Monday, May 2, 2011

TV Tie-ins

How does a book get noticed? I am up to my eyeballs generating word-of-mouse as I promote my new middle grade novel, Letters to Juniper.

Natalie Collins and I often discuss marketing techniques and run promotion ideas by each other. Book reviews. Interviews. Booksignings. School visits. Advertising. Blog tours. You name it. What works? What doesn’t work? Okay, some days we agonize over book promotion.

“If there was some magic bullet, we’d all be doing it,” I always tell her.

When it comes to Natalie Collins’ books there does seem to be a magic bullet that definitely has an impact on sales. Her books get noticed.

Ever since the reality show Sister Wives gained national attention, Natalie’s book Sister Wife has been selling remarkably well. It’s the most amazing thing. Sister Wife is a great story, solidly written by the master of behind-the-Mormon-veil mysteries. But the book has been around a few years.

We had seen this life-imitates-art thing with her book Wives and Sisters. Natalie signed the contract with St. Martin’s after Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped. Wives & Sisters, which was penned long before the famous abduction in Utah, just so happens to be about the disappearance of a young Mormon girl after an encounter with a stranger [cue Twilight Zone theme].

So you see, it was no great leap to make the connection between Sister Wives and Sister Wife. Natalie and I agreed it’s definitely the popularity of the TV show that has captured readers’ interest in Sister Wife – the book.

So what does it mean?

It means I need a TV tie-in for Letters to Juniper. That’s what it means!

One day I pitched Natalie these reality show concepts to tie in with my book:

%*$@ My Fundamentalist Extremist Gun-Dealing Dad Says
I Don’t Know I’ve Got a Secret
My Crib is Surrounded by Big Brother

She ROTFLMAO’d back.

Alas, those reality shows – however clever – do not exist. So my next option is to tie Letters to Juniper to a show that’s already on TV. I decided to build on Natalie’s theme and started with the obvious:

Brothers & Sisters – A show about a dysfunctional family with a lot of dirty secrets. That explains the Smith family in Letters to Juniper all right. Except the kids in my book are a little young to be so cutthroat – and they don’t drink.

Sons of Anarchy – The title is perfect! A tight-knit gun-dealing clan with dark secrets. Now that describes the Smith family to a T. But this show is about a biker club. No motorcycles in my book.

No Ordinary Family – Again, the title says it all. The Smith family is anything but ordinary. However this is a show about a family with super powers. No super powers in my book either.

Fringe – This is my favorite show! FBI agents investigate unexplainable phenomena and an alternate universe. Alas, as much as I’d like to tie in my book with this awesome show, it’s too much of a stretch. The closest I can come is the Smith family as a target of a Fringe Division investigation.

Gossip Girl – Another apt title. Gossip plays a big role in Sarah’s story. Problem is, she’s not a rich Manhattan teen.

The Secret Life of an American Teenager – Even though Sarah’s not quite a teen yet, she is definitely living a secret life. Same glitch as the above though, Sarah’s not a teen living life in the fast lane. She’s a tween living life in the slow lane.

Lie to Me – Adventures of Dr. Lie Detector? Don’t think so.

Smallville – Clark Kent’s boyhood? No way.

Justified – A western? Nope.

Fear not. There are dozens – maybe even hundreds – more TV shows. Like Dog the Bounty Hunter. What a great title – that has absolutely nothing to do with my book. But it’s okay. I am undaunted in my search. I know the secret. The magic bullet. I’ll stumble onto it eventually …

Peggy Tibbetts

Letters to Juniper now available at Amazon.

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  1. Interesting. Now you've got me wanting to find a TV show to go with my book. Mmm, something to think about.

    Good luck to you in your search.

  2. Thanks Beverly -- but don't take me too seriously. It's all tongue-in-cheek. Though it is fun to try and make the connection.

  3. For my book CROSSED OUT is been compared to GHOST WHISPERER meets YA. I've also had it compared to JOAN OF ARCADIA but without God(this was with the original version that used more religion in it).

    I haven't read your book but from what I've seen so far but from your list I'd rule out GOSSIP GIRLS. Let me think on this and get back to you.

    Also on the whole SISTER WIFE thing I still don't get the fascination. Maybe it's because I'm Mormon and know that Mormon's don't have more than one wife. That sect is a break off group. It still bugs me when they call themselves fundamental Mormons when anyone who is from my faith would be excommunicated if they practiced polygamy. My own great-great grandfather was a polygamist and had three wives. What people don't know is that only a small percentage where 'called' to have more than one wife. Plus the whole living right next to each other? Myth. My great-grandfather had each wife in a different town. My great-grandmother grew up in Star, Wyoming not Utah.