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National Publicity Summit – Should You Go?

Authors Take Your Book to Next Level, National Publicity SummitAs a book publicist I get asked by clients and authors about going to the National Publicity Summit in New York. I’ve attended almost every Summit since Steve Harrison started it and go once or twice a year to create new media relationships, maintain old ones and of course, to pitch my clients to the media. Through the Summit, I’ve gotten clients booked on Fox News, PBS, CNBC, MSNBC and a number of national magazines.

I represent a lot of authors. Here’s the problem: authors have to do most of the promotion of their books if they want them to sell. Even if you’ve been picked up by one of the big publishing houses, they only do so much to get you media attention. This is the reality.

So, let’s say you decide to get media attention yourself. You plan your trip to New York City, where most of the big media are headquartered. You roll into Manhattan with your strategy all laid out: “First, I’m going to try to meet with the producer of Good Morning America, and then I’m going to Fox News, and then I’m going to see the guy at Reuters. After lunch, I’m going to try to talk to the Today Show and then I’m going to stop by and see if I can talk to the producer of 60 Minutes.”

Forget about it. It’s not going to happen.

Reason #1 why I recommend the Summit for many people is access, one-on-one, to these media gatekeepers in a very efficient and organized event. But is it for every author? Depending on your situation, it may or may not make sense to go. I’d recommend it if you have a consumer-oriented, non-fiction topic. Does it have broad audience appeal? Can your book help the average person in their day-to-day lives? If so, then it makes sense for you to consider attending.

If you have a highly technical topic such as how computers work, or one about a historical event such as WWII, it probably doesn’t make sense to go to the Publicity Summit, unless you can connect your book to current trends. (In fact, the Summit staff will probably turn down your application if they feel that the media would not be interested in the topic.) Generally, fiction, poetry and books about localized topics will not do well at the Summit. For example, a book about the best bars in Chicago would probably not be of interest to the national media who attend the Summit.

Should you go if you feel you’re not ready to meet the media? Here’s the dirty little secret: no-one feels ready. Don’t worry about that. If you’re an expert with a decent topic with a unique angle, the Summit can work for you. Go there to build relationships, yes, but also go to get feedback from the news industry professionals. I’ve seen people before the Summit starts coming in thinking they’re heading in one direction, then after having interacted with 100 journalists and producers, leaving with all new information or direction…a better book title, the perfect pitch, new business ventures and relationships.

I’m such a fan of Steve Harrison and his National Publicity Summit that I am now an affiliate for the Summit. If you are interested in attending please check out this link: http://j.mp/PR-Summit

National Publicity Summit: 9 Tips for Making the Most of It

To sell your book or product, you have to do whatever it takes to create a buzz. As a public relations professional, the best thing I can do for my clients is stay current with my media connections so that I can pitch their topics. A resource I’ve clued into is the National Publicity Summit in New York City.

I attend this event to meet media once or twice a year and have gotten clients booked on Fox News, CNBC, NPR and in a number of national magazines as a result It’s not an inexpensive event, but I have found that it’s an efficient use of my time and money.

Here’s what I’ve learned about how to make the most of attending the National Publicity Summit:

1. Change your PR mindset right now. Become a news-junky and learn to tie in current events to your own topic. Get magazines like O, The Oprah Magazine or Woman’s Day, watch shows like Good Morning America. Study how they present their stories and guests and think about how you could fit into their format.

2. Wear fantastically comfortable shoes. You’ll be standing a lot over those three days and you want to be happy when you pitch the media.

3. Develop one-sheeters to give to the media you meet. These are one page documents, printed in color and represent your pitch, show ideas and contact information. The Summit staff assist you on creating this ahead of time. At the end of your pitch time you hand the media person your business card and I recommend stapling this to your one-sheeter.

4. Develop more than one pitch or story idea. I have found that when I’m pitching the media, not every idea will fly. When I come to the Summit armed with a variety of show possibilities, this lets me easily get into a positive conversation with the media. If they don’t like my first idea, I try a backup.

5. Be yourself. Be authentic and have open, frank conversations with the media. The media are looking for real people who will represent their areas of expertise and who their audiences can relate to.

6. Look your best. The media attend the Summit time and again because not only do the get to not only hear pitches, but they also get an idea about how you might look on TV. I know that a lot of Summit folks get advice from image consultants.

7. Go lean, but not mean! You spend three days pitching the media and the last thing you want is to be weighed down by too much stuff like bags, briefcases, boxes, etc. Just bring enough books, one-sheets and business cards for the immediate appointments at hand.

8. Take the pressure off the immediate “hit” and focus on building a relationship with the media. Think strategically and long-term. You probably have more than one book you’re going to promote in the future. Sure, you want to appear on their show or in their magazine, but think about the media as people doing their jobs. How would you build a personal relationship with an important person in your life? Treat the media the same as you would a respected colleague. If you get the media to like you, they will follow your career and continue to work with you as long as you have a good story. As a direct result of the Summit, I can call ABC’s The View and pitch them anytime. That’s priceless.

9. Come to the Summit open to what may happen with your fellow attendees. I’ve gone to these events thinking that I’d just go for specific goals with the media. But, because I had put myself “out there,” I’d get into conversations with other attendees as we waited in line and from that, I’ve gotten new clients, joint venture partners and other strategic alliances. The attendees going to this event are the superstar authors of tomorrow.

The bottom line: You need the media to get the word out about your book. In the book marketing and public relations business, I know that you have to connect with the media before they will “buy” what you are pitching. The allows that connection to be made.

I’m such a fan of the National Publicity Summit that I am now an affiliate for it. If you are interested in attending please check out this link.