Many have asked me what it was like to work on a project as high-profile as the Menendez book. It was challenging certainly but in the end, publicity is publicity the only difference is *what* or who you’re publicizing.
Certainly I’ve worked on high-profile projects before but nothing with quite the cache as the book Tammi Menendez wrote about her life with convicted killer, Erik Menendez. The challenge with this project wasn’t who we’d go after, it became who we’d pick and which programs would offer the best strategy for book sales. It’s unlikely that any of us will have a topic as controversial as marrying a convicted killer (Tammi married Erik after he was imprisoned for the 1989 murder of his parents, Jose and Kitty Menendez), but you might find that you’re in a situation that offers the same or similar choices as those which were presented to us while I was publicizing this book. In those situations I recommend that you pick your media carefully. Remember that many times, media outlets won’t follow each other. By this I mean that Good Morning America won’t take a segment that’s already been featured on The Today Show and vice verse. Even People Magazine has its limitations and often wants to lead in with a story that will then be followed by televised media. But this is where it gets tricky, if you’ve agreed to a segment in People you can probably kiss Oprah goodbye because they won’t feature something that People Magazine has already covered. So why do outlets enforce these strict “following” rules? Well, for ratings of course, being the first show to get a celebrity or hot topic is what they all want. The challenge with this of course is that most authors who aren’t using publicity firms don’t know this. Many times they’ll be so excited to get the requests that they’ll agree to the first one they get and put themselves at a disadvantage when other shows come a-calling. When you’re booking yourself for a hot or high-profile topic, hit all the major outlets at the same time and see what comes back. Know that most shows can create “packages” for you, meaning that they’ll offer you a segment on 20/20 and tease it on Good Morning America. Or you might get a segment on Oprah that they tease in an early issue of her magazine. These are all things you should know about and consider before setting up your campaign. Also, as you’re booking your media remember to choose the right type of media to suit your reader demographic. As in the case with the Menendez book the readers of this are very personality driven and more likely to watch celebrity shows like Entertainment Tonight or The Insider. By personality driven I mean that the readers of this book might also buy Jennifer Wilbanks book (Jennifer was the runaway bride) or the Amber Frye book, Witness for the Prosecution. All of these are celebrities or personality titles that do well in entertainment type shows.
The experience of working on a project this high-profile was one I won’t soon forget and one that offers lessons for all of us. Whether you’re publicizing Menendez or Murphy, pick the right media for you and be cautious of your choices, it can mean the different between a book sale or a book dud.
See the interview with Tammi Menendez and Erik Menendez here: http://et.tv.yahoo.com/topstories/13113/
Disclaimer: Our publicity contract with this book has ended and AME no longer represents the Menendez book, the authors, or any affiliates.