Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’

HEROES FOR MY SON Hits the List!

Congratulations to Brad Meltzer, whose new book Heroes for My Son will hit the New York Times Best Seller list next Sunday at #2!

Share This Post


Snow Day at the Hospital

Winter Well logoIn Theresa Brown’s latest blog for the New York Times’ Well feature, she writes beautifully about how a “snow day” at a hospital is different from one at home. It may not involve hot cocoa and missing school, but it has lessons to offer about life and death, and what it means to have an effect on another human being.

Share This Post


A Moment of Optimism

About a year and a half ago I had the pleasure of meeting Gretchen Rubin in person, though I’d been following her on Twitter for some time before that. I was supposed to give a talk to authors about the power of the tools on the internet, and when the list of authors was sent out and I saw Gretchen’s name on it, I immediately called her and told her SHE should be leading the workshop, not me! At that point, a year and a half ago, she had a great blog (since has become even greater) and about 5000 followers on Twitter. Even more importantly, she was engaged with the community — and this was a few years before the publication of her book. We spoke for a few minutes on the phone and decided that she would come to the meeting despite the fact that she was more experienced with the tools than the other authors who would be attending.

Gretchen turned out to be such a gift to have at the meeting because as I would speak to these authors and tell them what I thought they should be doing, she would chime in as a member of their tribe instead of the outsider (me) and give her own perspective about what was easy or challenging.

Over the course of that next year and half I followed carefully what she was doing and was always impressed. We got together in person a few times, and I would tell her what a great job she was doing, we’d compare notes about this and that, and she’d always say “but will it sell books when the time comes?”

Well, it turns out that it does work (I feel like a broken record :) ). Gretchen’s book, The Happiness Project, went on sale on December 29, 2009. On Wednesday we found out that it will land at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list for the January 17 list. I realize that Gretchen’s subject lends itself to blogging and twittering more easily than other books would, and it’s got a great jacket, title, and traditional publicity — but there is no denying, IMHO, that Gretchen Rubin worked hard, for a long time, establishing a relationship with the community, and it paid off.

Here are 5 things that Gretchen did right:

1) As I’ve said, it’s not a “campaign.” This is a long-term relationship with your readers. Gretchen understood that and started the relationship long before (as in years) it was time to “promote her book.”

2) She talked about her book…but she also talked about other people’s books, and in general, we got to see the world through Gretchen’s eyes and to know her. She posted frequently, linked them up in Facebook (often I found them on Facebook), and had GREAT content. I don’t think there was a post I didn’t love and I felt like I found a little present every time she put one up.

3) Once the book jacket was done she put it up on the site in a place where people could always see it so she didn’t have to always “promote herself.” I hear this a lot from authors: “I’m not comfortable promoting myself.” Gretchen didn’t promote herself; she was fabulously interesting, and when I would click through to read her posts I was always reminded by the book jacket that it was coming out.

4) She didn’t sit around waiting for a publicist to make her famous. Yes, there is traditional media as part of the mix; lots of it in her case. But it’s a healthy mix of traditional and social media and they riff off each other. It’s like having a well balanced stock portfolio…not to mention that she has a tribe with whom she can communicate about all of this media.

5) Here’s my favorite one: The Video. The video the video the video. Every author needs one (kidding); most are not good. The thing I LOVE about Gretchen’s is that it is simple beyond belief, and what it lacks in fancy production and editing it makes up for in spades with heart and soul.

I watched this video a few months ago and was so moved I’ve seen it about another 10 times. I think about it all of the time. Watch here.

UPDATE:  The Happiness Project was published by HarperCollins.

Share This Post


Less Is More

Thomas L. Friedman (Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times)In “The Do-It-Yourself Economy” in yesterday’s New York Times, Tom Friedman wrote about how the “Great Recession” was forcing companies to take advantage of the “Great Inflection,” his name for “the mass diffusion of low-cost, high-powered innovation technologies,” giving a powerful example of a recently downsized marketing agency that had made a film for 20 percent less using online technology. There is a clear message for book publishers here as well, who have not only experienced a recent downturn in sales that led to layoffs across the industry, but also face a future in which e-book pricing will inevitably bring down revenues through traditional models in the years ahead. The “good news,” as Friedman calls it, is that technology has arrived that lets us move more quickly, with less cost and a smaller staff. We all need to find ways each day to embrace it–or be victims of the “Recession” without the “Inflection” that might save us.

Share This Post

Comments Off


Playing the Health Care Lottery

In Nurse Theresa Brown’s latest post on The New York Times Well blog, she makes a striking comparison between our health care system and Shirley Jackson‘s “The Lottery.” What happens if you’re unlucky enough to draw the short straw in the health care lottery? Click through to read the rest of the powerful post.Theresa Brown's post on Well

Share This Post


Chicken Soup and Humble Pie

Nurse Theresa Brown was struck with the swine flu two weeks ago, and she wrote a post on the New York Times Well blog about dealing with personal illnesses as a nurse. While it put her out of commission for a while, it also gave her renewed perspective on how her patients must face more challenging diagnoses.

Theresa Brown's latest post on the New York Times Well blog

Share This Post


Crush it! Comes to Life…As a Vook!

For a long time we’ve been discussing how to maximize an author’s content for the various platforms that are emerging. Check out the amazing comments in this blog post from last February about building a dynamic experience for a phone. It was not long after that blog post that I read this article about Brad Inman in The New York Times. Amazingly, Brad was bringing the same vision to life.

As soon as I heard about the Vook, I knew I wanted to experiment, and the perfect author to start with was Gary.

Cut to six months later, and a baby Vook was born last night at 11:50 pm in the iTunes store.

In the video clip you see here, Gary discusses the future of media with US News reporter Rick Newman. There are a few pages in Crush It! about the future of media. During the writing process, we had a lot of discussion about how much to add in the book on this topic. We knew Gary’s vision would most likely be controversial, so the question became, do we add more to this section so he could flesh out his vision, or do we not spend more than a few pages, because after all, this isn’t a book about the future of media. We decided to leave it at just a few pages, but then went back to it for the Vook and have Rick interview Gary so it could be explained further.

It was so liberating to be able to expand out from the print book in areas where a video could enhance the written word, while at the same time, it was a challenge to come up with video content that was fresh and unique from Gary, who’s all over the Internet in video. I think we achieved what we set out to do with the Vook. This is whole new medium with so much potential.

Share This Post


Whose Death Is It Anyway?

Nurse Theresa Brown wrote another post for The New York Times’ Well blog, looking at a patient’s decision to refuse cancer treatment against the doctor’s advice. It’s a thought-provoking piece, bringing another question to the health care table: Whose death is it anyway?

Theresa Brown writes for The New York Times' Well blog

We’re also excited to learn that Theresa’s writing has been included in two anthologies: The Best American Science Writing, 2009, and The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. Additionally, she was recently featured in the American Nurses Association‘s daily newsletter as their top story. For those that would like to read Theresa’s essays in another context, here are a few more options!

Share This Post

Comments Off


Disney Hires Steve Jobs to Make Stores More Experiential: Booksellers Take Note

While most retailers are batting down the hatches for another dismal holiday season, Disney has enlisted the help of Steve Jobs to revamp its retail space. These new “entertainment hubs” will focus on interactivity and community and adopt Apple hallmarks like mobile checkout. Apparently employees can use iPhones to control giant Lucite trees. (The Times article notes that Disney’s theater idea is a clear extension of Apple’s lecture spaces.)

Jim Fielding, president of Disney Stores Worldwide, leading a tour [photo by Stephanie Diani for The New York Times]

Yesterday’s article made me wonder if there is  a shoestring equivalent for bookstores? Indeed bookstores have always been community spaces, and one doesn’t have to look very far to find examples of young booksellers who are trying to push them (back) in that direction. I’ll be interested, for example, to see what kind of events/ open mics/ classes Jessica Stockton holds at Greenlight Bookstore which opens its doors next week in Fort Greene (we’re rooting for you Jessica!). 13-foot-tall Lucite trees sound pretty cool, but at the end of the day creating a unique space where people want to hang out doesn’t necessarily require battery operated equipment. Or does it? I am curious what people think adds to the bookstore experience -

Share This Post


Freedom’s Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose

NYU's Media TalkI’ve been thinking a lot about last week’s panel discussion about free versus paid content, moderated by Chris Anderson, author of “Free.” The discussion moved primarily between two points of view; Chris’s view that media companies should be much more aggressive in their experimentation, giving more content away in order to sell “premium” content (he said that he should have titled the book “Freemium,” jokingly blaming his editor, Will Schwalbe, for pushing the catchier “Free”), while the panelists (John Sargent, ceo of Macmillan; Gary Hoenig of ESPN Publishing; and Alan Murray, in charge of online at the Wall Street Journal) were talking about the dangers of giving too much away. Alan Murray, for instance, was glad that the Journal had charged for its online content from the beginning, as opposed to the New York Times’s approach, because it’s very hard to go back from free to paid.

Even Chris had to admit that the experiment of giving away his most recent book for free in e-book form had been a mixed success. “Free” was given away to 500,000 people via various e-book platforms, but sold less than what Chris’s previous book had (“The Long Tail“). But as I told Chris after the panel, the problem wasn’t the experiment. The experiment was a great learning experience, and even if they sold only ten percent of the sales on “The Long Tail,” that would have been a success if the book had been done on a low advance/profit-sharing basis. The problem is when authors want to have their cakes and eat them, too…getting a large advance but wanting to experiment with free content models, or getting a large advance and then deciding that what they really want is more marketing. I love to experiment, too…but we should all benefit equally from the results.

Share This Post