Some people are just too smart to promote themselves and their books to the news media.
This doesn’t mean only dumb people are good book promoters, but it does mean that for some, ego, fear, or time constraints aside, there is a legitimate reason as to why some authors make for terrible publicists.
· They overthink and under act.
· They read into everything and become paralyzed.
· They overanalyze and underperform.
· They over prepare and get bogged down in useless details.
The best promoter is a blend of brains and guts—but not too much of each. You can’t treat book publicity like a stock analyst looks at a potential investment. You need to smile, put your best foot forward, and push others to do things they lack motivation to do. You don’t have to out think another to succeed as a promoter, but you do need to invest time in outreach and to be persistent.
The intellectual side of authors can help them write great books but can doom them as publicists. Authors need to do more than think, to act more than plan, to experiment and diversify us, to not be conservative or so selective in our actions. The promoter needs to get dirty and not constantly try to exercise without sweating.
Being smart is not a negative but it can detract from an author’s efforts to be a promoter. Smart people tend to have high standards for themselves but mistakenly or unfairly expect others to support the same standards. Authors shouldn’t project their values upon others.
Smart people get caught up in details when generalities will do. They think they need to use 300 words when 20 will do. They feel they need to substantiate a claim with documented proof when just a mere assertion said with confidence will suffice.
PR is the hot body, not the brain behind it.
PR is the surface, not the deep interior.
PR is the book cover, not what comes after it.
PR is color and feelings, not black and white facts.
PR is the talk of potential and ideas, not anything real or provable.
PR is the premise and hope, not the reality of loss, danger, or pain.
Smart authors can’t change who they are, but they’ll need to hire a publicist to do—and become—what they seemingly can’t. That’s okay. Brainiacs need to recognize this and be smart enough to know that they must dumb it down and utilize those who are comfortable acting in the theater of book publicity. Promoters can help shape an image and create a visualization—but they don’t need to be scientists who prove something is a certain way. The litmus test for publicists is: can you persuade someone of something. They are not lawyers looking to make a federal case to put someone away for murder.
However, this does not mean publicists lack smarts. On the contrary, they are savvy and even brilliant, but they have found a way to highlight their salesmanship over their scholarship. The good promoter uses his brains to scheme, manipulate, and present—he is a showman with courage. He dives into the water, not questioning the temperature. He plays the odds—the more you throw out to the media, the more likely some yesses will come your way.
Smart or dumb, the formula for achieving book publicity comes down to you—or your advocate—to go out there, day in and day out, and to find a way to keep asking, keep pushing and to never let the “no’s” bother you. Use your brainpower to come up with brilliant pitches, be strategic as to who to approach, by what means and when, and to creatively present yourself in the best possible light—but don’t let it be a weapon against moving forward and being successful.
Being smart means knowing when to dumb things down. Anyone can be a book promoter—except a genius.
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 email@example.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014
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