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(Scroll down to "Investigate" for my expert input.)

Thank you to the many book promotion professionals who shared tips for aspiring authors with me! In Part One, read about treating your book launch like a campaign with consistent social media and a newsletter.


Kathleen Schmidt told me to write down clear goals for my book. Schmidt said, “When I have an initial call with potential clients, I ask them what their goals are. If you are an author, having realistic goals is healthy. Goals like “get on the New York Times bestseller list” or “get my book picked for Reese’s Book Club” are pie-in-the-sky and not easily attainable. Start with small, achievable goals like getting a bylined piece you wrote published, so you gain name recognition.” I agree that setting expectations can really help. When I started my YouTube channel, I was happy with every small win. I celebrated when I reached 100 views and then 1000 views and now I have nearly two million views on my videos! It is important to recognize our accomplishments. I am excited that I have a book and cannot wait for my upcoming launch!


Stand out in today’s noisy world as a guest on a podcast. Liz H Kelly recommends that authors focus on a targeted podcast campaign to reach readers. Kelly told me that “one of the best things is to invest time in a podcast campaign to reach your niche audience. Start at least 3 months in advance of your book launch, search for top podcasts and pitch the hosts with a personalized email. Find podcasts that have a similar audience as your book, and actually listen to an episode before pitching. After an interview is secured, ask the host if they can publish it close to your book launch date, so you have a burst of PR to promote sales.” I love being a guest on podcasts and I even started my own podcast called Make Your Own Map in December 2022. So far people are listening from 36 countries on 6 continents.


Joseph Pastrana practices what he preaches and tells authors to “start contacting organizations, book stores, anything relatable to the subject of your book about an appearance, reading, book signing. I have been hosted by different types of organizations including a menswear shop. It’s always important to go out and try. Once you book an event, you can parlay that to more coverage by reading out to media that cover appearances.” Joseph said, “hire a professional that knows the “who” and “how” and even “when” to reach the appropriate media to help with publicity for the book.

Laurie Graff agrees that there is nothing like an in-person event to engage a reader with you and your brand. While an author can arrange their own event or signing at a local bookstore or thematically related venue. Graff wants authors to ask themselves, “Who will relentlessly promote the event? Who will take photo-ops of the author with their strategically placed book and send it out to local media? A publicist can elevate the author from writer to expert, to make them a newsworthy interview across all platforms.”

Desiree Duffy, Founder of Black Château, Books That Make You and The BookFest told me that “speaking at events has evolved into an array of opportunities for authors. Virtual events give us a platform as well as real life events. Plus, there are many hybrid options with live events offering livestreaming and recordings to those who can’t attend in person. This means authors have more options than ever before to reach a wider audience. The BookFest, for example, reaches people from all over the world with impressions in the millions. One could never pack that many folks into a room at an in real life conference. Yet, the networking and ability to connect with others in person can never be totally replaced. I recommend authors to do both types of events if possible. And when it comes to speaking, being able to deliver an array of topics and types of talks is valuable. You never know what an event producer might be looking for, so you should be prepared to offer an array of options. Consider homing your speaking skills when it comes to doing readings, speaking on panels, offering workshops or demonstrations, participating in conversations or interviews, and delivering keynote addresses.” In fact, I will be a featured author at The BookFest on Saturday Oct 21! I had reached out to Desiree to learn more about her project and asked to be considered!

I agree with Desiree that “speaking at events helps authors elevate their areas of expertise. It can have a big impact on their business and personal brand. When an author speaks, they are seen not only by readers, but other event producers, media and press, potential collaborators, and even film and TV production companies, directors and producers. One of our first BookFests led to a participating author getting a film deal for his book series. By putting yourself out there, wonderful things can happen.” Now cross your fingers for me about what will happen when I speak at BookFest this year!

If you are still wondering about if you need a professional, Justin Loeber CEO of Mouth Digital + Public Relations explains, “Just like a real estate broker is the go-between the buyer and seller, the publicist brokers media. And if you could call Oprah on a Monday and book an interview on a Tuesday, there would be no industry called PR.”


Christine Chitnis’ “number one tip for authors is to plan to invest as much time and effort into the marketing and publicity of their book as they did into writing their book.” I agree with her that “the workload involved with the publicity push often comes as a surprise to authors, as they expect their publisher to do the heavy lifting. However, a successful campaign depends greatly on the author’s efforts and the leveraging of their personal network. A good campaign needs a broad and deep approach.”

Chitnis recommends “pursuing a multi-prong approach that includes: social media, print, TV, radio and digital press, podcasts, events, brand partnerships, speaking gigs, and more!” If you feel exhausted just hearing that list, she told me, “that’s why you might consider hiring a professional; to help with the planning, organization, communication and outreach necessary to pull off a broad, deep publicity campaign which will not only sell books but also broaden their client’s overall brand awareness. A professional will also have their own network to leverage, and that can only help!”


Invest in your success by spending time online. Andrea McKinnon told me that “one of the benefits of the Internet is the limitless, really infinite, wealth of knowledge and resources. It may take some effort but one can really hone in on websites, outlets, podcasts, writers whose “beat” covers the genre, themes or topic of your book. Steampunk? Cookbook? Self-help? Poetry? no matter the subject, there is a community writing and talking about it! The vast majority of publications & outlets have information on how to contact them – just follow their rules & suggestions!”


Start promoting your book EARLY! Janet Appel explained that many reviewers have a lead time of four to six months especially the trade reviewers like Publishers Weekly and Library Journal and most print magazines.

Appel believes that authors need to be on the social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn as well as the media sharing networks like Instagram, TikTok and YouTube AND the discussion forums like Reddit, Digg and Hive. I am on all of the social and media sharing networks I can think of but Appel was the first one to recommend the discussion forums to me. She recommended using all of your platforms to “amplify the visibility and awareness of a brand, book, individual” as well as working with a seasoned professional to take advantage of all opportunities.


Every author wants to sell more books. Appel told me that in order to drive book sales, you must target the right audience for your book. “It’s really a combination of book signings, obtaining book reviews, media coverage in magazines and newspapers, TV appearances, radio and podcast interviews, digital outlets, relevant websites, blogs, Amazon reviews, blogger reviews, virtual book tours, a powerful book trailer on the author’s website, social media, consistent speaking engagements to target audiences, live videos on Facebook, blog posts to your website and LinkedIn, SEO ranking (i.e., using keywords that your target audience will likely search for) and making sure that the book can be preordered. These are some of the key factors that will drive book sales!” I am working on many of these and I will keep you posted how that turns out for my book, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty. You can check out my progress and make sure that I update my events page for my book launch!

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  • Writer's pictureAndrea McKinnon

March 12, 2021

PRontheGO - The Creative Entrepreneur’s source for PR hacks. 4 hours ago·6 min read

PRontheGO: 10 Myths About Public Relations: Busted

We asked PR and growth experts: What are myths about Public Relations and common misconceptions amongst founders? What is myth, and what is reality? Here are the top 10 PR myths busted:

PR Myth #1 PR is just press releases.

Warren H. Cohn, Founder and CEO of HeraldPR:

“We have had many clients over the years who think that we just draft a couple of press releases and that will get them into the news. In reality, earning media coverage takes considerable effort and requires pitching the news story as if it was a sale, with the journalist being the buyer. Press releases are good for sharing events or big news and they have their place, but there’s no replacing strategically pitching journalists and leveraging relationships with the press to earn media coverage.”

PR Myth #2 PR makes you famous overnight.

Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO at Mavens & Moguls:

“There are no short cuts, getting great PR won’t make your company famous overnight, it takes time to build stories/establish credibility/ emotionally connect with audiences. The messaging must be authentic/relevant don’t be tone deaf or you risk diluting your brand. Green washing and woke washing will backfire today. The value of press and getting links is much bigger after the media hits since very few people see it in real time. There are so many media outlets today looking for fresh content so find creative ways to leverage your thought leadership.”

PR Myth #3 PR twists the truth in story telling

Jennifer L. Horspool, Owner at Engagement PR & Marketing:

“One of the most common myths I hear about Public Relations is that we’re “spin-doctors,” indicating we twist the truth in story telling. Nothing could be further from the truth in my practice and in every company I’ve ever worked for or done business with. The Truth: we do try to present our clients and their brands in the best light, and to do that, transparency and honesty is a must. No one wants egg on their face. It’s better to share bad news, apologize to those harmed — if harm was done or perceived to have occurred — show you care, and lay out a plan to right the wrong or put policies in place that minimize the wrong from ever happening again.”

PR Myth #4 You’re published because the PR is friends with the reporter.

Jonathon Narvey, Founder & CEO at Mind Meld PR Inc.:

“A very common myth: you get news coverage because you have relationships with reporters. Now, I’m not saying that never happens. But it does not guarantee news coverage. Let’s say you pitch a reporter. They happen to note it’s from your email address — and they know you. Great! You’ve just bought yourself an extra five seconds of extra consideration. But is your story actually newsworthy? Do they often cover this kind of topic? Have you fed them the exact information they need? If so, you can get the win, even if this is the first time you’ve ever pitched them.”

PR Myth #5 PR generates sales

Andrea McKinnon, Owner at AMcK PR, Inc.:

“Myth [and Reality] — PR generates sales. PR’s traditional function is not to increase sales through advertisements or paid marketing. Even though the gap between marketing and public relations overlaps now more than ever, they can work as a holistic and creative force in tandem. PR can result in sales when the brand is unique and press worthy, of course. A campaign that’s developed and executed well can be extraordinarily valuable [or it can do absolutely nothing] for the client’s bottom line. A sales and marketing strategy must be in place to capitalize on any PR successes, otherwise sales are not likely to happen.”

PR Myth #6 PR means posting about product benefits and advantages for free.

Elina Kochenko, PR specialist at Genesis Investments:

“PR reality: PR means getting free publicity for the expertise of founders, meaningful startup news, and emotional stories. Getting publicity for a product benefits alone is called an ad. And it’s not free. Of course, your product is the best and you know all its market advantages. But that cannot be the key message of the story in most cases. It always takes more than an awesome product to hook a journalist. You have to offer a story that hits trends or brings value to the reader. Example: Let’s imagine you are the founder of an EdTech start-up with an ecosystem of several apps for children. It would be a misconception to believe that many media outlets would be eager to write that parents should bring all the money to you right away because apps that you have are so fascinating. Mike Kotlov, who is the co-founder and CEO of entertainment & education platform IntellectoKids, shared an expert industry overview instead of just promoting his product. This is a good example of understanding that PR is not working as a tool to post ad-like content only for free. To get published with fascinating apps but without massive news behind them at the moment, you need to offer some extra value to the reader.”

PR Myth #7 Any press is good press.

Abby Herman, Director of Strategy at Snap Agency:

“There are a lot of myths surrounding all things PR, that range from “it’s expensive”, to “I don’t need a PR since I don’t have a story” One huge myth (and potentially harmful to your business) is “any press is good press”. This is not only not true and is also not good. A customer is more likely to spread how BAD your product or service is than how good it is. So if you get bad press, you will need to spend a lot of time on crisis management, or you will not have your brand and business damaged.”

PR Myth #8 Audience size is the most important factor.

Jakub Zajicek, Co-Founder & CMO at Speak On Podcasts:

“Podcast PR is becoming an increasingly more relevant strategy. Yet, the common misconception is that audience size is the most important factor — it’s not. What really matters is how relevant your message is to the listener. We experienced that speaking to an audience of just 300 of our ideal customers translated into more revenue than speaking to 10’s of thousands of people who weren’t the perfect fit.”

PR Myth #9 PR is for celebrities

Monika Bochenek, Public Relations & Marketing Manager at UWWWEB:

“One myth I am always faced with is that only businesses or individuals with “celebrity status” need public relations management or advice. This is completely untrue. In fact, the majority of individuals and/or businesses who should be seeking public relations management, are those with small and growing brands. Every dollar counts for individuals and businesses, big or small. Having a sector to public relations in a business gives customers a sense of trust, and builds credibility for your brand, without spending too much of your marketing budget. Public relations is not just about shedding light on big topics; public relations is about growing an image and creating trust. New and growing businesses can utilize public relations to bring them that ‘celebrity status’ level that everyone reaches for.”

PR Myth #10 Never pitch to a journalist on a Friday.

Karol Nowacki, Search Acquisition Manager at Tidio Chatbots:

“Modern PR is enveloped in myths of all kinds. While some do not present a big issue to companies, certain “fake tactics” should be avoided. One of the common misconceptions is “Never pitch to a journalist on a Friday”.. Our experience shows that it is indeed a myth — there are no bad days to pitch to journalists. In fact, Friday or the weekend is even better sometimes as there is much less competition in the journalists’ inboxes, which helps to jump the queue on a Monday morning!”

Thank you!

………….. — The Creative Entrepreneur’s source for PR hacks.

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Updated: Sep 14, 2020

Los Angeles, CA (September 14, 2020) - Pause Commercials, (“PUCs”) announced this week that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a patent [U.S. Patent #10728619 (“the ‘619 Patent”) - Application Serial #16228607] relating to their proprietary process technology for pause ads in the over-the-top (OTT) media space.

Effective July 28, 2020, the ‘619’ Patent covers the method of delivering video and display ads, as well as making transactions, when users pause any device in OTT. Simply defined, PUCs delivers non-disruptive, non-intrusive, user-initiated relevant ad experiences to consumers when the pause button is pushed.

PUCs’ goal is to generate an incremental revenue stream for publishers with ad supported business models in film, TV, audio, and gaming by complementing traditional pre-, mid-, and post-roll options. Variations of such pause ads can already be seen on AT&T owned DirectTV in video, and in the form of semi-translucent display banners on Hulu, Inc.. Roku and Peacock also announced sponsored pause ad formats during virtual New Fronts presentations.

CEO and Founder Charles Johnson says, “Nearly 70% of us love the free content options from streaming services yet we still get annoyed when ads interrupt our viewing experience. We found a way to frustrate the viewer less by letting them dictate when ads appear and vanish.” Mr. Johnson also states that PUCs do not have to replace traditional digital ads but simply mitigate the number of pre- and mid-roll ads without losing advertising dollars and while still reaching targeted audiences. He continues, “It’s a win-win-win for the publishers, the advertisers, and the subscribers.”

COO Lauri Baker adds, “The time is now for the ad industry to define new, fresh ways for marketers to engage consumers. We’re already starting to see this within the AVOD environment through pause-ads and other formats that empower the consumer to enjoy their own unique experience. Here at PUCs, we’re bringing in a new generation of advertising through our patented process technology. Watch this space, the SVOD eco-system is ripe for exploration of new revenue models and PUCs is perfectly positioned to capitalize on this shift.”

PUCs’ ‘619 Patent, capabilities and innovation support all streaming and on-demand content delivered through internet signals and distributed across Connected TV (CTV), iOS, Android, the web, Unity, and Unreal platforms. Wholly customizable content can be viewed on any device including tablets, computers, gaming consoles, smart phones, and Smart TVs.

PUCs is currently partnered with SpringServe ad server, Germany-based Veeplay for their video playback solutions and Black-owned Revelation Interactive, an entertainment transmedia studio, for their gaming integrations. PUCs is available for licensing now and will be on CTV platforms including Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Samsung in Q1 2021. It is currently available for instream iOS, Android, and web advertising.

About The Founders:

Charles Johnson is the Founder and CEO of Pause Commercials. He is the former COO of a multimedia platform and has worked as a film writer, producer, and distributor at Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Before moving into the world of Ad Tech, he received his MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from Pepperdine University, and his BA from Columbia College Chicago in Screenwriting and Film.

Ramin Nadaf is the Co-Founder and CTO of Pause Commercials. He has a strong background in Strategic Product Development with an emphasis on in-stream video infrastructure. He was also the CTO of numerous Enterprise Cloud and Mobile Custom Software Development projects. He holds MS and MBA degrees from the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Keller Graduate School of Management.

About The Company:

PUCs is redefining marketing norms and changing advertising as we know it in our growing streaming world. As competition for attention increases, everyone - marketers, publishers, platforms, and distributors - are looking for fresh monetization strategies that attract consumer attention. We work with you to customize your needs to fuel this new digital economy. Our patented technology is a low latency, server-to-server advertising solution with integrations into top-tier OTT ad-serving platforms that can personalize brands and improve KPIs through video and display ads.

PUCs was established in 2017 in Los Angeles, California by Charles Johnson, a Black entrepreneur, and writer who understands diversity issues in both Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Teaming with Iranian-American video tech expert Ramin Nadaf, Johnson and Nadaf built a team of experts, consisting of women and people of color with decades of success in technology, advertising, entertainment, and business. Collectively, their professional backgrounds tackle technical and social issues throughout ad tech, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and Madison Avenue.

For more information please visit: or contact Andrea McKinnon,

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