You’ll be seeing a lot of buzz in coming weeks about Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal by New York Times reporter Nick Bilton.
The official publication date is November 5, 2013, but the publicity machine is working hard now to generate pre-orders. There was an excerpt in a recent The New York Times Magazine and a USA Today news story this week titled “Twitter CEO thrown for a loop.” I’d be surprised if Bilton doesn’t appear on “The Daily Show” or “The Colbert Report,” too.
Many of the book’s reviews will certainly be from well-known, large circulation publications.
Success formula components
Authors lacking the publishing power, connections, and savvy of this book’s publisher, Penguin Group (Portfolio Hardcover), can now turn away, thinking, “Oh yeah, look at what you can accomplish with a lot of money,” or they can stay here a little longer to learn from what we’ll see unfolding for this book.
Why not use it as your prototype for book marketing success? The big publishers know what they’re doing. Do what they do, and you’ve got a shot at something big, right?
Using Hatching Twitter as a case study, here are the components of your book marketing success formula:
- Great book. Let’s be honest. Anybody can make their book an Amazon best seller by throwing enough money at the process. But it takes more than that to make headlines with your book. If you want success to be based on merit — if you want to sell cases and cases because people actually like the book — then write a great book.
- Fantastic title. Hatching Twitter‘s title and subtitle (A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal) are attention-getting and compelling. If it were titled, “Hatching Twitter: How 4 Friends Changed How We Communicate,” it would strike me as “just another” profile of a successful company. But the real title? It jumps from boring business book to something full of drama, emotion, and intrigue. I’m already sucked in.
- Amazing cover designer. I love this cover. The hand-lettered chalk effect in Twitter logo colors on the black background pops. There’s something very appealing about it.
- The right credentials. All we really need to know is that Bilton is a New York Times columnist and reporter. That tells us he knows how to dig — and dig deep — for information we won’t find elsewhere. Do you have the credentials you need to sell your book?
- Manuscript “surprises” that can drive publicity. These “news pegs” or “news hooks” give you something to pitch to the press so that your book makes news. This week’s USA Today article focuses on a surprising, newsworthy revelation about Twitter CEO Dick Costolo.
- Advance planning. The campaign we’re seeing unfold for Hatching Twitter has been carefully orchestrated so that all of the pieces fall into place at the right time. If your book has big potential, start thinking about the publicity campaign as much as a year before your publication date. For example, magazines buy excerpts months before a book’s publication date so that excerpt publication coincides with the book’s launch date.
- Experienced publicist. If your book could be the next breakthrough success, consider hiring a qualified book publicist. Ask around for referrals and check references. Make sure that the publicist has experience working with the media outlets you want to target with your publicity plan.
I’m sure there’s more to this book’s campaign than outlined above — including a strong Twitter component — but all of these other pieces need to be in place for the rest of it to work.
We also know that sometimes you can write a great book that goes nowhere, even with support. And sometimes a crappy book really takes off. Plus, we’re not all New York Times reporters. But with a great book supported by top quality professional resources, almost anything is possible. Great book + great title + great cover = shot at success.
Let’s enjoy watching Hatching Twitter soar.
What do you think of the Hatching Twitter book cover? Do you love it as much as I do?
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