Saturday, January 10, 2009

BuzzWord: Green

Apparently “green” is the new buzzword in publishing. We’ve been talking here on Straight From Hel and elsewhere about ebooks becoming more acceptable and more popular as the younger generation who knows no world without computers grows up, as older people get used to the Internet and the Kindle and other e-readers, as the print publishers are hit hard by the sagging economy. All that aside, the buzz word, the word that apparently will sell e-books is…green.

A press release for Elizabeth Eagan-Cox’s cozy paranormal mystery series touts that the books are “green” and “environmentally friendly.” The majority of the press release is taken up by statistics like:
When it comes to the traditional paper-printed publishing industry, before the wood pulp is made into paper, 62.7% of the negative ecological footprint comes from getting the timber to the mill. Another 26.6% happens during the paper production at the paper mill. Another 8.2% comes from the landfill release of the methane gas from the paper-printed books that are not purchased. The energy used in transporting and storing printed books is another 12.7%.
Keep in mind, this is a press release. PR is meant to provide a new angle on a product that will attract buyers. And the angle of this PR release is “green.” Still, for me, it didn’t work. I came away knowing very little about the series except that it comes out in e-book before it appears in print. That sounds like a good press release for the publishers. But it doesn’t make me want to go buy the book.

When you release a promotional piece about your book, think about the message. What is your hook? I think it’s a good angle to remind people that e-books are environmentally friendly, but don’t forget to sell your book, as well.

14 comments:

  1. Green is definitely an overused word lately. There are many ebooks out there, so yes, it's wise to slip in about the qualities of ebooks, but selling the story itself is important.

    Morgan Mandel
    http://morganmandel.blogspot.com
    http://www.morganmandel.com
    http://twitter.com/morganmandel

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  2. I agree Morgan. I'm myself, am trying to go more green, but I believe a press release should focus on what it's trying to promote.

    Selling the story is important -- right on! (Oh lordy, the 70s just popped through)

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  3. Umm, can't say i've ever thought, "oh it's environmentally friendly, i'm sure now that i will enjoy the story". Besides, ebooks aren't really green, they just suck up fossil fuels instead of trees and well managed forests are more sustainable than fossil fuels. (Yeah i know, i just want to go "pfffft" at whoever did the press release).

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  4. People either like e-books or they don't, and I don't believe a green message will convert them. A good story, only available in e-book, might though.

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  5. "pfffft" -- I'm going to remember that and use it more often. It says it all! LOL

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  6. I agree LJ. Perhaps a book about going green would have been suited for a press release all about the "greeness" of a book, but otherwise, not.

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  7. Exactly. People buy the book for the content, not for the way the content is presented. It sounds like the publisher -- or, more likely, pr person -- forgot this.

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  8. Someone goofed, for sure. And since a lot of authors do their own PR, it's important to remember what should be the focus.

    Tomorrow I show a PR piece that works.

    Kris -- love your idea of the Friday night movies. How cool! To see what I'm talking about, you can go to Kris' site - http://kriswaldherr.com/blog/

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  9. Green. Not buying it. Wouldn't go down that overused road if I were Kindle's chief marketing campaign consultant. Too 70's.

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  10. I don't totally agree. I think the way a book is presented is a big part of the sales pitch. This is why I don't think ebooks will really catch on as long as there are real books to be had. IF that were the only way to get them, then fine, otherwise, no.

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  11. Sounds like that PR should have been written to promote an e-book publisher, not an author. Might have worked a little bit better.

    Thanks for your post on my blog today, Helen. Glad to know I'm not the only one affected by "blogger disease" and similar maladies!

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  12. I agree. So many statistics were listed I discounted them and decided the book content would be suspect.

    Maggie Bishop
    http://maggiebishop1.tripod.com

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  13. As a book promotion, this press release missed the mark, I think. By the end of it, the reader knows little about the book and has not been enticed to buy it. If the purpose of the PR piece had been about the value and growing popularity of e-books, then it would have been a success.

    I think they lost sight of what they were promoting.

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  14. Whoa. My eyes glazed over at all the numbers ... and I like data!

    Will go check out your next post on a well-written release...

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