You Too Can Be A Media Darling

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Joanne McCall and I have been friends since the mid-eighties. We were broadcasters on sister stations in Portland, Oregon all those years ago. Because we were a minority, we banded together in a social organization we formed called Broads in Broadcasting. It was a way for us to network and support each other. But mostly, we just had a ton of fun.

We took diverse roads after broadcasting. I split my time between a job with the government and pursued my real love-writing dark murder mysteries in my free time. Joanne became a publicist and started her own company called McCall Media Group. 

I asked Joanne about her evolution from broadcasting to public relations. “That transition began in 1994 when I left broadcasting and went to work for a conference and retreat center as their PR director and special events manager. After I was there about a year, during which I was handling PR events and local media book tours for the likes of Kenny Loggins, Marianne Williamson, Wayne Dyer, and others, the CEO landed a book deal with a major publisher, Bantam Double Day Dell. They asked if I would like to head up the 25-city book tour and work with the publisher to do so, and I very excitedly said, “Yes! of course!”

The word publicist conjures up a number of images for me. What exactly do you do for authors who are interested in your services? “I work as a media trainer and publicist for nonfiction authors who specialize in business,
health, and some mindful/spirituality topics. I also work with fiction authors, business owners and others who want help positioning their work and delivering their messages in a compelling way. This is in the form of strategy sessions and media training. We discuss their goals, objectives, dreams, and desires, and then go about figuring the strategies that are the best way to make them happen.”Headshot, formal

For me, the hardest part of the publishing business is marketing. Any suggestions? “I have a couple of handouts I can share with anyone interested. One is a Publicity Cheat Sheet and the other is How to Become a Media Darling.”

I know that you have a program to help authors get ready for media interviews. Would you tell us about the program and what advice you give authors to get ready for radio and television interviews?
“I am launching a new beta program and event called McCalls
Media Finishing School this fall. We will do a full launch in the
spring of 2020. In addition to learning how to position your book or business, it also teaches you how to create sound bites, media training, and adding creative visualization and NLP to the mix.”

How does someone prepare for radio and television interviews? You and I had plenty of practice as broadcasters, but most authors don’t. How can they get prepared? Listen and watch other interviews. Who does it well and who doesn’t? The secret is to learn why and then do better. Make sure you create a list of key messages about your book. 8 to 15 will be enough. Key messages are those points that you will get across in any interview you do. It helps you to keep on track. Then create a list of interview questions. Have someone help you and do some mock interviews. Invite them to ask the questions and you practice answering.”

Just one final question. How do my readers get in touch with you? “They can
email me at joanne@joannemccall.com or they can go to joannemccall.com and fill out a form that comes right to me. Thanks, Kelly for all these fabulous questions. It’s really delightful and I hope your audience has found some of this helpful.” 

Thank you, my friend, for sharing your PR secrets with us. Loved chatting with you!

A WOMAN OF MANY TALENTS

Like many authors, Sandy Nachlinger has spent years honing her craft. She took numerous college classes, has attended writer’s conferences, and has spent many lonely hours with fingers flying over the keyboard trying to fashion the perfect story. sandy headshot10best3

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Sandra has been writing  stories since childhood. She told me she wrote her first romantic tale in elementary school, in pencil on lined paper. And just like the novels she’d later write as an adult, the heroine got a kiss at the happy ending. Sandy still has diaries from her school days, one of which inspired I.O.U. SEX, her first book co-written with her childhood friend, Sandra Allen. Her second book is BLUEBONNETS FOR ELLY. Lately, Sandy has been creating shorter pieces while future novels still simmer in her imagination. Her focus is on contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and personal essays featuring mature women.

Sandy and I met when she first moved to the Pacific Northwest, almost fifteen years ago. We reconnected again at a creative writing class at Pierce County Community College. Once the course ended, several students formed a separate writing group for inspiration and feedback on our stories. That’s when we really got to know each other. The mix of five different women, each writing in a different genre, has been beneficial to us all—and it’s lots of fun.

Sandy is a gifted editor as well. She poo-poos the idea of hanging out a shingle and charging a fee. I’ve encouraged her to do just that though. I never send out any piece of significance without running it by Sandy first. She has an eye like an eagle and can spot a missing comma from miles high. Beyond that she has an uncommon intuitive sense that knows when a story line works and when it doesn’t. I trust her implicitly. I told her she’s going to have to live until she’s one hundred because I plan on writing that long.

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It simply isn’t true that writers are introverts who seldom see sunlight and spend most of their waking hours either reading other authors’ novels or penning another tome. When not writing, Sandy likes to hike, make quilts, garden, take photos, lunch with friends, travel, and spend as much time as possible with her granddaughter, Corinna. Here’s Sandy enjoying lunch in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Sandy is also written a number of magazine articles about her various pursuits and adventures.  Rollin’ On The River: http://sasee.com/2018/07/01/rollin-on-the-river/

Happy When I’m Hiking: http://sasee.com/2018/04/01/happy-when-im-hiking/

Sandy’s novels are available on Amazon in ebook and Paperback.

 

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I.0.U. SEX: http://www.amazon.com/I-O-U-Sex-ebook/dp/B004CFAPA4/

BLUEBONNETS FOR ELLY: https://www.amazon.com/Bluebonnets-Elly-Sandra-Nachlinger-ebook/dp/B01C7KMBN

 

Dynamic Duo

I’ve never met the man, but he’s become a good friend and I would like to introduce my friends to him. He has a distinguished name, one you won’t easily forget. Caleb Pirtle III was once a newspaperman, winning both the Texas Associated Press and Headliner’s Awards.  Caleb also served as editorial director for Dockery House Publishing in Dallas, Texas for twenty-five years where he developed and produced magazines and books for the corporate and retail marketplace.

Caleb wrote three teleplays: Gambler V: Playing for Keeps, a mini-series for CBS, Wildcat: The Story of Sarah Delaney and the Doodlebug Man, a CBS made-for-television movie, and The Texas Rangers, a TV movie for TNT television. As if that weren’t enough, he has also penned over seventy-five books.  I stand in awe. I’ve poured sweat and tears into five novels. I can’t imagine seventy-five books! I’d like to share one of my favorite Caleb Pirtle novels with you.

Back Side of a Blue Moon

Continue reading

HOW TO FIND TIME FOR YOUR PASSION

Life is chaotic and busy. If you daily trudge to a full-time job and spend hours in traffic, you can add two to three hours to your eight hour work day. I live near the Seattle area where workers have gradually started their commute earlier and earlier to beat the congestion. Unfortunately, many others had the same idea, and now there are miles-long traffic jams at four am.  I used to make that trek and eventually caved to the idea of public transportation. So I’d ride the bus to downtown Seattle and walk several blocks from the bus tunnel to work. It meant rising much earlier than my body wanted to. On the way home, this weary commuter snoozed until I arrived at the Park-and-Ride. I’m much luckier now. In the morning, my commute is a mere forty-five minutes from my home in the South Puget Sound.

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I’m a novelist, and regardless of the shorter commute, I still struggle to find time to write Monday through Friday. In addition to writing, I work a full-time job and am raising a teenage boy. Couple that with ordinary life like commitments at church, paying bills, cleaning house, laundry, grocery shopping, and cleaning the dreaded cat pan. I feel like I’m putting what I really loved to do on hold far too often. Guilt beats me up when a fellow blogger or fan asks me, “When is your new novel going to be published?” I have become an artful liar. “By summer’s end, the raw draft should be ready for an editor.”

I think I have found a solution though. My body rises at an ungodly early hour even on weekends. If I get at least a half a cup of coffee in me, don’t bother to dress, or turn on the TV, I’ve got a chance to get some serious writing done. Like a child with ADHD, if I get distracted by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Gmail, I’m a goner. Before I know it, two hours have passed, and by then the animals are circling my feet for breakfast, and my grandson has stumbled upstairs for cereal.  I wish the pharmaceutical companies had a pill for self-discipline.

That’s what it takes to complete a goal. Self-discipline.  Sometimes, mine is in short supply. In the last ten years, I’ve written five novels. I want to make room for the sixth novel on my website header below. cropped-fb-kelly-2017-blog.jpg

I faithfully read fellow author Kristin Lamb’s blog:https://authorkristenlamb.com/ Her advice? Just do it. She even emails me and other followers at random hours to join her for writing sprints. Maybe it’s a half-hour or an hour. She emails, “Hello from the I-nag.” It’s a call to action to hyper-focus and a reminder that even fifteen minutes or a half-hour can inch me towards my goal.

My writing matters…A LOT. But so does life. I have some dear family members who are facing serious health issues. That’s a sharp reminder to me that in the whole scheme of things, they are more important than a completed novel.  I continue to keep my eye on the target, but precious time with loved ones is the greater goal.

Til next time, dear friends.

Kelly

CHRISTMAS GIFTS

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There are many gifts of Christmas including a gracious, giving attitude by many people. Individuals dig deep into their pockets to buy toys for disadvantaged children. Others drop coins into the Salvation Army red kettle. Still others donate turkeys and canned goods to area food banks. Don’t you wish we could keep this warm, caring attitude for the whole year?

We also take special care to find just the perfect gift for our loved ones. If you have a book lover in your life and are looking for just the right book, I’d like to share the books I have authored with you. Hopefully, you’ll find one that sparks your interest.
KTG COVER 4Seattle homicide detectives, Nick Winston and Pat Strom, search out crime in the underbelly of the Emerald City. This time, a serial killer is murdering lesbians in the Northwest’s most gay-friendly city. Winston and Strom are called to the apartment of University of Washington student, Kylee Harris. The provocative young woman is slaughtered in her bed, and the killer leaves behind a grisly clue that shocks even the most cynical detectives. https://www.amazon.com/Kiss-Girls-Make-Them-Die-ebook/dp/B06XBR46LV/ref Continue reading

A Plea for Publicists

I’ve been seriously writing for ten years and have published five books within that time frame. I still report to a full-time job everyday and am raising a teen-age grandson. Writing gets done in the wee hours before sunrise on the weekend. My journey has not always been a smooth ride. I partnered with an online publisher for three years who went bankrupt and folded owing me royalties. Unavailable for sale for almost a year, my books languished while I decided whether to self-publish or find a new publisher.

On the recommendation of a fellow author, Caleb Pirtle III, I chose White Bird Publications of Austin, TX. I like the no BS persona of it’s owner, Evelyn Byrne-Kusch. We are simpatico and I was glad I waited to find a good publisher that I could communicate with.

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A missing piece of the puzzle for me was effective marketing. I’m a writer, not a specialist in advertising or marketing. Book coach and an independent publishing expert Kristen Eckstein recommends spending 50% of your time on writing and 50% on marketing your published and pending books. Whoa! With so little time to write, where was I going to find that kind of time? What I needed, what I wanted was a savvy publicist who could plow the way through the machinations of publishing. I wanted someone who could lift the heavy load for me. Trying to do it all, I felt I was doing none of it well. In addition, I had maxed out more than one credit card buying marketing programs offered by “experts” who guaranteed me success.  Yeah, right.

 

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Once again, my writing buddy, Caleb Pirtle III, gave me a referral. This time to Y&R PR, also of Texas. The company and I had a misunderstanding early on when I bought into a program that Y&R PR decided to close. I was relieved and pleased when the marketing firm assured me they would honor their commitment. They offered a personal publicity program that I had been looking for. From the Y&R PR website: “Let us do the tedious and time-consuming job of getting your name and brand to the public. We work on your behalf, proudly representing your name and acting as an advocate for your talents and goals.”

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I’m not writing this blog as an advertisement for Y&R PR, but rather to point out that there is a huge black hole in publishing, a crying need for right-brained authors who need a publicist who can help writers get their toe in the door of success.

Marketing companies may not be for everyone, but for writers like me whose time is more precious than gold, they offer a chance to get noticed in a country where it’s estimated that up to 1,000,000 books are published every year. On average, writers sell less than 250 copies each. Pretty depressing, huh? 

To my fellow writers, I salute you and understand the difficult journey you’re on.  Whether you slog though the demands of self-publishing and go it alone or like me, you enlist the help of a publicist, it’s a tough path. I liken it to walking on hot coals hoping I’ll get to the other side without third-degree burns.  I’d like to set the world in fire, but not quite like that.  For those of you looking for a publicist, here’s a few links:

https://janefriedman.com/find-book-publicist/

https://reedsy.com/publicity/book-publicist

https://www.upwork.com/o/profiles/browse/?q=book-publicist

http://www.prbythebook.com/services/

http://yandrpr.com/