PR Tips from “Booklife”
I need to get myself a copy of Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st Century Writer. As the author puts it, “half the book is devoted to your Public Booklife and half to your Private Booklife,” and that kind of split-focus is interesting and appealing to me. It looks like a pretty fun read:
Always keep in mind that advice, especially advice on promoting yourself, is often anecdotal or a Received Idea—received from a time machine from the Distant Past. Sincerely-given but idiotic career advice can be a shiv in the side, an icepick through the eye. Worse, it can result in a slow malarial fever from which you never recover, performing actions you later have no good rationale for doing. The worst career advice attempts to separate you from your work, you a shucked oyster wondering what happened, and why.
On the other hand, despite this warning, don’t be afraid to test out new things on a limited basis (limited in terms of time and money spent). I’ve done all kinds of experiments with online media. I’ve even used talking greeting cards to send out announcements about my books, because nothing gets past a person’s defenses like being addressed by an animated squirrel. I’ve also tried anti-publicity, surprising reviewers and bloggers with an anthology project that was top secret until the day of publication. I’m not saying you should emulate these admittedly risky approaches, but playing around with PR concepts and having some fun isn’t always a bad thing. Just be mentally prepared to crash-and-burn if you experiment.