So most of you know that the real reason we spend so much time blogging and tweeting and writing about our books before they even come out is to build the buzz. We’re trying to create this frenzy of desire for our particular book, such that people will feel incomplete unless and until they have a copy of the book in their hot little hands. I kind of liken it to (I’m dating myself) the Cabbage Patch Kid craze of the mid-1980s. That’s the kind of excitement I’d like to drum up for my debut novel, Substitute Me.
The thing is, ‘buzz’ is really hard to measure. There are no real tools to quantify just how much buzz has been generated, nor how many people have heard the buzz. Of course, a positive review in Publisher’s Weekly is always welcome and a nice cover blurb sent in by a well-known author bodes well for a positive book launch, but it’s not the same as buzz. For example, my last book, Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain received a starred review in Publisher's Weekly and some great early reviews, but there wasn’t any word-of-mouth excitement about the title.
On the other hand, my editor recently informed me that a well-known magazine editor told her that there was already “buzz” about Substitute Me. The next thing I know, the original print run for Substitute Me has been doubled and Wal-Mart has ordered 10,000 copies of the book. Now that’s buzz at work. I don’t know what has happened. I don’t know where the buzz is coming from, but I do know that I like the sound.
So I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing to get the word out and hope the buzz keeps building. Maybe I’ll see if I can get Brad Pitt to get photographed with his shirt off, carrying his twins in one hand and my book in the other. That ought to be buzz worthy. If anyone has any other ideas, I’d love to hear those too.