Sometimes evolution is a bitch. Has publishing suddenly grown opposable thumbs?
It seems a lifetime ago that I wrote two books with my good friend Dr. Marty Becker of Good Morning America. He invited me to the party to be a co-editor with him and Carol Kline on Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul, and Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul. That was in the days when my killer-diller agent always wangled a hefty book advance–no go with these titles, and no negotiating contracts, either. Marty and Carol had already written several Chicken Soup books and convinced me royalties would be worth it at the back end (the “new” way of writing books), and darned if they weren’t right! The titles went on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies, I got a crash course in writing Chicken Soup-style nonfiction–it’s a LOT like fiction!–and had the great fun of working with two stellar writers.
Marty now is the resident vet on The Dr. Oz Show, and partners with co-writer Gina Spadafori, the founder of Pet Connection. They’re already NY-Times bestselling pet book authors, and their latest book, Your Dog, The Owner’s Manual launches April 15–I’ve already pre-ordered my Kindle copy. Marty is brilliant at marketing and although the book is debuting in both print and Ebook format, I’m a bit surprised that the promotion efforts look quite traditional. With the Chicken Soup books, we put together special websites and conducted radio media blitzes — but after 23 books I have never yet gone on a “book tour.” It’s expensive, publishers hardly ever fund them, and with book stores closing, the venues are hard to find.
But Marty and Gina have planned a two-month 30-city tour in a specially wrapped 45-foot bus, leaving on April 25 from Houston–appearing in pet products stores along the way (brilliant!). Follow the tour from DrMartyBecker.com. Gina will report along the way via Facebook and blog updates, Tweets and YouTube videos/Flickr photos. I can’t wait to get my paws on the book–and also see how the promotion works out.
Compare that to the latest from indy-publishing’s hero, JA Konrath–a best-selling writer because, he says, he went Indy. He’s the fellow that Amazon.com made an offer he couldn’t refuse so he turned down NY publishing and–dare I say?–went rogue. His terrific blog A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing currently features a virtual conversation with his buddy Barry Eisler, best selling thriller author. You’d think since traditional publishing has been so good to Eisler, he’d stick with it but–news flash! Barry Eisler just turned down a $500,000 advance and instead will self publish. Check out the blog for the full story! BREAKING NEWS: Self-publishing break out author Amanda Hocking appears to be poised for a traditional publishing contract worth $1 million.
So on the one paw, my nonfiction colleagues use a traditional tour and incorporate social media along the way; while fiction authors like JA Konrath and Barry Eisler choose the “new way of writing books.” Is it because nonfiction is so different than fiction, both in writing and marketing? For all you writers out there, please share your experiences. Have you done book tours–virtual or otherwise–and how’d that work for you? Are you sticking with traditional publishing, or are you self publishing? Readers, how often have you attended a book tour appearance? Will you turn out for Dr. Marty and Gina when they roll into town? (Hint: They’re bringing along a dog!)
“He stuck in his thumb, and pulled out a plum . . .”
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