Wednesday, April 25, 2007

when great PR doesn't sell books

Lots of folks assume that all they need is some "good publicity" -- usually seen as lots of media coverage -- to raise money, get lawmakers' attention, or, in the case of book authors, sell books. Today's New York Times takes a look at one case where great PR hasn't yielded great sales: Author Leslie Bennetts's The Feminine Mistake, which looks at the risks of stay-at-home mothering. Widely debated on blogs, excerpted in Glamour magazine, seen on the 'Today' show, the book nonetheless has sold 5,000 copies since its debut April 3. Are readers angry? in denial? uncomfortable with the topic? or just busy being moms? No one knows for sure, but it's a cautionary tale for those who rely on publicity to do all the work. (Some authors quoted note that book sales aren't their real goal, either, in which case the public attention is a success in and of itself.) You'll find a link here to an article on our panel discussion on book publicity at last fall's National Association of Science Writers' meeting.

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