I've heard a little about this idea lately, and I think its something good for all kinds of artists to keep in mind in terms of getting publicity for their work.
The idea is that you take advantage of big news concerns, like the swine flu, and use it to get the word out about your product or business. Now, this sounds sort of cynical, but the idea isn't to manipulate people; its to show involvement and concern for society, and people want to get to know you more when they feel that you care about what they care about.
This has mostly been a small business thing, from what I can see, but I think it can apply to writers and artists just as well. Here are some ways you can use the swine flu 'viral' marketing system to market your creative writing:
-Write about it directly. For example, write a poem, personal essay or short story about swine flu, or whatever the big news item is. You can send it to any of the normal literary magazines you submit to, but you might try looking in to different types of publications, like news magazines or publications that address your topic specifically.
-Apply the news to previous work. You may not have a book about swine flu specifically, but you may have a scifi book about epidemics, or a mainstream book about living with illness. Blog about it, tell your friends about it, and people who may not have noticed your book before may notice it.
-Apply it to your personal life. If the big news applies to you or a loved on personally, use the internet, local news and whatever else you can think of to not just draw attention to you and your work, but to the issue itself, and maybe do some good while your at it. Win/win situation for everyone.
***Even if the big news doesn't affect you personally, still be involved, and address it in your social networking, blogging, local news, or whatever. Its good to convey to your audience that you are socially concerned and aware.
-Target Audience. Target the people the news sources that the big news affects most of all, and see if you can use those outlets to get the news out about your work. Obviously you don't want to spam the news sources and bug people, because that backfires. But as a member of the community and an intelligent person with something interesting to say, this can be another means of social networking, and that is always a good thing.
So use the news to your advantage and get your work out there!