Is There An Urgency To Your Book Publicity?

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By Brian Feinblum, Senior Vice President and Marketing Officer

 

Benjamin Franklin, who seemingly invented everything –the post office, lighting rod, bifocals, odometer, and a stove to name a few– once said words to the effect of “Don’t put off until tomorrow what can be done today.” He was not a procrastinator, but rather a curious, diligent, creative, and assertive individual who was driven by a passion for words, freedom, learning, and succeeding at any endeavor he put his mind to. He always seemed to act with a sense of urgency.

That’s how he got so many things done, like founding a library, firehouse, and democracy in America. He was an author, a publisher, and a great man of ideas and beliefs that still drive our nation to this very day.

Do your book marketing and publicity efforts have an urgency attached to them? Do you act as if you must do it today and not wait until tomorrow? You have to work at marketing and promoting a book – every day in every way. Complacency, laziness, and slowness are not the attributes of a successful person in any industry and certainly not in the book publishing arena.

Time can’t be lost to planning, researching, experimenting, deciding, or reviewing what to do. You simply must do – every day. Action taken is what positions you for success – not the contemplation of action. Way in advance of your book’s publication is the time to strategize, explore your options, and brainstorm. But at some point you need to get out of school and into the real world. And once you do, you must work hard at whatever you seek to create.

Treat each day as being special. Pace yourself so that you have enough time to execute your daily book marketing to-do-list. Each day, have a certain number of things that MUST be done. Then, have a list of other things that COULD be done – if time permits. No matter how little or much you do today, wipe the slate clean for a fresh start tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after that.

Authors need to be industrious, scrappy, and aggressive when it comes to book marketing. You need to do what others won’t, can’t, don’t know to do, don’t know how to do. You must keep an eye on the prize and continually take steps to finish what is a marathon. Voyeuristic authors won’t get far. No time to stand on the sidelines and just observe, hope, or bet on a wrong strategy. You need to dig in and keep shoveling until you hit pay dirt – or find your hole is just too big to get out of.

Remember Ben Franklin. He didn’t just stop with one achievement. He willed himself to keep meeting new challenges. Maybe Franklin didn’t have modern-day distractions to contend with; but he certainly could have pacified himself with the pleasures of his day and not pursued his work as heartily as he did.

Look into yourself and connect with the inner entrepreneur, the inner winner who wants to make his or her book a success. It’ll take time, money, luck and disciplined effort.

You can do it – but only if you keep at it.

 

 

Related: 27 Tips to Help You Pitch the Media

 

 

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What’s In Your Goodreads Queue?

By Adrienne Fontaine, Publicist

I very rarely buy books online. I’d rather support the few independent bookstores that are left in my neighborhood and the local Barnes & Noble. One of the things I do like about Amazon is Goodreads, the virtual book club. Real-life book clubs are hard to maintain; people have unreliable schedules, busy lives, and things happen. Goodreads is great because, most of the time, you’re not reading the same book as your friends (or “followers”). Everyone maintains their own libraries, with bookshelves full of books they’ve either read, are reading, or want to read. People review and rate them, and also have the option of sharing their activity on their social media feeds. I love seeing what my friends who live far away are reading, what they’ve loved, and what they didn’t like at all. I’m usually surprised when someone gives two stars to a book I rated as a four, or vice versa. And it comes in handy when I share similar tastes with someone and see that they gave a book a poor rating or review. I generally don’t waste my time, based on their feedback.

It’s fun to talk about books you’ve read, but it’s even more fun to talk about books you want or plan on reading. The Goodreads “To-Read” resource is handy for keeping track of those, allowing you to build a list which you can reference when you’re in the bookstore. Here are some books that are in my “to-read” list (descriptions and pictures all from Barnes&Noble):

 

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The Duel, by Anton Chekhov

“The escalating animosity between two men with opposed philosophies of life is played out against the backdrop of a seedy resort on the Black Sea coast.” – Click on the link for more.

 

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Lizz Free or Die, by Lizz Winstead

“Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show and one of today’s most hilarious comedians and insightful social critics, pens a brilliant account of how she discovered her comedic voice.”

 Goodreads3

Talking to Ourselves: A Novel, by Andrés Neuman

“Three narratives–of father, son, and mother—each embody one of the different ways that we talk to ourselves: through speech, through thought, and through writing. While neither of them dares to tell the complete truth to the other two, their individual voices nonetheless form a poignant conversation.”

 

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Skippy Dies, by Paul Murray

“With a cast of characters that ranges from hip-hop-loving fourteen-year-old Eoin “MC Sexecutioner” Flynn to basketballplaying midget Philip Kilfether, packed with questions and answers on everything from Ritalin, to M-theory, to bungee jumping, to the hidden meaning of the poetry of Robert Frost, “Skippy Dies “is a heartfelt, hilarious portrait of the pain, joy, and occasional beauty of adolescence, and a tragic depiction of a world always happy to sacrifice its weakest members.”

 

 

Related: Meet Our MC Team: Adrienne Fontaine

 

 

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Leading with Your Legacy in Mind: Q&A with Dr. Andrew Thorn

By Cori Cagide, Associate Publicist

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A client of mine recently inspired me to rethink the concept of legacy. It got me thinking – what will I leave behind when I’m gone? Will I have made a difference? One very important aspect of “legacy” that he helped me to realize is that whether you’re approaching graduation, blossoming at the peak of your career, or gearing up for retirement, legacy is something that can be established at any age. In his book, Leading with Your Legacy in Mind: Building Lasting Value in Business and in Life, business coach and psychologist Dr. Andrew Thorn shows us how to use and manage our time to our advantage so that we’re ultimately working toward our creating our legacy.

 

To better understand this idea of legacy, I had a Q&A session with Dr. Thorn to learn more about his book, his background, and lessons he can share about creating a lasting legacy.

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MEDIA CONNECT: Do you think it’s possible to establish your legacy at any age?

Andrew Thorne: The sooner we begin to think about our legacy, the more powerful it will be. Early investments of time and energy help us to establish a profound legacy and often lead to abundant opportunities for personal growth and development.

 

MEDIA CONNECT: What advice would you give to recent college grads when it comes to choosing their careers and getting the ball rolling on creating a lasting legacy?

AT: Graduation time is decision time. It is in this moment that we set the tone for the way we will live our lives. Too many of us think about how much money we will make before we think of how much meaning we will make. We all need to make money, but we can do that without sacrificing our biggest hopes, dreams and aspirations. My advice is to engage in the work that you know you are meant to do, even if that means making less in the beginning. Instead of sacrificing your dream for the money, you will be living your dream for the meaning.

 

MC: What is one of the biggest misconceptions about legacy when it comes to leadership?

AT: Many leaders think that they will be remembered for their results, inventions, and discoveries. These only produce short-term recognition. The big picture of legacy invites us to focus on the people that support our leadership responsibilities and the vision that inspires others to engage. Either way we get results, but the results truly are more impressive when we begin to see them as the natural outcome of the way we treat others.

 

MC: You often discuss the concept of work/life balance as it relates to hours in a year (117,000 hours of your life is spent doing “x,” while the remainder is spent doing “y,” etc.). Can you go into more detail on that?

AT: A very lucky person, over the course of a 45 year career, will spend about 117,000 hours at work (Average of 50 hours a week working), 131,000 hours sleeping (average of 8 hours a day sleeping), and 65,000 hours (average of 4 hours a day) taking care of personal responsibilities. This scenario would leave the lucky person with a little more than 50,000 hours to use however he or she wants.

Unfortunately, most of us work longer, sleep less, encumber life with unnecessary personal responsibilities and then find ourselves too tired to make our free time matter. Instead of trying to balance the time, we must spend time focusing our efforts into meaningful work.

 

MC: How do you manage to find and maintain a balance between your career and personal life?

AT: I like to measure the decisions I make at work against the impact those decisions will create at home. Early on in my career, I found myself considering whether or not I would allow myself to work on Sunday. At first this seemed like a religious question, but the more I considered it the more I realized that I wanted and needed time away from my work so I added the idea of working on Saturday to the equation. As I thought about the positive and negative outcomes, I eventually decided that I did not want to work on Saturday or Sunday. I knew I could not live into this value if I decided to be a doctor or a police officer so I ruled those careers and every other career that would require me to work on the weekend. This early decision made it easier to check if the outcomes I wanted were aligned with the values I said I held dear.

 

MC: You’ve used Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates as an example of why it’s important to serve others in order to create a lasting legacy. Can you elaborate on that?

AT: Both of these industry giants spent a good portion of their lifetimes creating products that significantly influenced our world. At first, everything they did was focused on generating an outcome or a result, and they didn’t really care what the impact would be on others.

Bill Gates woke up one day and said, “Is this all there is to life? I have more money than I can ever spend. What will I do about this?” These questions led to the founding of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is now changing the world. Bill and Melinda will be remembered for these efforts long after they are gone.

Unfortunately, Steve Jobs never got around to working on this part of his legacy. He focused all of his energy on making awesome products that gave us all temporary delight, but they are now quite common and face significant competition each day for market share. As this impact fades away, much like it did with the inventor of the television, so does our memory of Steve Jobs.

 

MC: Do you feel that the advice and lessons you offer in your book are helping you to establish your legacy (since this is something you will ultimately leave behind)?

Thorn_CoverAT: I see the book as a record of my thinking and of my discoveries. Naturally, this record will be exciting for my future posterity to possess, but I understand the importance of living putting the principles in action. My willingness to live these principles definitely increases the impact I create, but I am very clear about the truth, which is that when these principles stay in the book, they have no power to shape any legacy. They must be acted upon and I am doing my best each day to act upon them.

 

 

 

 

 

MC: You take on a fascinating perspective when it comes to being perfect. Why do you think we’re all meant to be perfect?

AT: I don’t just think that we are all meant to be perfect; I think that we all are perfect. Most of us discount or cover up the trials we have experienced and the mistakes we have made because we allow them to bring us shame. I see these experiences more as defining moments. To me, I wouldn’t be perfect without my flaws and blemishes. They define who I am. As soon as I began believing this about myself, it became very easy for me to believe this about others too. There are some who fear that this way of thinking will make it easy to accept and make more poor choices, but the opposite is actually true: The more you see yourself as perfect, the more desire and energy you’ll have to live up to that perfection.

 

MC: Is there any advice you wish someone had given you early on in your career with regard to creating the foundation for your legacy?

AT: Most people told me all about the things I shouldn’t do. It would have been wonderful to have had somebody who gave me permission to be great and take more risks. Because we deal with all of the “no’s,” they become our focus and life gets organized around those set of rules. I wanted somebody to tell me what to start doing the things that I thought were important. I really wanted to be a teacher and I was told that I would never make enough money doing that. I believed it then, but I don’t believe it now. The best advice – breathe life into your dreams and you will carry with you an amazing legacy.

 

MC: Can you give 3 tips on how we can learn to maintain a work/life balance and work towards establishing our legacy (for any age)?

AT: Forget about balance. It is a myth. It is something that happens very naturally. You can demonstrate this by getting up and walking right now. Did you think about balancing yourself? Of course not. It is the same with feeling balance in your life. As long as you know where you are going, and you are heading in that direction, you will feel in balance.

Spend some time every day thinking about who you want to be in the future. You must spend time drawing the big picture. The sooner you can define this in the most clearest of terms, the more quickly you can begin to align your daily actions to becoming that person.

Spend some time at the end of each day celebrating the things that went right. If you go to bed with this thought in your mind you will begin to feel greater levels of satisfaction.

 

 

Related: Meet Our MC Team: Cori Cagide

 

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Today We’re All Boston Strong: 5 Novels That Celebrate The City of Boston

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photo by Anna Patrick

By Anna Patrick, Digital Publicist

No matter what city you call home, or what sports team you support, we’re all Bostonians today. Today marks the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, and while there are memories from this day last year that we would rather forget, our hearts remember the pride we have for our country and for the people of Boston.

A year ago I stood at mile 21, a senior at Boston College cheering on friends who were coming through the Heartbreak Hill portion of the race, which winds through our hilly campus. Living on the Chesnut Hill side of Commonwealth Avenue the runners raced past my door all day. Until suddenly everything stopped.

But as I reflect today, I remember the Boston Marathon for what it truly is, what it really means to the city of Boston and the nation as a whole, beyond the darkness of the events that transpired - it is a celebration of human achievement and the spirit of man. I remember the look on runners’ faces as they came through Heartbreak Hill, and the light in their eyes when they saw us cheering them onward. I remember their elation, and the fighting look on their faces, drenched in sweat and still smiling, as they headed down home stretch. I remember the runners, men and women, soldiers and athletes in wheelchairs, giving it their all for the sport and city they love. I remember what it feels like to be one.

Today we send our thoughts and energy to Boston, and to those still healing a year later. We celebrate the city, and all of the athletes who continue to awe us at the marathon each year by defying human limitations.

In honor of the city, which has always prided itself on being a literary city, here are five great books that take place in Boston:

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27 Tips to Help You Pitch the Media

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By Brian Feinblum, Senior Vice President and Marketing Officer

Sometimes we get into a slump when it comes to pitching, or maybe we just hit a bad streak with the media. Perhaps you feel overloaded. Maybe our busy outside lives have clouded our minds from doing our best job in the office. Whatever the reason, you just find you want to perform at a higher level, so what can you do?

 

Ideally, here’s what you want in a successful pitch:

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4 Anti-Heroines in Literature Who Are Inspiring, Admirable and Tough as Nails

By Alexandra Israel, Publicist

I recently came across a Flavorwire article called “The Bookshelf: Unlikely Heroines in Literature,” which made me start thinking that there are so many anti-heroines in literature, but how exactly do you accurately describe what an “anti-heroine” is?

By definition, an anti-heroine is “a female protagonist, as in a novel or play, whose attitudes and behaviors are not typical of a conventional heroine.” Flavorwire had a more up-to-date definition, inspired by author Leslie Jamison: “Fairy tales introduce us to certain standard breeds of heroine: beautiful innocents, homely martyrs, and plucky tomboys. These heroines aren’t those ones… they make it hard to look away.” This definition is true; anti-heroines are sometimes what keep us going in long novels.

Here are four examples of anti-heroines that I’ve come across recently—some of them have qualities that are admirable and others survive hardships that are inspiring:

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What Inspires You To Do Good? A Look at the 2014 Good Deeds Day New York City Takeover

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Deborah Kohan, Johanna Dickson, and Alexandra Israel stand infront of a Good Deeds Day double-decker bus

By Deborah Kohan, Senior VP and Director of MC en Español

What inspires you to do good in this world?

On March 5th, hundreds of New Yorkers rallied together to help others and participate in a day long volunteer marathon: Good Deeds Day NYC Takeover. The first Good Deeds Day started out in Times Square, where volunteers from non-profit organizations, government agencies, and corporations boarded our Good Deeds Day branded double decker bus.

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5 Things YA Literary Agents and Publishers Are Looking For In 2014

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By Lindsey Hall, Associate Publicist

In line with having just watched the trailer for The Fault in Our Stars for the umpteenth time, and realizing that April is School Library Month, I’ve decided to dedicate today’s post to the beauty of Young Adult writing.

So what is it that YA Lit Agents and Publishers are looking for in 2014 exactly? Naturally, when we have a story mold in our minds we run with it, and there are no rules we can follow. (How else do you think The Hunger Games came about?) However, if you are an aspiring first-time author in need of some direction, here are five guidelines I found helpful from my time at a literary agency:

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6 Books From Our Adolescence That We Would Reread

 Books To ReRead

There is always that one book that silently tugs at your heart strings whenever someone asks the familiar, “What’s your favorite book?” Maybe you pause and give off a slight smile at the thought of a favorite character, or a favorite fictional place. Then maybe you answer with a slightly more “grown up” title. But the books that shaped us early on undeniably become a part of us in ways that we can only start to grasp as we grow older.

Here are the following six books we would love to revisit now as an adult:

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The Year of the Faith-Based Movies

By Sharon Farnell, Director of the MC Faith Division

 

2014 is proving to be an exciting year for faith-based movies. This past weekend, “Noah,” which stars Russell Crowe and Anthony Hopkins, took the number one spot at the box office. Another surprise this past weekend was the movie “God’s Not Dead,” which finished 5th at the box office for a second week in a row. The movie “Son of God,” which is the brainchild of popular TV producer, Mark Burnett and his wife, actress Roma Downey has also held top spots at the box office over recent months.

Faith-based movies have been around for years, but many have lacked big budgets, theatrical release, and star power. 2014 is proving to be the year that faith-based films are rising to more of the level of mainstream productions, so those that have felt slighted with the quality of religious films in the past should not be disappointed with this years’ selection. Take a look at a few of the faith-based films heading to theaters this year, which all share a common theme: they all have connections to books including the Bible, which provides terrific story lines and remains the best-selling book of all time.

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