The interweb was all atwitter yesterday about an “article,” (and I use the term loosely) that denigrated Book Expo, publishers, the state of literature, and book bloggers in an impressive feat of unfounded ridiculousness. It took 24 hours for my comment to make it through moderation, and then…
The official release date for GIVE DEATH A CHANCE: THE BRITISH ZOMBIE INVASION 2 is 10/31. What better way to spend Halloween, than with the zombified Beatles?
I deliberated as to whether or not to respond to Daniela Hurezanu’s article. It really doesn’t deserve the dignity of a response; but I couldn’t resist. I commented. Or at least I tried to. Unfortunately the site was “unable to receive my comment at this time” and it just returns me to the article with a new validation question. Maybe the site’s servers aren’t scalable/can’t handle the influx of responses. Maybe they’ve closed the thread already. Whatever. I am disinclined to sit around all day and wait for their Comments System to come back up. So, for my followers, here are my brief comments:
A Response to Daniela Hurezanu’s Article
Clearly, you were not at the Book Blogger Convention. Admittedly, your article does not claim that you had attended; but to comment on the nature of the Convention, its participants and practice intimates that you were at least familiar with it. If you were though, there is no way you could have written the last paragraph of your piece. Before you write about a topic, you should do your homework. Generalizations, especially ill-informed ones, deny your credibility as a writer.
Some Helpful Hints:
Look up the term “Mommy Blogger” and use the term in a sentence correctly;
Interview publishers, authors, bloggers and blog readers to determine why blogging is an efficacious promotional factor;
Investigate the roles that promotional bloggers have in expanding the reach beyond the already converted.
Hmm, maybe I should write the article. I’m more qualified than Ms Hurezanu. I was actually there.
- There must be a course or class or workshop out there that takes people’s money and tells them that branding is key. And that branding means spending a lot of time on a print image and packaging. A lot of CDs come into the office with elaborate photoshopped covers that tell the studio director’s office very little if anything about the candidate other than s/he had a lot of time on their hands to create this package. The Studio Director is going to be listening to the sound samples, not judging the book by its cover. The CD that comes in with Sharpie scrawled all over it is going to get the same opportunity as the slickly packaged demo. That said, there was one over-produced demo that worked against the candidate: The packaging was so terrible that the first thought crossing our minds was, “[S/He] had better be really good if they sent us this.” That candidate had to work against the packaging to start with. On the other hand, I received possibly the best demo package ever from John McLain. He walked up to me, said he liked to narrate Westerns and, gave me a CD that had an image of a cowboy boot with a headset on it. John McLain, Westerns and the cowboy boot are forever linked in my mind.
- HELPFUL HINT: Branding is about your working reputation. Period.
- Quite a few demos come in pieces. There’s the CD or flash drive, a cover letter, a resume, a headshot, a business card, a QR code and sometimes even a promotional bit of kitsch like a bookmark, magnet or toy. That’s a lot of stuff to keep together. And guess what? A lot of times this stuff gets separated – unintentionally, but it happens. The more pieces to the submission that there are, the more likely it is that pieces will be lost. Worst case scenario is when we have a great demo in hand, but can’t find the contact info that accompanied it. Best case scenario, everything is in one unit, a business card slid inside the jewel case or contact info printed on the CD or flash drive.
- HELPFUL HINT: Keep it simple. n.b. There are no pieces to be lost in an e-mail. Also, consider using an file upload service like SoundCloud.com.
- Some demos arrive with a cover letter addressed “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Friends.” Really? You couldn’t take the 30 seconds to google the correct contact person? Or a minute to make a phone call to the company to find out who to send the demo to? But you want us to spend anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to listen and evaluate your demo? Don’t think so. Hate to say it, but these demos often do not get any consideration at all.
- HELPFUL HINT: Make the call. Google it. Find out who you’re sending your demo to.
- And finally, a word about follow-ups. Owing to the volume of demos received, it can take eons to get to your demo. A candidate may become discouraged after not hearing from the audiobook publisher after days, weeks, months… If you’re wondering if we’ve even received your demo, you’re best bet would be to pay for Delivery Confirmation from the United States Postal Service. For my part, I’m working on a standard e-mail acknowledgment of receipt — one that doesn’t lead the submitter to then expect immediate feedback and/or work. Still, continually checking up to see where your demo is, if we’ve listened to it yet, if we have work for you… does nothing more than clutter up the voice mail and e-mail inboxes. This is a common sight on Monday morning: Inbox.
- HELPFUL HINT: Be patient. We’re working on it. Really.
If you’ve ever been caught singing “Dream On” while strumming on an air guitar and listening to your Walkman…; If you were one of those staring in hurt bewilderment at a Joe Perry Project logo stenciled into the sidewalk outside of the Narcissus nightclub in Boston…; If your heart soared at the sight of a flying piano… Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? is for you!