Friday, September 01, 2006

Book Promotion Without Alienating the Media

I enjoyed the movie, "Little Miss Sunshine," but there was one scene that made me squirm. It was when Greg Kinnear's character, Richard, confronts his literary agent about the agent's failure to sell his self-help book to a publisher. The agent explains that all the publishers had turned down the book.

"What's the next step?" Richard asks the agent.

Richard is counting on the advance that the book's sale will bring, because -- apparently -- he's quit his day job. The agent is left with the thankless task of explaining to Richard that there is no next step. No is no. No doesn't mean keep trying. No means try again with a new book idea, but drop the old idea. It was pitched. It was rejected. Finis.

That isn't what Richard wants to hear, and it's not what you want to hear when you're in the middle of a book promotion campaign and you've pitched an idea to the media that doesn't fly, but -- sometimes -- that's the way that it is.

When your pitch falls flat, and the media says no, you can change the pitch. You can reformulate the pitch, based on the feedback you've received, and try again with an angle that's better suited to the media's needs.

But what you can't do is tell the media decisionmakers that they have to do the story. You can't tell them they're being shortsighted or ignorant for turning it down, and they'd better reconsider if they know what's good for them.

If you try to force the media to promote your book, or you try to bully them, or you badger them in any way, you won't get them to change their mind. All you'll succeed in doing is alienating the media and burning bridges.

No isn't always an opportunity to close on the rejection. No is sometimes an opportunity to listen to why.

No is often a chance to go back out to the media with something far better and score a yes.

So what is the next step? The next step is to keep the faith that your book promotion campaign will be highly effective -- but learn when to take no for an answer and when to change strategies.

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