Sunday, September 7, 2014
Book Promoter’s Remorse?
How do we know if what we promote represents the best of its kind – the best book by the most-qualified person? Does it matter whether who or what we promote is the best?
I ask myself these questions often. I know that the books I promote are not necessarily the best of their genre, but then again, it’s a subjective viewpoint. I also know that many of the books are just as good as most in their class, so it’s not like they aren’t worthy of the media attention they receive. In the end, it doesn’t matter what I think or even what the truth is. Once I agree to promote an author, I do so with the intention and frame of mind of acting as if the book holds the key to life and I need to do all that’s in my power to get this book an audience. If I don’t act like I believe in my author, who will? Everyone needs a champion, and to lobby for another can’t be done with doubt or skepticism. We are like lawyers advocating for a person’s life before a court of law.
Publicists don’t always choose what they promote; it chooses them. Their job is to get a book readers and attention, regardless of whether they like the author, enjoy the book, or feel good about publicizing the book.
But what happens when you find, even seek out, an author you truly like, a book you feel is well-written, and a message that is empowering and uplifting? Publicists then get too attached to who and what they promote and start to cloud their judgment and instincts. As much as you want a promoter who is passionate about your book, if they become blinded by their enthusiasm, they turn too much into a cheerleader.
You want the right blend of decent book, credentialed author, timely topic, and a subject you actually care about, but the minute you over-rely on one aspect, or the moment you can’t see in a balanced or critical way, you are reduced in your ability to promote that author and book.
On the other hand, too many books are mediocre at best and need help just to get them to be viewed by the media without being dismissed. Perhaps that’s when a publicist can shine best, when he or she can take something from the vast middle and elevate the book to a higher level.
Publicists must always find a way to make who or what they represent sound better. That’s their job, to be makeup artists for books. They dress them up with catchy words, timely tie-ins to the news cycle, and use enthusiasm and persistence to reach where most authors never knew existed.
Book promoters rarely research their clients other than to know how to best promote them. But they rarely do a true investigation into their background to see if they are who they say they are. We don’t want to know the truth of their falsehoods or shortcomings. We don’t want to hear the negatives or discover their failings. We want to be able to think only good thoughts and to give our clients the benefit of the doubt.
Book promoters, I suspect, do care about who and what they promote. They feel better about themselves and more motivated to succeed if the author is nice, the book is good, and it looks like there’s something of value to work with. But too often, the publicist runs out of gas or courage or conviction once they start getting rejections from the media or once they start to see the author is not as promotable, resourceful, or even as pleasant as first thought.
It would seem that promoters are not the only ones who must be optimistic, and outgoing, and spirited. Authors must be too and not just to the media but with their own publicists. As much as publicists lead the author, authors must also not forget to cheer their publicists on.
Everyone needs support and pushing, even those who are paid to do just that. Hopefully the book and author are worthy of it.
BLASTS FROM THE PAST
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014