Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Frame These Words!

One of my clients ("Jane") had a bad experience with her former publisher ("X"). Now she has a book coming out this summer with a new publisher ("Y"). She's busy writing a marketing plan, putting together an extensive mailing list and lining up promotional events. All good. (If you haven't started doing this for your own forthcoming book, get cracking!)

BUT...Worried that she'll get the same lackluster support from Y as she did from X, Jane wrote a press release for Y to use "as a first pass suggestion." (X hadn't bothered to write one, so Jane wound up doing it for them.) Fortunately, she asked my opinion of it before she sent it off.

I responded, in several emails:
Writing the press release is Y's job; don't step on their toes. Ask--very politely--if they've written one yet, and if so, could you see it. If they haven't, only then say that you took a crack at it yourself, to serve till they do a better one. (Note the flattery.)

You have to walk a very fine line: There's a lot they won't do for your book, but it's insulting to them--and needless additional work for you--to assume they'll do nothing. This is why you have to have a meeting--or at least a conversation--in which you find out exactly what they plan on doing for the book, and what you can do to augment their efforts. [Note augment, not replace.]
Jane said she's going to frame my final words:
Remember: You are business partners, not adversaries; working together, not at cross-purposes. What happened with X is ancient history; you're with Y now and have to make the best of it there.

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