Paul Krupin’s Trash Proof Marketing and Publicity Blog
April 3rd, 2013 by Paul Krupin
Writing marketing and publicity copy that produces interest and action (sales)
Here’s my best advice for authors and publishers wanting publicity that helps sell books: Turn your people on.
The message has to make people pay attention and want more of what you have to offer. If you don’t succeed at this, even an article in USA Today won’t
help you sell books. Identify the hot buttons that get your audience jazzed.
Ask them, “why do you like this?”
Pay attention to what you said that produced howls of delight. Study your testimonials and reviewer comments, ask your mother or kids. Just figure
this out and focus on it. What you focus on tends to get bigger.
Identify what you do that turns people on, and then do more and more of it. Then prepare a variety of presentations that hit those hot buttons again and again in varying lengths from 30 seconds to ten minutes in length. Every word you say has to make people crave more.
If you bore them even momentarily, you will likely lose them.
This is the key to PR success and marketing success as well.
You can’t say “buy this amazing provocative book!” You must be amazing and provocative. You must do what you are best at in your own unique way. You
must entertain, educate and stimulate. You must give people chills and thrills. And you must practice this and perfect this messaging until you can
do it again and again with adequate action producing results (=sales).
Once you develop, refine, and prove YOUR MESSAGING, based on the actions people take in response to what you say and do (= proven sales), then the
rest is easy. Then can you use technology as a force multiplier to extend and share and repeat the message (using technologies and media of all types) and thus get the results you dream of achieving.
March 3rd, 2013 by Paul Krupin
Dealing with bad reviewers on Amazon
Several people on the IAG-members group at yahoo described their experiences and feelings about a group of trolls, who wrote scathing abnormally negative reviews about their books on Amazon. Some of them obviously never read the book at all and in some cases, hid behind pseudo-names, fake personnas and did not reveal their true names and identities. The comments escalated into a full blown battle and flame war and the author being criticised research the identity of one of the commenters and found that they worked at a school district in California, and was using district equipment. When this was shared with the group their was concern expressed about an alleged “invasion of privacy”.
I am a former attorney and I do not see the author’s actions in a negative light at all. So I’m responding to the remarks that there has been an invasion of privacy that was inappropriate. I respectfully disagree.
If one is being harmed, whether it or outright physical harm or emotional or economic harm as the situation here, it is perfectly within the rights of the person experiencing the pain to know the identity of the person or person who is harming them.
Lying about, slandering the good works of another, defaming someone, and hiding one’s identity are all actions that create actionable legal liability. There are numerous cyber-bullying cases that have resulted in criminal and civil penalties and judgments against the wrongdoers.
A “silly flame war” can escalate to the point of actionable slander and defamation as soon as the lies and abuse go beyond reasonable opinion, turn personal, and have the clear intent and express ability to be economically physically and mentally harmful.
The law allows and even encourages people who believe they are being harmed to protect themselves, and it is appropriate to contact the individuals and identify where they work, what else they are doing, or seek out and contact their employer and share with other people or with authorities near or associated with them the nature of their conduct and the substance of their communications.
There is no invasion of privacy, because the law only protects people who act appropriately in society and typically where the law has declared people can have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Those rights, should they exists, are also explicitly waived in many cases by the voluntary participation or use of a site like Amazon, or the use of computers at work. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy here.
And yes, when you do confront people like this, there are also risks in doing so. They may yet react again or even escalate the battle in new ways.
The people who hide behind fake names remind me of the KKK Klansmen on horses in their white robes and hoods. The try to inflict pain and ride away unscathed. They must be uncovered, brought into the light, identified, and be made to face the consequences of their actions in society.
It is important remain vigilant and be prepared to take purpose-driven, affirmative, firm and well thought out, and decisive action in the face of evil. I admire the author for doing that and I support the actions he has taken.
In my view it is appropriate to investigate ISP contact information and employer information and reach out to inform people administratively.
I believe there are more steps that can yet be taken.
One of my clients has also written on the subject of Amazon one star reviewers. Here is the link:
Robert D. Smith is the manager of Andy Andrews, and I’ve worked with both gentlemen for almost ten years and six books, three of which became NY Time best sellers. Andy last book was relevant to this discussion. The title of this book is How Do You Kill 11 Million People?
The books’ answer is based on the actions of a single individual, Adolf Hitler. The answer is that ‘you lie’.
The promulgation and the perpetuation of lies is what the trolls are doing to authors they focus their sights on.
As I said, we must remain vigilant and be prepared to take action in the face of evil.
March 3rd, 2013 by Paul Krupin
Question came in from a member of the Yahoo Self-Publishing Group
In my experience sending out news releases using email and chasing editors and reporters by phone, Tuesday is the best day of the week to deliver a release and Wednesday, and Thursday are also really good days. A lot depends on what you are asking the media people to do and whether it involves significant work on their part.
The reasoning is that the media tends to work on a five day work schedule, Monday through Friday and they roughly work 8 AM to 5 PM with some variations for other types of work schedules, especially for early morning TV. Monday is the day they come to work catch up from Friday, have staff and other meetings, and plan the work for the week. Friday of course, they are wrapping up and trying to clear their desks so they can go home for the weekend.
Saturday and Sunday are not good days to reach media people. It’s the weekend and the media offices have reduced staff unless an emergency comes up.
Tuesday is the day where they’ve gotten past the staff meeting and drudgery that Monday’s entail and we see they have the maximum ability to focus on things that come in fresh. They also have the ability to allocate and deploy human resources to any task they decide to work on for the rest of the week. Wednesday and Thursday are also good but the time, attention and ability to deploy resources diminish as the week goes by. So early in the week is still better than late in the week.
I’ve also had some surprising hits on Friday but this was usually with something that was hard news or something enticing that requires very little action, like read this and they can say “yes, send me a review copy”.
So the absolute best timing is to try to transmit Monday timed for Tuesday morning delivery. I control the time of delivery to 6 AM west coast time, because the release arrives at 3 AM east coast time and the morning TV news producers arrive at work at 4 AM.
We can work on copy and strategy all the time. Basically you transmit your news and pitch when the lights are on and someone is there to receive and act on your message.
Social media often respond to this same pattern, especially if they are working in a five day office setting. However many of them are less office bound. They see your pitches often on mobile devices and respond on the fly. They work with more flexible schedules and often respond after their day job is over. The benefit of email is that your message stays there till they read it. The disadvantage is that everyone else’s pitch does as well.
February 22nd, 2013 by Paul Krupin
Review of Guy Kawasaki's book APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book
APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book (Kindle Edition)
APE is a very helpful, straight from the trenches report which covers the gamut of steps, decisions, and actions needed to successfully self-publish a book. There are numerous lessons learned and resources that will enable a rapid application of theory to any publishing venture. The only issue I found is that Guy write from a position of already having a tremendous following and platform vehicles that other people simply do not have. That said, what one learns from his expert deployment of platform vehicles offers insights based on solid track record of pure performance. Highly recommended for anyone who even thinks about self-publishing. I give this book five stars!
January 30th, 2013 by Paul Krupin
Targeted Publicity Program for a History Book
A Publish-L list member, wrote:
In November, I published a 400-page (20 in color) hardbound reference book with dust jacket about a particular regiment during the Civil War. It is the first of four books planned about the regiment. It is in pdf format without an ISBN. Although I’ve sold 300 copies locally (at $30 each), I’ve probably exhausted my available client list and would like to be able to offer it online in some format.
What should be my next step?
I’ve worked with a few authors and publishers of history, military, and civil war books so I’ll offer up some strategy and ideas from a book publicity standpoint. At the end I’ll point you in the direction of taking the same outreach communications and aiming at the “interest groups” you can reach directly using a similar but adapted approach. Here goes:
You can seek book reviews in certain media categories, but I believe this is one of those cases where feature stories filled with anecdotes, factual data, interesting information, and photos (hopefully some are available), will enable you to convey some portion of what the books offer so that you can make a truly favorable impression with the best galvanizing content.
There are several ways to target the different pools of media who we have seen respond with interest to books like this. I’m using the online Cision database which covers the US and Canada to provide the following information:
First there is the history media, with two key subcategories, national history and local history. I just created a custom media list and while it is not a big pool of media (770 media in the raw data Cision search but when I take out the empty & duplicate emails there are 646 media left) the people who cover this topic do have avid readers. I saved this list and will send it to you so you can see who is on this list. In the local history category, you will have to hand select media that align with the geography of the book and the people in the regiment.
Second there is the military media. The Cision count shows over 700 media (before cleaning) that cover this topic. There are military history buffs and depending on the stories you tell, you can get different types of military editors interested. There are several military subcategories including military lifestyle, Armed Forces, and other specialized categories. I’d recommend you study how a few of these media do military history feature stories first, and then use my 3 I technique to create a story pitch that looks like it belongs inside your target media.
Third, you can target media geographically and seek local feature stories based on the locations covered in the books, where the events covered by the book took place, and where the families of the people resided at the time.
Fourth, you could offer this out to all the non-fiction and general book reviewers. My latest database count from Cision for the categories of books, book reviews, authors, fiction, non-fiction, literature, and writing identifies over 3,300 media listings (before cleaning)..
Fifth, you could send an interview pitch to the NPR and PBS stations and shows. I’d recommend this go nationwide, but again, I would expect the media in the geographic areas covered to express the most interest, depending on how you spun the stories. To get to the national level, you would need to offer information and insights that have national implications, especially as regards what we see in our lives today, which is a consequence of what you write about. There are about 1,100 NPR radio station media and 800 PBS outlets.
Sixth, if there is ethnic or multicultural element, say the book is about an African American regiment, then you have an additional media pool who will have interest in the topics you write about.
I worked recently on a book by James Cameron, titled Color of War, a book which is based on extensive research and first-hand interviews with veteran white Marines and black Marines and African-American sailors who survived Port Chicago, a historic disaster in WWII. Campbell crafted The Color of War to paint a gripping picture of July 1944, the explosive month that changed the course of history. The Color of War juxtaposes the spirit of the Greatest Generation with the scars of segregation. In June 2012, in a fitting tribute, the black Marines who fought in Saipan will be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their WWII service. President Obama signed legislation to create the nation’s 392nd national park, the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial in Concord, California, to commemorate the explosion and the men who lost their lives at Port Chicago. The PR effort was pretty successful and got coverage in newspapers, magazines, radio and tv both locally in Chicago and nationwide. (I’ll send this news release to you and a few others so you can see what history news releases look like.)
I think the most critical element of your approach to media would be to not simply describe what the book contains. You have to tell entertaining stories that are so good as to intellectually and emotionally engage the audience and capture their imagination and make them relive a piece of the history. If they like the hefty taste you give them enough, then they will want the whole set of books. The news release offers stories and photographs so as to communicate to media both the printable, audio and visual elements of the stories that can be shared so the media can easily imagine what the finished media coverage looks like and sounds like. You’ll have to be willing to let the media publish or use on TV the photos you have available for their feature stories. You might want to be the interviewee but you may also want to see if you can find family member descendants so as to enlarge the pool of people so you can add depth and greater human interest.
The next area to follow along and create a parallel outreach strategy by using Google to identify the clubs, associations, institutions, museums, events, historical societies, and other groups of people who devote considerable time and interest to all the above subject matter areas: history, the civil war, books, military, veterans, and so on. Start locally (e.g., with a search on “civil war history club + your location”) and branch out with sequential searches systematically, city by city, county by county, state by state, and so on, depending on how far you can reasonably travel offering to speak and give talks and lectures.
This will keep you busy for a while!
January 11th, 2013 by Paul Krupin
Publicity planner is a publicity calendar designed to help people identify opportunities for media coverage
Every year I create a forward-looking publicity calendar to help identify opportunities for media coverage in advance which is available in a free pdf file download.
It contains a lot of unusual holidays so that you can get creative, think ahead, and identify ways to tie-in to calendar events well in advance of the day they occur.
Here are the links to the Publicity Planner for 2013:
• Color version (the dazzling beautiful to look at edition)
http://www.directcontactpr.com/files/files/Publicitycalendar2013.pdf or http://goo.gl/MMz6N
• BW version (low ink eating printable edition)
http://www.directcontactpr.com/files/files/publicitycalendar2013bw.pdf or http://goo.gl/LLScX
Many more useful tips, articles and resources are included in the calendar. The calendar can be printed or used on your computer.
Share freely. Reach out and help the people you can help the most. Enjoy!
Happy New Year! Stay safe wherever you go!
Publicity Planner for 2013
January 4th, 2013 by Paul Krupin
Advice to politicians about how to get more and better media coverage
A political staffer for a member of Congress asked me for advice on how to get more coverage and better coverage. Here’s what I recommended:
1. Stick with the important facts and keep it short and to the point. I know that’s hard for politicians, but that’s what media want.
2. Get rid of all pithy quotes and remarks, all self-laudatory praise, any tedious, boring and useless blather, and anything you can’t prove with the facts. Nail it with style, using the smallest tool needed every time.
3. Tackle controversy head on, state your position distinctively and with precision, but avoid partisan platform brown bag advocacy, being pedantic, winey, or argumentative. Express passion and emotion when it is called for, but don’t go overboard and rant and rave. Be aware for your previous positions and explain the reasons for any change of heart, position or direction.
4. Indicate the vehicles for people to send comments, express their opinion and to provide feedback and the express an active and sincere willingness to listen to the people. You may find that funny and scary, but it really does impress people.
5. Offer media what they need to do their job (factual validation, photos, Q & A’s, interview opportunities, and visual aids). Make it fit the format of the media you are working with and make it unique for them.
6. Offer media easy access to the people that matter but not intermediaries or to people who don’t matter. Make it easy not hard to do interviews and schedule news conferences frequently. Give media the lead time they need to schedule and deploy the resources needed to give you what you want. Media coverage is valuable so use it wisely and get good at it.
7. Target the media who matter. Identify the people who will be interested and affected and pitch and feed to the media that they watch, read or listen.
January 2nd, 2013 by Paul Krupin
NY Times Favorite Book Covers
You can learn a lot about good cover design from this article.
Favorite Book Cover Designs from 2012
The value is enhanced when utilized in email html news releases.
January 2nd, 2013 by Paul Krupin
Discusses active vs. passive methods of delivering a news release
When you write a news release your goal is to get publicity – media coverage about you and your book – either an article or an interview. To do that you have to write a news release that is persuasive and interesting and then make sure it gets to media decision makers.
The technology you use to reach media decision makers has an incredible influence on the effectiveness of your outreach.
Online news release services will post a news release (a page of text and some even do multimedia pages) and then post a snippet (short description) or maybe even just a headline or a subject line with a link to the news release page and your content. Media have to search to find it and read it. The headline may be on top of the list of news releases posted for only a few minutes before another one is added to the system and then it gets pushed down as it is replaced by others. It may be accessible to media if they have signed up to receive news releases for selected keywords they are interested in. But they still may only receive an email with a list of subject lines or snippets and this may not produce a very high response.
The data you see on the reports from these services is also terribly misleading. You do not know really how many people saw your pitch, compared to how many machines or even search engine spiders actually are causing the hit. Page hits do not equal media coverage.
The meaningful measurements are:
How many media actually responded with an article or an interview;
How many review copies requested;
How many and what quality blog posts you get with links and attribution;
How many quality articles/reviews and interviews results from you then sending your book and media kit; and finally
Did you sell ultimately product and produce a return on your investment that exceeded the cost of your outreach;
The challenge with this process is that you have to communicate meaningfully with media and first persuade them to give you coverage and second, the coverage you get has to trigger action on the part of the audience.
I prefer using email html and the phone to get maximum effect when I write a news release.
This way you hit the maximum number of key media people directly with a pitch and follow up with them so you find out if they even received it, and if so what they think. If you can get them interested in getting more ideas, information and proposals from you, then the door opens. .
October 10th, 2012 by Paul Krupin
Timing and lead time on sending out a news release about a book available for review
My rule of thumb is that you can send out a news release offering books for review as long as:
1. you have books for the media to review and can ship them within a week or so of getting the request
2. the book is available for purchase on Amazon and your web site at a minimum (and maybe other places as well).
Timing is roughly based on when you want the publicity to hit taking into account the normal lead time the media needs to do what they do even if they decide to do a feature story, an interview or a book review the day your book arrives in their hands. Your web site and Amazon need to be in place and operational so you derive the financial benefit of your promotion.
Now from experience (and I do send out lots of news releases for authors and publishing companies), 95 percent of the media response to a news release transmitted by email occurs within 24 to 48 hours of delivery. Then you have to stuff a package (with a book and a copy of your news release at a minimum), send it by street mail (I recommend First Class or Priority and never media mail), then wait for delivery (five to seven days), then wait for the media to review the book or take action (review time on the book and work time to take action on your proposal for media coverage).
The minimum lead time for media is usually two to three publishing cycles. So for online media you can estimate that even once they get the book and if they read it right away, it’s one to two weeks. For daily newspapers it is two to three weeks. Same for radio. TV varies on the urgency and perceived interest but the normal lead time is three to four weeks. For magazines, the lead time if four to six months.
I recommend you transmit your news release on timed for Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday delivery. The media tend to operate on a five day work week. Saturday and Sunday they are gone. Friday tends to be a bad day because they are wrapping things up and trying to get their desk cleared before the weekend. Monday is a bad day because they are catching up from Friday and also have staff meeting and priority assignment from on high. By Tuesday, you can get the maximum attention to read and respond to your proposal and it gives the media the rest of the week to identify, allocate and deploy the resources needed to give you the type of publicity you seek.
You may think that sending an eBook will expedite reviews. Don’t make that assumption. Media seek to validate when they get a review copy. They want to make sure they recommend something good that has real value. The ebook or pdf file is too readily deleted, discarded or ignored for you to trust a media to do a quality review. The best way I know to maximize your success with media is to make a quality presentation and give them what they need to do the best job you want done. Send them a quality book, a quality pitch, photographs of the cover and the author, plus feature story quality content and value.