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Monday, April 27, 2015

Can Eliot Spitzer Help Market Your Book?

March 13, 2008 by · 1 Comment 

photo of Eliot Spitzer
By Sophfronia Scott

I just got an email from Arielle Ford, the noted publicist who helped put Deepak Chopra on the public radar. In her email she was promoting her sister Debbie Ford’s new book, Why Good People Do Bad Things: How to Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy. Since Arielle Ford is no slouch, it’s important to look at what she did with this email and how you can apply her tactics to your book marketing campaign.

First of all, the subject of the email was “Maybe Eliot Spitzer should read my sister’s new book”. For those of you who don’t know, Eliot Spitzer is the newly resigned governor of New York who was brought down by his alleged patronage of a prostitution ring. In her email, Ms. Ford goes on to say that her sister’s book is out and that Debbie has already been on television discussion Mr. Spitzer and his legal challenges. The rest of the email is all about the book and how to purchase it.

So what exactly was Arielle Ford doing? She was pitching to the news. Obviously the plight of the just-resigned governor is at the top of the news food chain right now. By connecting the book to the story, she’s setting her sister up for potential interviews on the many follow-up stories sure to come in the next few days, or even weeks.

There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t do the same thing. While this particular story may not be suited to your book, there are many more stories in the news every day that may be just the right fit. These chances crop up every time a big story hits the news. It’s important you know this because the news always opens a brief window of opportunity for a writer to either pitch a book or get some television or radio time based on their expertise. But you have to be ready. Here’s what you do:

1.) Keep Up On Current Events

TV and radio producers need new material and must put stories together quickly. That means you have to be right on top of the news and able to send a pitch in the moment you see a significant story developing. This doesn’t mean you have to be glued to CNN daily or subscribe to an Associated Press news ticker, but you do have to be aware of what’s going on. Speed is of the essence.

2.) Know How to Write a Quick Press Release

With that in mind, you’ll have to be able to craft a good press release at a moment’s notice. There are all sorts of technical aspects to putting together a press release, but basically you want it to have a strong headline, a quick and dirty description of your story and what you have to offer and contact information so producers will know how to find you. Make sure you make the connection that you are a no-brainer to be interviewed.

3.) Know How to Write a Quick Book Proposal

You’ll want to be able to do the same with a book proposal. Here the most important part will be promoting your expertise and a great table of contents. The point is to catch an agent or editor’s eye so they can start moving on the idea. You might have to flesh the proposal out after that, but for now you just want them to know you have the idea, expertise, connections and ability to follow through with the book.

4.) Use a Few Well-Chosen Email Addresses

Sure, you could mass email a press release, but for your book proposal (and for certain media contacts), you’ll want to make direct contact with a few, well-chosen people who you know will give your missive more than just a passing glance. This could be an agent you met in person at a conference, an editor who once rejected (with a nice note) one of your submissions or a producer whose email you received from a friend or colleague. Mark the email “urgent” if you must because they understand when timing is important. Just don’t do it everyday! Ideally you want a person who can tell you pretty quickly if a project is viable, whether others want to do the same or if there’s no interest period. Always be on the lookout to add such contacts to your list.

5.) Go!

You might have to do this again and again before hooking an agent, editor or producer with your idea. Don’t hesitate and don’t think “Well, I didn’t hear from this person before, they won’t be interested this time.” You never know! Be confident in what you have to say–just make sure you do have something to say! There’s no bigger turn-off for a producer or editor than to constantly receive disorganized, irrelevant information again and again from the same writer. Make sure yours is the pitch they pay attention to when it comes in.

© 2008 Sophfronia Scott

Sophfronia Scott is Executive Editor of The Done For You Writing & Publishing Company. Get your FREE audio CD, “How to Succeed in Business By Becoming a Bestselling Author” and your FREE online writing and book publishing tips at

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