Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Phenix & Phenix selected for Chicken Soup for the Soul® publicity

Iconic brand, literary PR firm ink agreement

AUSTIN, Texas – Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC announced today a long-term partnership with Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists to manage PR efforts for the brand moving forward.

Already garnering millions of impressions through top media outlets each month, Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists will expand national publicity initiatives for the series, launching upcoming Chicken Soup for the Soul® titles and leading its corporate branding.

“We are honored to welcome such an iconic brand to our roster and look forward to working with our media contacts to build an even larger platform for future Chicken Soup for the Soul® titles,” said Rusty Shelton, Managing Director of Phenix & Phenix.

“As Chicken Soup for the Soul® enters its 15th year we are more excited than ever about bringing life improvement to tens of millions of people around the World through our stories,” said Robert Jacobs, President and Chief Operating Officer of Chicken Soup for the Soul®. “Phenix and Phenix will help us tell the world about our expansion and new development plans that involve TV and DVD production and a new Chicken Soup for the Soul® website that will be unveiled in the months ahead.”

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the release of the first Chicken Soup for the Soul® book, which USA Today recently named among the five most memorable and impactful books in the last quarter century. This fall, Phenix & Phenix will promote new compilations in the “Our 101 Best Stories” line. In addition to the “Our 101 Best Stories” titles, other fall releases include Teens Talk Getting In…To College, Teens Talk High School, Teens Talk Middle School, Divorce & Recovery, Empty Nesters, My Resolution and Living Catholic Faith.

“P&P is founded on the premise that books changes lives, so our partnership with Chicken Soup for the Soul® is naturally a great fit,” said Stephanie Mayabb, Manager of Media Relations. “We are thrilled to have been named their agency of record as they continue to inspire and motivate readers globally.”

About Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC: Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC publishes all the latest titles in the famous Chicken Soup for the Soul® book series which are distributed through Simon and Schuster, Inc. Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC also licenses the right to use its famous trademark to high quality licensees through IMG, the world's premier licensing agent. The Chicken Soup for the Soul® series has sold over 112 million copies, with titles translated in over 40 languages. In 2007, USA Today named Chicken Soup for the Soul one of the five most memorable and impactful books in the last quarter century. The company is currently implementing a plan to expand the brand into all media. It is working with TV networks on several TV shows and is developing a major Internet presence dedicated to life improvement, emotional support and inspiration. For more information visit: www.chickensoup.com

About Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists: Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists is one of the country’s most respected literary publicity firms. Founded in 1994, Phenix & Phenix has represented bestselling titles across every major genre, enjoys active relationships with many of the nation’s top publishing houses and has won several awards for cutting-edge publicity campaigns. The company regularly books thousands of media hits each year, ranging from top outlets like “The Today Show” and The New York Times to local coverage around the country. Learn more at www.phenixpublicity.com.

For more information on this relationship or to request review copies of upcoming Chicken Soup for the Soul® titles, please contact Tolly Moseley at (512) 478-2028 x213 or tmoseley@phenixpublicity.com.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Media Training Tips--Things to Avoid During a Media Campaign

At the start of every publicity campaign we run we bring our clients down to our office in Austin, TX for a full day of media training (we have four authors in the office today for just that reason). Media training is important because it prepares authors to be entertaining and informative on the air--to give a good interview while also promoting their book effectively.

During media training we have workshops on each type of media before we conduct mock interviews. During the mock interviews we play a variety of hosts--from combative to unprepared--to teach authors how to handle those situations.

While media training is a vital step for authors, it is equally important to their publicist because the way authors conduct themselves during the publicity campaign reflects not only on them, but also on the publicist that is representing their work (and recommending them to great contacts). If an author bombs on the air because they are unprepared, the publicist is sure to suffer--either by getting a nasty note from the producer or worse, not hearing anything from that contact as a result. That is why preparation is so important.
In addition to preparing for interviews and giving our authors plenty of "do's," such as DO mention your book title, DO credential yourself early and often, etc. we also go over a list of "don'ts" to remember throughout the publicity campaign. These don'ts are in place to protect both the author and the publicist, ensuring that your media campaign is a solid one.

Here are a few to make sure you remember during your publicity campaign:

1. Don't respond to a bad review. For all the good things that the internet has done for book publicity, one of the negatives is this: the comments section of blogs tempt some authors to leave a nasty reply following a poor review. Bad reviews are part of being an author and if you flame a reviewer online, it is not only going to eliminate opportunities for future reviews, but it makes you, the author, look bad. It is also going to piss off your publicist and publisher, who have developed a relationship over time with that reviewer that just got trashed--who may now think twice about the next review copy that comes their way from your publicist. It is never OK to bash a reviewer online.

2. Don't contact the media directly. You're charming, no one knows your message better than you and you found that phone number online--why not just give that editor a quick call? Your publicist has been working with them on a story idea for weeks, so why not just knock this baby out with one phone call?

Very bad idea. If you happen to get that editor on the phone, you have gone around your publicist (who has given them everything they need to consider the story) and waived the inexperienced author flag. The story may get canned as a result--media members don't like to deal with multiple contacts on a story.

Let your publicist do their job (they've been doing this for years) and spend your time focusing on other marketing efforts.

Exception: thank you notes following coverage. Not only is this a classy way to show your appreciation for a feature story, interview, or book mention, but it sets you apart from the journalist's other sources - and ups your chances that they'll contact you again in the future.

3. Don't ask to see a story before it runs. Few requests are met with as much disdain from journalists as this one. We understand that you want to make sure the story is accurate--that they spelled your title correctly or mentioned the consulting work you've started to do on the side--but this request is never OK, as it violates journalistic ethics.

Journalists never show sources stories for "approval," before the general public got to see it. What you can do, however, is ask to see your direct quotes to make sure you are comfortable with those. Ask the journalist to have the publication's fact-checker call you to review quotes, and they will normally be happy to do so.

4. Don't disparage competitive titles. Your publicity campaign is about building bridges and opening doors for your career--but not at the expense of other authors. When I say never diss other books, that extends beyond live interviews to blogs, conversations at publishing events and other forums. Word gets around quickly in this industry and many authors have hurt their reputations by taking cheap shots at other authors. Take the high road. The cool thing about working with books, whether you're an author, a publisher, or publicist, is that we're all this together: the public is reading books, and that's a good thing.

This list just scratches the surface on dos and don'ts that most publicists will cover at the start of a campaign. Remember that your publicist's main goal is to prevent mistakes that could jeopardize the success of the publicity campaign. There is so much competition out there for authors and their books, so help the media out by respecting the work that they do - and don't give them reasons not to cover you.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

We, too, heart Shirley Johnson.

A few months ago, we came across a t-shirt someone was selling through Amazon, "I heart Shirley Johnson."

Shirley Priscilla Johnson, the Wonder Woman of online book reviews, half legend, all sweetheart. Shirley is a delight to the literary publicist community, albeit a little bit of a mystery (where does she find time to read all the books and review them...favorably?). We applaud her for her tireless efforts.

I thought of Shirley while reading the latest addition to the ongoing debate at GalleyCat (a la The Book Publicity Blog, and originating from former L.A. Times book review editor Steve Wasserman). If you haven't been following, here's a recap.

On PBS' NewsHour Monday, Wasserman offered his thoughts on the demise of print book review sections, questioning the legitimacy of the online book review world, which, suffice it to say, has seen a recent surge (did the term "mommy bloggers" even exist a year ago?). Wasserman had this to say:
"But what's lost here is the discriminatory filter provided by people who have embraced journalism as a craft. What has been lost here is the authority, such as it ever was, of newspaper people trying to do a job well done."
Touché…but in a rapidly changing landscape where the lines have been blurred between traditional media and citizen journalism with blogs, internet radio and online reviewers, this has been up for debate since the invention of the World Wide Web.

According to GalleyCat's Ron Hogan, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, and The New York Times are the country's only remaining newspapers to still run separate book review sections. The LAT buried the hatchet on their book review section in late July.

As a firm who has repped authors from all walks of life - headlining bestsellers to first-time novelists - we applaud anyone who champions the cause of the writer. To the Shirley Johnsons of the very complex online book review world, our hats go off to you. Thanks for all your thoughts, criticism and praise - mostly unpaid, underappreciated and unrecognized. Thanks for participating in and adding to great literary discussion.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Nice hit, Tyndale

Corporate PR doesn't get a whole lot better than this.

The publicity team at Tyndale House, one of the leading Christian publishing houses in the country, deserves some big time credit for the glowing feature story that ran this week in The New York Times. It was wonderful publicity because it provided exposure on a number of different levels:

1. It promotes one of Tyndale's lead fall titles. The article leads with coverage of The Winner's Manual, written by Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel, which currently sits at #3 on The New York Times “advice, how-to and miscellaneous” bestseller list.

2. It provides backlist promotion for the two other gridiron titles that Tyndale has had on the Times bestseller list in the past twelve months, Quiet Strength and Don't Bet Against Me!

3. It is a tremendous brand-builder for Tyndale House as a publisher. Though the article is focused on their recent gridiron success, Julie Bosman uses a lot of ink on Tyndale House's history and success stories across all genres.

4. It provides exposure for an entire industry. Not only was this article a great piece for Tyndale, but it also provided great attention for a number of other Christian publishers including Thomas Nelson and Zondervan, both of whom also do a wonderful job of landing titles on the Times list. Bosman even goes out of her way to talk about advantages that authors get when choosing to publish with Christian publishers. Frankly, based on recent general market success stories from across this industry, I think that such a label is becoming less and less relevant.

Needless to say, feature stories on this level are not easy to book and I have seen few that were as powerful as this one.

Congrats to Todd, Maria, Kathy and the entire publicity team at Tyndale for a wonderful booking!

Labels: , , ,