How do you launch something new in an industry where hundreds of similar products come out every week? That's what the publishing industry goes through. Doubleday has a new book called "The Traveler," which they're now promoting in very compelling ways. First, they're using "street teams" - groups of young women who look like the book's hero - to roam the floor of book conventions. Then they've developed an online video game that mimics the book, along with a blog that comes off like it's written by one of the book's character.
But one of the most interesting developments surrounds the author of "The Traveler," a guy named John Twelve Hawks. Obviously, a cool and unusual name, that is punctuated by the fact that Twelve Hawks won't do interviews for the books, has an untraceable phone number, and a voice filter when he decides to speak. It's reminiscent of how WNIC used Alan Almond ("Mr. Pillow Talk") in the '70s. You heard the deep, dulcet, syrupy tones of Almond every night, but he always broadcast in the shadows. He never made appearances, and his picture was not released to area media.
It's mystique, it's very purple, and it's the kind of cleverness that radio needs to create for product launches. People aren't going to talk about "jockless radio" anymore. They WILL talk about genuine mystery, surprise, and unpredictability. Is "The Traveler" any good? Will it sell? Who knows? But it's sure buzz worthy, more than you can say about 99% of the books coming out.