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Response to Publicity Doesn’t Work

Response to Publicity Doesn’t Work

Forbes just posted an opinion article “Book Promotion for Self-Publishers

http://www.forbes.com/sites/suwcharmananderson/2012/06/19/book-promotion-for-self-publishers-a-waste-of-time/

Quite a number of authors express great frustration and anguish over the fact that the publicity (book reviews, interviews, feature stories, etc). they received didn’t result in lots of book sales.

In fact several of them conclude that publicity doesn’t work.

OMG, failure certainly speaks louder than success. What a sad perspective.

Their experience with media may be due to a lot of things. But to me what appears to have happened is that whatever the media published certainly didn’t result in them “turning their people on”. I don’t see that as a reason to conclude that “Publicity Doesn’t Work”.

I see that a failure to make effective use of any number of golden media opportunities. Very simply, they didn’t turn people on.

In the middle of February, one of my clients, JJ Smith, did one interview on The Steve Harris Morning Show, and sold over 6,000 books and made it to the top of Amazon’s best seller list ahead of The Hunger Games Trilogy. Sure, it was only for 24 hours or so, but it was a single talk show interview that did it.

One of my favorite authors, Vince Flynn, did an interview with USA Today on Feb 6. He’s a best selling author of 13 books. He was asked three questions, and he spent one to two minutes more or less, answering each question. I was tickled to see how he handled the last question from the USA Today interviewer, one that he apparently had never been asked before – “What is it about your stories that brings the reader in?” BTW, it worked since I ran to the local bookstore and bought a copy.

For those of you who have worked with me, I challenge you with this very same question “what do you do that turns people on?” whenever we seek get media coverage whether it is for a review, a feature story, or an interview.

Think about what happens – just for example, when was the last time you read the newspaper or a magazine or watched TV and grabbed your credit card?

It probably doesn’t happen very often., does it? In today’s world, it may actually happen more often if you read something on a trusted blog or on a friend’s Facebook and they say, “…this is cool. You gotta have it.”

Think carefully about the times that it does happen. How did you feel? Weren’t you amazed, galvanized, and stunned? Wasn’t your attention riveted?

Well, if you want publicity or any other marcom that you create to do that, then you’d better figure out what is happening when it happens to you first. Then you have to learn what you can say and do to make it happen to others.

Realize that if you want to be a successful author you not only have to write a really good book, but when you get in front of media you need to turn your audience on. You have to learn how to do that or else people won’t respond the way you want them to.

Now I’ll share with you something I’ve learned doing publicity for a few tens of years.

I believe that you can learn to do this anywhere. I call this the miracle of the microcosm because I’ve found from working with real people, from all over the country, that it really doesn’t matter where you are. You can learn what to say that turns people on one person at a time. Yes you can.

You just have to keep talking to people and pay attention to what you said when it happens!

You can ask people at a speaking engagement to tell you. You can have a partner watch the audience and take note while you are speaking. You can record your talks and track sales or how many people raise their hand or come up to you after your talk. You’ll find hints in your reviewer comments and testimonials where people tell you why they love what you do.

The miracle is that once you learn the magic words that produce the action you want, you can then you can use all the media and other marcom technologies as a force multiplier to repeat the message and keep reproducing the effect.

In a nation with 330 million people, you have very good reason to focus on that message. Even if you are successful in reaching and converting an itsy bitsy tiny percent, you can be phenomenally successful.

Before you think that doing publicity or any other MarCom (marketing communications) technology is going to help you, you really need to learn what you can say and do that turns your people on. You need to develop a script that produces action.

Can you stand in front of 50 people and talk for three minutes so that half the people come flying out of their chairs and hand you money? That is what you need to be able to do. You need to hit their hot buttons by being the very best you can be. You need to give people a transcendental emotionally engaging experience. Learn how to do this in a small audience and then place that script into your interviews and feature story proposals.

The same is true by the way with social media. The real promise of social media is only achieved when what you’ve done is so good people rave about it to all their friends. If it’s not good enough, it’s just panned.

If you learn how to turn people on, and then use that in your targeted communications so that you help the people you can help the most, you’ll see your success with the media hit maximum levels. This isn’t easy to do. But if you are strategic and test, improve, and prove your communications systematically, it can be done.

Make sure that the content you offer is like candy. Create a recipe that tastes so good that people just can’t get enough of it. and they want the whole bag.

BTW, I’ve create a five minute, self-serve Prezi that describes how to do this process in a highly entertaining and visual way. It’s at my blog – here’s the link:

http://blog.directcontactpr.com/2012/02/getting-the-best-publicity/

Enjoy.

Magic in a Message! Creating the IrresistIble Pitch

Magic in a Message! Creating the IrresistIble Pitch

HOW DO YOU IDENTIFY AND DEVELOP THE IRRESISTIBLE PITCH?

I write a lot of blog posts on this. I call this the miracle of the microcosm.

http://blog.directcontactpr.com/index.php?s=miracle

You need to learn how to turn people on so that they come to you for more of what you are offering.

Perhaps the simplest and most powerful suggestion I can you suggest to you is that you use The 3 I Technique

a. Identify a Success Story
b. Imitate the Success Story
c. Innovate with Your Own Information

http://blog.directcontactpr.com/index.php?s=the+3+I+technique

This is a technique I recommend you experiment with. You can do this with any type of marketing communications. It basically focuses you on identifying a model of success and mimicking it as you create your own message. The idea is simple – follow in the footsteps of someone who is doing things that are successful.

You can use Google news for example on the word “troubleshooting tips” which I did for you here: http://goo.gl/gMO74

There are over 1,000 articles for you to study. Some are news releases, some are articles in newspapers and others are article in magazines and trade publications. Now your goal is to pick ONE! Find one about someone else, that is really interesting and motivates you the way you want to motivate others. This is your model success story.

Then open up your word processing program and start writing. Look at their headline, and then write your own. Then do their first sentence, then write your own. Then do their first paragraph, and write your own. You walk your way all the way through the article to the last sentence.

You may find this to be very mechanical, but guess what, it works. If for example, you use a story in USA Today as your model, and you use this technique, then you create an article that matches readership interest and editorial style on the first try. It looks like it belongs there.

And when you send it to USA Today, you maximize your chances of being successful with them because they tend to recognize when you’ve done your homework. And if it’s good enough for USA Today, then other media will respond to it as well.

Identify the successes of your competition or the authors in your genre. Study what they use to be successful and follow in their footsteps. If you are a story teller, tell stories. If you are a horror writer, scare and horrify people. If you write sci-fi, then talk about the future. Give people and experience. Engage them and let them experience something that is truly emotionally engaging. Don’t be boring. Be stimulating. Choose what you say carefully. Plan it out, test it, select and rehearse, like an actor or an actress on stage.

What you do is you talk about the ideas and concepts in your book and how it affects others. People are really only interested in things that have value to their own lives or others that they care about. That is what you must offer. I have a little poetic like formula which I wrote which describes what you need to do which goes like this:

Tell me a story
give me a local news angle (my audience!)
touch my heart (make me laugh or cry)
teach me something new
astound or amaze me,
make my stomach churn with horror or fear,
hit me in my pocketbook
or turn me on.

And you do this as many times as you can in two to three minutes.

If you study your target media and employ the 3-I technique, you will see that news coverage is largely predictable. Consumers and editors are drawn to types of stories that have worked well in the past. If you want to receive coverage, it’s important that you get familiar with these content patterns and do your best to replicate them.

The reason is simple: media publish what sells. To be in media you have to give them what they publish. Therefore to maximize your chances, you give it to them their way.

Now I’ve been doing this with clients for years and I’ve characterized the many patterns and ways media publish. The following list of most commonly featured content is derived from analyzing successful media coverage of my clients in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV:

1. A dramatic personal story that describes achievement in the face of adversity plus a little humor.

2. A problem-solving-tips article on a timely topic that shows how you can help the people that you can help the most.

3. An innovative product or service that people want because of the remarkable benefits offered.

4. A dramatic and interesting photograph that tells a 1,000-word story at a glance.

5. A new development or situation that affects lots of people in a unique way.

6. A personal battle between the forces of good and evil, or David and Goliath.

7. A truly heartwarming tale with a happy or remarkable ending.

8. New effective techniques or tactics to improving a problem or situation that is commonly faced.

9. New form of creativity that makes people feel good or experience heightened emotions.

10. A story that makes people cringe in fear, howl with delight, or experience intense desire or want.

11. An explanation of a mystery that confounds a lot of people.

12. News, analysis, and commentary on a controversial issue or topic.

13. Localized stories and media access to the local people involved.

14. Innovative and new ways to have fun, save money, help people, increase their enjoyment, protect the environment, and help them get more out of life.

15. Unusual, hot, and wacky ideas, products, activities, and situations.

16. Mouthwatering recipes, food, culinary delights, or opportunities.

17. Educational, unusual, hard-to-believe, never-before-revealed, or fascinating news, data, information, or stories.

18. Record-breaking achievements, competitions, paradoxes, dilemmas, anything that confounds the human spirit.

19. Knowledge, ideas, or information that astounds, enlightens, and inspires people to experience new feelings.

20. Remarkable little things people may not know about, that will make their dreams come true.

This is the way to make use of the miracle of the microcosm. These are weapons of mass persuasion, in part because readers and viewers know the arc of these pieces by heart. This familiarity soothes them and allows them to concentrate on the particulars of your story.

This is how you first develop and prove what you can say that turns people on and gets them to take the action you want, and then use technology as a force multiplier to repeat the message and reproduce the action you want in quantity.

If you follow my advice, please send me what you create. I’d love to see it.

Targeting the Right Media – Best questions and the most efficient process

Targeting the Right Media - Best questions and the most efficient process

How do you find the right media?

First identify your target audience. Who are they? What do they do? How do they buy products like yours? When and how? Where do they get their recommendations? Research and identify what they read, watch and listen to particularly when they are most receptive to a product or service suggestion. You can focus on reaching individuals or utilizing media because of the credibility and audiences they can reach for you. Here’s a checklist of prime media:

Daily and weekly newspapers
Magazine & Trade Publications
News services & syndicates
Radio and TV stations, shows & networks

Then you have the online media:

Blogs
Columnists
News Web Sites
Online Version
Forums
Mailing Lists
Discussion groups
Audio Podcasts/Photo/Video Sharing Sites
Social Networking Sites

While you want to assemble a list of newspapers, magazines, radio stations, TV programs, news services, syndicates, and Internet media that will help you reach your target audience, bear in mind that these aren’t the only places that people congregate. Here’s a list of non-media venues you ought to consider:

Interest Groups
Associations
Clubs
Institutions
Foundations
Support Groups
Churches/Synagogues
Trade shows/conferences

Since I’m a publicist, I use a licensed media database to do this and I create custom lists for client outreach efforts.

But you can scratch the surface yourself using the Internet and make use News Search Engines and searchable free online media directories to search by key word to identify articles and media that you want to contact and pitch your own articles to. You can use the specialized search tools at Facebook, Twitter, and other MEDIA” just as easily and you can develop pitches that are properly formatted and designed to be appropriate for those technologies. The challenge will be reaching enough of them and being persuasive with them so you get your message published in enough places.

Dealing with Media Rejection – How to Turn a No Into a Yes

How to turn a rejection from media into an acceptance and feature story media coverage

OK, you send out a news release.

You asked for a review, a feature story or an interview. You gave them options, incentives, access to data, photos, people.

They said NO! Is it all over? Is that all there is? Has the door to opportunity slammed in your face?

I don’t think so.

No rarely means No. It usually means not now. It means maybe later.

But it is up to you to figure out what do do.

And what you do is simple: You make another proposal. You offer to send another idea. You say, how about i call you back in two hours (after your deadline has passed).

Always pitch back another idea for something else. Never let the conversation stop. Take the action and get them to say yes to something that keeps the conversation going.

Media people have a job to do. Maybe your proposed idea just didn’t fit in with their needs or maybe they think it will take more time and effort than they can give. As them “Is there something I/We can do to make this more attractive? Is there more information we can send to you.”

If they still say no, ask them “How about something totally different? What about this idea instead?”

Ask them “What would you like to see us present to you?”

Find out what the media wants. Then give them what they need and make it easy for them to work with you.

That’s how you’ll get respect from media for being a valued contributor and a working professional they can trust and rely upon to help them do their job.

That’s how you’ll close more deals and get more of what you want, too.

Publicity Planner for 2012

Publicity Planner for 2012 - free pdf file download

Publicity Planner for 2012

Every year I create a forward-looking publicity calendar to help identify opportunities for people 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’s the link to the Publicity Planner for 2012:

http://www.directcontactpr.com/files/files/PublicityCalendar2012.pdf

• Snip URL: http://goo.gl/YtBUi

Share freely. Enjoy!

The Multiple Publicist Question

The Multiple Publicist Question

How do you manage several publicists at one time? Some clients are pretty well funded. Others simply seek to get the job done and the publicist they hire, doesn’t do everything they want or need done. How do clients handle this?

I have never really before had a conflict while working with a client who has multiple PR people on a project. I’ve worked with big firms and other specialty publicists. It happens a lot with several of the big name publishers. When I work with HCI and Thomas Nelson, for example, they always has one or more big PR firms working, plus an internal publicist, and they hire me to do what I do best all at the same time. It seems that we all do different things.

When any of us gets a fish nibbling on the line, the trick then is to reel them in and get them in the net. Even when a media receives proposals from two or more different people, they will usually call up the one that strikes their fancy and not both. I’ve never been asked “who’s in charge”, since the client really is. The key is to get the right content to the media from the right person (THE CLIENT) so that the media gets what they need to do the job we want done, and the coverage we all hope for is indeed achieved. There are so many media people, we rarely even hit the same people from one day to the next. THE CLIENT needs to be engaged to fully integrate things at the top and on the way across the finish line, especially on the big plays. The publicists need access to the clients schedule for interviews, and answers to key questions, and they need to respond appropriately and fast. Media will not wait very long, and the window of opportunity closes unless they get what they need.

My specialty is my copywriting (which focuses on the content we offer to media for publication and interviews) and how I target, reach and interact with the right media, project by project. I create my own targeted media lists, transmit and make selected phone calls. The goal is to get reviews, feature stories, and interviews. We try to get as many as we can and of the best quality. Results vary. I typically go beyond the book seeking to get galvanizing feature stories that strike wide interest. These types of dialogs outsell book reviews by far. So even when we pitch one thing, we offer media the opportunity to do it their way. This creates new ideas and opens the doors to content development that pushes us into new areas of intellectual pursuit.

Other PR people come up with different content, proposals, and media lists. They will more or less stay within the confines of the core content associated with the book. Some PR people have better success within a certain genre of literature, certain types of products, a certain category of media, or industry, or blogs, or social media, or other types of Internet media, while others develop radio and TV better, and others focus only on top tv. You may not know till you see where people strike a chord and achieve success. Costs and what people actually do also varies significantly.

The client and the PR people should be introduced by phone or email and the methods or media coverage plans should be shared, since it helps to communicate openly. It’s helpful for all those involved to know a little about what others on the team are doing. I am happy to share always. But it’s really not necessary to force a detailed involved coordination to try to create a dominant/subservient competitive system, since it’s not helpful towards the achievement of success. You just need to hire people, delegate a job to them, get out of their way, and let them do what they are best at.

The crucial thing is to stay connected to those who are pitching so you learn what works, and then pass the word once you learn what chord to strike back to everyone, so that the whole level of effectiveness rises.

When you learn what works, then you do more of it, and you stop doing what doesn’t work.

The cost of a publicist covers the actions needed to produce the results you want. There are lots of options for someone who needs publicity to consider from doing it yourself all the way to simply hiring someone to do it all for you. The choices range in cost from as low as the cost of acquiring a custom database all the way to hiring a full service PR, firm, or a pay-for-performance firm, all the way to hiring an in-house publicist.

Now I operate a task based service that allows people to select and deploy the simplest and most intelligent actions. For most authors and publishers this is a one-time project that involves identifying the target audience, figuring out how to galvanize them, crafting one or more news releases, creating the right custom media list to present this message to the maximum number of right people, sending them any and all additional materials the media then needs to do their job, and then calling them to persuade media who have not decided to do what you are hoping for to try to persuade them to give you the publicity and media coverage you seek.

Other publicists and PR firms do similar actions and charge more and less to do these things. But there are many different types of fee arrangements by which can acquire publicity services. You should study the differences when you make your decision and do so recognizing specifically what you will get for the money you pay.

Here’s a link to an article I wrote titled:

“Evaluating the Range of Publicity Tactics and Publicity Options”

http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=41

There’s a second article that talks about how to get the most out of whichever type of publicity service you choose titled:

“Super Client! Getting the Most Out of Your Publicists and Copywriters”.


http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=42

Hope this helps. Questions anyone?

Getting more publicity in newspapers means going beyond the book pages

Strategies and tactics for getting beyond the book review pages

One of my clients expressed her frustration in getting her local paper to give her coverage for a children’s book. Her local paper was The New Orleans Time’s Picayune.

I offer up some of the techniques I use to help identify how to increase your chances of being successful with them and other newspapers and media who cover children’s books.

Use the 3 I Technique and the newspapers’ own search engine.

The 3 I Technique consists of 3 steps:

1. Identify a Success Story (and use this for a model for your own pitch).

2. Imitate It (line by line).

3. Innovate It (with your own information).

Now go to the target media that you want to be in.

I went to Nola.com since this is where you want to be, but you could use Google News, USAToday.com, the NY Times, or any media that you want to target.

Now search on your key words: children’s book

I used the singular (book) to capture both articles that use ‘children’s book’ and ‘children’s books’

Here’s the search:

http://search.nola.com/children%27s+book?date_range=m11

The first set of results included several years’ worth of articles so I used the advanced search engine option to narrow the results to the past 18 months only.

Now start studying the articles. Look to see what the editors write and publish, who the journalists are, what the articles contain in the way of information about the books, the authors, and their stories.

Make a list of the key content you see and realize that this list reveals both the editorial style and readership interests of the media you are studying.

Now use the 3 I Technique and start writing headlines, leads, sentences, paragraphs, and ends that mimic the articles you see.

If you use this process carefully, when you get through you have created a draft article that will very likely have all the characteristics of a feature story that looks like it came right out of the media you are using. You’ve done this on the first try without much pain at all.

Now polish it up and turn it into a news release. Send it to your target media.

You can also now use this same news release and send it to a custom targeted media list of other media.

There are about 2200 media that you can pitch that will consider stories about children’s books and authors in the US and Canada.

This is one of the best ways I know to be successful when you try for reviews and stories.

If all you do is seek a book review, you are narrowing your chances of getting media coverage. Book reviews occupy a very small portion of the overall publication. You have far greater opportunity for media coverage if you expand your horizons and look at other sections of the publications you seek to be in.

To avoid the risk and stigma of being classified as a self-publisher and experiencing the negative response associated with such a determination, you must first make sure that your book has the quality and content of a professionally produced product. This is a given.

Assuming it passes muster, then you must then bring into your pitch for media coverage, news angles and story content that goes well beyond what is covered on the book review pages. You must be totally aware of the type of news, educational information, entertainment information, and human interest data that is used in the other parts of the media publication (or tv or radio show) that you want to be in. Then you must consciously and strategically array and incorporate this type of data and information into your news release.

If you look over the stories in the NOLA search you will see that they do appear to be quite discriminating in what they choose to publish. But there are media coverage opportunities you can aim at. The big area of opportunity appears to be in local book events with a strong community involvement element.

To maximize your chances, you must identify the topics and the content of the articles that you see and then propose and present comparable content.

Now there is a diversity of content demonstrated in the articles. Learn from them. Identify from these articles the characteristics and information that is deemed newsworthy and do your best to present comparable information about yourself.

Just realize that no matter what you do, the media you are pitching to may still have a standard for “celebrity” that may be very difficult indeed to achieve. In the case of NOLA, if you look over the articles they publish on children’s book authors, you will see that the “celebrity” standard is indeed quite high indeed. In the past year, it does not appear that they have even written on article about a local author unless he or she was indeed a best seller or had “national celebrity” status.

You may think that you deserve to be there, but these media may simply still decide that you do not have what they are looking for to justify the coverage to their audience. Accept it and move on. Don’t get in a slump over the media you can’t please. They are making editorial decisions that keep them thriving economically as publishers. Realize that they are very sensitive to the character of their articles and editorial coverage. There are economic reasons that force them to maintain rather strict policies on what they can publish, so as to avoid any loss of revenue. The “self-publishing stigma” is one of those areas. Imagine the consequences of giving media coverage to low quality books. Understand what happens to subscriptions and advertising revenue if the audience decides, that was a pretty poorly done book you wrote about. The quality of the paper goes down if the quality of the content fails to stay at the levels that the paying audience expects and demands. So realize and understand the plight of your fellow publishers. They too are trying to stay alive publishing.

My advice is to try your best, allow yourself to fail, and move on. Stay focused on working with the media that will allow you to reach the people that matter the most to you. Like my client Andy Andrews says “what you focus on get bigger”.

So focus on getting beyond the book pages. Use the 3 I technique to bring your proposal up to the caliber and style of the media you want to be in.

Then present it to that media and all sorts of other similar media who will be interested in this sort of content. You will find that when you use these techniques to create a quality media proposal that contains the type of information, you will see other media respond to that quality content as well.

You can use this combination of tactics any time to maximize your media coverage and success.

Go for it!

Publicity Planner for 2011

Publicity Planner for 2011

Every year I create a forward-looking publicity calendar to help identify opportunities for people which is available in a free pdf file download.

It contains a lot of unusual holidays so that you can really get creative and think up ways to tie-in to calendar events well in advance of the day they occur.

Here’s the link:

Publicity Planner for 2011
http://www.directcontactpr.com/files/files/Publicitycalendar2011.pdf


Enjoy!

Quick advice for experts and professionals on how to maximize publicity and media coverage

Quick advice for experts and professionals on how to maximize publicity and media coverage

You are a natural problem solver filled with good advice.

This is the core approach you need to take when branding and promoting. You simply need to decide to help the people you can help the most, with each and every bit of outreach that you do.

Select the biggest upcoming problem that’s on the horizon and then solve it, offering an article and interviews.

This is what will carry you forward and propel media coverage. It will also carry your books, products and services along with it.

Make sure that the content you offer is like candy. It tastes so good that people want the whole bag.

Bet you can’t eat one!

Landslide PR Success Story – Get out there and help the people you can help the most

Lessons learned from a landslide PR success for a self published author

I can’t take 100 percent credit for delivering this landslide of publicity, because all I did was provide guidance, counsel and help along the way. What I did was just one of the many things the author did that helped set the situation up so that it could happen. It took several months of consistent, dedicated, concerted team effort for this to happen. Lots of faith, blood, sweat and tears, several people, and then of course, karma and luck.

About six months ago, I started working with a Houston based new self published author D. Ivan Young on his book Break Up, Don’t Break Down.

When the book first came out he did a lot of social media marketing and sought to do a bunch of radio talk shows. He did quite a few blog talk radio shows for the first month. Then I transmitted a news release outreach and he got about 30 book review requests, several additional blog radio interviews and some prime media interviews around the nation.

Then last week he was called and interviewed for a story by an AP reporter who was doing independent research for a story about a particularly viscious and very well reported celebrity breakup about two of the people on “The Bachelor” one of the prime time reality TV shows. He had searched on Google and found Derek and his website, his book and links to his recent media coverage and interviews. The reporter called and got an expert quote from the author, the only book author quoted in the article.

The article came out in the Associated Press on July 4. It then showed up in over 1,000 media overnight.

If you do a Google Search in quotes like this:

“D Ivan Young” and “The Bachelor”

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22D%20Ivan%20Young%22%20and%20%22The%20Bachelor%22&hl=en&ned=us&tab=nw

On July 6, it revealed 1,010 stories – although this will go up and down from here out.

The Google News Search a few minutes later on the same words in quotes shows the link to the AP story and the New York Daily News story and 768 similar stories. This will fade away over the next few weeks.

A grand slam homerun as regards publicity for him and his book. He is quoted saying some remarkably intelligent things about relationships (I’m talking about a guy talking about relationships here, really a regular guy talking about relationships!) and his book is named.

All I could do is say something banal and boring and maybe sing a bar from that song by Neil Sedaka over forty years ago, that breaking up is hard to do.

Duh.

Lessons learned:

Get out there and help the people you can help the most.

Get media experience doing interviews (all types of interviews) and be sincere, authentic, energetic, expert, and knowledgeable about your subject.

Be prepared – because you never know who is going to call.

Persist! Don’t ever give up.

Congratulations to D. Ivan Young.