MEDIA CONNECT Interview Series: Skip Prichard of Leadership Insights


The following Q&A appeared in the the latest edition of the MEDIA CONNECT newsletter. To subscribe for future editions, click here.


MEDIA CONNECT: What is your background and interest in books?
Skip Prichard: 
Today, I am the CEO of OCLC, a global technology company serving libraries. Previously, I was the CEO of Ingram Content Group, the largest trade book wholesaler and also Lightning Source. I have a lifelong love affair with books and read a book a day (no sleep!).

A few years ago, I launched my blog, Leadership Insights, to share ideas and inspiration from people I meet and books I read.


skipQuoteMC: Do you prefer being pitched by email or are you open to phone calls? Do you like receiving galleys? Do you prefer physical or e-versions of a book?
As a busy CEO who is traveling extensively, phone calls are impossible. You can contact me via “email” from my blog site. My team monitors email and can help answer questions. If the author is not interested in a written interview (or in person), then do not send a book. Though I own multiple devices, I prefer written galleys if they are available.


MC: What business topics currently interest you the most?
 We look at topics that interest a wide variety of readers. We rarely feature self-published authors. Questions we ask: Will this article make a difference in someone’s life? Make them more effective or a better leader? Will they be able to run a better meeting or learn effective communication techniques?

Our filter is whether it will serve the audience. It is an honor to provide the opportunity to enhance people’s lives.


MC: What’s the most common mistake publicists make when approaching you?
We tend to work only with the best in the business. I personally enjoy developing a rapport and building a relationship.

For those who have not worked with us, I would say that the top 3 mistakes are:
1. Expecting a book review. I don’t do book reviews. I read every book before it is featured, then send a list of questions. Alternatively, we accept guest posts. There are some books I read that I do not think fit the audience and then we decline.
2. Expect a telephone interview I don’t do them. I don’t transcribe them. If I did, the results would be poor.
3. Sending a book without a commitment for an interview. My time is valuable. Don’t send a book if you don’t want an interview.


MC: What is your policy on running byline articles or guest blogs?
If you search the blog for guest posts, you will see we run a byline at the top of the article. We limit the number of links because we don’t want to attract guest posts simply as “link bait”.

We do require that the post is original and not published elsewhere on the web.


MC: Which business leader(s) or business author(s) would you like to interview most? Why?
 I enjoy interviewing high profile leaders. In-person interviews have included news personalities like Dan Rather and Lee Woodruff, sports stars including John Smoltz and R.A. Dickey, business leaders like Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and Thomas Nelson’s Michael Hyatt, to motivational leaders including Joel Osteen, to politicians including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Senator Bill Bradley. You can read more about my blog here.

If in person interviews are not possible, I arrange written interviews. You can find links to over 200 of them here. Soon, I plan to launch a podcast to add that dimension as well.


MC: What have been the most popular articles you’ve written or edited on business, workplace or career issues?
 Here are 10 of my most popular articles:

How to Live a Life of Thankfulness
Assume the Positive
Why Standing Out is More Important than Ever
11 Leadership Qualities of Nelson Mandela
Leading With Others in Mind
4 Ways to Get Appreciated at Work
9 Leadership Lessons from Mom
The 3 Most Limiting Words
Selling to the C-Suite
9 Traits of a Servant Leader


MC: Please briefly describe your demographics or audience.
 My initial audience was primarily in the book industry ranging from executives at Amazon, Barnes & Noble to independent book store owners to major book wholesalers around the world to librarians, publishers, and the book trade press. The audience now includes people interested in leadership and personal development from around the world. Serving people well is my passion.



Related: MEDIA CONNECT Interview Series: Harvey Schachter of The Globe and Mail



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MEDIA CONNECT Interview Series: Harvey Schachter of The Globe and Mail

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The following Q&A appeared in the the latest edition of the MEDIA CONNECT newsletter. To subscribe for future editions, click here.


MEDIA CONNECT: Do you prefer being pitched by email or are you open to phone calls?
Harvey Schachter: 
Email is perfect — asynchronous. Phone is a disturbance, and my reaction ranges from displeasure to intense displeasure.


MC: Are there specific days or time of day that you prefer being contacted?
Nope. Nor do I think there are times that are more advantageous to you. I might read more when I’m less preoccupied, but that varies every week and day. The key remains to grab me at the start of your pitch.


harveyQuoteMC: What business topics currently interest you the most?
I am looking for things that are novel. Newspapers are supposed to be about what’s new — it’s embedded in the name. Beyond that, I want something provocative, that will catch my reader’s attention and make them think. Insightful is good. So is entertaining. But new, or if old a fresh spin that makes it new. That being said, something I have just written about is by definition is not new when I am pitched on it a day later by somebody who read the paper. Even something in the news already is by definition not new when the inevitable pitch comes in. I was a newspaper editor and know that for big news there is frenzy — my first newspaper, as a reporter, was The Toronto Star, which is expert at flooding readers with extensive coverage of something hot. Readers probably like that for major news, although it can be overdone. But I think for what I write about, it’s different. I prefer a cafeteria approach, changing the menu regularly. You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned any subject area, because that doesn’t matter. If it’s novel and perhaps also provocative or insightful or entertaining, I’m paying attention. If not, well, I’m not.


MC: What’s the most common mistake publicists make when approaching you?
Pitching stuff that’s old: “I saw your column yesterday on X and my client, Y, can speak on the topic.” Also, not specifying what the person will actually say or talking about it in grandiose rather than practical terms that I let alone my readers can understand. A surprising amount of times I haven’t got the foggiest notion what the pitch is offering, given the abstract, high-sounding terms. For me to understand what is actually novel-provocative-insightful-entertaining I want a lot of specific bullet points on where we are going with the topic. A lot of bullet points, let me stress, since some won’t ignite me! I also am not big on surveys that tell me what I know as justification for a story. And finally, I hate a pitch from somebody I barely know or don’t know at all that begins, “I hope you are having a great day.” Pardon me if I view those good wishes as insincere, and if they sour me to the writer, who I now see as inauthentic and lose some trust in. Just get to the point and don’t waste my time. (And, oh yeah, don’t pitch a second time to me, with a follow-up. I read you the first time. Maybe other journalists and editors don’t but I do, and you are coming close to being labelled junk mail.) Do you like receiving galleys? Do you prefer physical or e-versions of a book? I prefer to operate from the actual books, to time the review better and know my quotes — I like to quote — are accurate. So unless I ask for a galley, please hold back for the full book.


MC: What is your policy on running byline articles or guest blogs?
 The Globe and Mail will do that but I’m a freelancer and don’t have the power to run a bylined article or guest blogs. But a lot of my stuff comes from blogs or articles, where if the writer wants I will interview them on the topic and use the interview and written material in a column. That seems to work well, for both of us and, most importantly, the readers. It gives me a much better sense of where the column will be going, compared to “my client is willing to talk on topic X.” So please send me such material, but not with the expectation I can print it with a byline, as it is — that goes to Globe editors.


MC: Do you ever feature self-published authors?
 Certainly. Always have. But interestingly, for my book review column while the number of self-published books are increasing dramatically the number I feature isn’t — might even be going down. My sense is that the quality of such books isn’t what it was five and certainly 10 years ago. Too easy to self-publish, I suspect, now compared to the past. Too many books much like other books. But I still glance at them.

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MEDIA CONNECT Interview Series: Andrew Clancy of Soundview


The following Q&A appeared in the the latest edition of the MEDIA CONNECT newsletter. To subscribe for future editions, click here.


MEDIA CONNECT: Do you prefer being pitched by email or are you open to phone calls?
Andrew Clancy:
 E-mail. It gives me an opportunity to get a better grasp of the book’s potential.

clancyQuoteMC: Are there specific days or time of day that you prefer being contacted?
AC: First thing in the morning works well for me.

MC: What business topics currently interest you the most?
Global economics, execution and change.

MC: What’s the most common mistake publicists make when approaching you?
Sending a generic communication. I’ll dock them additional points if they don’t take the time to get our company’s name right. I’ve seen “Executive Summary,” “Soundview Summary,” “Sounds Views Exec Summary” and everything in between.

MC: Do you like receiving galleys? Do you prefer physical or e-versions of a book?
As someone whose soul is stuck somewhere in the early- to mid-20th century, I still prefer physical books. Galleys are always appreciated.

MC: What topic or trend have you seen enough of in business books?
Social media. By the time a book comes out on a particular aspect of social media, the book is practically irrelevant.

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Early BEA 2015 Buzz and Preparation


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By Cori Cagide, Publicist

The London Book Fair has wrapped, and before you know it, Book Expo America (BEA) 2015 will be upon us.

A bulk of the authors and panels were announced last month, and more information keeps trickling in on what the reigning theme will be and where all the hot book signings are. In years past it was dystopian fiction, while last year John Green pretty much stole the show (shocker).

This year the opening day spotlight will include a conversation with multiple award-winning novelist Jonathan Franzen, to discuss his new book Purity (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, September 2015). Franzen will be joined by Laura Miller, co-founder of and frequent contributor to the New York Times book review.

My first BEA was super overwhelming. Last year, however, I was fortunate enough to attend the BEA Blogger’s conference, which was wonderful. It gave me a chance to get a feel for the space and pretty much put my feelers out on opening day. The blogger’s conference is something that’s sure to get better and better as time goes on, so I anticipate that they will be ramping up that this year as well.

If I learned anything from last year’s BEA, it’s this: come prepared and have an agenda.

It’s easy to get distracted as you walk among the thousands of booths that line the floor. Make sure you have a game plan and do your best to stick to it. Of course, free book samples and galleys are always hard to resist, but do your best to at the very least outline places that you need to stop. It’s helpful if you map it out, too, so that you can get a better feel for the floor and what makes the most sense in terms of time and what you’re looking for.

Be sure to check out the “My BEA Show Planner” section on the BEA homepage to search authors, exhibitors, book signings and even a floor plan. You can also create your own personal schedule, which you can connect with the BEA app on the day-of. (I’m hoping they update the app this year, as I found last year’s quite difficult to navigate and ultimately not very useful). It’s best to go old-school just in case and keep your agenda on pen and paper. I know how archaic that sounds but it is a writer’s conference – everyone will have a notebook and, I’m sure, a strong collection of pens and pencils.

So, what am I looking forward to this year? Well, to name just some:

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MEDIA CONNECT Interview Series: Sally Haldorson of 800-CEO-Read


The following Q&A appeared in the the latest edition of the MEDIA CONNECT newsletter. To subscribe for future editions, click here.


MEDIA CONNECT: What business topics currently interest you the most?

Sally Haldorson: I believe what makes all of the curated content on our In the Books site unique to us, including our Jack Covert Selects reviews and Staff Picks, is that our entire staff simply loves books. So we offer a perspective mix of business book expertise, quality service, and a love of literary fiction and non-fiction that informs which books we think all readers will respond to. Work is a central part of most people’s lives, so we believe the best business books appeal to the general population because they talk about the humans in the center of all things business — and I find the genre really exciting for that reason. This all means our company tends to gravitate toward social science, leadership, productivity, organizational design and change, and cultural analysis in our favorite titles.



MC: What’s the most common mistake publicists make when approaching you?

SH: While we are a business content provider, we are also a retailer, so we always hope publicists and editors make that connection for themselves. While we choose to review plenty of books that we don’t sell a ton of and won’t make our Bestseller List simply because we love writing about them, we also need to get pitched those books whose authors are avid speakers or have a large platform, so we can help them with the sales and logistics side as well. It’s something that is very helpful to us and to authors, but many publicists miss because they’re just looking at the promotional side.


MC: Do you like receiving galleys? Do you prefer physical or e-versions of a book?
 We absolutely prefer receiving physical copies. Our sales and editorial staff has stacks and stacks of books on their desks, and seeing the book visually can help keep it front of mind; an email or eBook just doesn’t do that: the black print on white paper all looks the same and there isn’t much to visually or viscerally sustain our attention when the books arrive some three months ahead of their publish date.

MC: What is your policy on running byline articles or guest blogs?
 We are actually in the process of changing the focus of our Thinker in Residence series to include an author article for the first installment in that series (it has until this point been a review from us). But, in general, we prefer to write original material, or feature articles or blogs tucked within an analytical piece one of our staff members write. However, we do have New Releases and Excerpts sections on In the Books content site for publisher-provided copy, and of course, we curate the ChangeThis site which publishes six manifestos by the public each month.

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6 Ways Authors Can Optimize Their LinkedIn Profiles


By Anna Patrick, Digital Publicist and Social Media Strategist

The following set of best practice tips appeared in the the latest edition of the MEDIA CONNECT newsletter. To subscribe for future editions, click here.


Few know that LinkedIn is older than Twitter and Facebook. While some authors are quick to write off LinkedIn, it is important to remember that, like Twitter and Facebook, your LinkedInn profile is an opportunity to further connect with your audience.

As an author, you can use LinkedIn to target a specific market and audience, promote your work, and to join networks with other authors or potential readers with similar interests who might choose to share your book with their audiences.

Guy Kawasaki said to think of any social media profile you may have as an ad. This is especially true of LinkedIn, where via your main profile or your LinkedIn blog you can essentially make a professional advertisement for your book. The purpose of your LinkedIn page is to convince people to invest their time in your personal story — to check out your page, and to perhaps check out your book, too.


Pay attention to detail in your bio. Make sure your profile includes as much detail as possible. Put a small book synopsis and general information — including a purchase link — in your “Summary” section.

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Anti-GMO Activism is at its Prime, Mate: Jane Goodall and Steven Druker in The Huffington Post

Jane Goodall and Alexander Kaufman

Jane Goodall and Alexander Kaufman

photo by Emily Labes

By Emily Labes, Associate Publicist

From the moment that Dame Jane Goodall entered the room, affably declaring that she just realized that she had forgotten to comb her hair today, she commanded the attention of everyone present. As soft-spoken as she is passionate, anyone who has had the privilege of hearing her speak will inevitably wind up as transfixed as a Kindergartener during story time.  It’s almost impossible not to pay attention when she speaks. Yesterday, during an interview with The Huffington Post, her messages were twofold and equally important: it’s time to ban GMOs from the global market, and it’s time to put the heart back in science.

The MEDIA CONNECT team has had the great privilege of working with Steven M. Druker, a respected public interest attorney, the Executive Director of the Alliance for Bio-Integrity, and author of the new book, Altered Genes, Twisted Truth; How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public (Clear River Press, 2015). Druker has found a great friend and supporter in Goodall, who even wrote the book’s foreward, declaring it to be “one of the most important books of the last 50 years.” Yesterday morning, Druker and Goodall sat down with Alexander Kaufman, a reporter from The Huffington Post, and I was fortunate enough to get to sit in on the interview.

Although she spends roughly 300 days a year on the road, Goodall is incredibly generous with what little free time she does have, particularly when it’s to promote a cause about which she cares deeply. So when she graciously volunteered to donate the only free hour she had during her New York City trip to do a media appearance with Druker, we all knew how lucky we were. As soon as they embraced, it became evident how much they genuinely enjoy each other’s company and respect one another.

The pair chatted amicably with the crew as they were given mics and directions on where to look when answering questions. Kaufman dove right in, asking why Druker and Goodall so staunchly opposed GMOs, and what alternatives they would suggest to combat the problems that GMOs purportedly solve. He seemed to take an almost decidedly pro-GMO stance, but Druker and Goodall effortlessly and eloquently answered every question, recalling an impressive amount of dates, data, quotes, and anecdotes in a manner that would have impressed even the most diligent AP History students.

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Author Q&A: Howard Schatz’s Books Capture 1,100 Best Images out of 4 Million


All photos credited to Howard Schatz


You have not truly seen the world until you have witnessed the illuminating photography of Howard Schatz.

The internationally critically-acclaimed, award-winning photographer is one of the most prolific artists of his time. His new two-book set, Schatz Images: 25 Years, (Glitterati, June 2015) captures breathtaking images that will fascinate those who love original, cutting-edge photographs.

Perhaps Vanity Editor-in-Chief said it best:

“Howard Schatz is so versatile that this volume at times seems like the work of a dozen photographers, Weegee, Avedon, Penn, Beaton, Newton, and Goude, among them. He has affection for his subjects—athletes, dancers, models, actors, pregnant moms, and interesting nobodies—and it shows in every remarkable image. Sometimes funny, often dramatic, he is a master both of the quiet portrait and the explosive surprise.”

Schatz_Anthology_2_Final_Page_200Schatz’s work ranges from dance, underwater studies, athletes, fashion and beauty, actors, models and their moms, motion studies, botanical, and pregnancy to “liquid light” studies.

His work has been published in 20 books and exhibited in numerous galleries and museum exhibitions worldwide and is contained in innumerable private collections. His images are regularly featured in illustrious publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Time, Sport Illustrated, Vogue, GQ, and The New Yorker. Schatz has worked with such prominent clients as Ralph Lauren, Escada, Sergio, Nike, Reebok, Sony, and Mercedes-Benz, and he’s won nearly every award in his field.

Prior to becoming a photographer as he neared age 50, the scientist-turned-artist was an internationally renowned ophthalmologist and Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco.


The following is a Q and A with the legendary, masterful photographer:

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What to Do When You Can’t Finish a Book


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By Adrienne Fontaine, Senior Publicist


I’m in a lull. The last book that I read in its entirety was Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland, which I highly recommend. Since then, I’ve been stuck on page 384 of Remembrance of Things Past, page 80 of Artemis Cooper’s biography of Patrick Lee Fermor, and page 112 of Look Homeward Angel.

It’s not a good sign when I’m reading more than one book at a time. It typically means that I’ve not been able to concentrate long enough to finish the books or that they just aren’t grabbing my attention. Proust is obviously time-consuming and verbose, but I can’t explain why the biography of a world traveler or a classic like Look Homeward Angel haven’t been able to drawn me in.

It could be that my daily news diet is making my brain too full or that TV and movies have won me over. But now I’m at an impasse.

I’ve digested all the news I can stomach and I’m suffering from sensory overload thanks to Mad Men and House of Cards. When I get in this state, I like to read literary criticism and listen to podcasts. Book reviews can keep me from wasting my time and help me discover the next book that I’ll actually sit down and read from cover to cover. Podcasts are great when I no longer want to stare at a screen and are also useful when I’m having trouble sleeping.

When you just can’t finish that book, or watch one more episode, check out some of these book reviewers and podcasts:

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Curling up with a Good Game for the Opening of Book Season


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By David Hahn, Managing Director


Isn’t Opening Day of Book Season great? The anticipation. The feel of the opening page.  The cheap ticket that still gives you in a box seat with a close up view. The promise of something great!

And the best thing about Book Season is that it never ends! Talk about the never-ending summer. Your team is always in the playoff race. If you’re suffering through a losing streak, you can switch genres. If a game is out of reach and going very badly, you can end the game anytime you want. And no one cares! You don’t have to pretend to be the coach…you are the coach. You get to pick out the team each time.

Yes, Book Season is special.

Every book offers the potential of a perfect game; a walk off home run; a twist you didn’t see coming, a rookie you’ve never heard of coming in and blowing you away with his talent. Every game offers the potential of a bicycle kick going in for a goal, a series of one touch passes building up to a perfect cross, a header going into the upper right off a corner kick, a diving save by the goalie of a penalty kick just when the game was getting a bit boring. And best of all, each game has a play you’ve never seen before!

Oh. And is it international? You bet! You can watch a game in every part of the world 24-hours a day. And you don’t need any sort of package. Sometimes the game doesn’t translate as well in other countries, but it’s there for the taking.

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