The press release for the Tezuka book is circulating round the media now, so if you’d like a sneak peek, click here:
Media wrangling is a dark art, with its own arcane rules and taboos, and I’m very lucky to have experts handling it here and in the States. Timing is everything in PR – not just the timetabling of the printing press and shipping company, but the overlapping schedules of newspapers, magazines, web and broadcast media. The first stage of a PR campaign focusses on editors and reviewers with long lead times – monthly magazines and colour supplements whose page space is planned well in advance. Weekly media are the second wave, with fast-response outlets like websites following.
All this overlaps the timetables of the sales team, who are talking to distributors and retailers about their own schedules. The winter holiday season is the biggest sales opportunity of the year for books, and shelf space is already being allocated in outlets ranging from tiny individual bookstores on local streets to huge chains with outlets in airports and malls across the world. The position a book secures on the shelf, how prominently it’s displayed, whether the store clerks are aware of it and where it ranks on the manager’s priorities for promotion, make the different between success and failure for thousands of titles.
Every book without a celeb tie-in and a megabuck promotion budget needs clever planning, hard work and oodles of luck to succeed at the sales desk, but reviewers and stores aren’t the only factor. Word of mouth makes a huge difference in book marketing. People who enjoy a book tell their friends about it. Even with no promotional support and no budget, books have been successful because enough people liked them to promote them one-to-one.
I’m hoping for lots of that kind of promotion too. Tezuka isn’t just a great artist and writer – his whole life is an epic rollercoaster ride, reflecting the adventures of 20th-century Japan as it adapted to the outside world and went from international pariah to key member of the international community. If people get just a tiny inkling of how fascinating his life is, they’ll want to know more.
Fingers crossed for a successful launch!