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Telling Your Story

July 30th, 2013 | Posted by Sara in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

As a book publicist I strive to tell stories to the media.  First and foremost, I keep track of what is newsworthy as well as the current trends.  For example, currently the Snowden and Manning stories are in the news as well as the royal baby and the Real Housewives of New Jersey.
Figuring out what is a credible news story has changed over the years.   One has to have an ear for what is interesting.  With social media and blogs, news moves very fast.  A publicist has to keep up with how fast the news moves.
Here are some tips for keeping up with the news trends.
1.     Download apps that are constantly updating.  Apps such as USA Today, CNN, TMZ, and Pop Sugar.
2.    Watch the news.  Listen to stories that journalists are already covering.
3.    How are they writing the story?  Let the journalist be your teacher.  Are they writing a story in   short sentences?  Chances are they are short and to the point.  Mimic that.
4.    Take a look at your history and story.  What is newsworthy?
5.    Be sure to be flexible with your story.   A journalist may cancel an interview but chances are they will come back to you in the future.  Be sure to follow up and follow through.
Let me know your thoughts!
Sara

Finding Inspiration

July 25th, 2013 | Posted by Sara in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Is it ever hard to find inspiration?  With work, family, friends and our past-paced society, sometimes it find it hard to find my passion.  I love books and story as well as media but it is difficult to be excited every day.
How do you find inspiration?
Here are some ways I find it.
1.     Read something totally different.  I love romance novels but I am searching for a new genre.  I love to find a quiet corner and curl up with a great book.
2.    Go to the movies.  Great movies are very stimulating.  They inspire and motivate.  My favorites are It’s a Wonderful Life and The Thin Man.
3.    Dancing.   Turn up the volume and dance around the house.
4.    Talk with a friend.  Call an old friend and reconnect.
5.    Exercise.  Take a run or do some yoga.
Have a great weekend!

Royal Baby

July 23rd, 2013 | Posted by Sara in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Happy Tuesday!
Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their baby boy!  Any guesses on the name?  I’m going with George.

Today, the 65th Annual EMMY nominations were announced.   I love awards’ season and the EMMYs will be a start to award shows honoring every celebrity possible from athletes to movie stars.   In the past there were one or two award shows:  Oscars and Grammys.  Today, we have the Kids’ Choice Awards, ESPYs, Daytime EMMYs, EMMYs, Oscars, Grammys and even more.

I love to watch the award shows for fashion, music and to see who everyone is dating.  Over the years the winners became less important.  In the past, the EMMYS would choose the usual suspects to honor.  If your program is on HBO or Showtime, you were a shoe-in for a nomination.

Today this rings true as well.  They nominated Modern Family, Homeland, Mad Men and Breaking Bad but we also learned about a few surprises and one major surprise.   Kerry Washington from Scandal as well as Connie Britton from Nashville were both nominated.

The big news was Netflix.   Netflix original programs House of Cards and Arrested Development were nominated for Best Drama and Best Comedy.   It is the first time the academy nominated a program not broadcast on television.   The programs are streamable.

Is it the latest fad or a lasting trend?   In my opinion it is a lasting trend.   More viewers are turning to mobile devices to watch programming.   One does not need cable or a TV to watch programming.

Think about the implications:  Will we have an EMMY category for best amateur video,  best YouTube video, or event an awards show for mobile device entertainment.

It’s a brave new world!   Congrats to the EMMYs for being proactive.

“What a News Weekend!!!”

July 16th, 2013 | Posted by Sara in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Last weekend was a tremendous news weekend.  Some weeks are very slow in the news cycle and then at other times it seems like several major stories break at the same time.   Last weekend included a verdict in a major court case, two celebrity marriages and a tragic death.
Zimmerman Verdict:
A Sandford,Fla., jury found George Zimmerman not guilty on Saturday night.  The country is in an uproar about race and many riots broke out.   My only opinion is the public has no idea what goes on inside the court as well as in a jury room.  One should not comment until they know the law of the state.
Halle Berry and Jimmy Kimmel marry:
Not to each other…. Berry married French actor Olivier Martinez and Kimmel married his long-time girlfriend.
Glee actor Cory Monteith Dies
Tragically Monteith was found death Sunday morning in his Vancouver hotel room.  He had a past that included drugs and alcohol abuse.   An autopsy is being performed this week.
Stay tuned….

“Apple and E-Books”

July 11th, 2013 | Posted by Sara in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Based on an April 2013 lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice, a New York federal judge has found Apple colluded with major book publishers to inflate the price of e-books.   The Department of Justice asserted Apple acted as a hub in and “hub-and spoke” conspiracy to move the book industry from a wholesale model dominated by Amazon to an agency model where companies such as Apple would take a commission on book sales.      On Wednesday a judge said DOJ showed the publishers conspired with each other to eliminate retail price competition to raise e-book prices and Apple played a significant role.    Ways in which they conspired included: 1. Taking control of ebook pricing and moving the price point above $9.99 by acting as a group against Amazon. 2. Delaying release or “withholding” the ebook version of a new release.

The partners agreed that Apple would sell books and take a 30 percent commission.  Apple would make a profit.  The Judge asserted this was raising price caps and moving e-tailers to an agency model.  The Judge rejected an argument that Apple should be applauded because of their practices’ beneficial impact on the e-book market.  Instead saying it violated The Sherman Act and they failed to show agreements with pro-competitive effects.      The case now moves to a penalty phase.

Stay tuned.

Yesterday I read a great article about book publicity.   Every day I hear an author say “Ellen” or “Katie” would love my book.   I am always positive but sometimes the chances of this are very slim.   In How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn, Penn gives realistic and eye-opening advice.
First, she asserts getting a traditional book deal will include publicity.  The days of a publishing house having a publicity budget are over unless you are an author with a platform or a major celebrity.  If you think about this in a realistic way, it makes sense.  In my opinion, independent publishing has achieved two things:   One, it has opened publishing to everyone.  It used to be a closed world but now anyone with a story and some money to spend can publish a book.  Second,  it has made publishing a book less impressive.  If the publishing world is more open, then the chances of getting signings or events are less as well.
Penn also asserts authors can do their own marketing.  I agree that the author is the best person to tell their story if they can write in a creative way and write for the media.  However, the author must be able to deal with rejection!
The most important myth is number three.  A publicist will be able to get an author on a specific show.  She asserts a publicist can pitch shows but they can only work with what the author provides.  We all need to think like the media.  These are your “hooks.”
Another interesting point is authors think media will sell books.  What media does is raise awareness however a publicist cannot make the audience buy the book.
I highly recommend Penn’s book How to Market a Book.   Also,  authors need to keep her tips in mind but also they need to be realistic about their goals for the next 6 months to a year.  Your book may be good enough to be a bestseller but also keep in mind what you need to work on before finding a publicist:
1.     An intriguing story.
2.    Hiring a great, honest editor.
3.    Having a designer who will create a product that looks and feels like a bestseller.
4.    Make sure you have a website, and social media before you launch any PR or marketing efforts.
5.    Finally, think about what you wish to tell the media.  Watch the news and think about how you fit into their objectives.  Remember, they will not change for you.  You must fit your topic into their target audience.

Away for a week

June 27th, 2013 | Posted by Sara in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

I will be away from my blog next week.  I’ll resume blogging on July 9.

Sara

“Pride Week in Minneapolis”

June 27th, 2013 | Posted by Sara in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

After Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling invalidating a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act, married same-sex couples will be eligible for the same federal benefits as heterosexual married couples.
Wonderful news!
This decision coincidentally comes during Pride Week in Minneapolis.  This weekend, June 29-30, Loring Park will host the Twin Cities Pride Festival.  There will be a parade, vendors and a new wedding showcase.   As of August 1, gay couples in Minnesota can wed legally.
The Wedding Showcase will be an exciting, first-ever event with wedding vendors, a flower display and a a flash mob.  Fabulous Function owner Julie Lyford and Master of Ceremonies and Wedding Entertainer Bill Hermann are sponsors as well as Lavender Magazine.
Go to https://www.tcpride.org for more information.
On the same subject,  a wonderfully creative and humorous book is Retrieving Isaac & Jason by Elliott and Kenneth Flies.  The story is about the adoption journey of Elliott and his partner Randy.  They are a same-sex couple who adopted their sons from south-east Asia.  The story is written from the perspective of their dog, Kai, a yellow lab retriever.
The book gives insight into adoption laws and the struggles to become a family.
Go to www.RetrievingIsaacandJason.com for more information.

 

“Paula’s Bad Week”

June 25th, 2013 | Posted by Sara in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

     First, let me say the Lady makes great macaroni and cheese!

     OK, now that I have that out of my system … let’s move on.

     Paula Deen is having a bad day, week, and month.  After a deposition where she admitted to uttering the n-word and using racial epithets, Deen was let go from The Food Network and Smithfield.  QVC is monitoring the situation. 

     The situation continues to get worse for Deen.  As a public relations professional, my opinion is crisis management is all about honestly. I think the entire situation could have been avoided if she came out and told her story.  The following are ways in which I would handle Deen’s situation. 

1.        Always, always be honest.  Take a tip from Tylenol.  When they discovered people were being poisoned, they came out and were honest about the situation.  They also created child-proof caps. In Deen’s situation, she should come out ahead of the story.  Tell your sponsors what you are going through and develop a consistent message detailing what you will say and what you will not.

2.       Do not cancel media.  One, they will not want to have you back.  You need to be honest with them in the good times and the bad.  Two, you become a story.   Lauer mentioned the cancellation on-air and as a result, in my opinion, contributed to her firing.

3.       Limit how much social media you use when in crisis.  This is a very controversial opinion but I think when in crisis there should be one message coming from one source.  If one release a message on Facebook, twitter, YouTube and in a press release, and all the messages are different, then each has different interpretation.   Pick a format and stick with it.

4.       Make your message short and clear.  Deen was clearly out of sorts, tired and came off very vulnerable in her YouTube messages.   We are all human and have bad days.  When you have those issues, take a breath and release a statement when you have clearly thought of your position.

5.       Lastly, take a break.  Get your house in order and come back stronger in the next 6 months to a year.   Americans have very, very short memories.  Our country is filled with major comebacks: Robert Downey, Jr., Roman Polanski, and even President Bill Clinton.

See you next week!