Monday, January 21, 2013

Public Relations Realities



Now this year 3L has switched gears when it comes to public relations and marketing. We realized that our core competence is geared toward publishing. Many clients showed up with the expectation that we could turn their books into the next New York Times best-seller. So in order to amuse you, I thought I would debunk unrealistic expectations with reality and do a tongue and cheek PR myths to make you laugh at the funny, outrageous reality of public relations in the modern media. Here we go.

"But Ma I want the review to be published NOW!" All right my beloved Friend-Os, you do realize that most magazines work about three to six months in advance. Do you also realize that the competition for that prime real estate in free print is fierce. Do you have any idea how many books arrive DAILY on an editor's desk? I was an editor for 10 years, so let me tell you. I didn't have enough editorial space to cover all of the books delivered to my desk. I had to pick and choose the good ones. And you know what else? One reader's good one is often a matter of personal taste and what I wanted to review. Nothing personal, but you know a book on frog breeding over a scintillating thriller ... well, you figure it out.

But I bought 20 hours in public relations time ... why didn't I get a year's worth of publicity? So, so sorry I have to put this into reality. Have you ever worked a part-time job for one week? You do realize that 20 hours is drilled down to essentially a half a week's work, right? And you expect to plaster your bathroom wall with thousands of reviews? Many authors invest in that little time and then sullenly get upset when, well, 20 hours gets them 20 hours worth of work. You know it's basic supply and demand, right? If you want a year's worth of publicity, invest in a year's worth of publicity time. Just saying. You can't squeeze water out of turnip ... or is that a "horseradish" you can't lead to water ... hmm. Maybe neither LOL.

Reviews, Reviews and more Reviews, why am I not seeing sales results? Public relations math works like this ... 10 reviews of a book that doesn't appeal to the market doesn't spark sales. Three reviews of a book that the market LOVES drives tremendous sales. I know it's sad but true. And sometimes authors are bummed that those 10 reviews we sweated over just didn't produce results. The problem is sometimes authors get upset and accuse us that we didn't do our jobs. Well, Friend-Os if I knew the magic bullet to create $1 million books every time I would be floating around on the Caribbean, sipping Pina Coladas, and laughing my way to the bank. Reality is that sometimes a book hits a sweet spot - and sometimes it just doesn't hit right on and more reviews won't make any difference. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean we didn't do our jobs. You know sometimes as in life it's a bit of a crap shoot. But you know what, it's a really fun way to shoot the crap for sure!

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