Friday, February 11, 2011

Book Promotion Tip #239: Don't Let This Happen to You

Book Promotion Tip #239: Don't let this happen to you.

Here's book promotion tip #239 from a book publicist who thought she'd seen it all. Well, now I think I've seen even more.

This "Today Show" segment seemed to hold so much promise when I saw the headline on the MSNBC web site: Girl, 4, treks through snow to save family. Meredith Vieira, polished, professional, and cool as ever, sweat as a one-year-old and a four-year-old made strange noises, crawled around the set, clamored for attention, and generally behaved the way toddlers often do when you want to show them off -- in this case, before a national TV audience.

Granted,in this case, all you had were some disappointed relatives and friends of the family who were hoping to have bragging rights ("yes, those were my babies you were watching!") and, instead, have some explaining to do ("the kids were up all night, and there were dozens of strangers around -- they usually don't behave that way"). And the mom still got to tell her story: her four-year-old daughter walked through snow for a quarter of a mile before she came to a house and got help for her mom and baby brother.

However, had the mom been an author who was on the "Today Show" to sell, say, a memoir...this segment would have been a major disappointment. Viewers would have winced and hoped for the embarrassing segment to end; that would have run counter to the goal of inducing them to rush over to the bookstore and buy their copy of the memoir.

Book Promotion Tip #239, then is, "Don't let this happen to you." W.C. Fields was right: don't work with kids, if you can help it, even if they're part of the story and if, ordinarily, the kids are perfect angels. And, of course, don't work with animals, either!