When it comes to book publicity and marketing fundamentals, there is one very big rule: Get the facts right.
As you may know, my work is all about books: Book marketing, book publicity, book promotion, author and expert speakers, and ultimately book sales. Prior to launching McCall Media Group, I was completely enveloped in the world of broadcasting and worked with many fabulous news people. Getting the story on the air and getting the facts right is crucial, both in broadcasting and when doing publicity.
My friend, Frank Mungeam, currently a professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, wrote a piece on using checklists for your work. He talks about it here.
He says checklists that writers and authors use can be varied. You could have one for accuracy in the pitches you’re doing or stories you’re writing, and another for your morning routine for your work. That might include things like updating your blog, checking social media channels, and posting content when and where it’s necessary. How about a checklist for tracking your publicity outreach? Check out my blog post on creating a media room checklist.
The point of this and of Frank’s piece in general, is that the world has become quite complex. Writing a list of the simple and mundane things that need to be done can be quite liberating. You don’t have to worry about forgetting something. As I am fond of saying, your brain is for brilliance; not for remembering to only use one space between sentences rather than two, or to remember to pick up cat litter. Write it down!
Frank and I met when his publisher hired me to do the publicity for his first book, A Guy’s Guide to Pregnancy: Preparing for Parenthood Together (Beyond Words Publishing; 2007). At the time, Frank was the head of local programming at KATU-TV in Portland, Oregon so he was the guy who said what went on the air for the morning television show, the town hall show, and others. He briefly took a year off to launch his speaking career, but the lure of the newsroom and media got him back into broadcasting.
I won’t go into all the details of his impressive bio, but suffice it to say that Frank has always been one for accuracy and it’s something I really appreciate about him. One aspect of accuracy that is important to understand is the difference between our opinions, what we wish were true, and the actual facts behind a story.
Let’s apply this to books.
When you want to tie into a news story, the calendar, or current trends, you want to be sure what you say is accurate, particularly when pitching earned media. (If you’re writing your own blog, it’s up to you what you say, although I would still encourage you to be accurate.)
In this day and age where speed at all costs is valued, sometimes accuracy can be lost. However, it is a foundational component, so when writing a pitch letter or a release, you must be sure your statistics are accurate and that you’re quoting sources correctly.
If you’re quoting the source of a source, make doubly sure you’re accurate. For example: I had a client and in our media pitch we asked this question, “Why are 74% of people turned off at work?” Following that question, we said this:
A Gallup survey, as reported in a recent Wall Street Journal article, found that:
- 55% of employees are “not engaged” at work
- 19% of employees are “actively disengaged”
- and only 26% of employees are “engaged” at work
That statistic originally came from a Gallup poll and when we landed a huge magazine for the story, they insisted we give them the original source to the poll. It wasn’t enough to say the Wall Street Journal quoted the poll. We had to have a link to the original results, which took awhile but we did get it.
Now if that sounds like a lot of work, well, it is. Remember the importance of citing sources accurately while in college? And if you’re already a published author, then I know you’ve been through this and you know how important it is. If you want to play in the top tier leagues, then it’s important to know what you’re getting into.
Why is this important? Two reasons:
One: you want them to trust you. If you’re inaccurate, not only will they not trust you, but they will likely never come to you again.
Two: You’ll come off as more professional. Yes, being professional still counts. In a world filled with jeans and t-shirts, you still have to be a pro, maybe even more so.
So write things down and create checklists. Make things easy for yourself and I’ll bet you find you’re even more productive. Plus, it will help you get more earned media for your book!
To Your Success!
P.S. I’ve got a slider on my website with some silly random facts on it. Go here, scroll down on bit., and look to the right.
Here’s a sample one for fun: “My dad used to teach me math shortcuts that I would then share with everyone on the school bus. The teachers would get mad because we could solve 12-step problems in three steps. We had to show our work!”
P.P.S. What are some random fun facts about you? I’m interested!