Ask a Business Book Publicist, Part 2

Continuing the “Ask AMACOM” series, I’ll tackle some more questions frequently asked by authors about business book publicity.

I’d really like to get on national TV. But, people keep asking me if I have video. How important is it and how can I get some?

It’s very important. Producers of national TV shows have a job to do, which includes creating the best program they can that keeps the viewers they have, and attracts new ones. In order to be successful, a producer needs to know that a guest is going to be a compelling, informative, and if appropriate, fun, interview subject, and not a dud in front of the camera. An author that wants to be a guest on national TV needs to prove he or she will be great on the show. And you can do so by working your way towards that. Focus on local TV first. Get some experience in front of a camera, making relevant points that will keep an audience engaged. See if you can get files of the interviews, but don’t count on it. Make sure you embed the interview on the media section of your website if you can, and if you’re a good guest, you have the proof a producer needs to justify picking you for an interview over the many other qualified experts (with or without their own video).

Can you send me your list of media contacts you sent the book to so I can follow-up with them?

No. Media lists are proprietary information, and asking a publicist for a media list is an awful lot like asking Coke for its secret recipe. While some may argue that it’s no secret who covers a particular topic at a newspaper, I would counter that most publicists probably do work with media contacts that aren’t widely known (or listed in media databases), and that a highly targeted list of relevant media contacts culled from a database built on years of experience and relationship building is not common knowledge.

Additionally, becoming a successful and trusted media relations professional takes experience. So, when a publicist gives out media lists, he’s taking a big chance. What if the person who receives the list believes the key to publicity success is relentless follow-up, and drops the publicist’s name after sending five e-mails and making eight phone calls? Bye-bye relationship.

Also, think about it from the reporter’s point of view. Who would you rather hear from, a publicist who has no personal stake in a project, with whom you can ask hard questions or simply state that you didn’t like a book, or the author who naturally has a personal stake in their book? The media are people too, and they don’t enjoy dashing someone’s hopes, and they certainly don’t want to tell an author they disliked the author’s work.

It is though a good idea when an author has established relationships with the media for the author to reach out to those contacts. Just let your publicist know so there’s no accidental doubling up of efforts.

How can we leverage this review/article/blog post/radio interview/TV appearance?

Publicists are always looking at how coverage by the media can influence and land placements with other media. Sometimes it can, frequently it doesn’t. Media placements are great for providing evidence that others’ consider someone to be an authority in a particular subject. And especially with a nonfiction title, an author needs to be someone the media think is worth listening to.

The person who’s really best able to leverage an interview, story, blog post, or review is the author. My advice is to: tweet about it; post it to Facebook/LinkedIn/Google+; watch for comments if it’s a blog and respond appropriately (or even just thank the blogger); post information about the article or interview on your own blog; embed a video or audio player in the media section of the author website; and mention impressive publications, websites and radio/TV programs that have sought your input and opinions in your biography (just don’t confuse being interviewed by lots of media as evidence of your authority. It’s only evidence that others also think you’re an authority)


What else do you want to know about business book publicity? Post your questions in the comments, and I’ll answer as best I can, either in the comments or in a future blog post.

Earlier: Ask a Business Book Publicist, Part 1

2 responses to “Ask a Business Book Publicist, Part 2

  1. Great advice from one of the best!

  2. Why thanks Rich! Any questions you’d like to ask a publicist for Part 3? :)

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