A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.
Donald Trump hasn’t signed any major legislation yet and may eventually get
impeached, but he managed to win the presidency and despite his missteps and
flaws, still retains the majority of his support base. Authors and book promoters can learn from him
when it comes to marketing a book. Take
a look at his speech patterns.
statements consist of:
of superlatives – "greatest, amazing, tremendous".
repetition – restates what he just said, for emphasis.
things as extremely good or bad – no middle ground.
one as a hero or villain – ordinary is insignificant.
theme that America is great again – who wants to argue against that? Pushes emotional buttons of others.
language to explore not-so-deep thoughts.
note that I don’t point this out to fault him, though I do believe he falls
short on so many levels as a president and a human being. I want you to borrow from his style, where it
suits you. For an ineffective president,
he is actually a very influential and persuasive speaker.
instance, he will sound convincing, confident, and strong. He doesn’t merely deliver an obligatory
speech. He’s animated and uses a lot of body language to convey his
views. He calls people out, he dares
opponents, and creates fights or controversies that don’t need to exist except
that he likes to demonize someone in order to elevate himself. It’s easier to criticize
someone than to fix a problem or initiate a new idea with an actual plan to execute it.
projects a bigger than life persona and uses personality rather than substance
to win people over. He borders on
sounding like a bully and is quick to dismiss even those who work closely with
him. He gives you a feeling of
unpredictability. For some, it feels
jittery; for others, they come to expect surprises.
tried his style recently when talking to a potential client for book
publicity. I reassured him that he was
terrific, the book’s the best, and that this was his time to shine. It worked.
I use facts, ideas, and specifics to convince people that I can help them – and it
comes from good intentions. But
sometimes people need to be sold on the very thing that’s good for them in a
way that they need to be persuaded.
People buy into a strong leader and if I can get them to view me as
taking them to the promised land, so be it.
same is true with how authors and book publicists need to sell to the news
media. It takes a combination of bluster
and substance to win them over. A
bullshit personality is not enough and a great story is not always appreciated
or understood. But if you combine some
Trump-like spin on top of a quality, fact-based, real-deal story, you’ll stand
a better chance.
okay to borrow from others what you admire to be a skill or trait that can help
you. Even Trump can be modeled to help
exclusive author media training video from T J Walker
supremacist marches in Charlottesville.
National anthem protests by NFL players over the police shootings of
unarmed black men. US Supreme Court case rulings on gay rights. Women demanding
equal pay for equal work.
day we see civil rights issues play out in our communities and the media.
very significant new bookthat
addresses over a century of battles – legal, physical, political - is being
released this week and couldn’t be more timely.
THE GOOD FIGHT: America’s Ongoing Struggle for Justice
(Sterling Publishing, October 17, 2017, Hardcover $35.00; 258 pages; ISBN:
978-1454927341) captures the sporadically violent, often triumphant, always
risky struggles of Americans who have experienced hatred, oppression or bigotry
because of their gender, skin color, country of origin, religion, sexual
orientation, disability or beliefs over the past 100 years.
proud to say that Media Connect is promoting this book to the media. For 55
years the leading book publicity firm has promoted thousands of books, many of
them interesting, inspiring, and important but perhaps none that could speak to
the hearts of all Americans like this one can.
in the streets, the courthouse, and the corridors of Congress, this is a story
that has unfolded across America, illustrated here through more than 180
memorable photographs, nearly 60 embedded videos, over a dozen compelling
essays plus examples of music and lyrics that rallied America's resistance to
injustice. For those who wish to eradicate bigotry and intolerance in America,
the book is a call to action.
shows us how much we as a nation have accomplished; it also reminds us of the
fragility of our success and how quickly this hard-fought progress can slip
away if we do not remain vigilant.
GOOD FIGHT, created
by New York Times best-selling
authors Rick Smolan and Jennifer Erwitt, and made possible with the generous
support of the Anti-Defamation League, depicts injustices and successes
experienced by African Americans, Native Americans, Jewish Americans, Muslim
Americans, American Women, the LGBTQ community, Latino Americans, Asian
Americans and Disabled Americans As seen through the eyes of the world's
leading photographers over the past century, this book helps put today’s
movements and thorny issues into perspective.
Featured contributors and essayists
Takei, Star Trek television and film
Stephens, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times
Brewster, award-winning journalist, best-selling author and historian
Stevenson, best-selling author and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative.
Jones, best-selling author and creator of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial
Broder, award-winning journalist, formerly of the Chicago Tribune, NPR and Newsweek.
Suarez, best-selling author and former correspondent for PBS News Hour and NPR’s Talk of the Nation
Ramsey, former DC Police Chief and President’s Task Force on 21st Century
Mullins, actress and Paralympics World-record holder
Ebrahim, best-selling author and speaker on nonviolence
·Wajahat Ali, New York Times
Columnist and creative director of Affinis Labs
Shlain, Emmy-nominated filmmaker and founder of The Webby Awards.
Johnson, best-selling author and recipient of the U.S. Artist James Baldwin
Bernstein, best-selling author, former Time
Bureau Chief and New York Times correspondent
Jonathan Greenblatt, the director of the Anti-Defamation League, and I first
conceived THE GOOD FIGHT, we
envisioned it as a retrospective, a book of history to remind every American of
the inspiring progress made over the past century and to acknowledge how much
further we as a nation still need to go,” says Smolan. “But then, as the 2016
presidential election played out around us, when so many previously hard-fought
victories against hatred and injustice appeared to, once again, be in jeopardy,
we expanded the scope of the project. We hope this book will prompt readers to
appreciate how much work remains to be done.”
Good Fight’” comes at a pivotal moment in our country when the struggle for
equal rights remains not just a legacy of history, but is very much a current
event,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director. “We cannot
attain true civil rights in America without knowing and remembering our history
and the struggles of our forbearers. This amazing retelling of America’s civil
rights story highlights the many moments, large and small, that helped to
transform America. These are the stories of the achievements that moved us
closer to the goal of a society free of prejudice and hatred, and where all
people have access to a life of freedom, equality and dignity.”
THE GOOD FIGHT communicates its
messages in multiple ways – through 180 provocative photographs, over a dozen
insightful essays, bold infographics plus a smartphone app (THE GOOD FIGHT
VIEWER) that enables readers to point their smartphones or tablets at over 60
photos to immediately stream online video clips, including TED Talks, which vividly
bring each story to life.
Smolan, CEO of
Against All Odds Productions, is a #1 New York Times best-selling author
with more than five million copies of his books in print. A former Time,
LIFE, and National Geographic photographer, Smolan is best known
as the co-creator of the “Day in the Life” book series. Today he and his
partner, Jennifer Erwitt, orchestrate global projects that combine creative
storytelling with state-of-the-art technology. Their projects each generate hundreds
of millions of media impressions and are often featured on the covers of Fortune,
Time, GEO and similar publications around the world.
learn more on how one can make a difference and get involved, learn more about The Anti-Defamation League, which was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation
of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.
Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism,
exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing
anti-bias curricula for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly
pursuing equal rights for all. You can follow
them on Twitter: @ADL_National
Inc. announced this past week that it’s going out of business.
Okay, well, not quite so, but it took a big step in that direction. It’s response to sagging readership and
declining ad revenue was not creative, entrepreneurial, or savvy. Instead, it said it would reduce its
circulation and frequency of publication.
If a terrible decision with major ramifications for the print media
industry, for journalism, for the book world, and for society.
Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly and Fortune are amongst the magazines that
will publish less often. Time magazine will print only two million
weekly copies instead of its current three million.
influence on society.
media opportunities to promote books.
why would Time do this?
drove them to make a move but it seems like their shrinkage is permanent and it will continue to decline as a result of its cost-cutting measures. It’s killing itself.
Time needs to develop better
partnerships, diversify its product line, make its magazines better, and do the
opposite of what it is doing. It should print more and
distribute magazines to the uninitiated or those that used to be loyal
readers. Build up the circulation and
you’ll warrant charging higher ad rates.
Get the site’s content to coincide with the print editions so that
there’s relevancy to both online and printed content.
hard to believe that Time Inc. was a bigger company when the U.S. population
was a third smaller. The Internet shouldn’t replace print – there should be a
way to partner together and for both to complement each other.
publishing needs print media to survive.
Magazines help promote books and keep journalism alive. As magazines weaken, the slack is not being picked
up by online media.
know this is a new era, and change is inevitable and some of it is positive,
but let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water. Society needs to support its magazines, as
these publications offer us a check on businesses, government, and the
powerful. They offer legitimacy and
trained, experienced, visionary writers.
They offer book reviews, author interviews, and publishing features.
Time needs to reconsider its suicide.
exclusive author media training video from T J Walker
Forbes, one of America’s premiere business publications and one of the more influential magazines, just turned 100 years old. It joined a number of magazines that have hit the century mark and enjoy informing the country. It is a list that includes Scientific American (founded 1845), The Atlantic (1857) Harper’s Weekly (1850) The Nation (1865), Vogue (1892), and a handful of others. Some brand publications haven’t yet made it to the century mark -- Time, Reader’s Digest, and Glamour to name a few. Forbes, founded September 15, 1917, during World War I, embodies the capitalist ethic of the nation. Its history is worth exploring.
Forbes honored its centennial milestone with a special collector’s edition issue. It featured many interesting charts, lists, stats, and factoids. For instance, it showed that if you would have invested $1000 back in 1917 in the following companies, it would be worth this in today’s dollars:
Procter & Gamble 1.596 million dollars
Deer & Co.1.171 million dollars
Sears, Roebuck690,000 bucks
Ford 115,000 bucks
But before you beat yourself up for not making such investments, look no further than today’s most-valuable companies as possible stocks to buy: Apple, Alphabet (Google), Microsoft, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and Facebook.
You may have noticed that 5 of the 6 biggest companies are in technology. The represent what steel was 100 years ago and oil and gas 50 years ago. In fact, the three largest sectors, by market value in America today are tech, financed services, and medical – accounting for a little over 50% of the total assets of the top 50 companies.
Forbes is famous for its lists. The Forbes 400 was launched in 1981. Back then, one could make the list with a net worth of at least 100 million dollars. Now it requires a net worth of at least 1.7 billion dollars.
Back in 1918, the wealthiest people were:
John D. Rockefeller (Oil) – worth 21 billion in 2017 dollars
Henry Clay Frick (Steel) – worth 3.9 billion now.
Andrew Carnegie (Steel) worth 3.5 billion now.
Henry Ford, riding high from inventing mass-produced autos, was worth 1.8 billion in 1918 (in today’s money). Steel, banking, oil, and railroads were the favored industries driving up the enormous wealth of these titans. Today one can be an overnight billionaire by developing a digital concept and launching an IPO – profitability be damned.
Interestingly, Forbes pointed out headlines and predictions over the years that got things wrong. In December, 1929 Forbes declared the worst was over for stocks. The market remained down for the next three years. In April, 1992 Forbes tells readers not to put any new money into the stock market. The bull market rages on, almost without interruption, for eight more years.
Forbes has only had three editor-in-chiefs – all family numbers. Founder B.C. Forbes served until 1954 and Malcolm Forbes until 1990. One served for 37 years; the other 36. Currently Steve Forbes has served for 27 years.
Something is to be said about longevity and sustained recognition in any industry, but especially in the news media and magazine publishing. The industry is rocked by declining circulation, advertising, and influence. But as Forbes has demonstrated, even amidst fierce competition, one can remain atop of their game.
Let’s also shout out top 100 magazines that were founded in the 1800’s – National Geographic, Good Housekeeping, Ladies’ Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, American Rifleman, Popular Science, Sunset, and Field & Stream. May more magazines turn 100 and beyond.
We need a diverse media to inform, enlighten, inspire, and entertain us. We should all celebrate Forbes turning 100 and wish others to join them.
exclusive author media training video from T J Walker
exactly does it take to get a booking with a top-notch media outlet?
identify your target list of elite and leading media outlets. Did you cover all types of media: TV, print, online, and radio?
did you identify that media outlet’s targeted demographics? Based on whom they tend to reach, did you
devise a pitch that appeals to that demographic?
did you craft a customized pitch that would appeal to that specific outlet,
based on the outlet’s past guests or story experts and subjects covered?
do you have a news peg to your story?
did you do your homework about the personal preferences and life of the
specific editor, producer, host, or writer that you’re pitching? Use special intelligence to build a
personality profile of each person. What
might appeal to them, based on what you know of their careers, education, age,
looks, race, religion, gender, region, sexual preferences, hobbies, etc.?
based on the media outlet’s format or style, how would your story idea fit in
to how they interview people or cover an issue? For instance, do they use graphics, have call-ins from listeners, use a
panel format, or allow to talk for longer than a sound bite?
do you time your outreach to match when the person you seek to reach is
available and mentally open to receiving pitches – or are they on deadline or
what extras can you offer – any exclusive video or images or lists or secrets
what do you have to say that’s really of value to that media outlet? How can you present your message with impact
suggest their direct competitors are considering you. Get them to come to the plate to avoid being
Eleventh, communicate clearly, concisely, and with confidence. Act as if the media will say yes. Assume success – but work diligently to
use media coverage to beget more coverage.
Share links to the media that you are getting and you may convince
others that you are media-validated.
it comes down to persistence, creativity, substance, and good old luck. Keep reaching out to the media and give
yourself a fighting chance to break through.
Could the media think your pitch about
your book is bullshit?
marketing a book is similar, to a degree, to promoting other pieces of creative
content – movies, plays, television shows, music, etc. One of the tools used by these other forms of
entertainment is to make a commercial.
The economics for books don’t typically allow for authors to shoot and
air commercials, though many make video trailers for their websites and social
media. Though I don’t recommend making a commercial – for radio or television –
to hawk a book, I do recommend that you
imagine what such a commercial could look like and use the creative process
that would go into crafting it to be applied to how you would actually promote your
If you were to make a
commercial, what would your theme or overall message be? You can’t be all over the place in a
30-second spot. Begin to formulate what
your most important and appealing selling points are. Answer these nine questions:
1. What visuals would
support your commercial? Think of the
imagery – illustrations, photos, documents, and videos – that would be in the
background or speak for you.
2. What colors would
support your message? Look to your book
cover or website for guidance. Which
colors set the tone and mood to reflect your subject?
3. The same with
sound. What audio would augment your
message, either in the background or the forefront? Would it be by someone famous or something historical?
4. What action steps
would you push? Is it to buy the
book? Is it to download something or to
sign up for something at your site? Is
it to follow you on a specific social media outlet? Is it to embrace an idea or express a
view? Think about what you want someone
to do, how you’ll inspire them to act, and how you’ll share the recommended
steps you want someone to take.
5. How will you insert a
sense of urgency? Why should anyone do
anything – and why now? Answer that or
they won’t feel obligated to do anything.
6. How fast would you
speak? Which taglines or phrases will
you use that will become memorable? How
will you use language to your advantage?
7. Who is your target
reader? Identify the demographic profile
of your reader and only level your message to them. Appeal to your base and expected core of followers.
8. How will it begin and
end> Strong openings draw people in and
a memorable finish leaves them inspired to act.
9. Do you give them enough
of a reason to care? What reward or
benefit or pay off are you promising to them, should they buy your book or
click somewhere? Think of this as the
closing argument by a lawyer who needs to make her case in a tightly packaged
Of course, in this
case, you aren’t really making a commercial, but by going through the creative
thinking process of putting one together, you’ll begin to formulate how to
present yourself – in media interviews, book signings, social media posts,
press releases, and speaking engagements.
You’ll begin to focus your message and present it more theatrically.
You are the producer,
on-air talent, and corporate sponsor of your marketing campaign. Once you’ve
fine-tuned your presentation go out there and make a name for yourself!
Could the media think your pitch about
your book is bullshit?
up authors, book publishers, editors, and anyone connected to a writer: The key to getting lots of good media
coverage is timing, so stop sabotaging the process!
No. 1 reason books fail to launch and get solid book publicity is delay,
procrastination, missed deadlines, and sloppiness due to rushing to make up for
inexcusable lateness. My fellow
writers and publishing brethren, you have proven to be your own worst enemies!
are we talking about here? Timing.
need to execute certain aspects of their PR campaign by certain points in time
or they have severely injured their prospects of success.
are examples of where authors and publishers fail themselves.
hiring a publicist way in advance of a book’s scheduled release.
to provide advance review copies to long lead and book review media at least
3.5-4 months prior to the book’s scheduled release date.
launching a book-centric website – or a section dedicated to the book on your
existing site – at least six months prior to launch.
having all of our events secured and planned out way in advance – some a year
to have your social media platform up and running at least six months prior to
the book’s release.
responding to media requests in a timely manner.
to anticipate things that are coming up that you can tie into such as a
holiday, anniversary, or honorary day.
short in how quickly you respond to what’s in the news and how you can tie your
message to such things.
need to be organized, plan ahead, and be aware of the things that you need to
be cognizant of. Then you need to have
ability, desire, and initiative to go out there and deliver on time or even
ahead of schedule. Many deadlines, if missed, become lost opportunities, but
there’s little, justification for missing out on things.
end up spending more time and money fighting to make up for missed deadlines
and lost opportunities than if you got ahead of the curve and did things right
the first time around. But you simply
can’t wake up the day your book is released and then wonder what you should do.
can be your friend when used properly – and your enemy when you blow through
deadlines. Will you help yourself and
stop screwing up your chances simply because you need a watch and a calendar? It’s time you step it up.
Could the media
think your pitch about your book is bullshit?