Authors, Musicians & PR’s Brave New World

Yes, the music industry has changed and in many ways it’s more challenging than ever before, but with change comes new opportunities.  Success can still be had by those who work to create it.  The traditional major label options aren’t as great and as varied as they were when the Stones or Madonna or REM initially made their marks, but there are now new and different ways to succeed, develop an audience and build a strong career

It’s not only the music industry that has been stood on its head by the internet.  The worlds of publishing, film and TV are also reeling.   In the past authors expected to sign a publishing deal, get an advance and then prepare for a book tour.  Well times have changed.  Fewer and fewer publishing houses are investing in tours unless it’s for one of their reigning literary superstars.  So whereas more and more musical acts are back on the road and touring, fewer and fewer authors are out there meeting the public and bookstore owners.  Book tours are more important than many realize.  They are about making connections with individual stores, store owners and managers.  Even those inevitable signings that end up with a handful of people in the audience can be beneficial, if a relationship is forged between the writer and a bookseller.  Making it even more challenging is the fact that bookstores themselves are facing some of the roughest times they’ve ever encountered. Independents are falling by the wayside; Borders is gone and Barnes & Noble is doing all that it can to simply survive.

As with all types of intellectual property, book sales are being hit hard.  The model that worked so well only a few years ago, is now broken. Still, in both music and publishing as the old models begin to falter, new avenues and opportunities are surfacing.  For musicians and authors that take their careers and their works into their own hands there is a new world of opportunity out there.

The tough part here is that artists either have to become marketers, or they have to hire PR and marketing firms to handle their promotional needs for them.  Particularly in the fields of art and entertainment, marketing cannot be looked at as a luxury.  Marketing, particularly media relations, is a necessity.  The upside to the internet is that every area of interest has its own bloggers and social media sites.  Savvy authors and musicians are using social media, blogging, and article marketing to create an inbound marketing funnel for their books CDs and music downloads.  Some are launching and investing in their own tours, others are offering online events.  Those that are truly savvy are launching traditional public relations campaigns to reach their target market, establish themselves as experts in their field and gain the validation and legitimacy of being in the news.    With the right buzz both musicians and authors can with a bit of creativity generate their own sales and build their fan base, and establish their own successful careers.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

Making Money in an Economic Downturn

Recession. Economic downturn. Tough economic times. Makes you want to hide under the covers until the storm passes, right? Maybe, but that’s the wrong approach. Let’s move from fear to facts. A number of studies show that companies that continue or increase their marketing and public relations efforts during tough economic times consistently outperform those who slash their marketing efforts during rough times.

Think about it. If most companies are reacting in a turtle-like fashion and hiding in their shells until the sun comes out again, there’s less competition out there; less companies are launching PR campaigns, fewer are reaching the public with effective marketing efforts. Suddenly you have media outlets that are looking for stories, particularly some good non-doom and-gloom stories. If you’re a savvy business person you know this and understand that this is precisely the time you can have a greater impact and get a bigger bang for your buck. So, look at tough times as your chance to reach your target market and build your business.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2008
For further information visit:
http://www.AnthonyMora.com

My Book’s Self-Published Can I still get Media Coverage?

When it comes to media placement, it just doesn’t matter anymore whether your book is published by a major house or is self-published. In the last few years, only once have I come across an objection to running a story because an author’s book was self-published.

A few years back a story we pitched was rejected by CNN, because the author we were
pitching had self-published his book. We pitched it three times and received three passes.
Well, we had also been working on other media fronts, and a few weeks later called back
explaining that the author and his book had been featured in both Newsweek and USA Today. Three hours later we received another call from CNN stating that they had thought it over and wanted to move forward with a segment. The author was interviewed on CNN. The moral is, if you get a “no,” keep working it and offering different angles until you turn that “no” into a “yes.” A self-published author’s real struggle has to do with distribution and marketing. When it comes to media relations, if you do it right, you can play in the same ballpark as the majors. As a matter of fact, I sometimes think that self-published writers fare better than their house-published counterparts because they are under no illusions. They don’t assume that some big entertainment conglomerate is going to use all of its muscle and turn their book into an overnight sensation. They realize that if success is going to happen, they’d better get to work, and fast. Your book was written to be read. Use the magic of the media. Get it out there.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2008
For further information visit:
http://www.AnthonyMora.com

Pitch the Story, Not Your Book

So, here’s where publishers and I usually differ, whereas most publishers pitch the book, I prefer to pitch the author. I have had quite a few heated discussions with publishers about this approach. I understand their perspective, they published the book and that’s what they want to promote. The only problem with that approach is that it’s wrong. Pitch your book and you have a certain number of stories and media hooks, pitch yourself, your life experiences, your anecdotal stories and your book and you’ve suddenly broadened the bulls eye.

Remember, when it comes to landing media coverage, it still all comes back to the media hook, to offering them a strong story. It’s the story that will interest the press. Don’t simply send out your book and information to the media, thinking that they’ll be so knocked out by your writing or the book’s subject matter that they’ll be clamoring to interview you. It seldom works that way. Develop hooks and story ideas that you can use to spotlight your book. If your book is non-fiction or a how-to this becomes a much easier task. We have represented authors who have written books on fashion, beauty, health, relationships, sex, and a variety of other topics. Even though we focus on the books in our campaigns, we do not limit ourselves to the book exclusively. Our objective remains the same: to establish our clients as experts in their field. The book becomes a part of the story, but it never defines the entire campaign. If you can place an article in a magazine or a segment on a talk show that revolves specifically around your book, you’ve hit pay dirt. But that’s not always an easy task. Certainly pitch your book as one of your hooks, but don’t limit your campaign. Come up with other story ideas which can include your book, but do not revolve specifically around it.

For example, we worked with a psychotherapist who wrote a book on how to save a troubled marriage. Although we included the book in all of our pitches, the focus remained on the psychotherapist’s expertise in relationship issues. We pitched the women’s magazines and talk shows, relationship-oriented stories in which our client could appear as an expert. The media reacted well to our pitches and interviews were scheduled. Although some of the stories were about marriages and romantic relationships, others were about other types of relationships, such as parent child relationships or sibling relationships. Even though those issues did not
revolve specifically around the topic of our client’s book, she could expertly address them. When she appeared on talk shows, our client was introduced as the author of her book and was asked questions about her book during the interview. Although the shows themselves did not always revolve around the book, the book and client were always highlighted. If we had insisted on segments or articles that only featured or revolved around the book, we would have severely limited the media opportunities. We were branding her as an expert. Whenever she was interviewed, she discussed her book, which garnered her book more coverage and led to more media specifically focused on her book. The approach worked.

So, broaden your media horizons. Make a list of all the potential story ideas about you, your journey and your book and start writing again – writing press releases that is.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2008
For further information visit:
http://www.AnthonyMora.com

I’ve Published a Book – When do I get on Oprah

So you finally did it. You wrote that book you’ve been threatening to write, sent it to
publishers, amassed a mountain of rejection slips, but finally found that right publisher. Your manuscript was accepted. You’re going to be a published author. Great – you can now turn your attention to your next book. Your first book’s finished; your publisher will take care of everything from here on out. You’re Oprah segment is just a matter of time, right? Surprise!

At my firm, we run the gamut when it comes to representing authors, from self-published, first-time writers to writers who have landed multi-book deals with major publishers and, I am sad to report, the one common link among all the authors we work with is that, unless they are already household names, few seem to receive much support from their publishers.

It would be easy to blame the publishing company’s media relations departments, but most publishing companies have slashed their in-house staffs and their publicists are overloaded. Every month, up to thirty books are dumped on a couple of in-house publicists. It’s an impossible task. And unless you have name recognition or have written a shocking expose that the entire world is waiting to read, chances are you and your book will get lost in the shuffle.

Whether you are self publishing or are publishing your book through a major house, this is one instance where I strongly recommend you hire an outside PR firm that understands book media relations to implement your campaign. This is one time you don’t have the luxury of learning as you go. You need to launch an effective campaign even before it’s published. If you want to have it reviewed, you need to send a copy of your book, or the galleys, to reviewers, often as long as three months before the publication date. Once it’s published, you immediately want to hit the local media, the talk shows, and the national press. One area you definitely want to focus on is national and regional radio outlets. There are hundreds of regional and local radio talk shows and current event-oriented programs that feature books and authors. These interviews are almost always conducted over the phone. You can be at home in your bathrobe, discussing your book, while thousands of people listen.

Even if you are publishing with a major house, I suggest that you approach your book’s PR launch as though you’re self publishing your book. View your publisher primarily as a printer and distributor and assume that all of the responsibility for securing publicity for your book rests firmly on your weary shoulders. Try to convince your publisher to pay for at least two to three months worth of outside media relations. If your publisher launches a campaign for you, that’s great, but don’t count on it doing a heck of a lot. You don’t have the luxury of being wrong. If you assume the media relations will be done for you and it’s not, by the time you discover your error it will be too late. You’ll keep waiting for the phone to ring and for that Oprah segment to magically appear. Take your PR campaign into your own hands. If possible, hire an outside firm to handle your campaign for you. You finally have your book. Make the most of it. Don’t miss your window of opportunity.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2008
For further information visit:
http://www.AnthonyMora.com

Utilizing Your Press Coverage

Too many people only look for the immediate results that a magazine article, radio interview, or TV segment can bring. In this simplistic equation, if a story brings in business or, at the very least, inquiries from prospective clients, it was a success, and, if it did not, it was a failure. A story that doesn’t bring in immediate response is not utilized further, then indeed it is a failure, but that is due to the person who implemented the campaign. There are countless ways in which you can effectively utilize copies of articles or tapes of programs you have appeared in. This media can be like gold if utilized properly. But this is where you really have to do both work and homework. This is the one area where, even if you have hired a media relations firm, you’re on you own.

Most firms will place you in the media and use your media appearances to interest other media outlets in interviewing you. But don’t rely on a media relations firm to fully maximize the various ways that your media can help your business or career grow. Be inventive and creative and to effectively utilize your media in as many ways as possible. Copy the article, video, or audio tape and send it out when the media requests further information on you. Update your biography to include your most recent media appearances. When writing or talking to the media, let them know about other segments or articles you have appeared in. Mention your media in your ads, flyers, newsletters, and brochures. Review your articles and interviews, and look for any particularly impressive quotes about you or your business that you can highlight in your ads or marketing.

If you have a staff or employees, teach them to use the media you have been featured in their pitches or conversations to both clients, and prospective clients. Teach your employees to utilize your media. If they are talking to a prospective client, patient, or customer, it never hurts to have them mention that you, your product, or services were featured in a magazine or TV program. Work with them; come up with ways to weave your media appearances into their conversations and discussions.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2008
For further information visit:
http://www.AnthonyMora.com

That’s What Makes Media Magic

What truly makes this process magical is that when you appear in the media, regardless of how big or how small the outlet, you never know who’s going to see it or what opportunity is going to come your way because of it. A local Los Angeles-based newspaper once ran a story on my company, which elicited almost no response. I was a bit disappointed, but it was a great article and made for a wonderful tear sheet to use in my media package. A few weeks later I received a call from an author in Florida who had been sent a copy of the article and wanted to hire us. Florida? In three weeks I had not received one call from the Los Angeles area in response to the article, and here I was receiving a call from Florida. Apparently a friend of the author, who lives in Southern California, had seen the piece and mailed it to her. The author explained that the article, which focused on my firm’s ability to place clients on national talk shows, interested her. Her book was about to be published, and she wanted to appear in the national media, especially talk shows. She signed with us, and we were able to launch a very
successful campaign for her. Our relationship with the author led to a relationship with her publishing company, which resulted in us working with other authors they represented. So, even though, the article only brought us one phone call, that one call was a great one. Because of that one piece, we developed a working relationship not only with the author, but with her publisher. The article also served as a great tear sheet which I can send to other media outlets as well as to prospective clients. So look at the big picture when viewing your public relations campaign. You never know who is going to see or read a particular story, and if you don’t do the interviews and utilize your press, you never will.

You’re Placing a Story Where?

Every client’s happy when we place them on the Today show or Oprah or in Newsweek, but they’re not quite as overjoyed when we place them on an Internet TV outlet or in an obscure magazine. I know there are times my clients find my choice of media placements bewildering. The media outlets are too small, too insignificant, too obscure. They don’t reach the client’s direct target market. Why do it? There will be no response. It’s a waste of time and money.

Not really. We place the stories, because we know that we can use them to our advantage. We can use that media coverage, to help garner other coverage, to help land more articles and other TV interviews. It’s important to have a broad perspective and see the whole picture. The process isn’t as obvious as it may seem at first glance. Instead of just asking if a particular story will bring in immediate clients or calls, ask yourself if that story will help you garner other media, or if will it be useful to you in your overall marketing plan. If you look at it from that perspective, you’ll soon start to see that press coverage, whether large or small, can all be of use to help build a powerful and effective media campaign.

Even When it Works; There’s More Work

Let’s suppose an article has the exact effect that you’re hoping for. The phones are
ringing day and night. Both your business and your bank account are flourishing. Success! Now you can forget about that story and move on. No. No. No. Whether the article elicits a negligible response or a huge response, you still need to work it. This is where most people fail to understand the process. Because their short-term goals were met, they stop in mid process and neglect their long-term goals.

My first public relations firm specialized in representing clients in the entertainment field. We were once retained by a young actress who perfectly illustrated this point. She had been a regular in a prime time TV series. The series had been canceled, and she wanted to do more film work. During the time that the series was on TV, she had received a mountain of press, including stories in People, The Los Angeles Times and Entertainment Tonight, but when I asked to see copies or video of some of her media, she just stared at me. She hadn’t kept any. While she had been on the series, the media exposure had accomplished its short term work, keeping her in the public eye, and that’s all she had been concerned with. She never looked at her long term goals. The media coverage she had received was worth its weight in gold, but she didn’t see it. You don’t need to be in the entertainment industry to learn from her mistake. When it comes to launching an effective, ongoing public relations campaign, you not only need to see the forest but the trees, grass, and bushes, as well as all the furry animals along the way.

Effectively Working Your Media Coverage

When an article is published or TV segment runs. That’s not the end of it. You need to work it. Become the story’s distributor – and I mean distributor in the most basic sense – circulate your story, spread the word, mention the story in your biography and fact sheet, use it when pitching other stories, let other media outlets know that you were featured in the article. Duplicate it and use it as a press sample. Use quotes from the story in your mailers, newsletters, ads, and marketing to help you cement your existing client base. If you have employees, distribute it through your company as a form of internal publicity. If used correctly, you can turn this media coverage into a most powerful marketing tool.

It’s important to understand exactly how media relations works. By understanding the process, you make it a cumulative, ongoing process. Media begets media. You can turn an initial opportunity into ongoing media coverage. Be creative. Make a list of the various ways you can utilize your media, from ads and newsletters to placing framed copies of articles in you window or office. Don’t waste opportunities due to short sightedness. Be imaginative, inventive. Think outside of the box.

For further information visit:
http://www.AnthonyMora.com

If You Don’t Run this Story; I’m Taking it to Your Competition

How many people do you know that react well to threats or ultimatums? The media is no different. When pitching the press, you are trying to position yourself as a media resource or an ally, and an ally does not issue threats. You want the media to understand that you can help meet their needs by giving them interesting stories. You are not going to make your story more interesting to a newspaper editor or TV producer by threatening to take your story to his or her competitor.

If your story is hot or timely, and various media outlets are pursuing you, by all means, use that interest to your advantage. Inform the media outlets that there are others interested and that you need to make a decision as soon as possible. Try to negotiate the best coverage you can. But, even in that situation, you never want to threaten the media.

If you can convince the media that you have an interesting story that meets their needs and that you are an expert in the field, the media will feature you. Those are your primary objectives. You can threaten, scream, cry, and badger the media, but all you are going to do is alienate them. Plenty of people do these things every day. Of course, you’ll never see them in the media.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2008
For further information visit:
http://www.AnthonyMora.com

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