THE ANNIHILATION OF NATURE: Human Extinction of Birds and Mammals

The Annihilation of Nature, Gerardo Ceballos, Anne H. Ehrlich, and Paul R. Ehrlich
The Annihilation of Nature, Gerardo Ceballos, Anne H. Ehrlich, and Paul R. Ehrlich

With the human-caused “sixth extinction” receiving increasing attention in media coverage of climate change and the environment, I was honored to handle the publicity campaign for The ANNIHILATION OF NATURE: Human Extinction of Birds and Mammals, by Gerardo Ceballos, Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich, and published the Johns Hopkins University Press.

The authors bring enormous credibility and passion to the topic: Gerardo Ceballos is one of the world’s leading ecologists and professor at the Institute of Ecology at National Autonomous University of Mexico. Anne H. Ehrlich is a senior research scientist emeritus at Stanford University. Paul R. Ehrlich is the Bing Professor of Population Studies and the president of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University.
Our planet is now in the midst of its sixth mass extinction of plants and animals . We’re currently experiencing the highest amount of species die-offs since the loss of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Although extinction is a natural phenomenon, it occurs at a natural “background” rate of about one to five species per year. Scientists estimate we’re now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times that, with  dozens going extinct every day.
During our book publicity campaign, the authors explained these dynamics but their emphasis was inevitably on the heartbreaking and unavoidable evidence that this extinction is human-caused and increasing.

In The Annihilation of Nature, wonderful photography presents the amazing animals and environments that are under assault.  Extraordinary full-spread photographs introduce each chapter.  The effect, not quite celebratory, not quite elegiac, is just right in conveying how high are the stakes and how vital the message.
Our PR campaign was a great success. The book was reviewed everywhere from the Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post,  and the Los Angeles Review of Books to Salon.com, Science NewsBioscience, and Photo Review. Paul ‘s interviews aired on more than 1500 radio stations across the U.S. and Canada.

All royalties for this title go to the Navjot Sodhi Fund at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, which supports the work of young conservation biologists.

At Carney & Associates, we are proud to specialize in publicity campaigns for nature, the environment, climate change, biodiversity, food scarcity, and other sustainability issues.

Please contact me for a free consultation to discuss how our public relations services can help with your publicity needs.

Extraordinary wildlife photos from camera traps

I just received the blads* for an extraordinary upcoming book, Candid Creatures: How Camera Traps Reveal the Mysteries of Nature, by biologist Roland Kays (May 2016, Johns Hopkins University Press).

Before this publicity campaign, I’d never heard of camera traps. I’ve since learned that many of the most fascinating and significant wildlife discoveries in recent years have been made thanks to the explosion of these non-invasive, motion-sensitive cameras, placed out in nature.

With wildlife in crisis around the world we need to know the status of animal populations now more than ever. To meet this challenge, scientists trek to the most remote corners of the planet to set camera traps. They hope this technology will allow them to catch glimpses of animals they could never see with their own eyes.

Not only do camera traps provide stunning images of endangered species, they’ve revolutionized the field of wildlife science, and elevated our understanding of the animals in our own backyards.

We’re thrilled to be conducting a nation book publicity campaign for this title, it’s a publicist’s dream. Candid Creatures is the first major book to reveal the secret lives of animals through this new technology, and we have more than 600 remarkable photographs to share from researchers all over the globe.

The author Roland Kays is a dynamo. He’s the director of the Biodiversity Laboratory at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and a research associate professor at North Carolina State University. Roland is energetic, articulate, and super-enthusiastic about his work. Here’s one of his excellent camera trap videos that we’re using for his media relations campaign.

* Blads are pre-publication brochures for upcoming books, used by publicists and sales teams. Blad stands for book (or, basic) layout and design.

Contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates for a free consultation to discuss how our media relations services can help with your wildlife organization or book’s publicity needs. 

Audiobooks Are the New E-Books

The New York Times recently reported that audiobooks are the new e-books.

In a look back at 2015, they said “audiobooks joined podcasts as one of the breakout creative mediums of the year.” Sales of downloaded books increased by 38 percent in the first eight months of 2015, according to the Association of American Publishers. Meanwhile, e-book sales declined by 11 percent in the during the same period, leading to speculation that some consumers are switching from digital reading to digital listening.

The New York Times points out, “The growing use of smartphones means that practically everyone has an audiobook player on hand at all times. There are more titles than ever to choose from (25,787 audiobooks were released in 2014). And the medium is attracting prominent actors and celebrities.”

Tom Tivnan of the publishing industry bible The Bookseller also believes the rise is largely due to technology. “Streaming and speed of downloads helps, but simply that most people have a smartphone is probably the main factor,” he says. And developments in digital recording and distribution have made audiobooks more affordable. The Wall Street Journal notes that Stephen King’s lengthy The Stand cost $100 in 1978. Today it can be downloaded for $33.

I’ve been a fan of audiobooks for years.  As a book publicist my work is often sedentary, so when reading for pleasure I love the mobility afforded by audio downloads. And because I specialize in media relations for nonfiction titles, I gravitate toward fiction on my own time. It’s incredibly relaxing to have someone read me a story while I’m doing chores, running errands, or working out.

Bestselling crime writer Mark Billingham summed it up when he said, “I think people will always enjoy having a story told to them. It’s not something that happens often after childhood and it’s a rare and special treat.”

My book publicity clients often ask if I think it’s essential for them to produce an ebook version of their titles. Now a more important question is, when will your audiobook be ready?

Contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates to see how our book publicity services can help promote your audiobook–or ebook. 😉

 

Population Media Center in The Guardian

The Guardian recently published an essay by Joe Bish, Director of Issue Advocacy at Population Media Center (PMC), entitled “Population growth in Africa: grasping the scale of the challenge.” Here’s the intro:

“The last 100 years have seen an incredible increase in the planet’s population. Some parts of the world are now seeing smaller increments of growth, and some, such as Japan, Germany, and Spain, are actually experiencing population decreases.

“The continent of Africa, however, is not following this pattern. Now home to 1.2 billion (up from just 477 million in 1980), Africa is projected by the United Nations Population Division to see a slight acceleration of annual population growth in the immediate future.”

I’m proud to have been providing publicity and media relations services for PMC over the past four years and am especially thrilled with Joe’s piece.

The essay also included a link to our wildly popular photo essay that ran in The Guardian last year on our book Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot, as part of our international book publicity campaign. Since April 2015, this webpage has been viewed over 3 million times and has been shared over 700,000 times on social media.

Contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates for a free consultation to discuss how our media relations services can help your nonprofit organization or book’s publicity needs.

Amazon wins self-publishing market

Self-publishing is a booming multibillion-dollar market. In 2015, author-published books accounted for 18% of the entire book market in the U.S., and Amazon published 85% of them.

So I wasn’t surprised when Quartz reported, “Penguin Random House, the largest book publisher in the world, is chopping off its self-publishing arm. The company said Jan. 5 that it has sold Author Solutions—the self-publishing author-tools platform that it bought in 2012—to an unnamed affiliate of US private equity firm Najafi Companies for an undisclosed sum.”

From The Financial Times: “Self-publishing has been growing rapidly, with more authors designing and selling their books without the backing of a traditional publishing house. Author Solutions has sought to capitalise by offering a variety of services to independent authors, including ‘web-optimised’ press releases for $1,299 each.”

In other words, they were accused of trying to make money off of their authors rather than for their authors, and the company was subject to frequent complaints as well as a couple of lawsuits.

Whether due to tanking market share or negative publicity, Quartz notes “Penguin Random House’s exit from self-publishing is also an admission of defeat: The giant self-publishing market essentially now falls largely to Amazon.”

Contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates for a free consultation to discuss how our media relations services can help with your self-published book’s publicity needs.

PW Loves Slick Water

Among the most coveted reviews in book publicity are those from Publishers Weekly.  As book publicists for Slick Water: Fracking and One Insider’s Stand Against the World’s Most Powerful Industry by Andrew Nikiforuk (published by Greystone Books in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation), we’re thrilled with the recent recognition our title received from PW.

“This book will infuriate its readers. In a dynamite example of investigative journalism, muckraker Nikiforuk (The Energy of Slaves) chronicles the environmental devastation wrought by the hydraulic fracking industry in Alberta and beyond. Nikiforuk frames his narrative through the struggles of oil industry consultant Jessica Ernst, the “insider” of the book’s subtitle who launched a $33-million-dollar (CAN$), multi-year lawsuit against Encana Energy and the Alberta government. Ernst’s battle against the oil and gas industry is both personal and political: Encana illegally fracked into aquifers near her home in Alberta’s badlands, causing methane gas to seep into drinking water, turning it into a flammable toxin, which Nikiforuk charges is not unusual behaviour for companies that frack (forcefully inject brine water into shales to release gas) across North America. In 14 gripping chapters, Nikiforuk follows Ernst’s multi-pronged assault on Big Energy, from hiring brass-knuckled lawyers, to exhaustively cataloguing the gas industry’s illegal shenanigans, to performing chemical tests on “slick water,” fracking’s toxic by-product. Nikiforuk peppers his rich narrative with a wealth of historical context about corruption in the industry he examines, making this book essential reading for every human whose soul is not clouded by methane or coated in oil.” –Publishers Weekly, November 2015

Publishers Weekly is a leading book industry trade publication and calls itself “The International News Source of Book Publishing and Bookselling.”

Contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates to see how our publicity and media relations services can help promote your book or business.

The Women of San Quentin

I was honored to conduct a book publicity campaign for internationally acclaimed journalist and photographer Kristin Schreier Lyseggen, and her new title The Women of San Quentin: Soul Murder of Transgender Women in Male Prisons, which exposes the horrendous, inhumane treatment of women incarcerated in male U.S. prisons.

We were thrilled with the well-deserved accolades she received from Lambda Literary. Here’s an excerpt:

“America, it seems, is just beginning to wake up to the atrocities committed against transgender women held in men’s prisons. Whereas a decade ago, stories of women being repeatedly raped, assaulted by both staff and inmates, held excessively in solitary confinement, and denied even the barest human dignities allowed to male inmates, would not conceivably make headlines; this year alone saw a leap in coverage, culminating in the New York Times’ following the case of Georgia trans woman Ashley Diamond, who opened up about being held in “sexual slavery” in several men’s prisons and denied her hormone treatment against Georgia state policy…

“…Demanding multiple readings to uncover its many layers, The Women of San Quentin emerges as one of those rare gems: a compassionate, uncompromising examination of violence that emerges from the voices of survivors themselves, and can therefore be poised to inform meaningful change if we take notice. The more that such thoroughly researched and well-crafted resources exist, the harder it is for us to plausibly deny that the treatment of trans female prisoners demands our attention and resistance. My hat’s off to Lyseggen, who was willing to use her own resources and privileges–personal time, skills, access to space, and money — to create something that the prisons and the odds seemed to refute at every turn. The world needs more art and active allyship like this. “

Contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates to see how our publicity and media relations services can help promote your book or business.

 

Books Are Back! (including adult coloring books)

The Los Angeles Times recently declared “Books Are Back!”

Last month, Nielsen BookScan reported that 571 million print books were sold in 2015, 17 million more than the year before. And, e-books, once predicted to reach 50% to 60% of total book sales, hovered at just 25%.”

 They said there’s “no single demographic that wants books on paper: Harper Lee’s second novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” appealed to readers of all ages; “The Wright Brothers” by historian David McCullough had an older readership; teens gobbled up print books by YouTube stars; and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School,” Jeff Kinney’s latest novel for middle-schoolers, sold a remarkable 95% of its copies in print.

“The most age-defying driver of print book sales was the spike in demand for adult coloring books. While some are available as e-books or apps, adult coloring fans seem to be using them as an escape from time spent staring at a screen. Bestselling coloring book creator Johanna Basford, whose “Secret Garden” jump-started the most recent craze, will allow her coloring books to exist only in print. Take that, digital.”

Photo credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates to see how our publicity and media relations services can help promote your book.

The Age of Content Saturation

Ironically, I’m writing to lament the fact that the world has reached a saturation point of shallow, thoughtless content, giving rise to phrases we refer to in publicity as “content saturation” and “content pollution.”

As publicists, we still encourage our authors and experts to blog and participate in social media, but it’s more important than ever to communicate with purpose, target your audiences, and be relevant.

Human attention spans are minuscule and finite, and readers are more inclined to absorb short, punchy messages than to read anything in great detail.

Since you now have just seconds to share your story, the trend in publicity is toward including video, infographics, or other images to help distill your messages into easily-digestible morsels.

And on that note, I’m launching my new blog. Welcome to Carney & Associates publicity services for people who improve our world. I’ll try to keep my posts brief, pithy and relevant.