a while back I conducted a Q&A with Sam Barry, author of the new How to
Play the Harmonica: And Other Life Lessons. At the time the book had not yet
been released. But just a few days ago I received my own signed copy and have
begun to read this very funny, entertaining, and, yes, inspiring book. I don’t
usually laugh out loud at books. Really. But with this one, I am, truly,
giggling, guffawing, and generally enjoying this lighter side of life.
not to say that Sam’s book doesn’t have some serious messages to offer. He
succeeds in reminding his readers that we should not only consider playing the
harmonica but re-introduce the notion of play into our lives altogether, which
brings me to the publicity portion of this post.
a book like this or any nonfiction title, when you think about it, you’ve got
to get outside what the book is about and think about how the text can connect
with bigger issues. I keep reading Sam’s book thinking, wow, this would be
excellent for some really serious accountants or other people who have to deal
with some heavy duty responsibilities. What’s interesting about Sam’s take on
things is that it doesn’t take a whole lot to add a little fun and mirth into
your life and, hey, there’s this really portable, inexpensive, great sounding
instrument that’s not that hard to learn and by the way, by mastering the
harmonica things will probably lighten up a little . . .
it’s a metaphor and that’s where the fun comes in. If you can frame your
message, product, whatever inside a bigger issue, a metaphor for example,
chances are you might get a little more publicity mileage. On the other hand,
if you focus too heavily on the thing you’re trying to promote, without giving
it proper context with the rest of the world, it’s going to be more challenging
for writers/reporters/producers to figure out where that pitch fits best.
plays harmonica. Really well. But he also figured out how to take what’s really
beautiful about this particular instrument—besides its cool and evocative
sound—and apply it to our lives in ways that enhance and enrich each new day.