, YouTube can be just like a little neighborhood.

For more information on this Wacky Idea visit:

Thanks Shana

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