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Ten Things I Didn’t Know About Great Publicists

This week I met my publicist team members at their office in Manhattan. It was a great experience. Even getting there was an adventure: a 4:45 a.m. taxi ride to the Toronto airport, a 6:30 a.m. flight to Newark, an 8:30 a.m. train to Penn Station, and a 9:15 a.m. taxi ride to Mid-town East. I stood at the corner of 57th Street East and 2nd Avenue feeling like I belonged there.
It was good to meet David, whom I had spoken with by phone. I also met Steve and Eric who had complimentary areas of expertise. Our ninety-minute meeting flew by. We talked about my goals, their impressions of my book, strategies and possible tactics, and how they would partner with the Wiley publicist team. We also talked about the publishing industry and the changes it is going through. I couldn’t help becoming absorbed in the discussion, forgetting for a few minutes the purpose of our meeting.
I left the meeting refreshed and a lot more knowledgeable  about publicity and what the team will do for Change with Confidence and me. Here are the ten things I didn’t know about great publicists. They:

  1. Come highly recommended
  2. Work in teams
  3. Ask for and listen to your goals
  4. Read your book before writing a proposal
  5. Are realistic about expectations
  6. Are honest about what benefits should not be focused on
  7. Are well connected
  8. Provide advice on areas beyond publicity
  9. Call in personal favours on your behalf
  10. Are confident in their abilities

Most experiences are better when shared. This is true of my trip. My friend Peter made the journey with me before we both headed to New Jersey to work through the night on a consulting assignment. As we boarded the train back to Newark I thought to myself, “I’m in good hands.”
Phil

Is Enough Ever Enough?


I find that strategy and execution don’t go well together. I wish it was different, but when I am planning I plan, and when I am executing, I execute. It’s not ideal because you need to do both to be successful and you miss opportunities when the balance is off. I realized this (again) when I stopped executing and started thinking about what comes next. I had been busy making final “typo” edits, discussing cover design options and loading content onto the changewithconfidence.com website. 

“Next” is the book launch that will be supported by marketing efforts by the Wiley team and me. My questions were, “Are we going to do enough to get the word out about my book?” and “What happens if it isn’t enough and we miss the critical launch window?” I am having a party and wondering if anyone will show up.  

Jane Russel once said, “Publicity can be terrible. But only if you don’t have any.” I was aware of authors hiring publicists but wasn’t clear what they did or whether it was a good investment. 

I asked a couple of authors with successful book what they thought, One author said, “It’s important to invest in the right publicist – a publicist with teeth who can build awareness for you and your book.” Right. Got it.

My initial discussions with book publicists have been intriguing. I am drinking in their knowledge and experience and developing a clear and realistic picture of how they can help. Now I am reviewing proposals and soon will be starting a new partnership. After a quick strategy session, it will be time to execute again. 

Each phase of my journey has involved experts that have helped me find my way. Why shouldn’t this be true for my launch? There is never enough marketing and promotion because you can only know the answer when it’s too late to change the outcome. That probably holds true for parties, too.

Phil

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