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Fly on the wall – what to do when the media runs out

September 30, 2009 at 2:02 pm

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The scenario is this:

You’ve traveled to several cities on your media tour. Your reception was golden. The sun rose after you left the hotel and you yawned your way into another Lincoln town car.  Somehow you were completely alert for your morning television interview and your concealer did a fabulous job on the circles under your eyes. And, from all the interviews you did from your hotel room by phone, your left ear feels flat as a pancake. The icing on your media tour cake was the coverage  you had on national tv . The cherry on top was national radio.  Big web interviews were the sprinkles.

You did it. It was a whirlwind few weeks, but you did it. Suddenly, life seems too quiet. The phone isn’t ringing like it was, no one’s making  your bed and cleaning your room every day. Room service is now an occasional gift from your spouse after you beg him for a glass of water. Maybe there’s a cookie thrown in there somewhere. If you have a moody “get it yourself” kind of  spouse, I apologize.

You’re now on the non-public phase of your media tour. What to do?

Hopefully, the publicists you’re working with at your publisher’s office or the one you’ve hired still has some tricks up their sleeves. But, for the most part, it’s pretty clear – I hate to use this expression — you’ve shot your wad.

Ok.  Brace yourself. There’s still much to do.

Even though you might have heard what I’m about to tell you before, it’s really important to integrate this into your restored, normal life. For now, you primarily, are your own publicist.

My focus here is to recommend that you explore establishing a page, a group, a fanbase, on Facebook that is in addition to your personal one. If you have a book, name it after your book. If your book has a specific message, that can be your alternative.  If you’re not FB savvy, employ someone who is. That means your daughter, your son, a college student, an intern, a hired hand – whatever. You must do this.

The benefit of having someone help you with this is that they can stay on board to help grow  your audience. In fact, make that a requirement when hiring them. I recommend tooling around Facebook to see what others are doing. Especially look at authors’ pages. Not only will you find innovative ways of presenting yourself, you’ll also bump into a variety of virtual events that these authors have organized. People are doing “virtual book launches” and a variety of other activities on Facebook.

I know that this is broad brush measure of social networking advice but for now, I’m just going to say – get busy!!

Inevitably (hopefully), you got people’s attention when they saw you on their local news or on the Today Show. Probably they’ve tried to reach you and if you have a website, perhaps they did.  It’s time now to parlay that initial interest with new growth. Depending on your subject matter, you may be engineering your own club, or even a support group. There’s a lot of possibilities in how this can turn out.  Work on creating critical mass.

Because, once you got the critical mass, you might actually make some sales.

Best wishes.

p.s. I’ll be your fan!

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Peace Village – speechless

September 29, 2009 at 7:55 pm

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Peace past perfect – Images and Voice of Hope 2009

September 28, 2009 at 2:15 am

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Drizzling rain masks the emerging autumn colors of the hills of the Catskill Mountains. It’s 11:00 am on Sunday and most of the people in attendance at the 2009 Images & Voices of Hope Summit have taken to their cars off to Albany and other NY airports. With them they take enriched spirits and heads full of ideas about the impact of media messages on our world and our personal lives. More than ever the uncharted, uncertain and seemingly unstable state of our media expands the conversation to places equally uncharted. Many hang on dearly for the life of their careers and all are on high alert about what is inevitably coming down the road.

It is this quality of the unknown that makes for some pretty interesting exchanges.

What will Apple’s new “tablet” do to the way we receive our news? How can we trust the news coming from cottage based operations that consist of one blogger? What is this new (or is it old) phenomenon of citizen journalism? Should they be trained according to professional standards? Can advertising morph from its sleezy reputation for how it sells soap to creating positive change in the thinking and habits of its viewers and readers? Are the younger generations only getting news from YouTube? Are they getting news at all (the real question)?

If we don’t yet have concrete answers about these and a myriad of media-related topics, the folks who gathered this weekend at Peace Village sure gave finding them a valiant try.

My head is swimming. Sure, it’s partly my slow-healing ear infection, but mostly it’s a healthy stupor of information overload. It’ll take some time to process this.

In an charming yet simple setting in the Catskills, I rubbed elbows with giants once again (refer to my blog about this last year – I was big on the giant factor).

This time I was in the presence of David Fanning, the grand poobah of PBS’s Frontline, probably one of if not the bravest news programs available on television. Stories that no one else tells, that no one particularly likes to look at, and stories that have more depth than our sound byte brains are deluged with on a daily basis. We must bring something to our viewing of Frontline stories. In a word, it’s something that most television programming allows us to ignore — our conscience.

David Fanning on left

David Fanning on left

I say bravo to Mr. Fanning’s presentation. My heartfelt wish is that PBS and the Frontline family steadily overcome any “preaching to the choir” scenario and work to expand their audience.  Truth in journalism, hey, you’ve all heard of that, right? Wouldn’t be a bad element to return to the living rooms of more viewers.

June Cohen

June Cohen

June Cohen from Ted was there. You know, TED, the conference and subsequent taping of them that dazzles us online with their plethora of 18 minute talks. If you DON’T know TED, go there now: http://www.ted.org. In my inimitable, perpetually adolescent way, I approached June at the end of the conference, so enamored with her current and past work, I actually said, “Had I been a bit younger, I would say – ‘can I work for you?’ or better yet – ‘I want to BE you.’ From her response, I don’t think she thought me an idiot. Her smile looked accepting. Media intersecting with technology is/was her specialty. Media intersecting technology needs to be of interest of us all.

Dinosaurs included.

How about this for titans of the advertising world? There were the two Mikes (Hemingway and Hughes):  respectively, the people behind the Dove “Real Beauty” campaign,and the “Geico”, Walmart “Save More, Live Better” campaigns. Brilliant minds sharing a passion for not just the art of selling soap but bringing real valuable goods that are not tangible. Things like, self-esteem, sustainability, compassion, etc. Not the usual staples we think of when we think of advertising minds, but thankfully,  conscience has been creeping in there as well.

Mike Hemingway

Mike Hemingway

Seth Farbman of the gi-normous Ogilvy agency, particularly the OgilvyEarth division, presented a brilliant and controversial peek at the ad  campaign called “Hopenhagen,” the theme of this December’s critical worldwide summit on climate change in Copenhagen. People in the audience, mostly journalists, had a lot to say about  all of the presentations from their typically natural enemy, the admen. Some bristled. Most applauded. What the presentations offered was a look at the very best of the best (and conscious) work being done, in my estimation, anyway.

Remember: Hope not Cope, or from Cope to Hope. Anyway. It’s a good idea. See more at: http://www.hopenhagen.org

Kim Spencer

Kim Spencer

Kim Spencer, talked about his work at Link TV which I’m embarrassed to say I hadn’t heard of. International news “unfiltered” (scary) that never makes it to the usual network and cable channels. I know a friend who subscribes to Link and thinks it’s unmatched. Smart people there. There’s tons of news of all sorts available but they’ve included a world music channel and another on spirituality. Spirituality coverage, with NO affiliation on a serious news network is not your mom and pop’s typical evening news fare.

Good for them.

Speaking of the blending of  worlds, like including music or matters of the spirit with traditional (if there is such a thing) news, the IVOH summit is masterful at blending. Throughout the more linear “work” of appreciative inquiry sessions where groups discussed some prescribed questions and the witnessing of presentations, there were moments woven in probably not seen at most conference that discuss the media. There were readings, some very intimate, from participants who drafted essays in the style of NPR’s “This I Believe Segment.” There were little journals given to all of us for periodic moments of reflection when we were asked to stop what we were doing and jot down something we wanted to hold onto, express, or share later.

Jake & Lisa Ehrenreich

Jake & Lisa Ehrenreich

And, there was entertainment. Entertainment with meaning, of course, story-telling at its best from our soon-to-be-published by HCI guy, Jake Ehrenreich. Friday night, we were treated to a taste of Jake’s nationally acclaimed play, A Jew Grows in Brooklyn. We might have been in the Italian sector of the infamous Catskills, but Jake made us feel for a minute like we were in the ballroom of the Concord in 1965. More on Jake later. Much more.

The food is vegetarian. One colleague said she’d be glad to become one if chefs like this cooked for her on a daily basis. I am one (mostly) and would second that. The lovely Brahma Kumaris Spiritual University organization hosted the conference for us soldiers of the media making every possible comfort available to soothe our souls while we stretched our minds. Optional meditation class was available at sunrise and for those of us who love our snooze buttons,  tai chi and chi gong classes came at  a more civilized 8:00 am.  Midday, Collette led the energetic through the woods with the lure of possible deer or bear sightings At the very least, they would be treated to the beginnings of fall’s magnificent color palette.

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I made the martial arts classes and opted for a delicious nap while the mighty trekked. Maybe next time.

I’m writing this now while I’m still fueled with the summit’s magic, yes, I said magic. There’s something about this place, these hosts, and these people, some of whom I met last year, that make this an event I vowed never to miss for the rest of my life.

Dare I say it on this high holy day  eve? Next year in the Catskills.

Well done, I say.

This is my first installment. Prepare for more.

Easy fast to my tribe members! Om Shanti to the rest of you.

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Fly on the wall: Interview with Ellen Brazer – inside her book and inside self-publishing

September 23, 2009 at 2:55 pm

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I  am thrilled to have a very special guest post on my blog today from colleague and friend and esteemed author of historical Jewish fiction (perfect for this holiday time) , Ellen Brazer.  Ellen has recently released her ambitious new book, Clouds Across the Sun and has worked very hard in bringing it out to the world.  After much research and experience Ellen opted to take the self-publishing route and is making some  impressive strides there.  Help me welcome Ellen here to my humble blog and please do yourself the favor of finding out more about her book and, by jove, reading it!

Brief summary of Clouds Across the Sun:

Before the end of WWII, Hitler charged a group of his most trusted and brilliant comrades with a mission—educate your progeny and then elevate them to positions of power throughout the world. Steeped in fact and impeccably researched, Clouds Across the Sun is the story of just one of these children.

From Naples, Florida, New York City, and Washington D.C., to Israel and then the killing grounds of Vilnius, Poland (Lithuania) this story is one of great romance, discovery, redemption, and enlightenment as Jotto Wells discovers her Jewish soul and unravels the intrigue surrounding a plan to take over the government of the United States of America.

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What inspired you to write this story?

I think the answer to that is two-fold. As a young Jewish girl being raised in Naples, Florida, I was not exposed to other Jewish people. Yet, still I felt this huge tug in my soul for a connection. At twelve I read Leon Uris’s, Exodus. The journey for answers began. In 1986 I went to Israel and met and befriended Menachem Perlmutter. At 16 Menachem was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp where his mother, father, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were all exterminated. Menachem and his brother survived. Menachem moved to Israel after the war, became an engineer, pioneered drip irrigation and spoke throughout the world. His impact on me was that he never lost faith in God or his love and belief in humanity. Intrigued by this, I decided to explore those issues in a fictional setting.

Did you begin with an outline? Did you know the ending when you began?

No and no. Writing for me is as much of an adventure as I hope it is for the reader. I knew what I wanted to explore, I knew where I wanted the book to be set, and that it would have a back story in the Holocaust. That was all I knew. As for the ending, I didn’t know that until I wrote it.

Tell us about your character studies:

As my characters are born I begin to outline their personalities, what they think, what makes them unique. It helps me create separate and distinct voices. And in a book like mine, where there are many characters, it is important to understand them all.

What did you hope to accomplish in writing this story?

I wanted people to explore what I believe is deep within all of us. I call it the soul, others may choose another name. It is that voice whispering to us, urging us on, pushing us towards our destinies. I also wanted to explore just how far the human spirit can rise and move beyond obstacles. On a spiritual level I wanted to send the message that we all live on this planet, we share a Higher Power, and that no one is right or wrong in what they believe as long as in the end we are all seeking love.

You have decided to offer your book in not only a trade paperback addition on Amazon but also as an E-book. Can you tell me why?

I am so excited about this new technology. Just imagine, people from all over the world can now have access. If a man in Bombay wants to read my book, or a lady in Singapore, all they have to do is go to Smashwords.com and download the book to their computer, laptop, I-phone, or reader for only $2.50. And, they can read the first 100 pages for free. There is no downside for the reader or for me. I want my work out in the universe. This will allow that to happen.

What advice would you like to impart to the readers of this blog regarding the writing process?

I think the most important thing I have learned in this writing process is “Don’t dust!” Hang in there with me and I will explain what I mean. We writers we experts at finding a myriad of chores and obligations that take precedence over our work. But to become successful, to finish that article, book, or memoir we have to put our butts in a chair and write. Here is what works for me. I get up really early, six in the morning. I try and go to the gym five days a week. (I usually make three) I figure the only other thing I would be doing is sleep, and anyone can sleep. My time on the spin bike is spent with my eyes closed, listening to my higher-self create the story.  What comes next is now easier. I have the pictures in my mind and I just have to write the words. I try and write a few hours every day. So, don’t dust! Write.

Can you also give us some insider tips about self-publishing?

If you are considering the self-publishing option than make sure you want this so badly that it hurts to even consider your manuscript getting placed in a box in the closet! Become a self-promoter, telling everyone that your book is great! You have to believe that-it is the first step to your success. Then do your homework. There is so much more involved than just getting a book printed. You will need to create ways to get your work out into the world. Kim , you are the perfect example of where the self-published author can turn. You are an expert in PR. You know what the writer needs to do. I offer this suggestion to those of you that feel overwhelmed at the thought of taking on such a huge project: turn to the experts.

What are you working on now?

I am writing a story that takes place in the year 130 CE, when the Jews of Israel defeated Rome and ruled their country for three years under the direction of Bar Kockba, a man that was declared the messiah by the leading rabbis of the time. No fictional book has ever been written in this era and the elements of the book are every bit as intriguing as the Da Vinci Code. Watch for the release sometime in the next year.

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Inspiration abounds – just not inside my head this week…(so far)

September 23, 2009 at 6:52 am

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