How To Promote a Book

     My friend, the writer Kim Eisler, has posted an interesting challenge on his Facebook page. To wit:
     “Lets all start thinking about how to push Kim’s new book ‘Lawyerball’ when it arrives in stores and kindle next spring.”
     I love a challenge – at least if it doesn’t involve strength or motor skills – so I was kind of excited to see this. And this isn’t exactly an easy challenge. How the heck do you get regular people to read a whole book about a law firm – assuming there are no murders and car chases involved?
     Oh sure, a lot of you reading this column might be interested – but you’re reading this column. Think about all those people who don’t.
     The book, in case you’re wondering, is about the powerful Washington, D.C. firm Williams & Connolly. Apparently they get all their criminal clients off and they own or infiltrate the government and lots of major corporations. I guess they run the country or something.
     That’s interesting stuff, but it’s not really best-seller material. At least not without some clever promotion.
     Naturally, I have thoughts:
     THE LAWYER FANTASY LEAGUE. It works for football and baseball, so why not litigation? Decide on a season and hold a draft – say to coincide with publication of the aptly-named Lawyerball.
     Score points for your team with successful verdicts, complaints filed for lucrative clients, appearances on television (with bonus points for Larry King or The Daily Show), quotes in national publications, million-dollar contingency fees and the World Series (one of the Lawyerball guys is president of the Red Sox).
     The book (subject of the promotion), naturally, would be a primary source of inside information and statistics for the players.
     LAWYERBALL: THE VIDEO GAME. Or World of Lawcraft. I’m thinking MMORPG real-time strategy. You get three months free online access with the purchase of the book.
     The game starts out with simple tasks to build up your bankroll – dropping unlawful detainers on unsuspecting orcs and elves, filing class actions against merchants without handicapped access, and blowing up banks and mortgage companies with anti-foreclosure spells.
     You use the “damages” you’ve collected to manufacture armies of associates at assorted law schools. The more expensive “prestige” schools give you lawyers with greater powers who can take on bigger challenges such as The Antitrust Dragon, wielder of the Mighty Merger Splitter, and the Regulatory Dark Elves, who come at you en masse and attempt to bury you with rules.
     Treasure abounds in World of Lawcraft. Sought-after items, which may be purchased or discovered through exploration, include The Robe of Latino Wisdom, The Glove Which Does Not Fit, the Writ of Unlimited Discovery, and the California Initiative Scroll (a spell that prevents your opponent from doing anything without going bankrupt).
     Players may band together in “firms” to complete quests and defeat rival firms or go solo and explore alternative lifestyle scenarios.
     LAWYERBALL: THE RAP VIDEO. There’s no better marketing tool than a viral video on YouTube. Old guys in suits rapping should do the trick.
     “I got a mean streak and a lot of gall.
     “You hire me, you don’t take the fall.
     “You need help, you give us a call.
     “We know how to play lawyerball.
     “Lawyerball, lawyerball – we got game
     “Government hacks – they’re all lame.”
     I smell best-seller list.

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