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From blog to book to The Today Show

(Hi everyone, as promised here is a guest post from Jennette Fulda, an author I met at a book festival a month or so ago. Her book Half-Assed is selling over 100 copies a week and she has some great insight for promoting your work through blogging. Enjoy! -s.)

Hello, M-Word readers!

I have stuffed Scott in a closet today and hijacked his blog, so please read this post in a slightly higher-pitched, more effeminate voice. I'm Jennette Fulda, author of Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir, and blogger at PastaQueen.com. Scott and I chatted about marketing, monsters, and my old pair of monster pants at a book festival last month, and now he's asked me to share some of my experiences promoting my book through my blog.

From blog to book

I started blogging about my 200-pound weight loss when I began it in January of 2005, posting entries at least 3-4 times a week. I built a following of devoted readers that caught the attention of an editor at Seal Press, a division of Perseus publishing, in September of 2006. I'd previously been mulling the idea of writing a book, and with the editor's help I put together a proposal and was offered a book contract with their publishing house. (This is the short and sweet version that makes it sound easier than the years of blogging at 7am in the morning actually were.)

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How the blog helps the book and vice versa

Some readers read my book first and then read my blog. Others find the blog first and then get the book. I make money off of ads on my blog, and my blog helps promote my book sales, so the two cross-promote one another. Many readers of my book have mentioned that they were sad when the book was over, but when they discover the blog is still running they realize there is an endless supply of new material. I also started a book site at halfassedbook.com just for book related announcements so I didn't overwhelm my regular blog readers with book stuff.

How my blog readers have helped

One of the best things about my blog is the supportive community that has sprung up around it. I've made a lot of friends on my blog and they've been very kind to tell their friends about my book and so on. I've asked them to leave reviews on Amazon, recommend the book on message boards, Facebook, and social networking sites like GoodReads.com. I made a video trailer for my book and asked them to post it on their sites. My readers have been very awesome and I owe a lot of my success to them.

The Today Show

 I wish I could have titled this post "Three easy steps to get your book on The Today Show" because I'm sure that would make me very popular. Instead, I must have saved a drowning orphan in a previous life, because I can't say why I was fortunate enough to be invited on NBC's Today Show. I don't have any practical tips on how to make this happen for you. It's just luck. Publicity is a crapshoot and I feel very grateful that the wheel of fortune landed on "Free trip to New York" for me and not the black "Bankruptcy" panel. If I had to guess, it probably helped me that:

  1. Obesity, weight loss and the looming health crisis are hot topics in our culture.
  2. TV is a visual medium and people love before and after photos.
  3. The Today Show does a feature called "The Joy Fit" club every week where they profile people who have lost significant amounts of weight. So, someone on their staff is already plugged into this issue.
  4. My publicist did a good job.

I do have one good tip for you though. If you are lucky enough to go on The Today Show, don't write a book with a naughty word in the title, because they won't let you say it on morning television. Thank you for reading! I'll go let Scott out now.

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Jennette and Scott peddle their wares at Joseph Beth Booksellers in Lexington, KY.

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