Writerly news from around the Internetz:

This is pretty cool.   Stephen Elliott, author of The Adderall Diaries, chronicals what he calls “The DIY Book Tour” in the New York Times.  His experience mirrored mine when I was a guest at a mother-daughter book club chat to talk about CONFESSIONS OF A FIRST DAUGHTER.

The people who showed up for these events had usually never heard of me. They came because it was a party at their friend’s house and the friend promised to make those cupcakes they like or was calling in a favor. Nobody wants to give a bad party, and touring this way ensured there would be at least one person other than myself who would be embarrassed if no one showed up.

The readings mostly went very long, over an hour with questions, and people didn’t leave. We were often up discussing until 1 in the morning. An important part of the book is my troubled relationship with my father and what I took to be his confession to murder in an unpublished memoir. (I investigated and found no evidence of any such killing; my father refuses to confirm or deny it.) Following the reading, over a glass of wine or slice of cake or nothing at all, people told me about their own difficult relationships with family members, people they couldn’t forgive or who wouldn’t forgive them. In a weird way the readings began to feel like an extension of the book.

Never underestimate the power of grassroots networking.  Two people who liked your book and chatted with you about it could tell two more of their friends, perhaps lend them your book to read, or perhaps they’ll ask to invite you to their home.  The word-of-mouth grows.  It’s also a way to connect with readers on a basic level: they read a book you wrote.  Best of all, they want to talk to you about it.  It’s really rewarding to connect with readers that way.  Plus, you’ll usually get a really great dessert or meal out of it.

Also via the New York Times, here’s another example of what our valued contributor J.C. Hutchins has been saying: giving away your book can lead to more sales:

“Giving people a sample is a great way to hook people and encourage them to buy more,” said Suzanne Murphy, group publisher of Scholastic Trade Publishing, which offered free downloads of “Suite Scarlett,” a young-adult novel by Maureen Johnson, for three weeks in the hopes of building buzz for the next book in the series, “Scarlett Fever,” out in hardcover on Feb. 1. The book went as high as No. 3 on Amazon’s Kindle best-seller list

If you buy music from iTunes, you’ll know that each week they have a song available for a free download.  Many of these songs are crap, but some go on to be hits (I feel lucky that I downloaded Sara Bareilles’ Love Song as a freebie).  Another example of how word-of-mouth marketing can help you break out.

In other electronic book news, 2009 was considered by book market trend watchers to be the digital tipping point for electronic books and Amazon is the big winner:

The magic of Kindle is that it is simply the most effective marketing tool ever seen in book retailing. It instantly triples Amazon’s book sales with any book shopper who buys the device, simultaneously taking that market share directly away from all other competitive booksellers.

With such amazing sales growth potential, Amazon’s massive investment in their further triple play of 1) network TV advertising; 2) no window 60% off discounts; and 3) what consumer electronics experts agree is well below cost pricing on the Kindle itself (35% below Sony’s most comparable device) seems like a great long-term investment, with publisher support.

Via Publishers Marketplace, Sara Gruens’ Water for Elephants is being eyed by both Sean Penn and Robert Pattinson for adaptation material:

“Twilight” star Pattinson has been on every studio’s wish list. His deal is expected to close. Penn, who is in Haiti on a humanitarian mission, is the bigger question mark. He has an offer from the studio but is still mulling the role.

I’d see that movie in a heartbeat. 

Write on, peeps!

Image by lidschmidle.


About Kathleen Bolton

Kathleen Bolton is co-founder of Writer Unboxed. She writes under a variety of pseudonyms, including Ani Bolton. She has written two novels as Cassidy Calloway: Confessions of a First Daughter, and Secrets of a First Daughter--both books in a YA series about the misadventures of the U.S. President's teen-aged daughter, published by HarperCollins, and Tamara Blake, for the novel Slumber.


  1. says

    That article about Stephen Elliot’s DIY book tour was both scary and enlightening. He discovered some interesting things about readers and such on his journey, but I’m still not sure if his actions were innovative or just plain silly. I don’t think I could do something like that, for fear I might end up being held hostage in someone’s basement and/or on the 10 o’clock news.
    But the poster was hilarious. Who would refuse cupcakes? ;)
    .-= Lydia Sharp´s last blog ..52 Qualities of the Prosperous Writer: Number Four, Service =-.

  2. says

    I think the concept of giving away books to increase sales of the next is pretty solid and it’s great that some authors having success with it. I wonder though how this model could be adapted for the debut author? No clear answer answer jumps out at me. Give away a short story? The first chapter?
    .-= Rebecca´s last blog ..Maybe the truth doesn’t have to hurt? =-.

  3. says

    Sean Penn is on a shortlist of actors who can actually get me to go see a movie. (Others include Edward Norton, Leo DiCaprio, and Jamie Foxx.) Plus I’ve heard awesome things about the book. That might push me to actually read it, lol. (Reading list = SO LONG!)
    .-= Kristan´s last blog ..The gods must be crazy =-.