Holiday Recommended Reading

Top Billing! Callie Oettinger at Steven Pressfield OnlineThe Elephant in the Room

Callie has become a friend through many backchannel emails but she is known for work in the publishing world as a publicist for such luminaries as Col. TX Hammes, General Hugh Shelton, Nathaniel Fick and, naturally, Steven Pressfield. It is good to see Callie blogging with Steve; here’s a sample with some sage advice for would-be authors:

….For now, I want to jump back to Shawn Coyne’s first “What It Takes column”-“Getting the Meeting“-in which he shared the big elephant in the sales room:

“My colleagues and I were not in the business of selling to consumers. We made (and our authors made) our livelihood by selling to retailers.”

Delete the word retailers and insert traditional media and you’ll have the big elephant in the publicity room.

Traditional media has always been the way-point on publishers’ routes to connect with consumers. Book reviews, radio and television interviews, and magazine features have been the middlemen. With a few exceptions, direct-connects between publishers, publicists, authors and readers didn’t exist.

As we started building awareness for Steve’s blog, his work was featured by traditional outlets like the New York Times, the Washington Post, the NY Daily News,  and Newsweek. These are the outlets publishers and their sales reps like to see.

Reality: None of these outlets triggered the traffic that we witnessed when Crossfit posted the name of one of Steve’s blog series on its site. That was Oct. 2, 2009, and we’re still seeing traffic from the Crossfit community today. The same is true for sites such as Small Wars Journal and individual bloggers Glenn Reynolds (a.k.a. Instapundit) and Seth Godin.

Traditional media outlets have never covered even a dime in the dollar of books published each year. Everyone wants in, but there’s not enough room. And even though specific genres have never received equal coverage from traditional media outlets-military, science-fiction, and romance come to mind-many of the publishers and authors of these books continue traditional pitching, hoping something will stick. Why? Because that’s what’s always been done.

Those interested in having Callie’s professional expertise at their disposal can contact her at Oettinger & Associates.

Thomas P.M. BarnettThe final version of the Sino-American grand strategy “term sheet” , WPR’s The New Rules: Obstacles to a U.S.-China Partnership Made in U.S.A.? , Esquire: “When China Ruled the World” (January issue)

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