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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The State Of News Media Is Both Great & Terrible




It’s the best of times and the worst of times – for the news media.

It’s the worst of times because:

·         Fake news circulates like wild fire
·         Real news is undermined by false claims of “fake news” and by people like Trump who dismiss a truthful report from a traditional media outlet as “fake news.”
·         The central media influencers – the old guard like New York Times, Today Show, NPR, Time magazine see the shrinking in size of their editorial staff -- and in their influence.
·         New digital media is finding it has to cut back on editorial staff because it’s not getting the revenue to support it.

But it’s the best of times because:

·         There are more news media outlets than ever before.
·         There are more ways to communicate a message than ever before.
·         There is an increased consumption by America of information.

This past week saw some ugly news. Glamour produced its last print edition.  The Jewish Forward, after 121 years, also was ceasing its print edition.  Buzz Feed and Huff Post both announced cuts to their editorial staff.  These digital juggernauts were supposed to be the new business model for news media.  What happened?

While those layoffs were being announced, the non-profit Newseum built as a testament to honor journalism and the First Amendment, said sold its 420 million-dollar space and has to vacate in a year.  It lost tens of millions of dollars on the real estate deal --in addition to annually bleeding around fine million dollars.

Does any form of media have a pay-off ?

On the one hand, news organizations are valuable to those who own and run them.  They offer editorial voice to the owner.  These media outlets occupy real estate and some trade publicly on Wall Street.  There are billions of dollars tied up in media companies.  But few seem to run at a profit – and so many can’t afford a downward turn of the economy.

Meanwhile, to be a journalist is a dangerous occupation, especially overseas when covering war, terrorism, and corrupt governments.  While our president shits all over a free media, we must do better.

The news media is mostly made up of people who are not well paid.  Sure there are some superstar TV personalities and national radio hosts that earn lots of green, but most are underpaid, overworked.  With so much in the world to cover, how can the public be assured that a trained, educated, ethical media will properly cover it, without delay or bias?  Can the public often distinguish truth from distortion?

It is a roller coaster ride for the media, that is for sure.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

The Law Of Getting News Media Coverage For Books




While attending paralegal school in what seems like a lifetime ago, I learned to draft papers that provided a legal argument for a certain position, for or against something.  You looked at case law, government regulations, and general rule of law to help you make a cogent argument.  It was all very dry, though still up to interpretation, analysis, and clearly tied to the selection of specific cases that would determine how one would view an issue.  Writing press kits and pitch letters to the news media, though an act of persuasion, is quite a different task.  Perhaps the two practices should merge.

When you state your case to the media as to why it should pay attention to your book or cover you as an expert, you need to convince them of facts, sell them on ideas, and appeal to their personal sense of justice and passion.  This is not so unfamiliar to lawyers, who in addition to methodically discovering and sharing facts that support their side, will in the end, win over a judge and certainly a jury, with emotional appeals and the selling of personality.  As an author, think like a lawyer when trying to appeal to those who judge you – the news media.

In the case of lawyers and publicists, the words chosen to frame an argument are so very important.  All words have precise meanings, but many have connotations -- a way in which we feel, interpret and see these words.  We attach thoughts, feelings, even biases to certain words.  Sometimes, the words you use are more important than the reality they’re intended to reflect.

The burden of proof in a court of law is different than the arbitrary way a media outlet might be convinced to cover a story, but there is a similarity of process.  In both situations, one must advocate convincingly of their side or risk failure.  In court, some win their case by showing enough cause to doubt a conviction, but with the media the burden is always on the author or publicist to show why he or she is worthy of media exposure.

Lawyers have to present their case live, in person, on a neutral territory – a courtroom.  Authors and publicists do most of their lobbying by phone, email, social media, or by mail.  They rarely get to be in the same room, face-to-face, with the media, and if they are together, it’s likely on the turf of the media outlet.  But whatever the place or time one gets to appeal to the media, he or she must seize that moment and do all that’s possible to turn the opportunity into a point of closure, a moment of negotiated agreement.

Authors and lawyers are very similar.  They may resort to distortions, stunts, and factual withholdings in order to build their points.  They are supposed to be honest and respect the law, but they will bend ethically in order to find a way to convince others they have merit.  Just as lawyers will even defend those they believe to be guilty, authors will promote a book they know is far from being an award-winning best-seller.  They advocate to be heard, no matter what.

Maybe comparing the legal process to pitching the media is silly.  Lawyers are trained and licensed to do their job, while, publicists have no requirements and authors rarely have any training in book promotions.  Whereas lawyers can go to jail for lying, authors have no such fears when talking to the media.  Whereas lawyers may argue over huge sums of money, life and death, or human rights, most authors don’t have such things at stake.

Authors can and should learn from other professions as to what can help them be better at book promotions.  They should watch politicians, lawyers, car salesmen, and anyone who can provide insight on the powers of persuasion.  Everyone, at every level, from an escort to a Fortune 500 CEO, has some insight to offer about the power of sales and communications.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

How Authors Make Tough Choices On Writing, Publishing, & Marketing Books

Image result for choices images

A recently published book, Farsighted:  How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most by Steven Johnson, is a good book by a best-selling author on the big, life-threatening decisions that are really important to us.  It can also be used to make decisions about which book to write, who to publish with, and how to best market your book.

Authors often make choices based on:
·         Emotions:  fear, ego, passion, jealousy
·         Financial needs
·         Time constraints
·         Limited knowledge
·         Rumors
·         Trends
·         Past performance
·         Dreams, goals, and needs

Johnson says that complex decisions:
·         Require full-spectrum analysis
·         Force us to predict the future
·         Involve varied levels of uncertainty
·         Involve conflicting objectives
·         Harbor undiscovered options
·         Need to confront doubt and uncertainty
·         Require anticipating objections and obstacles

Johnson writes:  “When we look back at the trajectory of our lives, and of history itself, I think most of us would agree that the decisions that ultimately matter the most do not – or at least should not – rely heavily on, instincts and intuition to do their calculations.  They’re decisions that require slow thinking, not fast.  While they are no doubt influenced by the emotional shortcuts of our gut reactions, they rely on deliberate thought, not instant responses.  We take time in making them, precisely because they involve complex problems with multiple variables.”

Authors have to make some big decisions, even when they don’t realize the enormity of their choices or in certain cases, that they are actually making a decision by not doing something.

Their first choice is:  What should I write about?  Usually they can answer that based on why they write.  Obviously they won’t write about something unless they have a passion for the subject matter or feel inspired by their experiences or those they have met.  Other times, writers simply point their pen towards money.  They will write for hire or write about something they feel will be profitable.  

Their second choice is:  How will my book be published?  This is a choice that authors usually have made for them. Many try to get published by a big traditional publisher.  Once the rejections pile up – from literary agents or publishers – they decide to consider other options.  Plan B can be to self-publish, go print-on-demand or e-book only, hybrid publishing, or pursuing a small, indie press or a university press.

Their third choice is:  Production.  How will the book cover and interior be designed?  Which editing changes can I live with?  What should the book’s title, sub-title, page count and price be? 

Their fourth choice is:  Marketing.  How will I market this book?  What is my publicity plan, social media plan, advertising, speaking appearances, and approach to special sales and distribution?

Each step of the way, authors need to know what their options are before making a decision – and they need to know the potential rewards and pitfalls of each option.  A big factor in all decision-making moments for the author is timing.  Some decisions get made simply based on where you are at on the publishing timeline spectrum.  Others get ruled by your pocketbook.  That’s inevitable.

But all decisions should emanate from your core vision for your book – your needs, goals, and desires.  Figure out what you want to accomplish, draw a map and the small steps needed to turn a dream into a reality and focus your mind, body, spirit or resources towards the key choices you must make.

Ben Franklin took an approach to making tough decisions by using what he called “moral algebra," where a numerical value could be assigned to every option considered, where one can generate a resulting decision by placing a value on it.

Johnson said of this method:  “I suspect many of us will find this kind of calculation to be too reductive, taking a complex, emotional decision and compressing it down to a complex, emotional decision and compressing it down to a mathematical formula.  But of course, the whole process is dependent on the many steps that have preceded it:  mapping the decision, in imaging scenarios, conducting premortems, and holding charrettes.  The weights and grades only work if they’ve calculated at the end of a full-spectrum investigation of the choice at hand – Still, the same frame work can be applied without actually doing the math: list your core values, think about their relative importance to you, sketch out how each scenario might impact those values, and, based on that more narrative exercise, make your decision.”

Authors, in the end, need to be well-informed and goal-oriented in order to make strong decisions.  The key is not to let fear or greed shape your thinking process.  Let your book lead you into making the choices that will best serve you.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Why Authors Must Only Market To 1% Of The Population



I must confess to being a fan of The Twilight Zone, an amazing series that ran on CBS-TV for five or six seasons in the 1960’s.  I know I am not alone in valuing the black and white show that intelligently and touchingly explored a nation’s morals, fears, confrontation with technology, government, power, war, beauty, greed and other leading issues of the day — many of them timeless.  But I’m always surprised when someone, especially a contemporary of mine, says they don’t like or never watched the series.

Of course we can’t all have the same tastes, passions, or views – and certainly we won’t all watch the same TV show, movie or play.  But that also means we won’t all read or like the same book.  Yours included.

In fact, the vast majority of people rarely read the same book.  Mega-bestsellers may sell a million copies in a year – possibly 15-30 million over many decades.  Compare that to the hundreds of millions of individuals that will live in the U.S. during that time.  Some of the most critically-acclaimed, award-winning best-sellers, if lucky, may get consumed by 10% of the population over time.  Many wildly successful books may only get read by 1% of the population.

Of course, as an author, you would be happy to experience any of that, but the truth is, your barometer for success is quite a different standard. To sell 10,000 copies of a book within a year of its publication is a level of accomplishment.

Authors, though they hope for book sales to climb and to hit the big time, what they really crave is gaining support for their writings, being received by consumers and the media favorably, winning awards, building a brand, and helping others with a positive and empowering message.   All of that is possible with a sound book marketing and publicity campaign.

The key to a successful campaign is targeting and segmenting.  Don’t expect everyone to like your book or be interested in it.  In fact, assume the opposite.  Most media and consumers will not care about your book – but that’s okay.  You only need to impress a handful of kick-off, word-of-mouth buzz.

So step back from your book and try to see things objectively.  Who would likely be most interested in your book?  What would they look like demographically?  What type of people would they be?  What experiences would they likely have had?  What views would they be prone to hold?

Now think of where such people gather – online and in the physical world.  What types of media would they consume?  What is it that they want to hear, that would appeal to them?

Really narrow down who your targeted reader is and filter all of your actions through that prism.  Market to your reader – not all readers.  By dismissing 99% of the population, you are on the road to success!


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Interview with Medical Manslaughter author Gloria J. Yorke

     Medical Manslaughter

Sometimes it takes a novel to get us to understand the deeper, more important truths about life and death -- especially when it involves love, miracles, and one woman’s powerful desire to find meaning in a world, turned upside down by the loss of her husband.

Medical Manslaughter, by widow, Gloria J. Yorke, is such a book!  Based on her true, but incredible life and journey, Gloria’s story also explores selfless caregiving for her husband Dick, his recovery against all odds, gross medical malpractice, and medical record cover-ups.

Gloria lost him nearly six years ago. He was a Chicago legend, entertainer, singer, and virtuoso of the tenor sax who opened shows for many of the greatest entertainers in history….the original Rat Pack—Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. – and Tony Bennett, Johnny Cash, Wayne Newton, Mel Torme, Phyllis Diller….the list is almost endless.

Early one morning in July 2012, Dick collapsed at his home, and was rushed to the closest local hospital.  Tests proved he had blood on all sides, and inside his brain.  It was recommended that he be immediately transferred to a larger hospital that had its own neurological department.  Upon doing so, he was placed in ICU.  After three days there, and starting to show signs of slight recovery, they moved him to a regular floor for rehab. Was expected to go home in three days!   It was here that the doctor assigned to him made a crucial medical error that began the end of Dick’s life.

This medical mistake pushed him into a coma by the following morning! The head neurologist stated, ‘Let him die!’    The hospital began to harass Gloria with daily demands to discharge him, while nursing homes were refusing to take him.  But finally one did accept him, thinking he was going to die in a week.  Through sheer determination and prayer, Gloria willed him out of a 34-day coma and helped him live another six months, while recovering from garbled speech, brain damage, and other related complications.

“What happened to him at home was an accident; but what happened at the hospital was criminal!” fumes Gloria. “I brought him into the hospital with his senses. He could walk, talk, and he knew me…only suffering with severe head pain.  This hospital turned him into a vegetable state, by pushing him into a coma by forcing a prescription drug needlessly, over my repeated objection!  No amount of time, nor inundated tears will ever erase the devastation and heartbreak that I lived, every minute of every day during that nightmare…and still can vividly recall!”

Gloria, who is a client of the public relations firm that I work for, is a tireless advocate for those who are caregivers and lobbies hard against the unnecessary suffering caused by medical malpractice taking place daily. Below is an interview with her:

1.      What inspired you to write Medical Manslaughter?  In January 2013, my husband died due to doctor error.  The Doctor assigned to him, in the hospital on a regular floor, prescribed a sleeping pill, even though his chart showed that he still had blood on all sides and inside his brain, since leaving ICU, three days prior. She completely ignored my objection, as wife and power of attorney. He was sleeping fine, and did not need any medication.  I asked her to review his chart again. Her response was, “I know what I’m doing!”  Before I could stop the nurse, she administered the pill early that evening.  The following morning, he was found in a coma, which began the end of his life!

2.      Gloria, your debut novel provides a real-life dramatization of what happened to your husband once he fell and hit his head in his house.  Do you blame the doctors that treated him for his death? Absolutely!  I believe the initial doctor assigned to him caused his death! My husband did not need a sleeping pill, and I stressed that fact to the doctor emphatically. She could have started with a small dose, but no, she prescribed the strongest…50 mgs.    I reminded her that he had a concussion, and had been in ICU for three days, and was sent up to a regular floor for rehabilitation, and was told he would be home in three days!  His condition was extremely delicate. But, she would not even listen to my opinion.  She resented that I was challenging her decision, and let me know it, by ignoring my wishes, and abruptly walking out of the room.

3.      Why didn’t you file a lawsuit for medical malpractice? I contacted an attorney, specializing in malpractice. He seemed very interested, until I told him the name of the hospital. Then his tone changed.   I sent him the records. A few days later, his secretary called saying they were not interested in this case.  The following week, I called another attorney, and spoke with the senior partner, asking that I send all of the records.  The following week, he called to ask the exact date my husband went into the coma.  I repeated July 27, 2012. He informed me that the record showed from July 27 on…”Patient was alert and anxious to go home!” I shouted, “Stop!  He was in a coma for 34 days! He replied, “The doctor and nurse went in and changed the record…You don’t have a leg to stand on!”

4.      There are over a quarter-million deaths blamed each year on medical errors. What could be done to reduce that number? Our government, under Health and Human Services, must mandate accountability procedures, so that hospitals keep honest and accurate records, that should be checked often by statistical auditors!  There should be no more hiding of the facts, so that hospitals get funding and good ratings.  Accountability will highlight this fearsome situation, bringing to light the fact that medial error has reached epidemic proportions! It is only when uncorrupted and facts are chronicled in patients’ records, that experts will be able to address the situation clearly. Those institutions and individuals who show repeat error occurrences and deaths, should be subject to interrogation, investigation, and prosecution.  No longer can the excuse just be,  “Oops, I made a mistake!”

5.      What should those who enter a hospital know about their level of care they are to receive? Everyone entering a hospital, needs to KNOW that they need an ADVOCATE.  A spouse, friend, or relative must visit daily, and take an extreme interest in what is happening to and for the patient.  It is wise to discuss with family and friends, prior to getting ill, asking them to assume that responsibility if and when you might be hospitalized.  You of course, would most likely do the same for them.  What are the duties of an advocate?  A sincere trusting advocate, takes a detailed interest in your welfare. They look for signs of abuse, adverse reactions to medicines, the patient’s mood—are they irritable, itchy, not sleeping.  Cleanliness--- bedsheets, pillows, the floor, the bathroom…keeping in mind that germs are your enemy.

6.      Once your husband was in a coma for a week, why did the hospital tell you “to let him die”? When my husband first went into a coma, I had asked immediately for another doctor to be assigned to him.      Obviously, I did not trust the judgment of the doctor who put him in that coma. This new doctor engaged the help of the entire neurology staff, including the Head Neurologist, who started extensive testing.  They tried everything, to find out why he went into a coma, and how to bring him out of it.  After two weeks, he met with me and showed me his brain tests, stating he was stymied.  He did not know the answer to either question.  Believing he exhausted all efforts, and that my husband would never come out of the coma, he stated, “Let him die!”

7.      How did you will him out of it, after 34 days in a coma? Actually it was more than just my WILL that did it.  Quickly, I researched as much as I could about the brain, and figured he needed circulation to that area.  So I purchased a Theta CD which supposedly stimulates a part of the brain.  Then I began massaging his neck, shoulders, arms, hands, and legs with a vibrating massager.  Naturally he was very stiff all over, having not moved in an entire month.  So I had to handle him carefully and gently, as he would moan many times, even though still in the coma state.  I did this religiously every day, which took about an hour or longer.  His physician at the nursing home thought my husband was going to die within one week after his admittance. 

8.      You then helped him to regain his speech with intense rehabilitation and therapy.  Were you amazed that he lived another six months upon waking up from a coma that the doctors thought he’d never awaken from? He went into the coma in July, while in the hospital.  In August, 34 days later, he awakened in the nursing home.  Of course, during that month I began my ritual of massaging him, and playing his CD’s.  Being he was a singer and had a big band orchestra for many years, it was natural to stimulate his brain this way.  When he first woke up, he replied “OK” to the administrator.  However, upon waking up, when I was present, his speech was all garbled and unrecognizable.  Yes, I needed a professional speech therapist to help unravel his speech.  No, I was not amazed that he lived another six months.  I thought with my personal care, I would have him for at least one year!

9.      What tips can you offer to those who have to be strong advocates regarding the healthcare of a loved one?  First major tip---TALK about your wishes...if something should happen to you.  Perhaps during Thanksgiving or Christmas gatherings, it would be a good time to bring up this subject.  In doing so, all of your family/friends would know your wishes, and would know that they ALL will play an important part in your care, depending on its severity.  This is important, because being an advocate demands a lot of time and energy.  If your spouse or friend is a senior, they might not have the energy to be at your side for eight hours or more a day, every day.  This is when a rotating schedule would go into effect, so the responsibility is distributed.

10.  What advice do you have for others who struggle with life-death decisions and conflicts? FOLLOW YOUR INTUITION!   God has blessed us with this marvelous alarm button, and all too often we ignore it….our INTUITION!   If you don’t have a good relationship or connection to your Creator…God…The Universe...call it what you will, you will be like a kite blowing in the wind, with no string attached. You will be a lost soul.  Think about those who are diagnosed with a disease, or hardship and they have nowhere to turn.  Many family, relatives and friends don’t want to hear your problems…they just want to hear your successes.  Eventually, those successes stop.  Without having a connection to a Higher Power, you will sink into the lowest form of loneliness and depression … a black abyss, where you are powerless to save yourself!  For example, look at the many named personalities, whose lives have ended in suicide.

11.  What do you hope readers will take away from your emotional saga? It is my desire that they will learn much!   That they will see what Gabriella did right, and what she did wrong. Hopefully, they will emulate the right, and leave the hospital in good health.   They and their advocate (s) simply must be alert!  Ask questions, meet with the attending physician often, educate themselves about the illness, so they can ask pertinent questions.  Ask about the negatives….what could go wrong with an operation or procedure, or adverse reactions to medicines.  When asking questions, make sure the doctor, nurse or specialist answers in layman terms.  If you don’t understand what they’re saying, ask them to clarify.  Lastly, it is always a good gesture to bring some goodies for the nursing staff.---cookies, candy, donuts. A little kindness will go a long way!

For more information, please consult: www.gloriajyorke.us.

Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource."