A couple weeks ago I
received a really clever pitch. Of course it made a reference to cake early on
and as Renee Zellweger’s character Dorothy says in the movie Jerry Maguire,
“Shut up, just shut up. You had me at “hello,” Stacey Miller’s pitch had
me at “cake.” Stacey, a successful book publicist, recently published 101
Recipes for Microwave Mug Cakes: Single-Serving Snacks [I also really like
alliterative titles] in Less Than 10 Minutes. Although Stacey didn’t invent the
microwave mug cake she is, she believes, its greatest fan. She learned about
the recipe as it traveled around the Web. Since Stacey could find only one
recipe she decided to create more. Here is one of my favorite quotes from her
pitch: “If there’s a quicker, less expensive, simpler, and more foolproof way
to get instant gratification in the kitchen, I can’t imagine what it would be.”
I thought that was so honest, so naturally, I invited her to participate in one
of my Allbusiness.com PR Blogger Q&As. So here we go with part three:
to me that by showing cake lovers how to have their cake and eat it, too (without
consuming an entire cake intended for, say, ten people-it’s been known to
happen) you’re doing your part to help minimize the growing problem of obesity
in this country. Is that wishful thinking on my part?
with you, Leslie. Deprivation is the surest way to binge, eventually, and blow
your diet. I have the good fortune to favor veggies, fruits, whole grains,
legumes, nuts, and that’s all good over junk food. But just try to tell me that
I can’t have a slice of cake, and that’s it—I’m eating every frozen crumb of
that Sara Lee cheesecake in two or three sittings! So, for me, the way to
maintain my weight is to indulge, in moderation, when the mood strikes me. The
concept of freshly baking a single-serving snack that wouldn’t produce
leftovers was, and is, so appealing to me, because it’s precisely the way I
want to eat, and exactly how I want to indulge myself.
also seems like more and more authors, whether they’re self-published or
published traditionally, are taking the lead on their own PR. In the past, that
was often looked down upon, but more and more people are stepping up and
promoting their own titles. Why has this happened?
Stacey: The publishing industry has shifted so much recently, as
you’ve seen. Sarah Palin is getting how big of an advance for her book? It
hurts me to even think about the figure. Real people aren’t getting those
advances. They’re not even getting publishing deals unless their books are seen
as potential blockbusters, so people are turning to self -publishing, and the
self-publishing opportunities are growing by the minute. Two of the most rewarding
book promotion projects I’ve ever been involved with were self-published books.
I took the first on at a time when there was still a stigma attached to self-publishing,
and I took the second on at a time when there wasn’t—but both books exceeded,
both in the media and in terms of book sales—my clients’ wildest expectations.
With self-publishing comes a choice. I have no in-house PR person to promote my
book, so am I going to hire a publicist? Or am I going to promote my own work?
I’ve always said that anyone can promote his or her own book given the time,
energy, and resources to build relationships with the media (and, of course,
with members of online social networks). In these tough times, many authors
have more time and talent than they do cash. That means they’re promoting their
own titles, and often, they’re doing a very good job of it. I’ve seen examples
of authors who are doing it themselves but need some guidance and, when I’m
asked, I try to help out on a friendly basis as much as possible. My Web site
is full of how-to articles, and I update my blog on a regular basis. I’ve also
self-published a book through CreateSpace (which means it’s only available from
Amazon) about how to promote, sell, and market your own book, and I’m seeing a
surge in sales of that title. You’re right: authors do want to promote their
own books. But publicists still do okay, because we bring our reputations, our
contacts, and our strategies into the mix. There’s no learning curve for us, so
we can get instant results.
Next time: part four