Power Book Publicity Tips for March 2008


Thank you for signing up for TCI-Smith Publicity’s Power Publicity Tips. In this issue:

  • This Issue’s Top 10 Power Publicity Tips
  • Book as Business Card: Growing Trend in Business Marketing and Publishing
  • The Seven Deadly Sins of Book Promotion

We hope 2008 finds you all well. We are beginning to gear up for two exciting tradeshows, the London Book Fair and Book Expo America If you plan on attending these events, we welcome you to visit us to discuss your project. If you would like to set up an appointment, please contact me: or 856-489-8654.

Also please drop me a line for feedback and article suggestions for future Power Publicity Tips.

One last item of particular note since our last newsletter, we are excited to announce our president, Dan Smith, was recently honored as “Book Publicist of the Year” from the Book Publicists of Southern California!

As always, we invite you to forward this newsletter to anyone interested in book publicity.


Sandy Diaz
Vice President Sales & Marketing
TCI-Smith Publicity
856.489.8654 ext 301

Mailing Address: 2 Split Rock Drive, Suite 12 • Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
230 Park Avenue, 10th Floor • New York, NY 10169
212 Piccadilly • London • W1J 9HG •Tel. 020 7917 9812

Visit us at London Book Fair, April 14-16, Stand X325
Visit us at Book Expo America, May 30-June 1, Booth 5627

TCI-Smith Publicity
Power Publicity Tips Newsletter
March 2008

This Issue’s Top 10 Power Publicity Tips

1. Plan ahead for magazines: Magazine lead-times can be up to six months.  For example, for some publications, it’s not too early now to pitch for back-to-school stories.

2. Are you a college graduate? Send your book press release and bio to Alumni publications.

3. Have your book listed on Barnes & Noble or Amazon? Make your pages as complete as possible with jpeg of cover and positive reviews (even if it’s written by friends and family).

4. Do you have a website? If not, get one. If you do, have your About or News page as current and complete as possible as this is often the first place an editor, producer or reporter will research if they are interested in you or your project.

5. Doing radio interviews? Before going on air, practice a 10 to 15 second “elevator speech” of what you want audiences to remember about you and your book. Time yourself. You’ll be surprised at how short this is.

6. Print media interested? Have a high-resolution (300 dpi) professional digital headshot of you in jpeg format. No clutter in the background.

7. Book signings? Have a greeter at the door handing out flyers of you and your book and directing people to where you are. The greeter will most likely be someone who came with you as store employees are too busy.

8. Blogging? Don’t forget to put a link to your website or to where people can easily purchase your book.

9. Hobby? Stamp collector, bird watcher? Even if your book is not related, let your publicist know about any expertise you have.

10. Drink coffee? Next time you are in a Starbucks® or local coffee shop, or train station, leave a copy of your book on a table. You never know who will pick up your book and pass it along.


Book as Business Card:
Growing Trend in Business Marketing and Publishing
By Dan Smith

As the boom in publishing and self-publishing books continues, a growing trend has emerged: using a book as business card.Entrepreneurs and business owners of all types are finding that publishing a book in their area of expertise can be an effective marketing tool; replacing or supplementing traditional tactics, brochures and collateral materials. The philosophy is simple: Having an attractive, informative, well-designed book to provide prospective customers or clients greatly enhances credibility, establishes the business owner as an expert, and helps to expand awareness of a company. Furthermore, with proper promotion and publicity, an additional revenue stream can potentially be established from sales of a book.

TCI-Smith Publicity, a leading national book promotion agency, currently promotes several books written by business owners; each using their book for a variety of purposes. Barry Nadell, the head of a national background check company, published Sleuthing 101: Background Checks and the Law. The book has afforded Nadell the opportunity to spread awareness of his company through reviews and feature stories in trade and business publications.

Allan Gorman, owner of a market leadership and brand development firm, published Briefs for Building Better Brands, sells the book at speaking engagements and presentations, and has also received widespread coverage of the book – and his business – through media coverage and interviews. Roland Manarin, president of a major investment firm, is in the process of publishing a book, but has enjoyed extensive pre-release exposure in major newspapers and broadcast media, laying the foundation for a major launch of his forthcoming book.

Business leaders publishing books also greatly enhances the credibility needed to secure media exposure. Many media outlets prefer to use experts who have written a book on their subject, because it provides the requisite credibility to use the author as an expert source for stories and interviews.

The multiple benefits of publishing a book are leading more and more business owners to consider this non-traditional marketing tool. TCI-Smith Publicity has seen a steady increase in the number of clients following this route, and the authors/experts the agency has promoted have found the process to be equally, or more effective, than traditional marketing tactics.

Dan Smith is the president of TCI-Smith publicity, a full service book promotion and public relations agency. He has personally conducted more than 200 promotional campaigns. Clients of TCI-Smith Publicity have appeared on virtually every major radio and television show, and been featured in top publications across the country.


The 7 Deadly Sins of Book Promotion
by Dan Smith

Competitive doesn’t begin to describe today’s book market. The booming print on demand and self-publishing industries, coupled with mainstream publishers, has flooded the market with thousands of new releases each month.  With an infinite number of books and authors vying for attention from a finite number of media outlets, book publicity is a tough, sometimes brutal business.

Many authors choose to self-promote, but most still reach out to professionals for help with at least some aspects of their promotion. For both novice promoters and veteran professionals alike, the pitfalls of book publicity are many.  In my experience handling over 200 campaigns, I know what can sabotage success, the errors of both omission and commission that can derail a campaign, and how human tendencies can adversely affect promotion.

What follows are the 7 deadly sins of book promotion; the mistakes and actions that can destroy an author’s chances to get substantial media coverage.


If you think sitting back and watching royalty checks roll in is your destiny, think again.  Virtually all authors must ‘get out there’ and be seen and heard. Book signings and tours are not passive events; they require a hunger for success and kinetic energy level. Interviews can be a gold mine or a disaster for one who puts forth a half-hearted effort. Publicity doesn’t happen, you have to make it happen.

Lazy authors languish in the million rankings on bookselling sites.


If you are promoting a book, prepare for your pride to be pierced a few times. One of the most common mistakes I’ve seen authors make is letting a negative review or bad interview derail their determination.

The author believes her book is a bestseller; it is her baby, her labor of love.  She has great pride in what she has written, so much so that it has created an excessive belief in her abilities and her book. When the tough times come, pride begets anger which begets frustration which leads to disillusionment.

An author must go into promotion knowing not everyone will fall in love with the book. I often ask my clients, “Do you like every book you’ve ever read?”

Roll with the punches, and stay the course. Put your ego on bed rest.


Eight out of ten authors who call me inquiring about publicity tell me they want to be on Oprah. I tell them, invariably, that it’s probably not going to happen for them, that we can and should try, but the odds are akin to the lottery.  But authors see others on the show and are envious. They ask “If that person is on, why can’t I?”  “My book is better than his!”

Envy serves no purpose in book promotion. The only way other authors get great publicity gigs is because they tried. If anything, you should learn from them. Watch them carefully, examine their topic, and then examine your own project. We all can learn something from others; I still do every day.


How does lust come into play with book promotion? I have both an extreme example and more common ones from my firm’s own ‘case files.’

Good publicity can be intoxicating. Being on talk shows, having articles written about you … it all makes you feel good, and it should. I always tell authors to enjoy the ride, because it won’t last forever. However, letting your good time change you, or bring about actions which have nothing to do with the hard work of promoting your book can be disastrous. Losing focus – taking your eye off the ball – is a surefire way to run into trouble.

Example #1:  During one of the first conversations I had with a prospective client – a middle age author with multiple books – he told me (and I must paraphrase here) he wanted to get publicity so he could attract women. He was serious. Needless to say, his campaign lasted only one month; we tried to keep him focused on the steps needed to get exposure for his books, but we couldn’t, and we parted company.

Example #2:  The more benign type of book promotion ‘lust’ comes in the form of letting success change who you are, and make you long for things which you never envisioned before. In our firm we call these clients ‘addicts’ – they get so enthralled with success that the book becomes secondary. They want more and more exposure, but not so much to sell books, but to feed their own newly-found desires to acquire things – from sheer fame for the sake of fame to popularity and the overwhelming desire to have others simply notice them.

In the end, lust almost always makes for an unhappy ending to what can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.


Gluttony in book promotion touches upon several of the other sins. In its purest form, it is the insatiable desire to ‘consume’ as much publicity as possible, and not being satisfied with each opportunity. Local radio interviews, for example, become unsatisfying, and an author starts to shun them because she wants more and better opportunities. A book review in a small newspaper is dismissed as insignificant, because she wants more. A local TV opportunity is declined because there aren’t enough viewers to fulfill the need for exposure.

I routinely run into these exact scenarios, and inevitably, we ‘lose control’ of our client, and the campaign starts to slowly dissolve because the author is literally never satisfied, and will not appreciate ‘smaller bites’ of publicity while the bigger opportunities are pursued.

Book promotion is akin to a seven course meal. You start slowly, testing the waters, then move onto the next course. You proceed in a steady, measure manner, enjoying every course while building confidence and momentum.

Don’t demand all seven courses be delivered to your publicity table at once. Enjoy the entire experience of the meal and be patient.


Like gluttony, greed is the offspring of several other sins, and perhaps the most common sin of book promotion. Here is a classic example:

·  An unknown, first-time author comes to my firm. He is nervous, unsure and wary of what will happen in his campaign – all perfectly understandable and expected concerns. The campaign begins slowly; and a few radio interviews are secured. All is well.

·  The campaign starts to achieve momentum. The radio interviews start streaming in. Instead of one a week, we are booking four and five a week.

· Our client has confidence now, and is thoroughly enjoying the process.

· Things start to change. The level of radio interviews takes a dip, and we encounter the lull which happens in most campaigns. Instead of four or five interviews a week, it drops to one or two.

· The author, having become accustomed to many interviews each week, demands more.  He is not satisfied with the interviews we secure, and will not be satisfied until we reach and maintain the level we had achieved.

· He becomes disillusioned and decides another firm can fulfill his hunger for more and more interviews.

Greed is what I call a ‘coffin nail’ in a campaign. Once it starts, it is very difficult to control and typically ends in a campaign which veers off track wildly. Greed may be good on Wall Street, but it will bankrupt a book promotion campaign.


Anger comes in many forms in book publicity. I once worked with an author who received a brutal review of his book, and was so angry he proceeded to drive over 200 miles to the reviewer’s location, storm into the office, and scream at the reviewer. This was, putting it mildly, a bad move.

The reviewer, in an unprofessional move, contacted reviewers at other newspapers in his company’s chain, and urged some colleagues to review the book. Five additional negative reviews appeared in the ensuing weeks.

It is important to keep in mind that when promoting a book, you are opening yourself up for scrutiny, in fact, you are inviting it. You want the scrutiny and attention. Assuming everyone will react positively to you or your book is foolish and immature.

The same scenario can happen in radio interviews. Many authors don’t realize that ‘hostile’ interviews can make for great talk radio, and actually get more listeners curious and interested in your book. If a host starts throwing punches at you on the air, throw yourself into the fight. Trust me, you will have a good time. When your juices get flowing, you will be more animated and colorful, and listeners will love it.

We are all Sinners

Book promotion is a distinctly human process. It is an emotional, scary, exciting and stimulating experience. Anyone promoting a book will at various times experience both disappointment and excitement. All authors will also be tempted to ‘sin’ at various times in a campaign. As a publicist, I expect this and understand it.

As in life, recognizing your ‘sins’ of publicity, and stopping them before they cause problems is key. Book promotion is more a marathon than sprint, and because of this, the opportunities to veer into negative promotional ‘behaviors’ are many.

You can always atone for your sins by getting back on track, enjoying the ride, and realizing you are involved in a wonderful experience.

Dan Smith is the president of TCI-Smith publicity, a full service book promotion and public relations agency. He has personally conducted more than 200 promotional campaigns. Clients of TCI-Smith Publicity have appeared on virtually every major radio and television show, and been featured in top publications across the country.

About TCI-Smith Publicity

Beginning in 1997, TCI-Smith Publicity has evolved from a one-person operation run from a bedroom office to one of the nation's leading promotional firms. Fueled by a passion for making good things happen for clients, we’ve worked with over 400 individuals and companies–from authors and entrepreneurs to publicly-held companies and business representing a wide range of industries.

The TCI-Smith Publicity reach is international; we’ve effectively worked with clients throughout the United States and Canada, and countries from the U.K. and Australia to Israel and Malta. We now have offices in New Jersey, New York City, and London.

While our expansion from boutique publicity agency to a multi-faceted public relations and creative communications firm has greatly expanded the breadth of our services, the fundamental driving force behind everything we do is superior presentation, promotion, and positioning of our clients. Our refrain, “make good things happen for clients,” has propelled TCI-Smith Publicity from just-another-agency to a premier promotional firm offering outstanding, cost-effective service with unparalleled customer service.

If you are interested in receiving a proposal for your project, please contact Sandy Diaz, Vice President of Sales and Marketing,, or 856-489-8654 x301.


Contact information:

TCI-Smith Publicity
856.489.8654 ext 301

Mailing Address: 2 Split Rock Drive, Suite 12 • Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
230 Park Avenue, 10th Floor • New York, NY 10169
212 Piccadilly • London • W1J 9HG •Tel. 020 7917 9812

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