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Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Burden Of Being A Book Promoter


Many people have stressful jobs.  Some are stressful because a life is on the line (police, fire, ambulance, doctor), or because one’s liberty is in jeopardy (lawyers, judges, paralegals).  From working at a fast food restaurant to being a politician, Wall Street broker/banker, or a car salesman, many people work under duress.  But the book promoter works under not only a stressful environment (you always need to produce results), but under a burdened frame of mind. 

He or she feels the needs, desires, setbacks, and defeats of his or her authors.  Book promoters are drained at the end of every day from constantly trying to convince someone to believe in them.

Book publicists have to spend time and energy to convince an author that everything will be fine, that the PR campaign will be a success.  The author often brings baggage of doubt and defeat, mixed with fears and a lack of confidence.  Or worse, they are overzealous, demanding and expecting things without investing the effort or resources to make them happen.

After the book promoter gives his author a pep talk, answers questions and spends time putting together an update on outreach and production, he has to now tax his brain to come up with fresh ideas and new pitches for the media.  Then he invests time investigating and searching for new media outlets and additional media contacts at each one.

Next up: pitching the media and dealing with being ignored, strung along or denied a positive response.  Now you go back to the drawing board to again devise a new pitch and a new list of people to contact.  And when you struggle to get some momentum in your favor, expect a call or email from the author wondering how things are going.

You put on your therapist’s hat and begin to again reassure your author how a breakthrough is imminent and not to give up hope.

But who is cheerleading the book promoter?  Who is infusing him with a much-needed burst of inspiration and hope?  How does the book promoter refuel and build up his optimism, fortitude and conviction?  What happens when the book promoter feels exhausted and defeated?

Suddenly, when it seems like the campaign has lost its mojo and is floundering or stagnating, a funny thing happens.

The promoter gets a lucky break, in part from perseverance.  He gets angry at the prospect of being beaten in this giant game and puts a little more effort and edge to his outreach and follows up aggressively.  He dismisses the voice of fear or failure and rises above his streak of shortcomings.  He asserts who he really is – a book promoter who gets results.

And when he breaks through and the media hits start to flow the way rivers do after a heavy rain, equilibrium is restored and the book promoter feels validated, if not vindicated.  He longs for a parade, the hero’s welcome.  Then he’s met by an excited author asking about additional media placements and new story angles.

The book promoter is burdened by his boss, his author, and his own ego to produce and be the star flak he was meant to be.  But he also feels like the world is on his shoulders, for if his writer is to succeed it’ll come down in large part on the publicity generated for the book.  The fate of the author’s book – and even writing career – hinge on every email, phone call, and book mailing of the book promoter.

Book publicists play in the World Cup every day.  It’s a never ending tournament that poses younger and more energized opponents.   The great promoter must have a thick skin to rejection by the media, whines from the author, and commands from his boss.  He has to be resourceful, creative, assertive, and confident – otherwise he becomes just an ordinary person.   In his mind, he’s a hero and a winner, a soldier who always has his eye on the prize – no matter the challenges, risks, and opposition.

Today’s book promoter is burdened most when he cares – and he wouldn’t have it any other way.


Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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