Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sometimes, it's okay when book promotion venues leave the airwaves.

Book publicists are happiest when they hear about new radio shows and new television shows, and new magazines and new newspapers, and new sites and new blogs, and book publicists are usually at their unhappiest when they learn about book promotion opportunities' drying up. No book publicist I encountered was glad to hear that "Oprah" was leaving the airwaves, for instance.

But here's one book promotion venue that I'm delighted to do without: Dr. Laura Schlessinger's radio show. Here's a tape of the diatribe that caused Dr. Laura to "choose" to end her radio show of 30 years.

Listen to Dr. Laura's rant, and I think you'll share my relief and delight about the demise of her radio show. A person who would use racial expletives -- or who would even think in terms of racial expletives -- need not have a national forum from which to spew this venom.

Goodbye, Dr. Laura, and goodbye to another book promotion opportunity. But, this time, it's worth losing a book promotion opportunity to say goodbye to Dr. Laura and her brand of intolerance.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lost book promotion opportunity

Yesterday, one of my clients nearly lost a book promotion opportunity. I'd set up a radio interview for the author with the producer. It was to be the author's first radio interview ever -- not only for this book promotion campaign. So I was eager to hear the interview and listened to the radio show online as it streamed live.

The host didn't promote the interview, but I wasn't terribly concerned. The producer had just confirmed the interview the day before, and the author had the studio line as a backup in case anything went wrong.

A few minutes after the radio interview was to take place, the author called me to let me know the producer hadn't called her. "Why are you calling me," I wanted to know. "Why aren't you calling the backup line that I gave you?" The author said, "Oh, is that what you meant by 'backup line?' I thought you meant that was the line I'd call if there was static during the interview and we had to find a different phone line." (I'm still puzzling over the author's reasoning.)

The author called the studio line and hooked up with an apologetic radio show host who said the producer had never put the information about the interview on her calendar, and she knew nothing about the book or the author or the topic. However, the radio show host felt so guilty that she agreed to do the interview immediately, and the author got about 2 minutes of air time (instead of the 6 to 8 minutes she'd been promised by the radio show producer).

Lesson learned. As a book publicist, I sometimes assume that authors will ask for clarification about anything they don't understand about any instructions that I provide for media interviews. However, not every author is a veteran of book promotion campaigns, and some authors need a bit more hand-holding than others. The takeaway, for me, is that I will spell everything out to authors at the start of book promotion campaigns, and if I'm explaining too much, then I will wait for my clients to tell me so.

What could have been a wonderful book promotion opportunity for this author turned into a truncated, brief radio appearance because of a misunderstanding. I take responsibility for that, and I will work hard to ensure that, going forward, clients don't miss book promotion opportunities (or find their book promotion opportunities are truncated) because of their lack of understanding the book promotion process.

And, yes, scheduling mishaps and missed phoned calls are a recurring occurrence with book promotion campaigns. That's one of the things about media interviews that you can nearly always count on: somewhere, somehow, a miscommunication will occur. Have a backup plan! That's my new motto.