Friday, February 24, 2006

Book PR Queen

That's Yvonne Lee, best-selling author of The Sky is Crazy. I really have to hand it to her. If you check out her website, you'll find no less than TWO DOZEN appearances in the media and if I'm not mistaken, they're all in a span of three months. Not only that, her book when into reprint three months after its release. What a fantastic achievement!

Under the quotes page, Yvonne's husband said, "To author a book is one thing. To author a book that's a best seller is quite another." Ouch! I can feel the sting. I fall under that "one thing" category whereas Yvonne's under the "another" category. I've authored two books. The first one bombed, the second one is p-l-o-d-d-i-n-g along, sigh.

I'm going to ask Yvonne to be my sifu and impart some tips on how to go on a PR blitz for my next book. Surely the tables are turned now. How so? I got to know her when I contacted her husband to conduct a survey for my first book, Congratulations! You have won! They're both frequent contest winners. Then we started corresponding with each other. At that time, I'd been published in The Star and she was trying to break in. Though in her book she credited me as her mentor, I think I offered her more encouragement than writing advice.

Yvonne's a real go-getter and anything she sets her heart on doing, she'll get it done. That's why she's so successful. She's pretty and talented, a winning combination, I must say.

Now excuse me while I go hide under my blanket and wallow in self-pity. Nah, that's lame. I should get her web designer to design me a cool website just like hers. Only trouble is when it comes to the media section, it'll be as airy as my grandfather's drawers. The media didn't think I was good fodder. It's not their fault actually. I didn't try hard enough. I only walked half the mile. Perhaps with Yvonne's tutelage, that'll change and I'll become a media darling too, yeah, though not as much as she is.


pu1pu3 said...

Yeay!!I get to comment first. I bought both your book(LLT) and hers.But you see, Yvonne's book is already abt something glamorous.Being a stewardess kan has to do a lot with being pretty & glamorous. So, pls don't compare your book to hers. Yours is a great book in its own way.I've yet to finish reading yours, btw.I only acquired it aft reading ur blog.It has a lot of similarities with your blog actually..hehe..very entertaining and fun!
Ala..just come out with another book la.Case solved. After that, go all out in promoting it. Attend as many book singning as possible. Usher in all your glamorous friend for their support.Sure a hit!

Lydia Teh said...

p1p3, that's right. Yvonne's book is very glamour, that's why mine and hers is like orange and apple, hehe. Why haven't you finished my book?? A young woman just wrote me to say she finished it in one night! Yeah, I'm working on another book (as always... but slow worker lah.) But I don't have glamourous friends other than Yvonnelah.

mumsgather said...

She looks really good. Like selling anything else, packaging and publicity really helps. Sometimes publicity is even more important than the substance itself. Hmm....still you shouldn't be comparing. Now come out of the blanket you.... ;)

Kak Teh said...

Lyida, make space under the blanket - I'm coming to hide with you.

Jane Sunshine said...

Wah, PR makes such a difference? Get one good PR company then to give you the know how to sell your books.

Lydia Teh said...

mg, yep, PR is very important but Yvonne's got a good book too. It was eye-opening and entertaining. Shouldn't be comparing but you know human nature. I'm halfway out of that blanket, Ma'am.

KT, alamak, you also want to come under the blanket? Don't-lah, we both stay out in the sun ok?

Jane, cannot afford PR co but will get tips from Yvonne. The thing is, PR helps but sometimes without PR, if the book is really what the readers want, it will sell no matter what. Eg Chia Joo Suan who writes on food tech in The Star, both her books are best sellers. And I didn't even know she had come out with the second book until I saw it at the book shop! All this without PR blitz. But then again she has her weekly column to plug her book.

Josh said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Josh said...

It is one thing to write a hot-for-now bestseller, it is another to write a book that will stand the test of time. Not that I am implying anything, hehe.

Yvonne Lee said...

Lydia dear, so sweet of you to have highlighted my book on your blog. But don't call me a book PR queen lah, so shy lah... But as an author, you know too that things don't come easy. has been a loooong way since I first started writing....all thanks to you, my mentor. Lydia, you've inspired me and even shown me that freelance contributors can have a newspaper byline if they try hard.
Thanks for the inspiration and see, a drop of water can cause a ripple in the ocean :)

But, really, what I can do, others too can.

I'm just lucky for being the first ex-stewardess ( it's funny, but I still got the 'you mean air stewardesses can write book one meh?' look!) with a book, and it helps too that I've been contributing to the papers or ppl could have snigger that my book is written by a ghost writer!

I'd also like to thank your friends who feel that my publicity is like 'wow' (thanks pu1pu3, Kak Teh, Mumsgather, Jane Sunshine)but while it may appear like fluffy cotton candy to some, I attest that publicity is very important for any product to sell.

Let's be realistic, a book is a product and no publisher wants to gamble with a book that's a loss. Hence, when a book comes out, much effort (and luck too) will be needed to push the sale.

Big pointer here: even book store retailers won't increase book order if there's no publicity. I have been told that every time there's publicity of the author in the news, the sales go upwards.

It's a cycle, if the author can create publicity, the store owners will place big order and they will naturally need to place the books in good visibility area.

I must credit my publisher for getting me interviews from the media, giving me lots of support like glossy, eye-catching posters and sales network.

No, I don't have a PR agent. Those who deal with high-brow (spells effective) PR know how much the bill costs.
For my book, it's all old-fashioned hard work (and elephant-skin too) in getting publications to feature my book and my face.

But I must, and I must really thank the media fraternity for being really wonderful to me. It's every author's dream, really.

Lastly, publicity can be a double-edged sword. While I've gotten much publicity, I've also people who trivialise my effort. Still, I'm an optimist -- for every brickbat, I got double the bouquets.

Lydia, it has been a pleasure reading comments in your blog and even nicer to have the chance to air my 2-sen worth.

Yvonne Lee

thewailer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
pu1pu3 said...

I'm so sorry for not finishing it yet. between changing Danil's diapers and Danish's constant 'naik air sejuk, nak ini and nak itu' every second of the day, all that's left of my day is 2hrs sleep. I can't spare that reading your book, can I? Have some mercy please..heheh..
Just another 2 chapters 2 go and I'm all Lydiaed.Heheheh

Lydia Teh said...

p1p3, Don't worry dear, I was just trying to be naughty. Two more chapters, yeah!

Anonymous said...

Wow Janet Lee's kinda cute. How many copies earn you bestseller status ?

Anonymous said...

And thewailer, the "name" isn't so great, I wish I _didn't_ have my name in there. It's a bit embarassing, if it bombs everyone will know you bombed. Sure it's weird to see your name printed, but hey, if that's what you want, self-publish your book. Or print your name on page. Same thing. How would you know what their dreams were anyway ? :P

PS. You're right about one thing, I admire their marketing ability. A book is easy to write, very easy to write. In order to sell though, you have to have really thick skin :)

Lydia Teh said...

anon, it's Yvonne, not Janet. That's the sis. Bestseller - if you're listed in the bookstore's top ten, you're a best-seller!! I won't say writing a book is very easy. The stick-to-it-tiveness has to be stronger than super-glue variety and you need to know how to write. Having "really thick skin" helps a lot. Maybe that's why I'm where I am today, my skin's not so thick.

Anonymous said...

hmmm ... is there space under that blanket ...

feel the tears coming on ...


bibliobibuli said...

You deserve to be a media darling, - your writing is always fun and you take a good writer's photo! shall i be your manager?

Lydia Teh said...

thanks Sharon, you're so sweet. What are your rates? Don't think I can afford you, hehe.

Anonymous said...

To me, anyone who has written a book is better than me , even it is a sex book. To have written 2 books is fantastic. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Anon (or TheWailer), can you say it's easy to write a book till you've written one and have it published? Coz if you've truly done it, you wouldn't say it's easy.

Just ask any author, be they Stephen King or J.K. Rowling.

Yours 'strugglingly'