For Books Connected to Music Scene, a Rising PR Star

By Neal Comment


Last week’s party at Beauty Bar for rock’n’roll advice columnist Carrie Borzillo-Vrenna (right) and her new lifestyle handbook, Cherry Bomb—packed wall-to-wall and out onto the sidewalk—was also a triumph for publicist Fiona Bloom (2nd from left) of The Bloom Effect. After building up a reputation for promotion and publicity skills in the hip-hop community, both as an independent producer and as an executive at labels like EMI and TVT, the native Londoner threw her first book party three years ago for a Nelson George novel, then did a full PR campaign for BLING: The Hip-Hop Jewelry Book in 2006. Borzillo-Vrenna is just her third literary client, but “I am absolutely looking to get more active in the book world and work with more publishers and authors,” she emailed a few days after the event, citing the enthusiastic response to the party from Simon Spotlight Entertainment personnel (who, GalleyCat had confirmed independently at the front of the bar, were duly impressed by the crowd).

“I love the idea that you can treat a book the same way you have a film project, a new clothing line, an album—the method and process of getting the word out is the same and thus so is the promotion and marketing,” Bloom continued. “The only difference is the publishing world chooses to not spend their money in these places. Perhaps a book party may not be as key or crucial to the overall marketing plan or people feel like the book world—being more intellectual—perhaps isn’t interested in being force-fed or having to react to a title because there’s so much hype or buzz. I do feel like the audience is growing larger and larger and younger—we’re barely pushing the envelope or touching the surface on how large an impact or [demographic] you can reach within the book world. It’s bigger than we think…. I never like to underestimate anyone!”

Bloom says she’s looking forward to doing more book campaigns as the goodwill generated by her fieldwork spreads. “What gets me especially excited about a book is the person behind it,” she wrote, “their track record/experience and journey and how interesting they are—and most importantly—the context and subject matter.” And if just half the celebrity “guest stars” who show up to offer subject-specific advice in Cherry Bomb (like Kat Von D. on getting tattoos or Tori Amos on three important life lessons) got book deals and called Bloom to get the word out, that right there would keep her busy for quite some time…

(photo: Mel D. Cole)