Book Publicist Scott Lorenz offers Authors Book Marketing Tips and Techniques on his Blog “The Book Publicist”


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What Authors can Learn from The Promotion of ‘Anchorman II’ Starring Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy

“I don’t know how to put this but I am kind of a big deal.”

Ron Burgundy Book

‘Ron Burgundy’ put his own blurb right on the cover: “I Wrote a Hell of a Book!”

“Anchorman II: The Legend Continues” is the highly anticipated, long overdue sequel to 2004’s “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”. The first film quickly became a cult classic with its quippy one-liners and hilarious cast. The sequel premiered December 18. Leading up to the movie’s release, the “Anchorman” team took promoting the film to another level.

Ron Burgundy was EVERYWHERE. In the year and a half following the announcement of the sequel, there was a museum exhibit, a book, a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, a new brand of Scotch, TV commercials for the Dodge Durango, an iPhone app, TV cameos, viral videos, a website chock-full of GIFs and a college was even renamed after Mr. Burgundy.

So in the marketing and promotional spirit of Ron Burgundy here are some tips authors can use in the promotion of their own books.

1. Don’t hesitate doing a small town, small market local news show as it might have national implications.

‘Ron Burgundy’ made a guest appearance on a local news program in Bismark, North Dakota. The clip was so funny it was shown on news casts on every network all over the USA.  How does this work for authors?

I’ve seen my author interviews on local news picked up on by the national affiliates of FOX, CBS, NBC and ABC-TV and shown across their syndicated network. In fact many stories are put up ‘on the satellite’ so other affiliates can grab them and run the story.

Sometimes those stories are localized by adding a local twist. Furthermore, the national news desks have people in the news room whose job it is to push and promote those stories to their affiliates. Contact your local news outlet for an interview and don’t hesitate to travel to a small market for an interview. Here’s the infamous North Dakota TV clip in its entirety.

‘Ron Burgundy’ made a guest appearance on a local news program somewhere in a small town in North Dakota.

‘Ron Burgundy’ made a guest appearance on a local news program somewhere in a small town in North Dakota.

2. Write your own testimonial.

In his book Let Me Off at The Top ‘Ron Burgundy’ put his own blurb right on the cover:  “I Wrote a Hell of a Book!”  Most authors agree their book is “One Hell of a Book” but it’s rather self-serving you won’t be able to get away with it.

But who can say that for you? Find that person and get that testimonial. I’ll often ask an author if you could get anybody to blurb your book who would it be?

Make a list of the top ten. Then if it’s in the realm of possibilities go out and get it. Check out the Let Me Off at The Top book trailer here:

3.Be willing to travel all over the country. ‘Ron Burgundy’ went from North Dakota to Connecticut, to Los Angeles and New York. Obviously travel costs money but, so does obscurity.

3.Be willing to travel all over the country. ‘Ron Burgundy’ went from North Dakota to Connecticut, to Los Angeles and New York. Obviously travel costs money but, so does obscurity.

3. Be willing to travel all over the country. ‘Ron Burgundy’ went from North Dakota to Connecticut, to Los Angeles and New York.  Obviously travel costs money but, so does obscurity. If nobody knows about your book what was the point in writing it? Your book is a ‘start-up’ spend time and money to promote it. Get your name and your work out there and as far out there as possible. Don’t settle for “hometown press” with the headline “local man/woman publishes book” story.

Take your work and promote yourself across the country. Look to special events like book festivals across the nation that you can tie to your book. Check out my list of book festivals and plan to attend a few.

4. Target internationally. “Comedy is very subject to local and cultural sensibilities,” Andrew Runyon, Paramount’s Vice President of interactive marketing points out.

“It requires a little bit more customization.” In order to be equally relevant and funny in America as well as abroad, Will Ferrell created some videos for markets in the U.K., Ireland, and Australia. How can an author do this? Delve deep into the messages, themes, and characters of your book.

Think about different cultures and how they might perceive your work. Make your book appeal to different nationalities. Show them why your book is as relevant in America as it is in Italy or England. YouTube goes worldwide, so does your Pinterest page and so do most press releases. I get phone calls and inquiries from all over the world requesting my authors conduct interviews.

If you are not trying to get attention worldwide it won’t happen by itself. Check out this clip from Australian TV.

5. Ron Burgundy clips are shown on local newscasts. Context is key. “Part of the reason these clips work so well is that it’s placing Ron Burgundy in a modern context, something that adds a fish-out-of-water element to his already goofy charm,” says Drew Taylor of indiewire.com. Ron Burgundy found his niche in broadcast journalism. Think about where your book fits in best.

A restaurant chef protagonist might sell well in Sur La Table or Williams Sonoma. A murder mystery book might gain press at a murder mystery themed weekend getaway. A lifestyle book may be picked up in a hotel bookstore that’s renowned for team-building activities or company retreats.

6. Stir up a little competition with your readers. AdWeek.com’s Christopher Heine explains,” Working with Zemoga, Paramount is employing a social media-styled casting call. The talent show-like initiative, ‘Join Ron’s News Crew,’ asks people from around the world to audition for the positions of anchor (#TeamRon), meteorologist (#TeamBrick), sportscaster (#TeamChamp) and live reporter (#TeamBrian).” The people auditioning will post their videos online and hashtag which team they’re on. Start your own social media competition. Encourage fans to submit videos, GIFs, artwork, or stories to win a competition of your choosing. Your fans could create the cover art or choose an alternate ending. They could win a day in the life of your lead character or be chosen to have a private lunch with you, the author.

7. Think big, but also think small. The Anchorman II promotional team was especially proud of their collaboration with Tumblr. Nine animated GIFs were pieced together in order to create a socially embeddable poster for the film. Cliff Marks, president of National CineMedia feels it is possible for GIF mashups to be the future of movie posters in this digital age. “These small, chewable formats are a cool way to present your content,” he says. “And the studios are starting to make that content a focus.”

The Bottom Line: Think like Ron Burgundy and consider some non-traditional marketing methods to get your book on the radar. If you ever want to become a top selling author get some swagger, step over the line and steal a line from Ron Burgundy, “I don’t know how to put this but I am kind of a big deal.”

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at http://www.book-marketing-expert.com  or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

How Cookbook Authors Can Do a Great Cooking Segment on TV

Authors of cook books have an advantage over traditional authors because they can employ a TV appearance to increase book sales. One of the best ways for cookbook authors to get this extra exposure is to demonstrate their capabilities by showcasing recipes and talent on an in-studio cooking segment on television.

A lot of things can go wrong on a live in-studio cooking demo. Here are some tips to insure that your cooking segment is great.

Most importantly find out how much time you have to work with. There’s a big difference between a 2 ½ minute segment and 3 ½ minutes. My advice is to plan on a 2 ½ minute segment. Ask yourself what can you do in that time period and plan accordingly. Anticipate and have strategies to deal with interruptions. Practice by setting up a camera in your kitchen so you can film and time your process.

Don’t do a lot of talking during the segment. You are there to demonstrate how to prepare a certain dish and that’s what your audience and host expects of you. So keep the words down.

Remember that there are three groups that you need to satisfy – the producer, the audience, and yourself. The producers are looking for interesting/compelling television; your job is to make them look great. The audience wants to learn something. What’s their takeaway? What will you do to make their lives better? Among your goals is to point people to your website. A great way is to offer a free item like a recipe or appetizer in your restaurant. Once they sign up for the free item, use their email address for future marketing.

It’s very important to find out in advance about the capabilities of the studio kitchen. Some studio kitchens look good on TV but the stove may not even be hooked up! Come with a prepared cooked version of your dish that can be displayed ahead of time and have another ready for the demonstration. It’s always a good idea to bring some extra samples for the crew. I’ve never see them turn down food! Outdoor segments, such as barbequing, really go well in the summer because that’s what audience members do in the summer. For the fall, a Tailgate segment is great.

Here are some practical tips for that great cooking segment:

  • The camera loves food that sizzles, bubbles, and flames. Keep that in mind when selecting the dish you will prepare. Can your dish be prepared and plated in the allotted time? Pre-cook the dish halfway if necessary to meet the time limit.
  • If there are promotional screen graphics provide the producer with the information several days before the shoot.
  • Make a packing list of all the gear you need to cook off premise. Double-check your list and pack efficiently. Arrive at the studio 45 minutes before air time. Bring a cart to transport your gear and ingredients from the car to the studio quickly and efficiently.
  • Digital TV cameras can be unforgiving so bring some make-up to apply in the studio.
  • The camera loves color so bring some colorful ingredients as well as a seasonal table decoration.
  • Upon first arriving at the cooking set, check all burners to make sure they work.
  • Be set up 15 minutes before air time. Walk in front of the cooking table and scan what the camera will record. Is the tablecloth on straight? Are all ingredient labels faced outward? Are the ingredients balanced in uniform fashion?
  • Provide the host with a list of suggested questions. This will help the host stay focused and on track and will help prevent any ringers from being thrown your way.
  • Always refer to the host by name. Make direct eye contact and smile.
  • Go with the flow. Some hosts will ask distracting, non-relevant questions so have a plan to deal with that possibility.

For many of my clients, I suggest they use a professional media trainer to better prepare them for the television or radio appearance. One trainer I frequently recommend is Jess Todtfeld, former FOX News producer and President of Success in Media (www.SuccessInMedia.com) Among the suggestions Todtfeld gives to help deliver a great cooking segment are:

  • Don’t expect the studio to have a stylist for you. You must take the necessary steps beforehand so you look as beautiful as you are and so your segment is great from beginning to end.
  • Bring all the ingredients, tools for preparing, and a finished version of your dish. Don’t expect to really cook it during the segment.
  • Bring extra finished food for the crew. The quickest way to their hearts is through their stomachs. It will be worth every penny in materials when they decide to book you again.
  • Have your entire segment planned out from A to Z to make the producer’s life easy. That, in turn, will make him love you and book you again.
  • It’s not all about the food. Be fun. Show your personality.
  • Give a copy of the recipe and let them know they can place it on the station’s website.
  • Days before the segment ask if they can prepare a “for more information” graphic for the lower third of the screen that will display your website address so people can find you after the show. It’s a pretty standard practice but if you don’t ask they might forget.
  • Have something free on your website to plug, such as five of your most requested low-cal recipes or a chapter of your book. Be able to monetize the value of your free gift.

Make sure all the vegetables and cuts of meat are fresh and will appear appetizing. Place them in clear glass dishes along with pre-measured spices. There’s only so much you can prep ahead of time; some things need to be done in the studio.

With HD cameras viewers can see everything from water spots on your glass ware to fingernails in need of a manicure and a five o’clock shadow. What may be acceptable in your kitchen may not play well on TV so be keenly aware of your appearance.

A great cooking segment will produce hundreds if not thousands of new diners, book sales and recipe downloads. It’s all possible with planning, preparation and effort. Your success will be assured if you engage the services of a professional media trainer and marketing professional and practice your demo again and again.

Just for fun, if you’d like to see how a lack of preparation can lead to disaster then you’ll want to see these videos I’ve uncovered. The first disaster occurs because the chef did not anticipate that the two co-hosts, Kathie Lee and Hoda, would do a lot of distractive talking while he was trying to prepare food and he had no strategy to deal with the distraction. Take a look at:

In the second video things go totally awry because Paula Dean does not take charge and gives a free hand to Al Roker and creates a massive time crunch for herself. Get ready to laugh at:

One great example of a cooking segment was when Randy Lorenz, my own brother was asked to appear on FOX-TV. Their Michigan wedding venue, The Meeting House Grand Ballroom had won The Knot’s wedding reception banquet facility of the year award. They have one of the most beautiful non-denominational ceremony locations in Michigan for a wedding reception. As you’ll see by this clip on YouTube they did a terrific job of demonstrating their cooking expertise… after following my advice of course!


The bottom line: Great food and a great cooking segment on TV is no accident; it’s all in the preparation. Good luck!