I mentioned in an earlier post that the only way a trade book begins to sell well is if it gets media attention. It is really, really hard to get media attention, and there’s very little that an author can personally do about it. Authors have publicists (at the publisher) who try to get attention in print, radio, and TV; that’s what they do for a living, they do it all the time, they have the necessary contacts, and the know-how, and the experience, and so on. But at the end of the day, it is always a matter of whether a journal, newspaper, radio program, TV show etc. is interested, and wants to do a piece on the book. Every author wants a part of the action, and there’s only so much action to go around. And sometimes, from the author’s point of view, it seems like a very frustrating crapshoot indeed.
With that said, I’m happy to announce that I have recorded an interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, which will be airing tomorrow (on I suppose all NPR stations), Monday April 7. This is one of the really big gigs – arguably the most important radio show one can do. There’s a HUGE listening audience and the publicity that it brings the book is fantastic. I’m very, very pleased, and am hopeful, as well, that this bit of publicity will translate into more media attention. If it does, then we’re in great shape. If not, well, we’ve done our best.
Terry Gross is absolutely spectacular as an interviewer, as those of you who have ever listened to her shows know. She personally reads the book in depth and comes up with her own insightful questions about it. She lets the author talk, but directs the conversation in interesting and helpful ways. She pursues the most intriguing angles, and knows what is worth talking about and what to skip over. And she’s very pleasant to speak with. I think she brings out the best in her interviewees.
This will be the sixth time I’ve done Fresh Air, and I’ve very much enjoyed it every time. It always *sounds* like she is speaking with the guest face-to-face, but as with just about every radio show I do (not all) it is in fact done by cable hook-up. I did the interview from Chapel Hill, the WUNC radio station, while she and her crew were in Philadelphia. I’ve never actually met her in the flesh.
Anyway, I hope you can listen in to the show, and that you tell others about it as well, to help get the word out there. And I hope I don’t sound like a blubbering idiot. When I left the interview, I wasn’t so sure…..
I’m also extremely pleased to announce that Andrew Sullivan has resurrected, so to say, his book club and has chosen my book to be the first one discussed on it. If you don’t know who he is – look him up, he’s quite a public figure. And the “Dish” Book Club is a fantastic undertaking. . For more information on it: http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/category/book-club/?orderby=date&order=ASC Something like a million people are connected with Sullivan’s blog, he tells me. The way the book club works is that people are urged to read the book over the course of three weeks; they then have a week in which they go back and forth about it on the blog; and after that Sullivan does a podcast with the author about issues that have been raised.
This too is obviously a big deal.
I’m hoping that between these two media moments we’ll see the sales of the book kick-started, and see what goes from there. Again, if nothing else happens, it won’t be for lack of trying. As with lots of life, one can only to one’s best and hope for good things…..