Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Key Book Promotion Rule

Here's the key thing to remember about book promotion: no matter what happens, the journalist is always right.

That means that if you're not happy with something a radio host says on the air, or something a journalist forgets to include in his/her article, or the direction in which a television host takes an interview, then you'll just have to live with it. It's not your show, nor is it your newspaper or magazine. And it's not your Web site. It's theirs, and -- as someone on a book promotion tour -- you're an invited guest on their turf. You're the Kato Kalin to their O. J. Simpson.

You're the author who's asking for air time or space in a print (or digital) medium. If you get that time or space, then you're a winner. If your book is mentioned, then that's a plus. Otherwise, then chalk up that one radio interview as an opportunity to at least have gotten your name (and expertise) out there. Don't try to shout out your book title over the interviewer's "goodbye, thank you for being here." It won't work. The host or the producer has control over the audio controls. You don't.

I've had clients be disappointed that a radio show host didn't include a link to the author's site on the host's Web page. I've also had clients be disappointed that a newspaper's Web site that reprinted a client's article contained only the author's byline, but not a hyperlink to the author's Web site.

It's okay to feel disappointed. It's not okay to ask the radio show host or Webmaster or journlist or whomever you're dealing with to "fix the problem." There is no problem. The journalist is always right.

Just as you don't complain about the accomodations when you're staying overnight at a relative's home, you don't start making requests for special attention or editorial changes when you're an author who's on a book promotion tour. It's inappropriate, it's unprofessional, and it's not going to get you anywhere. And it's going to get your book publicist's dander up if you request that he or she do it for you. Your book publicist will have a relationship with those journalists long after you've moved onto your next project, and he or she will honor the key rule of book promotion -- the journalist is always right -- at all times.

Every media hit will not change your life, although some may. Just remember that, cummulatively, interviews work to promote your book even if there are individual disappointments along the way. There's never any excuse for telling a journalist how to do his or her job, or to insist on special treatment, during a book promotion campaign. Enjoy the ride, and know that -- if you follow the key rule about book promotion -- you will come away with friends in the media. Otherwise, you're on your own.

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