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How to Get the Media to Promote Your Book: Proven Strategies to Capture Media Attention and Skyrocket Your Book’s Visibility

Author: Eric Schurenberg, Amplify Publishing Group Editor-in-Chief, Former CEO of Inc. and FastCompany


Congratulations! Your book is now all but finished—the manuscript has been approved, edited, and sent off to the printer. But you’re not done yet.

Now you have to make sure the world knows your baby is born, soon to be ready to be read. The best way to spread the word beyond your own network is through the media—the complex, ever-evolving, multiheaded ecosystem of traditional journalists, podcasters, newsletter writers, bloggers, and influencers. Their reach can not only help build your book’s sales but also raise your profile. The book you created can open many doors for you as a thought leader, but it won’t do so if no one has read it. And it won’t be read if no one knows it’s out there.

Your book publisher may undertake some publicity for you, and you can always hire an independent publicity firm. But be realistic. The overstretched publicity staff inside a traditional publisher must promote many books besides yours—some of them by celebrity authors who will always get the lion’s share of attention. The in-house publicist’s first goal is to maintain their relationship with bookers and editors at media outlets, not promote your book.

Publicity firms can give you more attention, but they are expensive. You should expect to pay between $5,000 and $10,000 per month. And they cannot work miracles. You’re likely to find that even professionals have a hard time rising above the flood of books swamping media inboxes each month. To put the maximum effort into publicizing your book, you will need to wade into publicizing yourself in tandem with that of your publisher or hired PR firm.

Now, that may sound quixotic. How can you have any effect when you are new to the field and don’t have a contact list full of media stars? Well, you’re probably not going to get yourself booked on Today or reviewed in the Washington Post right out of the gate. There is simply too much competition. Steve Levingston, the Post’s longtime non-fiction book editor, has just half a dozen book review slots a week and estimates that he gets 100 pitches a day from authors and publicists seeking reviews. But if you start at a realistic level—building a foundation among smaller media outfits, practicing your pitch, and building towards your ideal outlet—you might just do better than you expect.  

Start by creating a press list that hits your target audience where they get their information

You almost certainly know your audience better than any publicist, and you have the clearest idea of where they get their media. Focus on those outlets. This will help you narrow down the number of options and find the outlets best suited to cover you. If you’re not sure, consider books that compete with yours: Where were they reviewed or otherwise covered? Find out the names of the editors or producers responsible for assigning or scheduling that coverage. Don’t limit yourself to just one platform, such as only print or only podcasts. The odds are that your audience gets its information on lots of different platforms. Explore them all. 

Before pitching anyone in media, get to know them

Once you’ve identified the decision-maker you want to pitch, study their work. Do your best to understand what interests their audience and construct your pitch accordingly. In the introductory paragraph of your email, let them know that you appreciate their work and clearly explain how your book relates to their interests and/or beat and why it would be of interest to their readers or viewers.

Craft a pitch that helps you stand out

Remember that everyone in this communication chain is pressed for time, including you. So get to the point quickly. It helps to create a core pitch that you can customize for each different outlet but that you don’t have to recreate each time.

Before you put a finger to your keyboard, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What might inspire this journalist?
  • What makes my book or message topical?
  • How do I stand apart?
  • What problem do I or my book solve?
  • What do I want to happen after I send this email?

Open your email by explaining why you’re reaching out and letting your contact know that you follow their work and understand their audience. But keep it short. Then, offer a brief overview of your book, emphasizing why it’s especially newsworthy and why it holds special meaning for your contact’s audience and your contact in particular (if you can).

Be sure to give reasons why you, as an author, are worth paying attention to. The reasons could include your professional credentials, past press you’ve received, the size of your social media following, the endorsements your book has received, or any combination of the above.  

Close with an ask that

a) they are likely to be able to grant and

b) helps them do their job.

At my former shop at Fast Company, for example, one editor was responsible for assigning stories relating to design, another for content related to social impact, and yet another managed non-journalist authors who contributed articles under their own byline. All three of them are barraged by publicists seeking attention. You’ll have a much better chance of being heard over the noise if you pitch your book on design thinking to Design Editor Suzanne LaBarre rather than to Social Impact Editor Morgan Clendaniel or to Editor-in-Chief Brendan Vaughan. Even if they don’t take you up on your pitch, they will appreciate that you took the time to avoid wasting theirs.

Follow up regularly, but not too regularly

Wait at least a week, if not two, before following up on any email you send. Be aware that it’s not unusual for a journalist to take several days or weeks to respond and, in many cases, not to respond at all. Don’t be discouraged. Instead, be thoughtful and professional when following up—try waiting until you have an update or new information to share with the journalist.

If you’ve followed up with someone a few times without a response, it’s time to move on to the next opportunity. You can always return to this same contact later if you have any game-changing developments to share.

Accept graciously when someone declines to work with you. You have everything to gain by keeping the relationship positive. For example, you can bounce back by pitching yourself as a subject-matter expert who can give commentary on a specific topic on the journalists’ beat. That kind of mention gets your name in print and gives you the chance to request your book and the purchase link included in the article. In many publications, you can propose contributing a column. Online publications are particularly fond of listicles—for example, “5 Ways to Engage Remote Employees” or “Top 10 Pieces of Advice for New Bosses.”

Consider offering giveaways, especially to radio, podcasts, and influencers. Giveaways garner interest in your book and have the added value of generating possible consumer reviews if the readers post on Goodreads or Amazon.

Play the long game.

Think of media coverage and the pitching process like pyramids. You need a strong, wide foundation in order to effectively build up to one great point at the very top. Start by pitching smaller outlets that make sense for your target audience. Outlets like local newspapers and niche podcasts can be great for this purpose. They can help establish you as a credible source of content and provide some social proof to journalists up the food chain. Plus, it allows you to practice being interviewed about your book with relatively low stakes.

Once you feel you’ve built a sufficient foundation, transition into midsized media, like regional newspapers, local TV programs, and other reputable outlets that stop short of being household names. After checking that box, you’re ready to go after the most competitive outlets, like major newspapers, popular podcasts, and primetime news programs.

Finally, remember that there are many ways, besides sales, to define your book’s success. The act of writing was no doubt a powerful way to crystallize the ideas you wanted to bring to light, and your book now serves as persuasive confirmation that you have something of value to say. But a book is likely to be just one element in a thought leadership portfolio that includes speaking, consulting, and board memberships. Maintaining a healthy relationship with the media can help on all those fronts.

In other words, remember that you are pitching the media, not just your book. You are also pitching yourself. So take the time to learn what makes each journalist or media outlook tick, and do your best to be helpful to them—as you would any client. Be courteous, persistent, empathetic, and, above all, patient, and you’ll see results.


Eric Schurenberg is Amplify Publishing Group’s editor-in-chief and a media executive, award-winning journalist, and the former CEO of Mansueto Ventures, the owner of Inc. and Fast Company media properties.

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Boosting Author Visibility and Credibility: Unveiling the Power of Trade Reviews

In the world of book publishing, reviews from reputable trade publications can significantly enhance an author’s visibility and credibility. Not only do reviews from industry publications lead to increased attention, they give you immediate credibility and respect within the industry and with readers. In this blog, we will explore four exceptional book trade review sites that are highly regarded in the industry. These platforms offer authors and publishers the opportunity to have their books reviewed, helping them gain valuable exposure and recognition.

Let’s delve into the five key benefits of obtaining press and media coverage for authors.

  • Increased Visibility: Media and review coverage exposes authors and their books to a broader audience, helping them capture the attention of readers who may not have discovered the book otherwise. This heightened visibility opens up new avenues for connecting with potential fans and readers.
  • Credibility and Validation: Positive reviews or features in reputable media outlets add a layer of credibility and validation to the author’s work. With thought leadership books in particular, readers like to know that the content they’re about to purchase and engage with is valuable and effective in advance. Endorsements from established trade publications expedite this process, helping new books and authors without many consumer reviews or history establish their reputation and quality. 
  • Book Sales: Positive press coverage and media attention can significantly impact book sales. Reviews and features in influential publications can pique readers’ interest, leading to increased book purchases and wider distribution. 
  • Industry Recognition and Awards: Well-regarded trade publications often feature books that stand out in terms of quality, originality, or impact. Being reviewed and recognized by these publications increases an author’s chances of receiving industry awards or nominations, further solidifying their position within the literary landscape. Such accolades can open doors to new opportunities, including speaking engagements, literary festivals, or collaborations with other authors.
  • Distribution: Media coverage can open doors to new distribution channels. When a book receives positive reviews or features in reputable media outlets, it gains credibility and validation. This, in turn, attracts the attention of distributors and retailers who are more likely to stock and distribute books that have garnered positive press.
  • Media Exposure and Interviews: Quality reviews often lead to media exposure, providing authors with opportunities for interviews, features, or guest appearances. These interactions allow authors to share their journey, insights, and the story behind their book—giving followers and readers a look beyond the content itself.

Now, let’s explore four trade review sites and how authors can utilize them to maximize their book’s visibility and impact:

  • Kirkus: Kirkus Reviews is one of the most well-known and respected trade publications in the book industry. With appropriate lead time, publishers can submit books from all genres to Kirkus for review consideration. It’s incredibly competitive to earn a review from Kirkus, but if you do, you’re guaranteed to impress others in the book industry. In addition to their submission option,  Kirkus offers a convenient online platform for indie authors to submit their books for review. For a small fee, authors can submit their books directly, eliminating the need for physical copies to be mailed, and receive an honest, guaranteed review in return. To learn more about Kirkus and their indie review process, visit their website.
  • Foreword Reviews and BlueInk Review: Foreword Reviews, a prominent book review magazine, offers multiple options for authors seeking reviews. Authors can submit their books for editorial reviews, although acceptance is not guaranteed, or request a paid review. Either way, the author will receive high-quality, honest feedback in return on their work.For more information about these review options, visit the Foreword Reviews website.
  • Publishers Weekly: Publishers Weekly, another renowned trade publication, primarily prefers submissions from publishers. PW is one of the most competitive trade reviewers within the industry, so always check with your publisher at least four months in advnace of your publication date to see if your book has been submitted for consideration. However, authors have had some success submitting their books independently as well,  the paid option called BookLife. For more information about BookLife and their review submission guidelines, visit the BookLife website: Additionally, Publisher’s Weekly offers a non-paid, editorial option called GalleyTracker, reserved exclusively for publishers.
  • Booklist and Library Journal: Booklist and Library Journal are prestigious trade publications known for their formal and selective review processes whose primary audience is librarians. Unlike the previously mentioned platforms, these publications exclusively accept books from publishers. Authors can engage submission services to handle the process, which typically involves shipping physical copies of the book to both BookList and LibraryJournal, but they must submit their books through their publishers.

Elevating Your Book’s Visibility and Success

Obtaining reviews from prominent trade publications is an excellent way for authors and publishers to gain exposure and media attention for their books. The review sites mentioned—Kirkus, Foreword Reviews, BlueInk Review, Publishers Weekly, Bookkist, and Library Journal—all offer unique opportunities for authors to have their books reviewed by qualified individuals. By carefully considering each platform’s submission process and requirements, authors can make informed decisions about which sites align best with their goals and target audience. Regardless of the chosen platform, these trade reviews can significantly contribute to an author’s visibility, credibility, and overall success.

The benefits of this type of coverage also extend beyond the initial review, often leading to increased book sales, audience expansion, and industry recognition. Engaging with these trade review sites opens doors to new opportunities and establishes a strong presence within the literary world. As authors navigate the publishing landscape, harnessing the power of press and media becomes an essential component of their promotional strategy. Embracing these trade review platforms is a crucial step toward achieving recognition and success in the competitive world of publishing.

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May Employee Spotlight: Meet Heather Orlando-Jerabek, Senior Marketing and Publicity Manager

At Amplify Publishing Group, we believe that behind every successful book is a team of dedicated professionals who work tirelessly to ensure its visibility and success. Today, we are thrilled to shine the spotlight on Heather Orlando-Jerabek, our Senior Marketing and Publicity Manager, who plays a vital role in making our authors’ voices heard.

Heather’s role at Amplify revolves around marketing and public relations, where she utilizes her expertise to ensure that each book receives the attention it deserves.

We are grateful to have Heather on Team APG and invite you to learn more about her below:

Describe your role at Amplify Publishing Group

Heather: I’m in marketing and PR, so my job is to make sure that a book is visible. I work to secure media coverage, book events, create advertisements, websites, and other marketing assets. I work with graphic designers, production, and acquisitions to make sure the last stage of an author’s publication process goes smoothly.

What’s one thing that surprised you about your position?

Heather: Something I love about this job is how each title is different and it takes a lot of creativity and problem-solving. So I’m constantly being surprised and challenged—things are always changing and evolving.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Heather: I would have to say getting a book placed in a large publication is always a triumphant moment. But the biggest reward is probably an author’s reaction to the news that their book is a bestseller.

What are you currently reading?

Heather: I am currently reading this incredible literary fiction title called White on White by Aysegu Savas. I’m also listening to the audio version of Outlive by Bill Gifford. I recommend both!

What is something you’ve learned in the last week?

Heather: Don’t ask me how this came up in conversation, but I recently heard that Alfred Hitchcock was terrified of eggs. 

What is the #1 item on your bucket list?

Heather: Visiting every single continent—I’m almost there. I just have to go to Antarctica and Australia/Oceania. 

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Amplify Author Spotlight: Val Ries

We are excited to feature Val Ries, author of Chief Inspiration Officer, as this month’s Amplify Author Spotlight!

Founder of Executive Muse (an executive coaching & management training company), Val helps leaders become the boss everyone wants to work for.

Starting her career as a registered nurse, Val transitioned to medical sales where she was quickly “thrown” into management. After earning her MBA and coaching certification, Val began to learn what it takes to intrinsically motivate others and ensure they actually want to come to work.

Through Val’s work with Executive Muse she coaches and trains high-impact leaders, at startups, Fortune 500 companies and small businesses. Her goal is to help them accomplish their vision of building powerful micro-cultures—and becoming a leader who increases productivity, decreases attrition and elevates employee engagement.

Val resides in the Bay area with her kids, husband and dog.

Learn more about Val’s publishing journey, her advice to authors, and the parallels she draws between leadership, writing, and dance below!

What advice would you offer to someone that’s currently working on a book?

I would advise you to not worry about getting your ideas perfectly organized when writing a book. Instead, just get them out. To organize my own thoughts, I start by creating a mind map on a poster board with the main theme in the middle and connecting bubbles for related ideas. This process helps me see where I can take the book and what different chapters might look like. From there, I just start writing and getting everything out, knowing that it’s better to have something to edit than nothing at all. So don’t be afraid to get your ideas down on paper, even if they don’t end up in the final product.

What most surprised you about the writing process?

In my experience, what surprised me the most about writing was how long it took. With the help of a writing coach, it took me 18 months to fully articulate what I wanted to say and start collecting stories and evidence to support my ideas. I was surprised by how difficult it was for me to be vulnerable at first and share my personal stories, despite the fact that people often connect with them. Initially, I held back on the vulnerability more than I should have. However, I learned that it’s important to just tell your story and share the story within the story.

When you originally set out to publish Chief Inspiration Officer, what was your goal?

I wrote Chief Inspiration Officer because I wanted to share my frustrations, failures, and the things I learned about being an effective leader. My goal was to get these nuggets out into the world so that others wouldn’t have to struggle through the same challenges I did when I was suddenly thrown into a management position. I wanted to alleviate this burden and help leaders create a healthy work environment. I care deeply about the employee experience and I know how burnout and dissatisfaction can affect both the leader’s morale and health, as well as the overall happiness of the company. By getting my message out there and teaching these techniques, I hoped to help the leader, the employee, and ultimately the company – a triple win.

Did Chief Inspiration Officer lead you to any unexpected opportunities?

In my experience, I initially worked with corporate companies that were looking for well-defined leadership training programs. However, I was surprised to find that I was also attracting small businesses that didn’t have an internal Learning and Development or HR team. Many of these were startups in between growth phases. I found myself becoming a fractional leadership consultant for them, which was something I hadn’t considered before. I enjoyed working with these leaders who were growing at a fast pace but didn’t have the infrastructure or internal resources to help them put systems in place for management and training development.

I also had the opportunity to meet coaches who were being approached by corporations looking for formal leadership training programs. They learned about my methods and ended up licensing the program through me, which was a pleasant surprise. Now, I’m considering how to scale this part of the business and expand my reach even further.

What is something people may not know about you?

I consider myself an artist in my second life. As I went on this journey of writing and building a business, I found myself getting more excited about the creative process and the behind-the-scenes work, such as designing the book cover. I was determined to find the perfect cover that spoke to my soul and truly represented my work. It took me working with what seemed like five hundred different designers until I found the right one.

Moreover, I’ve noticed that my passion for dancing keeps resurfacing in my life. I feel a sense of excitement and a release of creativity when I hear music and start to move. It’s interesting to see the parallels between leadership, my writing and my passion for dancing. They involve unleashing creativity in myself and my team, being in a state of flow, having fun, and being vulnerable with others.

What are you currently reading or what books do you most often recommend to others?

Well, mine of course; just kidding! I read a lot of fiction books because they provide a much-needed escape from the world of business and culture that I deal with on a daily basis. However, my go-to books for business-related topics are by Daniel Pink. He does a fantastic job discussing culture and his book, Drive, is a favorite of mine. Recently, I picked up a book called, Managing Narcissists, Blamers, Dramatics and More…, by Mark Murphy. It’s important for leaders to know how to manage those who bring down the energy of the team and not let them affect the entire group. I also like Brene Brown, Simon Sinek, and Adam Grant, among others, anyone who is inspiring us to be better.

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Unlocking the Power of Hybrid Publishing: 5 Key Benefits for Authors

Hybrid publishing combines the best of traditional and self-publishing models. This method of publishing affords greater control over the publishing process and the final product, while also providing the author with the professionalism, experience, and distribution of a traditional publisher. Here are five ways that hybrid publishing sets itself apart from traditional publishing:

  1. Creative Control and IP Retention: In traditional publishing, authors have little control over the editing, cover design, marketing, and distribution of their books. With hybrid publishing, authors retain the full copyright to their content and are given the chance to be more involved in the editorial and creative processes and make decisions that align with their vision and goals. At Amplify, we think of ourselves as a truly collaborative partner with each of our authors, guiding them toward success and sharing best practices while leaving room for them to make their own decisions.
  1. Speed: Traditional publishing can be a slow-moving process, with most authors waiting at least a year to see their work in print. Hybrid publishing, on the other hand, allows authors to share their world with the world and their audience much quicker, as the timelines are streamlined and made more efficient. And, because of the collaborative nature of the hybrid publishing model, authors have a voice in when their book becomes available.
  1. Royalties: Lower royalty rates are the norm with traditional publishing houses, as the publisher takes the bigger percentage of book sales. With hybrid publishers, the reverse is true, and authors retain a larger share of royalties from book sales. At Amplify, our authors are offered one of the highest royalty rates in the business at 85 percent. 
  1. Marketing: Limited resources for marketing engagements make it difficult for authors who publish through a traditional house, which, in turn, can limit an author’s reach. Unless you’re a celebrity author or someone with a significantly established platform, you won’t always receive the support you’re looking for. Hybrid publishers help authors take a more active role in their marketing work and will establish a clear framework for a book launch and publicity support that you can count on.
  1. Distribution: Hybrid publishing provides authors with access to the same distribution channels as traditional publishing, including bookstores and online retailers. Authors are able to reach a wider audience and share their work with more people all over the world. 

In comparison to a traditional house, hybrid publishing offers a unique opportunity for authors to have more control over the publishing process and their final product. Combined with professionalism and robust distribution methods, it’s easy to see how hybrid publishing is quickly shaking up the industry. 

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Amplify Author Spotlight: Kate Purmal

We are thrilled to feature Kate Purmal, a distinguished author and business leader with a wealth of experience in executive coaching, business advising, and board governance, in this month’s Amplify Author Spotlight. Kate is a Senior Fellow at Georgetown University and a Board Director at ABD Insurance and Financial Services. Throughout her career, she has been an unwavering advocate for diversity and gender equity in the C-suite. Kate’s impressive professional journey began with her role as a member of Palm Inc.’s founding management team and later as a Senior Vice President at SanDisk. Her extensive experience as a CEO and COO for various start-ups and privately held companies has cemented her position as a leader in the industry. We are excited for you to become acquainted with Kate and gain insights into her personal journey in book publishing and her accomplishments with the release of “Composure”.

What advice would you offer to somebody currently working on a book?

Kate: I would suggest focusing on three areas. First, the content itself is crucial. I think having a great developmental editor who can really capture your voice and work in sync with you in terms of getting the editing done is important. When I was working on my book, Composure, I was fortunate to have someone who could connect the threads of my writing and provide me with elevated feedback that made the book sing.

Secondly, there are a lot of logistics involved in the production component, which is something that I didn’t want to focus on or spend my energy on. It’s not something I’m very skilled at either. So, I found it helpful to have a strong partner who could help with multiple steps such as proofreading, layout, cover design, print readiness, etc. Working with a hybrid publisher gave me more control over the editing, editorial review, and cover design, which was important to me. Also, having control over the time-to-market was crucial since I wanted to get the book out quickly. From the time I completed the manuscript to the book’s printing, it only took about eight or nine months, which is fast.

Thirdly, marketing and promotion can be the hardest part of the process. Finding the right partners and experts to work with on that is essential.

What most surprised you about the process?

Kate: I was surprised by how difficult it was to keep my book in the top ten of a given category and how important reviews are for search rankings. As an author, I had to learn that it’s all about rankings. When people search for your book or the topic of your book, whether or not it shows up on the first page or fifth page of the rankings on Amazon determines whether your book gets purchased or not.

Did Composure lead you to any unexpected opportunities?

Kate: Yes, Composure led me to several unexpected opportunities. We launched the book during the COVID-19 pandemic and noticed that people were too exhausted to read professional development books, especially in hardcover and Kindle format. So, I published my own audiobook the middle of last year and put each chapter on my website as a podcast, which I made available for free. People could listen to the chapters sequentially and then buy the audiobook if they liked it. I noticed a pickup in sales, and the book sold around nine thousand copies in just over a year. The momentum came from people getting the book in their hands and reading it. As a result, I received several inbound opportunities for speaking, executive coaching, and doing internal corporate programs and workshops.

When you originally set out to publish, what was your goal?

Kate: My primary goal with Composure was to elevate women and other traditionally underrepresented groups in the C-suite to elevate their executive presence and make them more effective and promotable. I am passionate about this cause, and I knew I needed to write a book because it seemed like the most obvious way to broaden my reach. I decided to be very generous with giving away my work because I had a dual intention of getting my work out there in the world and helping people utilize it to impact their lives positively and profoundly. I also aimed to promote and serve my own business by making the book as broadly available as possible. I am still a huge believer that if you’re doing a book because you want to improve people’s lives, then open-sourcing or generously giving content is a positive approach that will pay off in unexpected ways.

What’s something people may not know about you?

Kate: Something that people may not know about me is that I got married five years ago to a yacht captain. I’ve become a sailor as a result and have joined him on trips up and down the west coast from Alaska to Mexico to Hawaii. In addition to sailing, I love mountain biking, and I’ve taken on these two new hobbies that I never thought I would enjoy.

What are you currently reading and what book do you most often recommend to others?

Kate: I am somebody who read ten books at a time and I read a lot of nonfiction right now. One of my favorite books is Business Brilliant, which delves into what distinguishes people who have made tens of millions of dollars from the rest of us. The book offers fascinating insights, and one example is that they network two or three levels above themselves, which is something I never thought of as a play to put yourself in a completely different financial round.

Learn more about Composure: The Art of Executive Presence: https://www.composurethebook.com/composure-book-the-art-of-executive-presence

Connect with Kate on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kate-purmal-922133/

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Case Study: My Lifelong Fight Against Disease

Along with the rest of the world, the publishing industry has made some necessary adjustments—some permanent, some temporary—due to the pandemic. One of the most challenging of which has been navigating the global paper shortage and supply chain issues, which have caused significant printer delays. The publishing process of Dr. William Haseltine’s book, My Lifelong Fight Against Disease: From Polio and AIDS to COVID-19 was directly impacted by the pandemic itself and these supply chain issues. Dr. Haseltine, a scientific researcher who has analyzed findings and provided guidance on navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, was well placed to publish this book in 2020. Given the timeliness of the subject matter, releasing the book as soon as possible was a priority. 

Typically, once files are finalized, the book is uploaded to the printer. From there, the book is proofed, printed, cut, bound, packed, and shipped, eventually landing in the warehouse on a date dubbed the “book-in-hand” date. Retailers typically require a buffer time between the book-in-hand date and retail release date in order to receive, process, and prepare stock for on-sale. 

The printing process took approximately seven weeks prior to the pandemic, and retailers required about two months of buffer time. These days, the turnaround times are significantly longer: the printing process may take upwards of fourteen weeks with a required buffer time of three months. All told, retail release dates are being set six months from the printer upload date. Needless to say, pandemic timing is not in the authors’ favor. 

Without a creative publishing solution, Dr. Haseltine’s release date would have been delayed into 2021. It’s for this reason that we decided to pursue a Print-On-Demand (POD) edition to bridge the gap between the book-in-hand date and the retail release date of the hardcover title. We: 

  • Uploaded the files for the hardcover book to the printer
  • Received the printer proofs and finalized the files
  • Created a POD edition of the files while the hardcover was printing
  • Published the POD edition in October 2020 prior to receiving hardcover books
  • Listed the hardcover edition for preorder
  • Published the hardcover edition in February 2021

While the POD approach worked well in this scenario, we don’t recommend pursuing a POD exclusively for a number of reasons:

  • Quality. PODs are of lower quality than premium hardcover editions, and can be less enticing for readers.
  • Distribution. POD files are uploaded directly to and distributed exclusively through Amazon, which limits opportunities for direct-to-consumer and selling at in-person events.
  • Royalties. Amazon takes both printing costs and steep royalties off of each POD edition sold.

Despite these considerations, employing a POD edition is a strategic avenue in certain scenarios, particularly to:

  • Build buzz for a soon-to-be released hardcover.
  • Hit an earlier release date, particularly if a particular month, date, or event is relevant to the content of the book (e.g., late October or early November for a book about campaigns).  

While a POD situation is not standard, the rest of the publication process went as expected. Dr. Haseltine’s rollout is a lesson in how adapting during extenuating circumstances—both as a publisher and an author—can impact the ultimate success of a book. 

My Lifelong Fight Against Disease, a memoir of an incredible life that shows how scientific researchers have had a huge impact on our medical systems over the past fifty years, can be purchased here

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Case Study: Go Big or Go Home! How The Power of Playing Offense Became the Go-To Comprehensive Leadership Playbook

We hear it all the time: “I want this book to be a short read. Something that can be consumed on a plane ride.” And a short read is sometimes the right answer. Sometimes. Paul Epstein’s new book The Power of Playing Offense: A Leader’s Playbook for Personal and Team Transformation can also be finished on one plane ride—if a reader were on a flight from New York to Hong Kong. And in Paul’s case, a lengthier book was the right answer.

The book’s size was a natural extension of the concepts contained within the read. Unconventional length matched groundbreaking content as The Power of Playing Offense broke the mold in more ways than one.

Four hundred pages with charts, graphs, and visuals turned out to be crucial to the success of this particular book. For Paul to elaborate on his leadership wisdom gained from his nearly fifteen years of working for multiple NFL and NBA teams, a global sports agency, and the NFL league office, we found that a design-intensive interior was necessary. Though a graphic-heavy interior does equate to a lighter and airier read, it can lengthen the page count. Sometimes that trade-off isn’t worth it, and sometimes it is—it all depends on the content and context.

CEO of Zoom Eric Yuan provided the foreword, commenting that out of all leadership books out there, “[The Power of Playing Offense] easily rises to the top.” Paul’s authority on leadership and firsthand experience provided valuable tools for leaders to use, and we helped him speak to those people. As our work together moved from the editorial to the design phase, one thing quickly became clear: this wasn’t going to be a quick read. This wasn’t a CliffsNotes on leadership, but the go-to reference guide, encyclopedia, playbook, and manual. And we embraced that fact in every aspect of the project.

Our goals?

  • Lean into the substance of Paul’s book
  • Design an interior that takes Paul’s ideas from the page to the leadership playing field
  • Embrace the book’s unconventional length and graphic-heavy through the marketing plan

Editorial: After Paul had submitted his manuscript to us and we collaborated with him on the editing, his manuscript was around 50,000 words, which we estimated to be a tidy 200 pages. All standard. But as soon as we entered design, we realized that was going to change.

Design: Design is a key element to keeping the reader engaged from cover to cover. Visuals help by pulling out key points and depicting them. In Paul’s case, that meant things like a football field-style diagram illustrating the Five Pillars of Playing Offense or a photo of the San Francisco 49ers’ home field. The visuals—crucial to illustrating many of Paul’s points—meant increasing the two hundred pages to four hundred. Though counterintuitive, this ultimately made his book lighter and easier to read.

Marketing: In our communications about the book, we don’t shy away from the fact that this is a lengthy title with phrases like “chock-full” and “more than 50 activities, tools, and strategies.” We want potential readers to know this is a one-stop shop for practical leadership guidance.

More about the book: playing offense instead of defense

Paul Epstein’s time in the business of professional sports allowed him to see first-hand the qualities of great leaders and not-so-great leaders. He experienced the proactive skills that created a flourishing culture and performance. He also saw the struggles of reactive leadership where the team leader is just trying to keep everyone’s head above water. The Power of Playing Offense is the result of his breadth of experience and maps out a guide to promoting your team’s success through offensive leadership.

So, what exactly is offensive leadership? It’s when a leader is in control of their team and the situation at hand. At the same time, they’re focused on seizing opportunities and meeting long-term goals. A broad scope of vision and a focus on achievement are hallmarks of the offensive leader. Defensive leaders are narrow-sighted in comparison, focusing on near-term challenges. They lack a focus on purpose and inspiration, and that lack of focus carries through in their management. So how do you avoid playing defense and set yourself up to play offense? Paul lays out a plan that, through individual and collective action, sets you up as the quarterback of your organization.

The Power of Playing Offense: A Leader’s Playbook for Personal and Team Transformation will be released on March 30, 2021.

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Case Study: Seizing Opportunity with The Opportunity Agenda

A Plan to Grow the Middle Class and Revitalize the Democratic Party

Disrupting the Democratic Party to improve its core
New York businessman and civic leader Winston Fisher and former Kansas City mayor Sly James wouldn’t seem like they have much in common. They come from different cities, cultures, and professions. But they do have one thing in common: their desire to save the Democratic Party from itself. Together, in The Opportunity Agenda: A Bold Democratic Plan to Grow the Middle Class, they outline a way forward for the party that focuses on what really matters: appealing to the American people.

What does this mean?
Winston Fisher and Sly James are both faithful Democrats but believe the party can do more to achieve long-term success. They think that rather than rehashing the same common platforms—Medicare for All, higher minimum wage, a Green New Deal—the party needs to target voters by focusing on mainstay policies that will appeal to a wide swath of Americans for years to come. If the policy makes sense with the words “for you” tacked onto it, then that policy is likely to interest most Americans beyond a single election cycle. Voters want to see a platform tailored for them rather than one created on the rebound from a lost election.

Our goals?
1. Edit The Opportunity Agenda after Fisher and James write it
2. Update the book during production to be up-to-date with the COVID-19 pandemic
3. Capitalize on the biggest talking points of the 2020 election cycle

Winston Fisher wanted to help improve the Democratic Party, so he set up a meeting with Sly James to discuss ideas. They soon realized they shared a lot of the same ideals and agreed the Democratic Party is due for a change because of its repeated failures. So, they co-authored a manuscript intended to solve those problems and provide a roadmap for Democrats moving forward. They took their time developing the manuscript, brainstorming various policy points and the best possible solutions for the American people. After about a year of development and writing, they had a final manuscript that achieved those goals.

When COVID-19 swept the United States, the need for Fisher and James’s policies was clearer than ever. Portable benefits, for example, became sorely needed as people lost their traditional nine-to-five jobs. Despite the fact that The Opportunity Agenda was already at the printer, we updated it to ensure the book remained topical upon its release.

Both authors are active in their Democratic scenes, which was useful as we neared the book’s release date. Sly James covered Kansas City, Missouri, while Winston Fisher was in charge of New York City. And in addition to leveraging their personal networks, James and Fisher partnered with Global Strategy Group, a public affairs and communications firm that specializes in the intersection of business and politics. Javelin, a DC-based media and public relations company known for marketing political titles, also got involved to assist with media and publicity. Between Fisher, James, GSG, Javelin, and Amplify, it was a coordinated effort to make waves in the press in advance of the 2020 presidential election.

The effort bore fruit. Sly James and Winston Fisher co-authored an op-ed for Newsweek entitled “A Warning to Our Fellow Democrats: A Campaign Focused on Trump Won’t Win.” In it, they acknowledge the unity of the Democratic Party against President Trump and his reelection bid but insist on the need for a “major campaign pivot” to ensure lasting wins. Sly James also made appearances on national television. On Fox News, he discussed the George Floyd protests as a situation needing strong leadership, and on MSNBC, he appeared to discuss how the Democratic Party can become the party of opportunity. He wrote an op-ed in The Kansas City Star, advocating paid family leave as an economic boon and an issue the Democrats should champion beyond the 2020 election. Kirkus Reviews, a trusted voice in book reviews, also hailed Fisher and James’s ideas as “ambitious and cogent.”

It takes more than relying on the failures of others to make a political party successful and transcend just one election cycle. Winston Fisher and Sly James dug deeper and created a plan to renew the Democratic Party and bolster middle-class Americans for years to come.

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Case Study: Going Extra Innings at the City of Hope National Medical Center

Former Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Fred Claire’s cancer diagnosis came out of left field, but at the City of Hope, he found the dream team to help him beat it.

A baseball legend
The Los Angeles Dodgers are playing the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2020 World Series. The last time the Dodgers won the Fall Classic was back in 1988, with an overachieving team assembled by former sportswriter-turned-baseball-executive Fred Claire.

Fred Claire
Fred Claire continued his tenure with the Dodgers until 1997, when he stepped away from the game he loved and started a glorious retirement filled with friends, family, staying active, and playing a lot of golf. But in January 2015, Claire received bad news: the supposedly harmless spot on his lip was instead squamous cell carcinoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer.

That’s when Claire entrusted his care, treatment, and life to the doctors and nurses at the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California. After some highs and lows, Claire is now in recovery and attributes his good health to the amazing team at City of Hope and the support of his friends and family.

Telling a story of hope in the fight against cancer
Claire was so moved by the care and treatment he received that he wanted to let the world know about the groundbreaking work happening at City of Hope. It occurred to him a book would be a great way to talk about his cancer journey to inspire others and give CoH a platform to talk about its approach. CoH was on board; it would provide support for the project and make the doctors and nurses who helped Claire available for interviews.

Claire approached our parent company, Mascot Books, about his idea and we were on board. It was an inspiring story with a worthy cause. And to help kick things off, we connected Claire with Tim Madigan, a respected author and journalist who has written for the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Politico, Reader’s Digest, and, for thirty years, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Together, we took two trips to the City of Hope to see for ourselves the exceptional care and innovation happening beyond its doors.

Our goals?
1. Partner with Claire, City of Hope, and Tim Madigan to produce Extra Innings: Fred Claire’s Journey to City of Hope and Finding a World Championship Team
2. Highlight the innovative treatment occurring at City of Hope
3. Raise awareness for City of Hope through both baseball- and cancer-related media hits

Madigan got to work writing the book and telling Fred Claire’s and City of Hope’s unique stories and how they came together. From its origins as a treatment center for homeless tuberculosis victims in the 1910s, CoH has become not only a leader in diabetes treatment and bone marrow and stem cell transplantation but also a leader in cancer research and treatment. Madigan captured CoH’s humanity, its combination of science and compassion, and its excellent health care professionals. One reviewer on Amazon stated, “Tim Madigan has woven [baseball and CoH] together in a masterful story that will make your soul happy.”

Extra Innings gave City of Hope the opportunity to spread the knowledge of its research and treatments far and wide. Its innovations in chemotherapy, radiation, experimental surgery, and immunotherapy all put it on par with its peers, like the Mayo Clinic. By partnering with Claire on Extra Innings, CoH advances its name and saves more lives.

People remember Fred Claire well. In the Daily Bulletin, Fred Claire’s story ran in two articles, the first titled “Writing sports in Pomona led Fred Claire to Dodgers (and World Series)” which retold his journey to becoming Dodgers general manager. In the second, “Readers haven’t forgotten Fred Claire, the Pomona sportswriter who became a Dodgers exec,” newspaper readers share their memories of Claire during the 1980s. Claire also appeared on the podcast SABRcast with Rob Neyer in May 2020 to talk about his baseball career and journey to City of Hope. Also, a review of Extra Innings is currently in the works with the magazine Baseball America.

Extra Innings drew attention because of its cancer subject matter, as well. Not only did City of Hope write an article about Claire and the book on its website (“Fred Claire: Former Dodgers GM Chronicles Cancer Journey In New Book”), but he was also interviewed by Ed Hart on From the Hart, a podcast that tells inspiring stories. Claire has an upcoming appearance on Thrive Podcast, a podcast about fighting cancer and moving forward with life, as well.

Keep on swinging
Fred Claire has had his ups and downs, but his recovery is going very well. And with the Los Angeles Dodgers contending to win the World Series again, he’s spending his free time rooting for them to repeat that victory for the first time since his team did.

All proceeds from Extra Innings go to the City of Hope National Medical Center.

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Case Study: Uncovering the Secrets to Becoming a Financial Badass

How one successful wealth advisor made it his mission to increase millennials’ financial literacy.


George “G$” Kroustalis thought it was another typical day hosting a 401(k) enrollment seminar. Though a financial advisor for pre-retirement clients, Kroustalis hosts these events to reach young adults just starting their professional lives and to encourage them to begin saving money. That day, October 10, a former attendee came up to Kroustalis and told him that, though he was initially doubtful, he had followed Kroustalis’s advice over the past twelve years and built his wealth beyond his wildest expectations. That moment turned Kroustalis’s passion for spreading financial literacy into a crusade, which drove him to write Secrets to Becoming a Financial Badass.

An essential book young people need to read
Secrets to Becoming a Financial Badass was hailed as the “personal finance book that every millennial should read” by the host of MSNBC’s Your Business, JJ Ramberg, because of its sound financial advice and fresh writing style. Using his “Save, Spend, and Invest” model, Kroustalis uses his experience as a pre-retirement financial advisor to teach young people how to balance their budgets and become financially successful in the future. He keeps it simple with just the basics of what young adults need to know now so they make smart decisions with their money later. It’s Kroustalis’s personal mission to increase financial literacy in young adults, and this book is tailored for them with jokes and pop culture examples to keep it relatable.

Our goals?
1. Match Kroustalis’s vision to make the book relatable to young people by using their language and making references only they understand
2. Launch the book with a bang on national media channels
3. Supplement national efforts with local events to excite Kroustalis’s personal network

Kroustalis knew what kind of book he wanted to write. It needed to be informative yet humorous, to keep young people engaged in the financial content. The tone had to be light and invoke current pop culture references like Call of Duty, Instagram, and Lana Del Rey to explain complex financial strategies. All in all, it took a year to write the book. Kroustalis was involved every step of the way—from writing to fact-checking to the black-and-white interior illustrations—in order to ensure the book was true to his vision.

Once the book’s interior was set, the cover designed, and the book printed, Kroustalis took Secrets to Becoming a Financial Badass to the New York Stock Exchange for its debut. He appeared on Cheddar, the business news network, to answer pressing financial questions millennials face and describe how the book tackles these difficult decisions.

Kroustalis also appeared on SiriusXM’s “The Power Hour” with Godfrey the Comedian, a show that covers politics, pop culture, and social issues. He discussed the power of compound interest with the famous “Would you rather have a million dollars or a penny doubled every day for a month?” example, a question that highlights the importance of saving money early in life.

Kroustalis also launched the book at J. Sam’s, a restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina, a launch so successful it was standing room only.

A charitable element

Secrets to Becoming a Financial Badass is one part of Kroustalis’s mission to spread financial literacy. Inspired by the date his former seminar attendee thanked him for his advice, Kroustalis created Project 10.10, a 501(c)3 nonprofit committed to educating young people on basic personal finance at the community level.

Young people have time on their side financially. Kroustalis’s experience as a financial advisor working with pre-retirement clients means he knows the importance of a 401(k), and he wants young people to know it, too. In Secrets to Becoming a Financial Badass, he takes three short chapters to teach millennials how to keep their budget sheet balanced and he succeeds at—above all—being entertaining.

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Case Study: The Roadmap to Becoming Crisis Ready®

Organizations that are Crisis Ready® are more than just resilient. They’re invincible.

Written by crisis management advisor as well as founder and CEO of the Crisis Ready Institute Melissa Agnes, Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World provides organizations such as businesses, police, military, and universities the tools they need to build resilient brands. Being Crisis Ready® means if an organization is faced with a crisis, they come out of it stronger and even better than before.

What does this mean?

Modern-day organizations face a slew of potential risks: security breaches, economic hardship, PR disasters, and, most recently, global pandemics. In Crisis Ready, Agnes provides organizations with the roadmap for embedding a culture whereby every member of the team becomes adept at getting ahead of risk—be it a customer complaint straight through to a full-scale catastrophic crisis—in a way that transforms the risk into a brand-strengthening opportunity.

Crisis readiness is not the same as crisis management. Crisis management is what happens once the risk has materialized. The more Crisis Ready® an organization is, the less crisis management they are likely to have to do. When you’re Crisis Ready®, your organization can withstand hardships and unexpected emergencies because a Crisis Ready® brand is proactive, confident, and strategic.

Our goals?

  • Hand the mic to Agnes as a Crisis Ready® thought leader
  • Support her expertise with a powerful design
  • Create a quality, evergreen book that will help businesses for years to come

As a strategic advisor and keynote speaker, Agnes has worked with NATO, ministries of foreign affairs and defense, financial firms, technology companies, healthcare organizations, cities and municipalities, law enforcement agencies, global non-profits, universities, and many others. In other words, she is an expert in crisis management across a diverse range of industries and is fully equipped to share her knowledge.

Agnes took the lead on her manuscript, and we utilized a writing coach to keep her on a timeline in coordination with the production calendar. She wrote, and we reviewed and edited. After 6 months, the manuscript was done.

The result? She created a compelling manuscript that provides readers with real-world examples of where organizations do well and where they fall short. This includes learning the tools to interact with stakeholders appropriately and having a measured plan of action to be Crisis Ready®.

Next, we needed a strong interior design to supplement Agnes’ expertise and streamline her findings. It was important to Agnes that the book be a multi-sensory experience. Our design team filled out the interior of the book with eye-catching 2-color graphs, diagrams, and most impressively, a gatefold insert that opens out to reveal a large chart with her teachings. It was a thoughtful journey to finding the perfect cover, fluctuating between thousands of ideas and outlines to create a meaningful, subtle approach. A simple yet powerful cover design tied it all together, conveying a sense of calmness and readiness in an uncertain world.

Two years later

Commended as “intelligent, intuitive, and unabashedly gutsy,” named by Forbes as a top ten business book in 2018, and named by Book Authority as a top three crisis management book of all time, Crisis Ready is the go-to book on the topic of crisis preparedness and crisis management, and has helped solidify Agnes as a leading expert in the field.

While Agnes is profitable with online and brick-and-mortar retail, she finds enormous success with bulk buys from corporations and businesses, who are looking to evolve their culture and become Crisis Ready® from the ground up. One of her greatest successes was with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. After supporting Chase’s small and medium-sized business clients through the COVID-19 pandemic, Chase bought 2,000 copies of the Crisis Ready® ebook to give away to their clients. We coordinated the logistics, and the deal was done.

Agnes frequently uses her book as a teaching and speaking tool on her podcast, vlog, and contributes articles to Forbes magazine. Crisis Ready is also part of the curriculum at Harvard University and dozens of other higher education schools globally. The book has gained Agnes professional speaking gigs and brought in more clients interested in retaining her Crisis Ready® expertise.

Now, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Agnes’ ideas have become even more relevant and necessary. This new era has forced organizations everywhere to reevaluate how to communicate with clients effectively and collaborate with staff virtually. Ultimately, organizations need a strategic plan to come out alive on the other side. Agnes’ expertise is in high demand because there is no better time to be invincible.

Now that Agnes has solidified herself as a leading authority on crisis readiness, she has launched her latest initiative, the Crisis Ready Institute, a public benefit corporation with a powerful mission. By incorporating a culture of readiness in organizations and teaching them how to turn risk into opportunities for growth and connection, the Institute is on a mission to create a crisis resilient world.

The second edition of Crisis Ready is in the works and is scheduled to be released in 2021.

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