Sunday, August 10, 2008

What's Good for the Olympics is Good for Books!

I'm on vacation. But my vacations are always busman's holidays!

For instance, when I fly, I always pick up a USA Today at the local bookstore (and look wistfully at the books in the window, wishing mine were there!)

But enough of wishful thinking. Back to USA Today. They ran an article on marketing this weekend that talks about how marketing has changed, even for Olympics advertisers. These advertisers used to divvy up tons of money for TV and print ads and that was about it. No more. Now if a sponsor wants to reach trendsetters they're using blogs, cellphones, and social networking sites. And not necessarily in the usual ways. They're coming up with new, hip, smart and original ways to reach digitally-savvy audiences.

McDonald's created a game that is being played in seven languages in 100 countries, Levnovo has enlisted the Olympic athletes to blog for them, YouTube will be paying lots of money not for ads but to provide three hours a day of Olympic-related news to countries outside of the US. Now millions will watch the Olympics without ever turning on the TV.

So, why is this important for authors?

Because if these marketing approaches are good for the big guys, they're even better for us authors. For one thing, lots of digital marketing is free or--if not free--gathers lots more eyes to it for the money spent than about any other way you can advertise.

And why is it important for readers?

Because readers can now find information on the subjects that interest them on the web, and that--of course, includes books of every ilk. (But only if authors and publishers have boarded the digital bandwagon.)

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure success. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal." Some of her other blogs are and, a blog that helps writers and publishers turn a ho-hum book fair booth into a sizzler.

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