Thursday, August 1, 2013

Do Bad Authors Deserve Good PR?

I always offer PR advice and guidance to writers –whether solicited or not, paid or free – never questioning or wondering whether the recipient will use it to promote a book, product, service or value that I disagree with or threatens my way of life.  Is that ignorance on my part, or is it something I shouldn’t think about?

I wonder if others think that way:
·         Do doctors wonder if they are healing the criminal, the mean, the rude?
·         Do police officers wonder if they are risking their lives to save bad people?
·         Do banks wonder if they are loaning money to people who hit their spouses or kids?
·         Do you donate to a charity, wondering if the recipient is a piece of garbage?

I guess no one has a right to publicity but I feel everyone should have equal access to generate media attention for their book.  The media can decide what it wants to cover and the media consumer can decided what he or she wants to watch, listen to, or read – and decide how they should act as a result of what they consumed.

On the other hand, nothing is level in the world.  Those with money or education or inside knowledge have a distinct advantage in all aspects of life.  It’s true with PR as well.  Getting media exposure for your book is deeply connected to one’s ability to be a publicist or to have the resources to hire one.

So when bad people, lousy books, or dangerous or vile messages get media attention, things can get ugly.  But who can be the arbiter of such things?  It’s the same issue with free speech.  We let people say what they want, without threat of arrest, because we can’t have courts determine who can say what.  

But free speech has its limitations – just look at libel laws or laws against inciting riots or yelling fire in a crowded movie theater.  Further, society punishes those who speak out.  The government may not lock you away for saying your boss is an idiot, but that boss can fire you.  Words can be viewed as threats, and such threats can get you put in jail.

So should we be more tolerant, as publicists, in what we agree to promote?  The PR industry would be cut by 95% if it only promoted things worthy of society’s attention or that its practitioners agreed with.

PR is a powerful tool and resource, like journalism and advertising.  Words and images, however they are generated and shared, can change minds, inspire actions, influence policy, and determine the fate of people, companies, governments, religions, and ideas.  We shouldn’t take PR lightly, but we should recognize that an educated public and a vigilant, unbiased media will both be needed to correctly support or diminish the results of publicists.

I don’t know if I have helped bad people, and I can’t fully determine how to judge who is bad and who isn’t.

I promote authors and their ideas.  The more ideas that get circulated, the better people are positioned to make informed decisions.  If I promoted some stinky books or ill-intentioned authors, I can’t apologize, but I do hope that the media or the consumer helped put them in their place.

Bad people and crappy books deserve publicity.  But they don’t have a right to success.

Interview With Author Len Saunders

What type of books do you write? All my books are fitness related (  My first book was called The Project ACES Handbook, which had 15 unique fitness programs to motivate children to exercise and stay healthy.  After, I published 2 children's books - Spunky the Monkey and Joey the Kangaroo.  Both these books have colorful pictures where children exercise along with the animal characters of the book.  Both these books are also award winning books as well as making the Amazon best sellers list in their respected category at number 1 spot for a period of time.

What is your newest book about? My newest books is called Keeping Kids Fit from LaChance Publishing in NY.  The book is a health manual for parents that teaches families how to stay fit and healthy, with chapters on sleep, nutrition, diet, exercise, and play.

What inspired you to write it? Growing up as a child, many adults helped shape my life - in a positive direction.  Writing books like this make me feel like I am giving back, and helping children grow up healthy and confident.

What is the writing process like for you? It was more work than I ever expected.  You write, and write, and write.  When you are done, you re-write and re-write.  It almost seems like a never ending process.  But, it is so rewarding when you see the final product.

What did you do before you became an author? I still work as a PE teacher in an elementary school.  I also run national initiatives on health and fitness for kids - which inspire them to stay healthy and fit.  My web site,  gives greater detail as to what I do.

How does it feel to be a published author? It is a feeling of accomplishment. Until you write a book, you never realize how much work has to go into it.  You really need to be an expert in your topic.  To this day, I study and read my book on a regular basis, just to make sure I am prepared to answer any questions pertaining to it.

Any advice for struggling writers? Believing is Achieving.

Where do you see book publishing heading? Not sure.  Many online book companies are gaining popularity.  For me, I enjoy the old fashioned sitting down with a book and reading it.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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