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The Quest for Publicity
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A story in the Guardian got me thinking about a subject much discussed by authors --publicity:

"A resourceful blogger's quest to trade up on one red paperclip until his bartering produced a house has paid off. Tomorrow Kyle MacDonald will be owner of a home on the prairie after the small town of Kipling, Saskatchewan, decided to turn over the keys to a three-bedroom property as a way to stem its population loss."

Town officials apparently hope to attract tourists.

In essence, MacDonald didn't trade up from a paperclip to a house, rather he created publicity by attempting to do so and traded the publicity for a house.

Even as I write, Joe Konrath, author of the Lt. Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels thriller series, is probably on a highway somewhere or signing stock in one of the bookstores he plans to visit on his incredible 500 store tour.

While I realize it is a good policy to meet readers and bookstore owners, I suspect that most of the publicity Joe generates will be about his publicity odyssey itself.

Inevitably, before long someone will attempt to trade for an island starting with a used bit of bubblegum and someone else will set out to visit 1,000 bookstores. But the novelty will have worn off and they won't garner the attention that Kyle and Joe have.

The advertising efforts Mary and I make aren't audacious but we do look for ways to find new readers.

For example, Tom Brosnahan has kindly given Six For Gold a page at his Turkey Travel Planner. Mary noticed that the site listed books which might be of interest to people contemplating a visit to Turkey and realized that our mysteries would qualify. (Potential travelers might even pick up some useful tips -- like not to go wandering down dark alleys...)

Mary also noted an error in a book review in The Observer and fired off an email.

The result? In their For the Record column at the weekend, The Observer carried this:

"Our crime books round-up (Review, 18 June) drew attention to Jason Goodwin's debut novel, THE JANISSARY TREE, which features 'the genre's first eunuch detective.' However Mary Reed and Eric Mayer have published six novels and numerous short stories about a 6th-century court eunuch detective since 1992."
The Observer is the biggest newspaper we've ever been mentioned in, even if we did just manage to stick our noses through the servants' entrance.

I've been exercising my brain on how to get a blurb out of this...

"...attention...the genre's first eunuch detective..." -- The Observer.

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