Thursday, January 26, 2012

11 Reasons You Hired The Wrong Publicist

  1. You have crazy goals. When you dream out loud the publicist doesn’t set realistic expectations or worse, plays up to your fantasy in hopes of winning you over.

  1. Your ego blinds you. You hire the one who kisses your ass.

  1. You mistakenly believe throwing money at something means you’ll get what you want.

  1. You are lied to and lack the knowledge to know any better.

  1. You let price drive your decision too much.

  1. You make certain assumptions about the publicist that turn out to be wrong.

  1. You’re drawn to the physical looks, the confident demeanor, or the seductive voice of the publicist.

  1. You feel intimidated and don’t ask the right questions.

  1. You fail to shop around or ask for references.

  1. You don’t fully understand the details of an offer presented to you for PR representation.  You might not understand the terms used or you mishear what’s being said.

  1. When a publicist tries to level with you or doesn’t sound wildly optimistic you dismiss him as an underachieving naysayer.

So what should you do when hiring a publicist?

  • Be realistic, don’t be cheap, and be clear in what you want.
  • Find someone who understands your field, promotes books regularly, and has represented others in your genre.
  • Ask a lot of questions and carefully listen to the answers.
  • Find someone you feel you can relate to and who possesses experience, knowledge of the type of media you are pursuing, and who comes off as genuine and not the image of who or what you think a publicist should be.
  • If possible, get a referral.

Interview With Author  Jason W. Womack

What inspired you to write Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More? Since reading the book Think and Grow Rich (which isn't really about money, at all) I gained an appreciation for getting better. Simultaneously, I've noticed as I've gone through careers as a graduate student, high school teacher, corporate consultant, professional advisor and now author that "most" professionals continue learning. They take classes, earn credentials, attend seminars, read books and have mentors...all of that helps them get from where they are, to where they could be. This is a handbook - written in 3 parts and 10 chapters - that people can use to facilitate their movement forward. A newly promoted manager, a brand new hire, a mom taking a local community not-for-profit board position are all prime candidates to Work Smart, Think Big and Make More.

What are three ways one can work smarter? Another way of saying "smarter" is efficiently and effectively. Efficient means you're working quickly, moving on to the next thing quickly. Effective means you're working on the right things, moving the priorities forward one day at a time. Here are three things you can do right away:

  1. Know Thyself: Assess your own approach to work and your workflow, and work at that advantage. Are you a morning person? If so, skip checking email first, and work on a contract, write a few pages, brainstorm a new character or signature story for an upcoming speech. Are you a night person? Eat dinner a little bit earlier, and make sure you've got some protein in the meal so that you stay fuller, longer, and can get those Most Important Things done before you fall asleep.

  1. Pace It Out: Too much and too fast, and you might burn out, get board or feel overwhelmed. Too slow and too little, you might wonder if it's all worth it, and simply give up. Pacing means you're taking the long-term view, and identifying chunks of work that you can accomplish in 5, 20 and 60 day blocks. 

  1. Time Is Limited: Look, you only have 96 fifteen-minute blocks of time in a day. So, instead of meeting for a full hour, meet with someone from 10:15-11. That will give you back 1% of your day. Get to work an hour early, and you can use that 4% to work without interruptions. Really utilize just 5-10 of those fifteen-minute blocks of time during the week, and you just might get another hour or two of free time this weekend!

What are four ways to think bigger? One of my takeaways from reading How to Win Friends and Influence People (another professional development classic) was just how limiting our own lens of focus can be. Truly, I see what I see because I'm accustomed to seeing it. When someone said, about a year ago, that I could turn my blog into a book (thank you Pam Slim, author of Escape From Cubicle Nation) I had to admit that I was shocked. I had always seen it as a blog of ideas and inspiration. Then, I turned it in to something evergreen - an owner's manual to your career development and personal improvement. Here are 4 of my favorite ways to think big:

  1. Practice Makes...Comfortable. In order to think bigger, you have to practice thinking bigger. So, over the next 24 hours, answer these questions at least 4 times: "How would the CEO of my favorite company (just open your fridge, look in your garage, or scan your desk to find one of your favorite companies represented there) respond to this idea? What would she or he ask me that I haven't yet thought of?"

  1. You Think You're Busy? Recently, a journalist asked me, "How do you lessen the feeling of overwhelm when there is so much to do?" My answer was, "Turn to your social network." Now, by this I don't mean your social MEDIA network, I mean the people you actually know. You see, there is someone in your current network who is busier, more overwhelmed and significantly more accountable than you are. And, they are making things possible. Ask them for a lunch or #CoffeeChat date, and learn from them how THEY handle the overwhelm. Learning from someone busier than you could give you skills you use for the rest of your life.

  1.  Subscribe AND Unsubscribe. What magazines arrive in your mailbox each month? What books are on the desk or coffee table? What TV shows have you recorded to "catch up on" when you have time? Look around and find something new to bring in. Lately, I've been watching more documentaries (I have an Amazon Prime Shipping account, and there are more than 500 documentaries I can watch for FREE!) and I'm learning a ton. Oh, and...I'm thinking bigger.

  1. Track and Grow: It may seem counter-intuitive, but if you track where you're thinking small, you will bring attention to those areas and give yourself an opportunity to turn it around. For an entire year, I tracked the answer to this question in a journal that I traveled with (around the world!): "What one word describes my recollection of today?" Then, as I thought of and wrote that word down, I set an intention to bring a bit more focus to that the next day. Try it for five days, practice thinking bigger and see what shows up!

What advice do you have for struggling writers? Unfortunately, Nike set the bar really high with their "Just Do It" campaign. Me, I teach another method. It's called, "Just Get Started." In Silicon Valley, where I work as a productivity advisor for large and start-up companies alike, there's a "secret combination" to achieve success: 1) Be really smart. 2) Be really good. 3) Get really lucky. It's that third one that's a little bit ambiguous, isn't it? So, as you go about your writing, reading, drafting and editing, remember that luck favors the most prepared. There's an opportunity that's waiting for you just right around the corner. The advice I give myself is to continue honing the craft, practice what I preach, and get ready to meet someone, see something, or go somewhere new. Oh, and I suppose another piece of advice is this: Get Published. Get your buddy to post a guest entry on their blog. Get your local newspaper to publish your "how-to" article. Get your high school or college - you know, the one you graduated from years ago! - to publish something in their annual, on their website, or in their weekly paper. Seeing your name in a byline will do wonders for your self-esteem and productivity.

Where do you see the book publishing industry heading? A child of the 70's, I'm used to holding books in my hands. A citizen of the 21st century, I assume I can get information any time, any place, anyhow. "Book publishing" as we knew it is transforming, not overnight, but changing beneath our very feet. Just as important as ever will be collecting, collating and curating great content - both fiction and non-fiction. The successful book publishers of the future will have done what any other "content management" system/organization must do: Identify WHAT people want to consume, and offer that in a way that the public will expect, accept and - most importantly - pay for.

For more information, please consult:

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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