Tuesday, February 11, 2014

When Books Are Dead On Arrival To The Media

I was going to write a blog post informing authors to contact the news media, mainly major magazines and book reviewers, at least four months prior to their book coming out. If you fail to do this, you limit the media exposure for your book. But I want to instead turn this around as not a warning to authors, but a complaint to the news media at large. By being strict with your editorial deadlines, you end up cutting yourself off from 50% or more of the publishing community, and as a result, your readers are less informed and deprived of hearing about other ideas, possibilities, and important figures and events, and stories that would fascinate, entertain, inspire, and educate readers.

Since many traditionally published books are not promoted extensively – if at all – by the publishers, and since many authors are not aware of media deadlines, many books are either never presented to magazines and book reviewers – or they are submitted too late (even if they send it before publication date). This process, in essence, limits the American public from hearing about some great and significant books. It then leaves the authors to turn to media he or she can still reach out to, including social media and radio, thus creating two societies: those who read newspaper book reviews, and magazine articles will not know about the same books that are discussed elsewhere.

Now, true, no matter what, book review pages at newspapers and feature pages in magazines can only cover so many books, regardless of how many are submitted to them. But when their litmus test is not just about quality or significance – but also about meeting submission deadlines – readers lose out.

As it is, the process the media uses to filter what it receives is somewhat arbitrary, and prejudicial. We’d like to think they are trained and experienced arbiters of what’s worthy of coverage, and to a degree, they are. But in truth, they make decisions based on a limited number of factors. And timing is one of them.

Why do magazines and book reviewers put such a priority on time deadlines? Many publications don’t want to cover a book after it’s a success. They want to be first, with their review or story, to coincide with a book’s release date or sooner. But imagine how much better magazines would be if they can still write about some great books whose authors only committed a single infraction: tardiness. Would the media make an exception for a book that reveals national secrets, cures cancer, or tells us the meaning of life?

Our nation has a history of lateness. We live with it daily.

·         Congress is late in passing bills and paying them.
·         Our mass transit and airline systems have delays.
·         People are late to work every day.
·         We’re late paying back money we borrowed.
·         We show up late for dinner reservations, shows, and sporting events.
·         We think it fashionable to be late to parties.

But the penalties for such offenses are not as definitive and costly as those the media imposes upon authors and their readers. Perhaps the media will rethink its attitude toward time and publication dates, but until it does, authors, get your stuff in on time or be prepared to remain unknown and unloved. 


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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 brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.

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