Friday, March 14, 2008

Going green - a Literary Publicist's Perspective

We were first contacted by Phenix & Phenix, literary publicists based in Austin, to review The Ovum Factor, and that article is coming up tomorrow. However, we were also intrigued by some green themed posts on their blog and asked them to elaborate on the topic.

They embraced the challange enthusiastically, and here are the results:

Like everything else right now, literary publicity is going green. While it doesn’t seem as likely a candidate to need a green makeover as say, cars and grocery bags, there are plenty of opportunities to help save the earth in book promotion.

As publicists, we rely on galleys, the unedited bound manuscipts that help us leverage long-lead coverage and pre-pub attention for our clients' books. But when a particular title doesn't make the cut, the galley graces more rubbish bins than book review columns and magazine spreads. Needless to say, we are thrilled to hear of a new service announced recently in PW DAILY:

Publishers Weekly has signed up with Rosetta Solutions to use the company’s netGalley service in connection with the magazine’s book review section. NetGalley, which Rosetta introduced last year, allows publishers to send and track galleys online. PW will use NetGalley to capture information on books—such as title metadata, press materials and promotional plans—when the books are submitted for review. At the current time PW will still accept printed galleys for review purposes, and will primarily use the service to collection title information, which publishers can upload.

Green literary PR practices don’t end there. Alongside online Galleys, virtual press kits (the ‘VPK’ to industry patrons) are also playing a growing role in the green movement. The average press kit is usually stuffed with papers - author biographies, press releases, examples of past interviews, sample interview questions for the author… Just like galleys, if the media isn’t particularly interested in an author or book, the press kit makes a b-line for the garbage bin. Now is the time to take advantage of technology and the VPK and virtual press room. Besides, doesn’t everyone prefer email these days? Putting an emphasis on a virtual exchange of press matieral, rather than the old-school blanket mailout/fax methodology, publicists can save a a forest full of trees, thereby reducing its landfill byproduct.

Don’t forget about this environmentally-friendly PR tool (a practice that is already in widespread use!) -- YouTube. Today authors and publicists can post their video interview footage, book trailers and material from recent speaking events on video sharing websites. Gone is the need to burn DVDs to then mail to media prospects. Thanks to the popularity of viral marketing, this technique gives authors even more exposure than they would with burned DVDs, and reduces energy consumption and waste.

One more opportunity that we have to promote sustainability is to use the services of other companies that work to reduce their carbon footprint. At Phenix & Phenix, we use the services of DHL to send mailings several times a day. They maintain energy efficiency by optimizing delivery routes, using hybrid vehicles, and by raising awareness of environmental protection initiatives.

We’re just one chapter in the green movement story. We’d love to hear what practices you’ve adopted to make a difference for future generations of readers.


Phenix & Phenix is a literary public relations firm that has been serving the unique publicity needs of authors and publishing houses since 1994. Our client list includes a wide range of authors, such as Philip Carlo, Stephen Baldwin, Vicki Courtney and Les Parrott; publishers such as St. Martin’s Press, Tor/Forge, FSG/Sarah Crichton Books, Zondervan and Thomas Nelson; and best sellers such as Crucial Conversations, The Ice Man and Revolve. Over the past two years, P&P has added 16 best sellers to our overall tally of nearly 30. We also frequently work with literary agencies and are among the list of recommended publicists at top distributors around the country. For more information, please log on to: or visit our blog at:


Plant Trees with Eco-Libris!