To Stand Out On Crowded Shelves, Book Publicity Gets Creative

From fancy covers to famous folks, book PR is going in new directions.

chang raeBook PRs are pulling out all the stops to appeal to readers as well as a segment of the population that often needs a warning and a darned good reason to settle in for a #longread. Book publicity is going further than parties, comp copies and reviews nowadays.

An award-winning writer (for his first book Native Speakerand Princeton professor who was selected by The New Yorker as one of the 20 best American writers (for his second book A Gesture Life), Chang-rae Lee is tops among the literary set. But he still needs to stand out among all of the books that are being released. So his latest, On Such a Full Sea, will have what’s being called the first 3D slipcover for a limited edition version of the book.

Taking 15 hours each to print, you can buy one of these bad boys for $175.93 on Amazon. But more than that, it’s a way for the novel to get some extra media coverage, like this article in Time

And because three’s a trend, here are a couple of other books that have gone an extra mile to stand out.

Gary Shteyngart has a new memoir, Little Failure, on sale now, and a new video on YouTube. And it’s not just him on camera talking about his book. In this seriously funny clip, James Franco writes a book called 50 Shades of Gary: An Erotic Memoir that threatens to steal Little Failure‘s shine, Shteyngart speaks Canadian (“You don’t know what you’re talking aboot!”), and there are other cameos from Rashida Jones, Jonathan Franzen, Alex Karpovsky, Sloane Crosley, and more.

[h/t Buzzfeed. And also, how much do we love James Franco?]

Shteyngart actually made a clip for his previous book Super Sad True Love Story with more James Franco and other famous writers.

Some authors write about famous people, but might not have access to actual celebrities for elaborate videos. Karina Longworth, a former LA Weekly and Village Voice critic, has written what The Hollywood Reporter says is a “50,000-word feminist coffee-table-book-with-a-brain” called  Meryl Streep: Anatomy of an ActorThe book is out next week, but to sell advanced copies for the holidays, the author gave away Meryl Streep posters and t-shirts to people who made a purchase. So if you love Meryl — and who doesn’t — this was a bonus reason to read about one of the greatest actors ever.

Getting attention for a new book isn’t just about getting the critics to write something positive. Like anything else, it’s about attracting extra attention by casting a wider net and tapping into other interests to draw in a new audience. Filming James Franco in a pink bathrobe, using 3D technology, and giving people the chance to wear Meryl Streep are some of the ways to achieve that.