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.
MC: 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?
SP: 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?
SP: 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?
SP: 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?
SP: 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?
SP: 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?
SP: 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.
SP: 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.