Thursday, August 18, 2011

How to blow a book promotion opportunity.

How can you blow a book promotion opportunity? Let's look to Christine O'Donnell for inspiration. O'Donnell, who is promoting her book, Troublemaker, walked off the set of "Piers Morgan Tonight" during a live interview.

Piers Morgan, in case you've missed it, is the TV talk show host who has succeeded Larry King in his old CNN time slot. Morgan hasn't yet attained the status that King enjoyed, in this book publicist's opinion; he hasn't earned it yet. Still, an interview with Piers Morgan represents an important book promotion opportunity, and it's one that every author would feel very lucky to score.

O'Donnell, apparently, wasn't "every author." Rather than feel grateful for the international exposure "Piers Morgan Tonight" offered, she decided that Morgan's questions weren't headed in the right direction ... and she removed her microphone and walked off the set.

If Christine O'Donnell thinks she will go from behaving like a spoiled brat on the set of "Piers Morgan Tonight" to accepting her choice of subsequent book publicity venues, she's mistaken. Book promotion opportunities were hers for the taking -- as long as she graciously accepted them and played the good sport when things didn't go exactly the way she hoped they would.

Instead, Christine O'Donnell had a tantrum in front of the TV cameras.

That was unwise. It also could have been easily avoided if Christine O'Donnell understood why she was invited to appear as a guest on "Piers Morgan Tonight." What O'Donnell believed she was doing on "Piers Morgan Tonight" was showcasing her book.

Well, no. Book promotion opportunities may have the effect of letting authors showcase their books. But no author is invited to appear as a guest on any media outlet to sell books. Authors are invited to appear as a guest on a media outlet to entertain and inform the audience. The interview, at all times, is controlled by the host, not by the author.

The author is fortunate to have each book promotion opportunity. And whether the author in question is Christine O'Donnell or Jane Doe, the author's gratitude should transcend any tendency to feel slighted, irritated, or unappreciated.

Christine O'Donnell was not supposed to let Piers Morgan get her dander up, and she was not supposed to behave like a prima donna, and she was not supposed to disregard her commitment to Piers Morgan's audience (not to mention to his network and its sponsors) when she didn't get her own way.

That was a mistake, and it's one for which Christine O'Donnell's book promotion campaign will suffer.