Recently, the publicist for internationally best-selling author Michael Connelly came to Lenz for help with a small idea she hoped would have a big impact at this year’s Book Expo America conference.

Since a matchbook played a key role in the plot of “9 Dragons,” Connelly’s upcoming book, Shannon Byrne thought matches would be a perfect way to light a fire under advance book sales.

The challenge, according to Lenz Art Director Scott Sanders, was to incorporate a message about the book onto a 1½-inch-wide matchbook. His solution was to “keep it simple” and use color to provide extra impact. He used orange and white text on a black background to promote the author’s name, the book title, and the release date of the book — 10.13.09.

Sanders even included a quote inside the matchbook that was pivotal to the plot. “Happy Is The Man Who Finds Refuge In Himself,” said both the novel and the matchbook.

The matchbook text also included the author’s web site,, as well as the name of the publisher, Hachette Book Group New York, NY 10017, a design task that was no small feat.

News of the “9 Dragons” matches, Byrne said, “spread like wildfire” and became the talk of the conference.