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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Attitude Adjustment: How To Get Book Publicists Out Of A Booking Dry Spell

We are all unique individuals and our lives follow different paths, but one thing we can agree on is that we all experience the high of a day of great media bookings and the low of a day of rejection and turn-downs. It’s all part of the job. The key is to have more of the highs than lows, and to temper most days with an even-keel approach to our jobs and lives. But when there are days that you find your spirits low, adjust your attitude. Get out of that self-created mental funk and position yourself to break out of the slump and into a hot streak. Easier said than done, right?

Well, everything starts with one’s attitude. Now some people like to complain and look for sympathy instead of results, whine instead of correct a situation, or talk and not take action. In PR especially, above all else, you have to bring your A game in attitude to work or you might as well not get out of bed.

Different things motivate us. For some it’s the money or a chance for advancement—or résumé-building. For others it is an ethics matter, wanting to succeed to serve the client. Others might be moved by pride: “That booking is mine!” Others like a challenge and turn the work of PR into a board game. Some just like the art and craft of PR, enthralled by the whole process, from devising a pitch to the creation of a media list or developing a strategy to get a booking. Many of us have a love and respect for books—otherwise we’d be pitching widgets for Corporation X, right?

Whatever it is that gets you going, there will come a day where things just don’t go your way.

You might have out-of-work issues going on. You might feel under the weather or exhausted from a party-filled weekend, or you might just feel like if you pitch one more diet book you’ll go out and puke 10 pounds in 30 days. Perhaps you just have an overload of converging deadlines and projects that call for your attention beyond your comprehension. Or maybe you love life and your client is great and the book is fantastic, but the timing just isn’t right and for whatever reason you have a day—or several days—from Hell. So what do you do, short of hiding under the covers—curled up with a good book of course?

Adjust your attitude!

What’s that you say, change my freaking attitude?!

Attitude is all. Come on, say it with me. Stand up, take a deep breath, close your eyes and think only positive thoughts. Ok, so that doesn’t work. Go binge on some junk food, watch a movie, hit the bed early and come back the next day feeling refreshed and with a new attitude.

It’s not easy to go at it alone, that’s why I’m writing this missive to all of you. It’s not easy to always be your best. Ballplayers get into slumps. Creative artists produce duds. Even the weather man gets it wrong—often. But many bounce back and deliver better than ever. So how can you break through your brain block?

First, find a mentor, someone you can go to and ask for sage advice and guidance, bounce ideas off, and use for inspiration when times get rough.

Second, consult a book of quotes and savor the ones that can continually lead you to new levels. Others have failed before you—as well as soared to unbelievable and seemingly unachievable heights. Learn from them and embrace their words and experiences as your own.

Third, set a reasonable set of goals for the day. Just strive to be better than yesterday. If yesterday really sucked, well, hey, it shouldn’t be too hard to beat expectations of improvement. Don’t look to go from basement bum to star player in 24 hours, but take moments and strides to be more than you were a day ago.

Fourth, read something inspiring each day, whatever the source—news media, books, religious materials, Dixie cups, Bazooka gum jokes, cutesy Web sites—whatever. Go literate and see if that learns ya something.

Fifth, take a break and cleanse your mind, soul and body of whatever happened up until this point. Reflect, acknowledge and move on. Never dwell in the past. Previous success or failure can’t make the present any better or worse than you choose to make it now.

Sixth, take a look at the people in your life—at home and at work. What kind of attitudes do they have? Look for them to support you, build you up—not bring you down and burden you with their crap. Sure, no one can constantly be your cheerleader and not expect you to be a friend in turn, but avoid the perpetual losers who always nag and complain and bring your spirits down or drain you of energy in trying to cheer them up. There needs to be a balance in your favor.

Seventh, when you are rotting away and feeling bad for yourself and wondering when the sun will come out, think of all the others who have screwed up, went through times of adversity or did something that forever set them back. Realize the world won’t come to an end for whatever mistake, shortcoming or lack of productivity you incurred. Again, just learn from what happened and be inspired to know others experienced down times and they were stronger for it.

Eighth, simply change your focus. Get off the negativity. Remove the cancer. If you really have a problem on your hands that you can’t seem to get past or resolve on your own, tell your boss or the manager and see if he or she can help. Maybe even ask to stop working on a book if it’s a major problem. That’s ok—it’s better to speak out than to be miserable. It’s going to show in your work and you’re going to sour on coming to work, so why continue to struggle in a crappy situation? That doesn’t mean you throw in the towel and beg off of an account just because of one bad day, but it does mean you can use your get out of jail card if this is the only way for you to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I hope this helps and perhaps one day when I complain about something or someone you’ll just remind me to change my attitude.

Have a nice day.

Interview With Editorial Consultant Marcela Landres

Marcela Landres is an independent, editorial consultant. She has been in publishing since 1996. Her previous job was at Simon & Schuster as an editor. She has been in publishing for 15 years. I met her on LinkedIn and interviewed her by email recently. Here is what she told Book Marketing Buzz Blog:

  1. Just how do acquisitions editors at publishing houses think? Acquisitions editors at publishing houses, particularly the larger companies, are pressured to acquire books that will produce a profit for the publisher. If a well-written book is perceived to be profitable, they’ll publish it. If a poorly-written book is perceived to be profitable, they’ll publish that, too. This partially explains why Snooki is a published author.

  1. Why did you write “How Editors Think: The Real Reason They Rejected You”? Back when I worked at Simon & Schuster, I would travel to writing conferences to present workshops to writers on how to get published. Invariably, I’d get emails from folks who couldn’t attend, and who requested copies of my handouts and/or audio or video recordings of the workshops. After years of such requests, I hunkered down and wrote the e-book, which is based on one of my most popular workshops. 

  1. How should an author work with an editor? Writers should approach the editing process as a professional interaction. Think of the editor as the equivalent of your doctor or lawyer -- while you don’t have to obey your doctor or lawyer, you’d have to have a compelling reason to disregard their counsel.  

  1. What advice do you have for authors struggling to get published? Spend no more than 50% of your time honing your craft and no less than 50% of your time building your platform.

  1. What do you love most about being in publishing? I’m privileged to work with intelligent, educated, accomplished people who still retain a healthy sense of curiosity about the world around them.

  1. What do you see is the fate of book publishing in five years? More writers will self-publish only in e-book form. A few -- a very few -- of these authors will enjoy striking sales and as a result get an agent and a book deal at a traditional publisher. New publishing companies that only publish in e-book form will be established. Children’s books in particular will benefit from the iPad. Print books will still be the dominant format, but e-books will continue to close the gap.

Brian Feinblum is the chief marketing officer of Planned Television Arts (www.plannedtvarts.com) but the views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and are personal and do not reflect the official viewpoints of PTA. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com

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