Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Interview With Book Marketer, Publicist & Blogger Brian Feinblum

I realized I have interviewed scores of people for my blog, so why not run an interview with myself? here it goes:

Brian Feinblum is a Senior Vice President and the Chief Marketing Officer of Media Connect. He’s been in the book publishing and public relations industry since 1989 and is about to celebrate 15 years at MC. He lives in New Rochelle with his wife, Laura,, their two young children, Ben and Olivia,  and an English Bulldog. His kids remind him that he has two fish as well. He also publishes a daily blog, www.BookMarketingBuzzBlog.blogspot.com, that is about to reach its 1,000th post.  

What do you love most about working in book publishing?
I really value the written word and the sharing of ideas. Books can inspire, inform, enlighten, and educate us. They spark debates and get people talking. The world is a better place because of books. I enjoy meeting the authors, publishers, and members of the media to discuss their lives, share stories and generate ideas in a stimulating conversation.

If you weren’t promoting books, what would you be doing?
Well, I enjoy baseball, but if I were to promote the Mets I’d need to be on the road too often. Plus their losing ways would challenge me! I love to travel but if I started to promote the travel industry, my passion would turn into a job and I may never truly take a vacation. Let’s see, what’s left? I can see promoting a politician that I believe in, but then scandal and lies will no doubt come up and I don’t want to be dirtied by that. Maybe I’d promote Playboy magazine. Who gets tired of being around beautiful women? Hey, Hugh Hefner, are you looking for help?

What do authors need to know about promoting a book?
First, they must understand they are marketers and promoters, not just writers. Second, if they don’t promote their book, they must hire someone to help out. Third, it’s really a collaborative effort-authors and their publishers must work together and they should collaborate with a professional publicist. Self-published authors know they need help but published authors do too. Authors need to step back from their ego and realize that promoting their book to the news media is far different than writing it or marketing it to consumers.

Which skills, characteristics, or interests do you believe make for a really good publicist?
Obviously you need lots of energy for this job and an ability to see the potential in something -- even when you get told “no” 97 out of 100 times. Strong communication skills, especially writing, are a must. I think being street smart is more important than being book smart, which may sound strange, but I find that to be a promoter is to have an ability to strategize, be aggressive, and to plan ahead. Those who are “too smart” and overthink or set too high of a standard for themselves remain paralyzed or gripped with feelings of insecurity and uncertainty. You need to be prepared to jump into a burning building even if you don’t have all the proper gear to battle the blaze.

Is there a person or event that shaped you to be who you are today?
When I was five, my dad lost his twin brother to suicide. I learned at an early age that life can be challenging and fragile but that there must be a way out of any situation, no matter how bad the circumstances are. My father inspired my interest in writing and to use my words and ideas to promote good values. To this day he’s an avid writer of letters that get published in newspapers. We used to talk about big issues such as the war in Vietnam, when I was just five, six, seven years old in the early 1970s and those discussions helped shape my liberal, peace-loving, socialist ways.

What has been the key to your success?
A positive attitude, an ability to listen to what others feel, need and want, and a desire to make positive changes in the world. I ask a lot of questions and always want to learn. I also give others the forum in a conversation to tell me stories and share ideas, rather than me hogging the stage and talking about myself. I know me already. I want to know you. 


Here is my 2014 Book Marketing & Publicity Toolkit: Based on 20+ years in publishing --

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 © 2013

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