Tuesday, May 20, 2014

All The Dirt That’s Fit To Print

Alec Baldwin is arrested for riding his bike opposite of traffic and mouthing off at the arresting officers. Donald Sterling says more racist things about blacks and basketball. BeyoncĂ©’s sister slaps Jay-Z in an elevator. These are recent headlines in the tabloids as well as cable news. Just when you think the media can’t get any lower, it does. Rather than berate our journalists for resorting to reporting non-news, let’s embrace their approach and use it to drive publicity for our books.

The first question you need to ask yourself is: What can I take from my background, my book, current events, or my opinions that would get the media’s attention?

You may instinctively want to focus on something of substance but such a mentality won’t get you to where you want to be. You are swimming in mud, so get ready to get dirty. Think lowest common denominator. Think sex, money, celebrity, and power. Say something that angers and offends. Be outrageous and courageous. Dress up in hi-liter rainbow colors. Put on your game face. You are an actor, a personality, and the media is but a stage for theater. The media is here to entertain us, apparently, not so much inform us.

Everything from the visuals and words to the attitude and vantage point behind them must come across in a way that is not polite or even fair. You need to cause a commotion.

If your book is about personal finance, a seemingly dry and straightforward subject, turn your press release into a funfest. Instead of a headline like, “CPA Shows You 5 Resources to Count on for Retirement,” make it say, “Even Bloomberg, Gates & Trump Could Use New Book’s Advice.” Inject a big name in there. Maybe turn it up a notch: “Golddiggers & Scammers Learn to Invest Their Loot with New Book.”

Maybe your book is about how to develop and keep a healthy relationship. Sounds positive, right? Turn it around: “How to Avoid Divorce by the Age of 35” or “Why Men Stray – New Book Tells You How to Keep Your Guy” or “She’s Not Going to the Gym for You – 10 Signs She’s Dumping You.” Too tame? Toss in some celebrities – “Why Kate Upton is Too Sexy to Settle down,” or “Romance Your Wife Like a Porn Slut, New Book Says.”

Perhaps you wrote a sci-fi fantasy book. How about: “New Book Explores the Benefits of an Alien Invasion,” or “Love Abounds in Alien Massacre” or “Sexism on Mars Leads to Universal War = But She’s Worth It.”

Get the idea? Take a crazy hook and dress it up in weird. Don’t just state a fact – make an accusation. Be specific over general. Challenge people. Make them angry or fearful. Rattle us. Live on the extremes, and not in the middle.

The news media is in the toilet, but it still influences public opinion, checks up on government, questions standards and morality, and informs us of big and small things. It influences millions of people and sells books. Use it to your advantage. 

Think big by going small – the media wants dirt, violence, spats, crime, war, personality clashes, bankruptcy, villains, whores, racists, crooked cops, and corrupt politicians. Give them more of what they like and serve it up without guilt or fear.

No one will buy a book about how loving an actor is as a parent, but we all will clamor for scandal, debauchery, and salacious living. To get attention, talk tough, act bad, shed your clothes, and leave your morals at the door. The world’s media has normalized smut, sports as front-page news, gossip as fact, scandal as acceptable, and demonizes or ignores those who do their job, act ethically, don’t cheat on their spouse, and make an honest living. When you promote your book, keep this in mind.

If Ben Franklin were alive today or Einstein or Socrates, the media would find a way to knock them down from being icons. Same goes for authors. You won’t get attention for praising Franklin, but think of all the media you’d get for this headline: “Founding Father Sued by Woman for Misusing his Lightning Rod.”

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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