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Creating Bestsellers, Building Brands: From South Beach to The Sonoma Diet: Part 2

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CREATING BESTSELLERS, BUILDING BRANDS From The Sonoma Diet to The New Sonoma Diet The original Sonoma Diet ran its course over a few years with a follow up cookbook and additional deals. Meredith had changed focus started to wind down its book business. Yet K2 remained involved because of Sonoma’s author, Connie Gutterson.

Connie wanted more than just PR; she wanted a home for her new book idea. She wanted us to become her brand manager and control everything from spokesperson deals to complement her teaching at the CIA in California to brainstorming ideas for her post-Sonoma book career and agenting the proposal.

Now, many authors who start with K2 in PR continue to work with us as partners on their brands. (See “The Oldest First” on how K2’s publishing work extends beyond PR.) But Connie and K2 pushed each other to extend ourselves beyond what we had been doing. And as a result, The Sonoma Diet again helped define the K2 of today.

It started when K2 set up meetings with key editors for Connie’s new book proposal: All they asked about was Sonoma. Then, over lunch, the cookbook buyer at Barnes & Noble convinced me there was new life in the Sonoma brand.

So we decided to resell a new Sonoma Diet and worked with Connie to take it over. (I’ll spare you the complicated and really boring – unless you are a lawyer or my husband – details.) We signed with Sterling and worked with them and Connie to revise, repackage, and re-launch The New Sonoma Diet. We went back to Waterfront, now Everyday Health, and got them interested in being involved again.

The completely revised – 80% new! – Sonoma Diet arrives January 2011. The New Sonoma Cookbook drops in April 2011. Connie’s third book? It will be published in April 2012 by Sterling as well.

But Sonoma launches into a changed world. Publishing has changed. What worked for Sonoma 2006 will not work for Sonoma 2010. Sonoma, like South Beach, was a book that built a brand. Now, a book needs to be a business and a brand. Publicity for the book is just a small chunk that leads to sales. You need to position the author in TV development idea and pitch regular media platforms on TV, online, in print… anywhere that establishes an immediate and highly visible presence.

Of course, it helps to have an author and books as respected as Connie and The Sonoma Diet franchise. We’re getting good traction. But there are so many variables. Connie is counting on us. The publisher is counting on us. This is more than PR. This is business and this is personal. I have the same feeling when we launched Sonoma the first time – only we are even bigger partners in the overall picture.

But it’s all good. I’m excited to see the outcome as part of what we do now at K2: building business, building brands. There’s nothing we love more than the challenges that brings.