I sent out my first nonfiction book proposal around 10 years ago (maybe more). That was the first time I heard mention of “author’s platform. ” I’ve been working away at my author’s platform every since that time and have sent out at least four proposals and written an unpublished novel in the meantime.
Of course, like many writers, while I worked at these things, I have juggled raising two children, earning a living as a freelance journalist and book editor and handling the miscellaneous distractions and responsibilities of life and family. Along the way I’ve self-published five short books (or booklets), which are also available as e-books, kept up with a variety of blogs, written more articles than I can remember, had a few moment of glory on radio shows, and landed contracts with three literary agents. I also had a book contract, although the book did not end up published (long story…).
Why do I tell you all this? Because my guest blogger today reminds me that for most writers, patience and perseverance truly do pay off. As she says, “Good things come to those who wait.” Well, she’s not the first one to say those words, but for nonfiction writers in particular, it takes time and effort to build a platform and develop expert status. Both are necessary no matter how you choose to publish your book. It’s the rare nonfiction writer who shows up with a first book proposal or self-published book (and no platform) and hits a home run. Normally, it takes the kind of pitching and waiting (and continuing to pitch and build platform) before the ball comes back that 20-year PR veteran Michelle Tennant Nicholson, chief creative officer of Wasabi Publicity and co-founder of www.PitchRate.com, talks about. Whether pitching an agent, publisher or radio or television producer, waiting and continuing to pitch pays off. You must be determined, patient, and willing to revise your pitch. Remember, aspiring authors and established authors need PR. So read on…and take heart.
Good Things Do Come to Those Who Wait!
By Michelle Tennant Nicholson
Working in the PR and publicity industry has definitely made me a believer of the old cliché “Good things come to those who wait.” I’m always tip-toeing on a deadline, scheduling interviews with little time to spare and getting my clients placements with no wiggle room for lollygagging. Usually the placements and results happen soon after I send my pitch, but other times it could take months or even years like I recently learned.
A couple of years ago I was interviewed by a writer working on story about how to land a dream job. I shared my experience, but never saw the story, until it magically appeared recently on the Northwestern Mutual blog. I couldn’t believe it really and had to think back to when I spoke with the writer, which was quite a while ago. A great placement for me and my company, and also a great reminder of how wild and unexpected the publicity world can be. It also provides a valuable lesson for those who get everything ready, all their materials organized and lined up, create an awesome pitch, send it out, and then hear crickets chirping.
It happens all too often after you send out a pitch. You’ll check your email all day and then the next day, and the same thing — no response. And next week, still nothing. You think, what gives? And then you make a fundamental mistake. You decide you can’t manage your own publicity campaign. Here’s the thing though: you can’t give up waiting, because good things do come to those who wait…and keep pushing forward at the same time.
Sometimes all it takes is another pitch. You can shake things up a bit by trying a variety of different things and you’ll stumble upon the right message that resonates with the media. But don’t quit. Just like with anything you do, practice and hard work are key and if you’re determined and committed, you’re bound for success.
What’s the saying? It takes 10 years of preparation to be an overnight success. So if you really want to make a difference, publicity has to be a component to your business. But it may take some time. If you want to be a household name, master the skills necessary, be patient and persevere through all the obstacles that might come your way.
About the Author
Twenty-year PR veteran Michelle Tennant Nicholson is Chief Creative Officer of Wasabi Publicity and co-founder of www.PitchRate.com, a free media tool that connects journalists, publicists, and experts. Called a five-star publicist by Good Morning America’s Mable Chan, Michelle specializes in international PR, working regularly with the likes of Oprah, Larry King, BBC, The Today Show and other major media. Contact her at PR blog http://www.StorytellerToTheMedia.com where she teaches tips from the trade.