Geralyn Lucas's memoir of breast cancer, Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy, isn't just the story of making lemonade after being handed a bushelful of lemons. It's more like the launch of a lemonade-shop franchise. Not only will the book be published during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with some proceeds going to organizations promoting breast cancer research and awareness, but several major media outlets and fashion retailers are helping to market the book. And at the center of it all is a photogenic 32-year-old author with an appealingly matter-of-fact take on her situation: "You lose a job. You lose a boy. You lose a boob."
The Lifetime cable channel, where Lucas serves as director of corporate communications, will promote the book on all four of its outlets, which reach about 85 million homes. Lucas will appear on the makeover show Head 2 Toe on October 9, and later on Lifetime Radio for Women, www.lifetimetv.com and in Lifetime magazine.
The book will also get a major boost from Self, which has a circulation of 1.3 million. The women's magazine serialized the book in its 25th-anniversary issue this month, and has given Lucas a forum on Self.com. In October, Self will promote Lucas's memoir in a "Breast Cancer Handbook" that will be inserted in the magazine.
In addition to appearing on the Today Show on October 20 and in People magazine, Lucas will also participate in a series of "Courage Nights" coordinated by the nonprofit Young Survival Coalition. These events, which aim to give women the chance to speak out and become informed about breast cancer, will be held at bookstores and in a dozen or so Betsey Johnson clothing stores around the country on October 21. Designer Johnson, herself a breast cancer survivor, has created a the T-shirt Lucas wears on the book jacket. Similarly, Stila, a division of Estée Lauder, has designed a lipstick called "Geralyn," with all proceeds going to the Anastacia Fund, an organization that works to raise breast cancer awareness among young women.
Booksellers, too, have gotten into the act. The Joseph-Beth and Davis-Kidd chain will sell the Betsey Johnson T-shirts at all its seven stores, and will partner with both Zeta Tau Alpha, a 180,000-member sorority, and the Young Survival Coalition in planning in-store events.