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Jim Cox Report: April 2013

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

Marsha Friedman of "The PR Insider" is a long time cyberspace pen pal of mine and one of the most knowledgeable women I know with respect to selling books in today's highly volatile, fiercely competitive, and ever-evolving marketplace.

With her permission I want to reprint one of her articles specifically written for the benefit of those new to the whole business of selling their books. This helpful column has also been added to the "Advice for Publishers" section of the MBR's website!


What It Does and Who Gets It

Judging from the questions I'm asked by people from every walk of life, misconceptions about publicity - what it can do and who can get it - abound.

By definition, publicity is media coverage you get because you're deemed to be of interest to an audience. If a journalist or talk show host thinks you have something valuable to share, something that will keep their audiences reading, watching or listening, they may interview you for an article, ask you to write something for their publication, or invite you to be a guest on a radio or TV show. (Important note: None of the above should be considered an invitation to hawk a product, company or book.)

The endorsement of traditional media is marketing gold to anyone trying to build a business, sell a product or get their book into more hands. Potential customers have more than ever from which to choose, but that also means more scammers to worry about. What makes one business, product or book more trustworthy and appealing than another? The endorsements of TV and radio shows, newspapers and magazines - and now, bloggers, news websites, and followers on social media, too.

When the media recognizes that you have something important to say, you gain credibility. When you have hundreds or thousands of people following you on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, you have a stamp of approval from the general public. Both give others confidence you're as good as you say you are.

So, what can publicity do for you and who can get it? Let's blow up a few myths.

Myth #1: "You have to be a big company, or a rock star, or an elected official to get publicity."

Absolutely not! The media are always looking for people who are accessible and can provide expertise and/or insights on topics in the news. TV personality and motivational speaker Suze Orman started out as an account executive for Merrill Lynch before creating her own financial company. Along the way, she published five financial advice books, which helped her gain the publicity needed to land her own show on CNBC in 2002.

Myth #2: "I'm not an expert on anything!"

Anyone with credentials - be they education, experience, or a book they've written - can become an expert source of information for the media. At EMSI, our clients include professionals such as physicians, financial advisors and educators with obvious expertise. But they also include companies that sell nutritional supplements and other products, political pundits, entertainers, authors and philanthropists ... well, you get the picture.

Myth #3: "My product (or book) isn't newsworthy."

You'd be surprised by the many ways whatever you're promoting can be newsworthy! Knowing today's issues, trends and breaking news can help you make your pitch timely and current. If you manufacture doors and home invasions are in the news, you might suggest an article or talk show segment about the safest types of doors, locks and other home security measures. If you have a novel that involves politics, religion, science or relationships, there will always be something in the news relevant to your theme. The research you did as an author qualifies you to speak to the media - it gives you insights others don't have.

Myth #4: "Small publications and broadcast markets are no help!"

Wrong! Smaller publications often have dedicated readers, whether it's a community newspaper providing hyper-local information or a niche publication devoted to a topic of intense interest for a particular group. Their audiences actually read the publications! Smaller TV and radio markets also have devoted fan bases because listeners have fewer shows from which to choose. So, not only do you talk to a loyal audience, it's also likely your interview will be longer than it would in a larger market. That gives you greater potential for making a strong impression and driving home your points.

Myth #5: "Publicity is a waste if it doesn't result in immediate sales or traffic."

Sales is a two-step process; a good PR campaign is the first step. Publicity raises awareness about you and your company, product or book, and it sets you above the crowd by giving you the implied third-party endorsement of the media. People learn your name and hear your message. They not only discover you, they're also more willing to trust in you because you've earned the confidence of media professionals. The sale is the second step. If you have a message that resonates with your audience and offers something people value, plus a website designed to convert visitors into buyers, the sales will come!

There's an oft-stated truism here at EMSI: Customers can't find you if they don't know you exist.

Publicity puts you on the map - it tells people who you are, where you are, why you're special and what you have to offer them. Without it, no matter how wonderful your business, product, book or service, people are unlikely to come looking.

See you in the news!

Marsha Friedman

P.S. If you need assistance getting valuable publicity, give us a call! We've been securing editorial coverage in newspapers and magazines and arranging interviews on radio and TV and for over 23 years. Plus, we offer a comprehensive social media marketing program for select clients, where we do it all for you.

P.P.S. You'll be happy to know we are a pay-for-performance PR firm, so we never charge a retainer and your media is guaranteed. Call our office and speak with either Steve or Damon at 727-443-7115, ext. 208. We'd love to hear from you!

Here are reviews for new titles of interest to writers, publishers, and the occasional bibliophile:

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

The Ten Commandments of Comedy
Gene Perret
Quill Driver Books
2006 South Mary
Fresno, CA 93721
9781610341266, $14.95,

Everyone loves to laugh, but the source of that laughter is more complex than one would think. "The Ten Commandments of Comedy" is an enticing look at what it truly takes to be funny as Gene Perret offers an array of advice, taking notes from comedy legends to help understand the format, timing, and other elements that can make comedy ultimately work. Sage and much recommended advice for would be comedians, "The Ten Commandments of Comedy" is a must for any writer who wants good laughs in their writing.

Forensic Speak
Jennifer Dornbush
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111
Studio City, CA 91604
9781615931316, $29.95,

Forensic Speak: How to Write Realistic Crime Dramas comes from the author's real-life experiences growing up around death investigation, and covers the forensic science key to writing a crime drama for film or television audiences. Chapters pack in some 100 film and TV examples and provide keys to understanding the underlying forensics that make crime dramas more believable, offering screen writers a host of approaches that can be incorporated into writing. Writers must know the latest information on death investigation that will lend credibility to their crime drama, and Forensic Speak covers all the possibilities and basics, both for locating present-day resources and for adopting research patterns useful to future changes in crime investigation techniques. Any crime writer must consult this reference to create successful, believable dramas.

The Writer's Journey, third edition
Christopher Vogler
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111
Studio City, CA 91604
9781932907360, $26.95,

THE WRITER'S JOURNEY: MYTHIC STRUCTURE FOR WRITERS appears in its third updated edition to provide writers and screenwriters with an analysis of the powerful relationship between mythology and storytelling. Step-by-step instructions on how to create plot and characters are based on the work of Joseph Campbell and this edition provides new observations from Vogler's ongoing research into mythology's influence on stories and movies. New material for this edition includes a revised chapter analyzing six feature films, new diagrams that better pinpoint mythic principles underlying writing and screenwriting efforts, and a new final chapter linking self-discovery with writing. The result is a fine survey highly recommended for screenwriters or general creative writers alike.

Here is "The Midwest Book Review Postage Stamp Hall Of Fame & Appreciation" roster of well-wishers and supporters. These are the generous folk who decided to say 'thank you' and 'support the cause' that is the Midwest Book Review by donating postage stamps this past month:

Vicki Hall
Mary Lash
Thora Illing
Herb Haslam
Mark Rayner
Rose Rosetree
Sonya L. Franson
Hyacinth Andersen
Joy V. Smith -- "Detour Trail"
Marilyn Bos -- "The Stray Pitch"
Aletha Solter -- "Attachment Play"
Eric Hughes -- "The Third Burden"
Kent McDaniel -- "Jimmy Stu Lives"
Reshunniece Kline -- "Scattered Letters"
Tom Guy Pettit -- "A to Z: Aardvark to Zebra"
Adam Miuer -- "When The River Ran Backwards"
Hjorids Olson -- "Faith and the Return of the Banjo"
Kathleen McMahon -- "Social Media Scams: Volume 2"
Branden Books
Retro Book Shoppe
Winston Higgins Press
Granny's Books Publishing
Denise Meyer -- Eirini Press
Mary Kaye -- Mary Kaye Music
Phoenix Publishing Corporation
Kathy Lynn -- Greta Fox Publishing
Ruth Green -- Winged Victory Press
Lisa Omstead -- Decadent Publishing
David Parker -- Darwin Bay Publishing
Margo Taft Stever -- Slapering Hol Press
Catherine Treadgold -- Coffeetown Press
Tory Hartmana -- Sand Hill Review Press
Thora Kerr Illing -- Riverswest Publishing
M. Marie Gornell -- Champlain Avenue Books
Kira Henschel -- HenschelHAUS Publishing Inc.

In lieu of (or in addition to!) postage stamp donations, we also accept PayPal gifts of support for what we try to accomplish in behalf of the small press community. Simply log onto your PayPal account and direct your kindness (in any amount and at your discretion) to the Midwest Book Review at:

SupportMBR [at]

(The @ is replaced by "[at]" in the above email address, in an attempt to avoid email-harvesting spambots.)

If you have postage stamps to donate, or if you have a book you'd like considered for review, then send those postage stamps (always appreciated, never required), or a published copy of that book (no galleys, uncorrected proofs, or Advance Reading Copies), accompanied by a cover letter and some form of publicity release to my attention at the address below.

All of the previous issues of the "Jim Cox Report" are archived on the Midwest Book Review website. If you'd like to receive the "Jim Cox Report" directly (and for free), just send me an email asking to be signed up for it.

So until next time -- goodbye, good luck, and good reading!

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI, 53575

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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