A Marketing Team reason for rejection

On May 12, 2010, 712 people gathered in the gym at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City to pelt each other with playground balls. As a result of this supersized contest, they set the Guinness World Record for “The Largest Dodgeball Game” in history.

Were you there? And were you one of the last people standing when the Blue Team won the game? 

If so, that’s something I can use to jumpstart Public Relations efforts for you and your book—especially if your book is about sports, or Dodgeball, or simply learning how to “seize the day.” And my marketing VP is going to like hearing about the possibilities of that PR-worthy accomplishment

You see, Marketing VPs hate advertising. Sure, it’s a necessary evil in their jobs, but it also costs a lot of money—and it doesn’t often demonstrate a strong or measureable return on investment. Publicity, on the other hand, is free. It can deliver broad exposure similar to paid advertising, and since it’s presented as part of editorial content, it often avoids the “commercial blindness” habits we consumers have developed toward advertising.

Look at it this way: A half-page, four-color ad in a single issue of Entertainment Weekly magazine costs $104,305. But a half-page review of your book right next to that ad costs…nothing. Which of those two options do you think is going to make my marketing VP’s eyes light up?

Any significant edge you have in garnering publicity attention for your book is going to make a difference to my marketing team. And that’s where your PR-worthy accomplishments come in. If I can tell my marketing team about your unique accomplishments as they relate to publicity opportunities for your book, that might be enough to tip the scales in your favor.

But what if you don’t have any accomplishments worth trumpeting to the press? Well, that makes it harder to overcome the inherent skepticism my marketing team has about your book—and that could mean rejection.

What You Can Do About It

1. Make a list of your PR-worthy accomplishments as they relate to your book’s promotion. 

OK, honestly, you don’t have to be a Dodgeball champion to be PR-worthy. But it certainly helps if there’s something about you or your book that would look good in a newspaper headline. So take time to make a list of things you think are newsworthy about your book and about you. Some typical topics that publicists hype when promoting a book are: 

• Awards 

• Notable recognition (such as being named to a President’s Council or being selected as keynote speaker at the National Happiness Day festivities).

• Notable media exposure (such as being booked for The Tonight Show or featured in an article in US News and World Report)

• Unique milestones (such as winning a Dodgeball championship)

• Connection to notable events (such as being first on scene after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti)

• Anything that would spark interest if transformed into a two-minute spotlight on the local news.

2. Highlight two or three PR-worthy ideas in your proposal. 

Once you’ve identified your newsworthy angles as they relate to your book, go ahead and highlight them in your proposal. Suggest what can fairly be seen as “no-fail” angles that a publicist could use in the preparation of a press release about your book. Use bullet points and be sure to point out what kinds of audiences (magazines, newspapers, radio, etc.) would be likely to respond to those ideas.

3. Brush up on what a press release looks like and what it does.

Most writers are rightly focused on creating a book—not a PR plan. But if you want to win over a marketer, you’re going to have to understand the way a marketer thinks about publicity. So take time to browse a website like PRWeb.com. Learn what goes into a press release. Read a few dozen and analyze them for strengths and weaknesses. Try your hand at writing a press release or two for your book and see how your PR compares to what the pros do. 

Once you get into the publicity mindset of the typical marketer, you’ll be able to tailor your PR ideas toward the Marketing VP—and beef up the appeal of your book proposal as a whole.

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