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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Former professional sports agent reveals negotiation tricks in new book

A Winner’s Guide To Negotiating

                                                     
Molly Fletcher has learned a lot over the past two decades while negotiating an estimated $500 million worth of deals on behalf of hundreds of the world’s premiere athletes, coaches and television commentators.  She reveals the strategies, tips, and insights that have made her wildly successful first as a sports agent and now as a corporate consultant and keynote speaker, in her newest book, A Winner’s Guide To Negotiating: How Conversation Gets Deals Done (McGraw-Hill, September 19, 2014).

Molly is being represented by Media Connect. With candor and vision, her book reveals the following:

·         The 5 things all great negotiators do that you can too.
·         Lessons learned from negotiating in the sports world that are applicable to the business world of lawyers, entrepreneurs, executives, salespeople, financial consultants, and real estate agents.
·         The game within the game of negotiating – and the pitfalls to avoid.
·         How to set the stage for a deal and employ “360-degree awareness” to come out ahead.
·         How she navigated through the challenges of representing Hall of Fame athletes, Emmy-winning broadcasters, and title-winning coaches such as NFL great Joe Theismann, Cy Young winner John Smoltz, top NCAA coaches Tom Izzo and Billy Donovan, NBA champion coach Doc Rivers, PGA Tour champion Matt Kuchar, and popular television broadcasters Erin Andrews and Ernie Johnson Jr.
·         The steps one takes to build, manage, and grow relationships in a competitive business landscape.
·         How to use – or avoid – technology, social media, and email when negotiating.
·         How to negotiate with difficult personalities or people you don’t like or trust.

Dubbed “the female Jerry Maguire,” by CNN, she also shows the impact of gender in negotiating. She knows what it is like to operate in a male-dominated industry and offers professional advice to women on how they can negotiate their way to the top.

Fletcher knows the dynamics and sensitivities that can turn a deal around in an instance and she shares many unique stories that teach us how to connect with -- and gain the respect of -- powerful people.  She shares the people skills that are needed to drive a relationship-based negotiation and shows which words and deeds trigger results more than any others.

“If you learn nothing else from me,” writes Fletcher, “know this: effective negotiation is a conversation, a relationship, a rhythm built over time. At the heart of my success is managing relationships well so that conversations keep going, stay open, and spark more conversations because the seeds of your next negotiation are planted in the one you are doing right now. A negotiation is a story, and a good negotiator is like a bestselling novelist who knows the characters so well that nothing they do is surprising.”


Q & A with Molly Fletcher
A Winner’s Guide to Negotiating


1.      You estimate that you’ve worked on 500 million dollars worth of deals on behalf of 300 clients over the past two decades. What’s been the key to your success? Relationships and reputation.  In the sports agent industry, there are more agents than there are athletes to represent.  It’s a really competitive business, so you have to be able to effectively build, manage and grow relationships.  You have to be able to build relationships with prospective clients while ensuring that you are continuing to develop relationships with your current clients and deliver consistently.  You also have to be able to develop relationships with team personnel and manufacturers so you can deliver deals.  How you behave within all of those relationships determines your reputation.  You often have to negotiate with the same parties multiple times, and they will avoid you and vice versa if they don’t trust you.  Reputation is built on honesty and integrity and allows long term success.

2.      Why do you assert that effective negotiating comes down to seeing it as a conversation built over time?   Too often we take a shortsighted view of negotiation. It’s far more effective if you see negotiation as a conversation.  Over time, you can have a trust for a process and an approach.  Inside of any negotiation, you are trying to solve a problem.  There is a gap.  In order to get clear on how to close that gap and how to support each other, it requires a conversation.  You have to ask questions and be curious, get clear on what gaps exist, and determine how to close them.  Most negotiations aren’t clear-cut.  There is going to be some ambiguity that you have to work through together.  If you try to apply a cookie-cutter approach to negotiation, you’re likely to get blindsided.  You have to prepare without question, but you also have to be able to adapt and have a productive conversation. 

3.      You write in A Winner’s Guide to Negotiating that a great negotiator does five things well. What are they and which one is the most important? 1. Set the stage; 2. Find common ground; 3. Ask with confidence; 4. Embrace the pause; 5. Know when to leave.  People tend to have the most trouble with embracing the pause in negotiation.  It’s often an overlooked part of the process and the one that is the least comfortable for most people.  Embracing the pause requires the most intentionality and discipline.  Our natural tendency is to want to fill the space.  Instead, embrace the pause.  It’s when you determine who will make the next move, and you can learn a lot from the move people make within the pause.  Very rarely does everything happen all at once in negotiation.  A pause can serve many purposes: it projects confidence in your position; creates anticipation and possibilities; limits emotionality; and adds perspective.  Learn to embrace the pause. 

4.      What were some odd or unusual things your clients had asked you to negotiate on behalf of?   You see it all, and it’s a reminder of how many factors come into play during a negotiation.  We all value different things.  A person might be negotiating for a slight increase in salary, without taking into account other options (vacation time, ability to work remotely, etc.) that might be more amendable.  Always consider what’s not already on the table.  Athletes and coaches could get really creative with this.  Some would want hotel suite accommodations on the road negotiated into their contract, or country club memberships or free childcare.  We had one coach who really valued a free dry cleaning deal.  Some who relocate for a job ask for X number of flights for their family to visit.  You have to get clear on what matters most.  It’s not always just about the money.

5.      As an agent-whether sports, real estate, literary, financial—how do you show the value that you bring to the table for a potential client?  Whenever I pitched a client, I made sure to keep the focus on them.  I always wanted to first understand what was important to them and what they valued in an agent.  Then I could shift the conversation to how we would be able to drive value.  Relationships and reputation were really important.  I would give a prospect our client list and ask them, “Who do you want to talk to?”  The best way for them to understand how I did business was to hear it from someone else.  Of course, I would always provide comps and show them how we delivered against the market for other clients but it is much more effective when they hear it from someone in their position.  And then once you sign the client, it’s all about execution.  You have to deliver.  

6.      Why should we be aware of the role of gender in negotiations? In my book, I talk about some of the gender stereotypes that still exist and how they can be manipulated.  Gender is powerful, because either overtly or subtly, it can limit what we think we are allowed to ask for, and if we ask at all.  There is a strong business case for diversity as we’ve seen reflected in numerous studies.  Recent findings from researchers at MIT, Columbia University and Northwestern University found that people in diverse groups are “more likely to step outside their own perspective” than people in homogenous groups.  Now think about how important that is to a successful negotiation in which a mutual win is sought.  More diversity in negotiation challenges our assumptions, forces us to better articulate our positioning, and opens the door to more possibilities. 

7.      What advice do you have for someone negotiating a raise or the acceptance of a job offer? 
The initial offer is often the best time to negotiate, as evidenced by statistics.  A well-cited study estimates that by not negotiating a first salary, an individual stands to lose more than $500,000 by age 60.  Many employers expect an initial negotiation, so it is a less intimidating time to negotiate.  Even if you don’t negotiate, try to understand the roadmap for your compensation so you can set the stage for a future ask.  Or consider whether there are non-monetary items you can negotiate. When negotiating a raise, be sure to set the stage.  Know comparables.  Be able to articulate how you have impacted the company for the greater good, citing specifics.  Make sure you have carefully considered the timing of your ask.  If you have done your groundwork, the ask shouldn’t be totally unexpected.   

8.      You say the best shot at having a successful negotiation happens when you establish 360-degree awareness. What is that and how does one establish it?  360-degree awareness means that your vision extends beyond your own perspective so that you understand the goals, needs, gaps, values and fears of the other side.  It is what allows you to stay a step ahead and anticipate, because you have taken the time to understand the negotiation from multiple perspectives instead of just your own tunnel vision.  This anticipation and awareness makes you more prepared in your actions, and more easily able to adapt.  The data you gain through 360-degree awareness will be even more valuable as your strategy unfolds throughout the negotiation. 

9.      How is negotiating online an asset or a setback to the process?   Technology is great in the ways it can connect us, but it definitely provides a shield that can do more harm than good during the negotiation process.  We filter everything when we use online communication.  If you choose not to communicate face-to-face, you are losing important data and signals that otherwise provide you with invaluable feedback.  It’s much more difficult to gauge hesitancy, energy level, timing, tone, etc. online.  Not only are you not getting the reactions, you aren’t able to project your own confidence and enthusiasm.  I always say don’t negotiate via email unless you don’t care if the deal happens.  That may be harsh, but the more at stake, the more you risk by negotiating online. 

10.  How do you know when to walk away from a deal? Negotiation can be messy, so understanding what you are willing to give up and what you aren’t is critical.  Play out the repercussions of every move.  Leaving should always be on the menu.  That’s one of the first mistakes people make in negotiation—ignoring the possibility that walking away is even an option.  The idea of “no deal” after all the work that has gone into the negotiation can be discouraging.  I encourage you to always look back and see what you can learn from the process for the next time.  A successful negotiation will end with a result that is better than your best alternative.  If you settle for less than that; that’s most likely what you will get. 

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014




Saturday, September 20, 2014

An Opt-Out Culture That Whines Too Much


In any given day, consumers of information and content will opt in and out of a number of lists.  Many don’t realize what they’re signing up for nor will they remember that they signed up for any of this stuff.  Additionally, people will respond to an email, sometimes hastily, by opting out, asking the sender to never contact them again.  It seems kind of harsh to just dismiss a person or organization for life, just because in a split second you decided you didn’t need whatever was being shared or offered.  How is all of this opting in and out impacting our lives?

There no doubt is a lot of inbox clutter and junk mail out there.  Some is way off target, such as a Viagra ad to a little old lady.  Some seems irrelevant to us and some challenge our values and views.  But a lot of email is really not so offensive or wasteful – it’s just not seen as relevant or useful for the moment.  I think there should be another designation for emails like this.  They may not be true SPAM or something demanding you opt-in or out of.  They are just low-priority emails that may hold value down the road.

When you send emails to market your book, brand yourself, or sell something, you hope that the recipients won’t see you as spam or an intrusion.  But, if you send enough emails, you are sure to get critics of your approach and outreach.

It frustrates me when people overreact to an email.  They go through great pains to let everyone know they don’t like being contacted or they don’t like your offer or message.  Don’t they have better things to do with their lives than to whine about one email?

For instance, people forget they opted-in, so any opposition they have to being emailed by you is ridiculous.

Second, if an email is targeted in who gets it and the message presented or offered is relevant to them, then what’s the big deal?  Just don’t over send emails.  For instance, I get almost daily emails from a local but unnamed sports team .I love my baseball team but it gets to be annoying to be pitched that often.

Third, regardless of whether you think an email was SPAM or not, you shouldn’t think that invites you to respond rudely or crudely.  Two wrongs don’t make a right.  What is there to be gained in spending any effort in arguing with people who email you a service or product that could be of use to you?

Online marketing and communication is still a growing and developing medium.  We need to balance the needs of a marketer and the desires of the consumer. 

Just as marketers need to understand the needs, desires, demands, and habits of consumers, those who consume should balance tolerance, understanding, and compassion for those who try their best to give you relevant and valuable offers.

Consumers can opt-out, press delete, or otherwise choose to ignore a message, but when they cross the line and look to publicly shame or cause professional harm to the marketer, they have done a disservice to the ecosystem of ideas, news, ads, and connections that people have come to love about the Internet. 

Marketers must act responsibly and take extra steps to filter and update lists.  They need to, as often as possible, be better matchmakers in connecting a consumer to the exact product or services desired or needed.  But they are not perfect.

I think we’re getting so used to skipping commercials via DVRs, streaming downloads on demand, and viewing ad-free content that we forget in order for the economy to function at a healthy pace, marketing must do its role to reach consumers.  Once we accept we live in a world that includes marketing, we’ll be much better for it.


Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

Renaissance Fairs & Our Desire For Fantasy Are Real


Imagine being able to go somewhere and stepping back into another era, a time and place so very different from today, where corset-wearing women strut around with muscular warriors, where technology is defined by one’s ability to sharpen a sword, where one’s sense of community comes down to villagers you’ve known your whole life.  Imagine being able to not be you, to being able to dress up and step away from the world of today and the life you’ve lived.  

Imagine no more.  

For those attending the New York Renaissance Faire – and those like it across the country – you will know what it’s like to lose yourself in a community of like-minded souls searching to escape to a world that once had been but shall never be again.

I went to my first such fair earlier this month, at a place called Tuxedo, New York – about an hour from my home.  My wife and two under-10 children joined another family to see what the world of suspended disbelief and make-believe could provide us.

There was an overflowing crowd, leaving people to park a quarter-mile beyond the full parking lot that holds 5,000 cars.  People were eager to walk around a village themed around the days of 500 years ago.

There were plenty of things to do, but the best part was the people watching.  A large minority came attired in costumes from yesteryear.  People walked around as if they were no longer themselves, desperately hoping to spend a few hours under a frame of mind, free from cellphones, television, cars, and the amenities of today.  But, perhaps removed from their glamourized notion of the Shakespearian era, was the fact that people lived shorter lives back then, that life was physically harsher, that the unpaved, unsanitized streets were unsafe, and that many lived without an education or ability to know life beyond their walking range.  Hey, don’t mean to be a buzzkill, but who in their right mind would rather live in 1514 and not 2014?

Ok, but for a day, sure, why not!?

I guess that’s what we love about novels, especially ones that allow us to dream of another time and place.  Movies, certain videogames, and other forms of entertainment allow us a chance to see other worlds.  When you get to walk around in another world, it’s pretty cool.

When you look back at another time period, you realize three things.  First, how far we’ve advanced on many things.  Two, where we fall short and have lost some of the good from another time.  Three, you realize at the core of things, people are the same – whether living then or now.  The human nature has not changed.  We’re still pulled by the physical and the visual, still ruled by the emotional, still driven by family and financials, still at war with others and ourselves.

Are these festivals filled with freaks and geeks?  Some are, for sure, but underneath the costumed participants and the voyeuristic passerbys we all seem to be hungering for something, still searching for the formula for the ideal life or society.  We may have to do more than dress up or munch on giant turkey legs or watch archery and knife-throwing or playfully stand in a stockade.  We’ll need to transform our lives on a daily basis, to move towards an enlightened view that we can not only judge others by but live ourselves.

The industry of fantasy is alive and well.  Tens of billions of dollars are spent on books, movies, and games and plays.  Fairs such as this one are all over the world.  But the biggest playground is in our minds, in our capacity to imagine and create.  You don’t need to pay an admission fee or wear a costume – just think it, dream it, live it.


Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Failure of Words & Books


I never thought I would say this, but words fail us. As much as they add to our life experience and as much as I love books, I can see that words fall far short in both describing life's experiences, thoughts and realities as they are, and more so, they fail miserably in helping to describe what doesn't exist but could. In fact, language limits our ability to think and act. I want someone to prove me worng on this assertion.

Words are so powerful and meaningful, but only if we can agree on what they say.  Some words may describe a universal function – time, place, temperature.  Others try to describe a combination of feelings, intentions, moods, and states of mind.  But it gets harder and harder to use mere words in order to truly and accurately convey what deeply penetrates us.

There seemingly are universal truths or accepted ways to describe certain life-altering moments, but how can words explain sound, visuals, memories, or the extremities of life?  It seems the bigger the event, the fewer words we need – birth, death, pain, happiness – but the strength of the impression of a thought or event that we struggle to understand becomes hard to describe.  Our words betray us, painting wider swaths of color when narrower shades are needed.  We tend to use many words to describe a singular, split-second moment or fleeting thought, the kind that haunt us or dictate our lives and from which all future thoughts are filtered.

We need to learn more words in order to appreciate and understand the experiences or fantasies that we have.  Words can inform us as to what is possible.  Words can help us share with others.  Words can also limit us and keep us contained within their borders.

Our language should really be a combination of words, numbers, symbols, uniform images, and something that codes sound, sight, smell, touch, and taste.  We can’t just describe things, using more and more words as if quantity will formulaicly produce quality and accuracy.

The dictionary may be the writer’s Bible, but it falls far short of explaining not only what is or was, but what could be.  Words only make it into the dictionary because they’ve come to signify something, through usage and experience.  But we need to work on supplementing the words that fail to succinctly and accurately describe the indescribable.  Can we understand words that we’ve not yet experienced, where there are no metaphors to explain and shape our understanding, no comparisons or analogies, no sense of depth, proportion, relevance or boundary to give us any idea of where something falls in the scheme of things?

How can one understand what it’s like to get high from a drug without in fact getting high?  And when things get compared to getting high, how can you know of those things when you have no clear feeling for the reference point?  What good is longitude without latitude or any measurement when there’s no tool to measure?

Humans can’t agree on things that they witness.  People can see the same movie and conclude different opinions.  We can eat the same food and find those who disagree on everything about it.  We can have conversations where each person completely mishears and/or misunderstands the other.  We can have two experts examine something and draw opposite conclusions.  So how can we expect people to use words correctly and in a way we all can appreciate and understand?  And even if we could have agreement as to what all words mean, there aren’t enough words to describe all feelings, ideas, events, theories, or thoughts to the exact degree we experience them.  And there aren’t enough words to lead us, to think differently than we currently do, to take us conceptually into alternate universes and modes of experience.  Words, my breadth and my light, feel choking and dark.  I feel betrayed by the false comfort and failed promise of what language should be.

But, where no single words can take us, combinations of these words can, to a degree.  For that, I’m thankful.  Words map our lives – I hope that we can map new worlds with new words.  The dictionary needs to greatly expand – triple in size, over and over, again, and again, and again, and again, and again.  It should expand in proportion to scientific discoveries and the expansion of matter itself.

How often do people say something and then, after struggling to use words to transfer a combination of feelings, experiences, and ideas, say, “You know what I mean?”  If they have to ask that, chances are you won’t know what they mean, even if you think you do.

I don’t know why I never noticed this before, that words, as wonderful as they are, can be so woefully incomplete, nonexistent or misused when it comes to conveying the essence of life.  I feel so foolish, all those years, believing there was a formula of words, a string of sentences, even a book’s worth of content that could summarize and reflect our world, our being, our concerns, our experiences – and all of the things to be discovered.  But I was wrong, as wrong as one could be about anything.  No words, no punctuation, no anything can describe what I feel.  And that’s my point.

Words depend on our imaginations, knowledge and imagination to fill in the gaps words leave us with.

I am reduced to describing something based on something else, so depending on how you  have come to view or experience that something else, your understanding will be prejudiced, and even then, how can one really say something if what it is is all we can do by way of comparison to show what it is not?

Words mean different things to different people.  How they are said, by whom, where and when influence our interpretation and understanding of these words.  Context and perspective clue us in on things.

Words often are misused, misspelled, misread, or just plain butchered by the speaker.  This further complicates communication and makes it impossible to be on the same page as another.

The frame of mind of a writer or speaker – as well as the emotional mindset of the reader or listener will also play a huge role in how one’s words are absorbed and understood.

Further, our personalities influence our understanding or appreciation of words, not to mention our intellect, capacity for laughter, compassion and optimism.  Words are like clothes – not everything is the right fit or color or texture for one’s body type – and not every word is a fit for both user and recipient.  Sometimes words need adapters or extension cords in order for them to work.

Words have a time and place.  You wouldn’t use the same words in the same way that you use is talk to a lover as you would a parent or a friend or a work colleague.  Language must fit the situation and circumstance, or risk confusion, anger, disappointment or indifference.

I read in a book someone who was quoting dictionary.com instead of Webster’s Dictionary.  This wasn’t the first time this has happened.  Words and meanings change over time but I didn’t think we’d switch dictionaries too.

But which dictionary you use will dictate to a degree, the vocabulary that you develop.  One would think there’s a universal dictionary for a universal language but in reality, the language and the dictionary keep evolving and growing.

Words change, in use frequency and in our understanding of what they really mean.  Dictionaries respond to such usage and make changes based not on how words had been used or should be used, but in fact, are used – or not. Some words fall out of use and disappear, and new ones develop and become part of our lexicon.  Language is cultural, not a scientific math equation.

Words are reactionary, as they can only, in a limited way, explain what’s known, observed or experienced – and in no way are predictive nor can they acknowledge what exists but is undiscovered.  Words are inadequate catalogers of life.  We can’t all appreciate all words unless we experience them in varied scales and nuance.

When I recently watched a cheap movie thrill, Sin City 2, I realized that I could never fully use words to explain how that movie made me feel or to describe the techniques used to give off the living comic book feel.  Language needs not just words, but visuals, sounds, smells, textures, symbols, and extended codes.

I recently bought my nine-year-old son a back-to-school pocket dictionary.  It only had 40,000 words – a fraction of what is contained in the Oxford English Dictionary or even a modern-day abridged hardcover dictionary.  Does the pocket dictionary immediately cut him off from so many other words that he will never grow into – or does it serve as a great appetizer for things to come?

Words may seem special, valuable, and interesting - -and they are - -but they also fail us. I can't even find the right words to describe this.


Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Who Values Book Reviews?


A new Broadway comedy just debuted, It’s Only A Play, pokes fun at the theater world, sparing no one, from snobby theater critics and struggling actors to directors, producers, playwrights and even theater patrons.  At the heart of it, the play zeroes in on how those involved in plays live to hear what critics have to say, no matter how much they claim not to, and it shows how reviews make or break a play and supply the only sense of reality for ambitious, egotistical, and sometimes desperate creative types.  It made me wonder if the same holds true in book publishing.

Do reviews make or break a book?   I think they mean more to authors – as a validation of their work – than they do to the sales process.  Most books don’t get a lot of major reviews, and whether they are positive or negative, reviews can be outweighed by social media, savvy marketing, aggressive advertising, and creative publicity with traditional media.

However, reviews are more important to fiction than non-fiction.  And a good review in a quality media outlet, such as Library Journal or Publishers Weekly, can increase sales and serve as leverage to generate more media buzz for your book.  Surprisingly, though, one literary agent told me last week that reviews in places like PW or Kirkus “don’t do shit.”  He dismissed them as irrelevant.

Reviews, depending on who says what, can be helpful in a number of ways.  First, who ever reads them may be so moved as to order the book.  Second, you can pull positive quotes from the reviews and post them in your marketing materials, website, social media and on the cover of a second printing/edition.  Third, and perhaps most importantly, they give confidence to the author, helping to reassure them that someone authoritative thinks their book is worth reading.

The ego of most authors is massively obese, yet fragile, and when someone says a few kind words about the tens of thousands of words they’ve written, they feel rewarded.

Of course, certain reviewers matter more than others.  A reader posting on Amazon means far less than what The New York Times says.  Reviews read by bookstores and libraries are important, because they order books in bulk.  They will read PW, Library Journal, Kirkus, Choice, NYT, and a handful of other publications.  Reviews posted in big online communities are important too, such as GoodReads, Riffle, and BookTrib.

Whereas plays can close shortly after bad reviews, as theater is much more dependent on such reviews, books have many different options to be reviewed, promoted, and marketed.  Reviews may serve as therapy to authors, but in the long run, are far less important today than they used to be when it comes to sales.  Sure we want lots of great reviews, but reviews are just open piece of the PR pie.

Oh, and the play, by the way, was hilarious. Nathan Lane and Stockard Channing were just excellent. Matthew Broderick was dull and lacked depth. I am sure they are reading this review with great trepidation.


Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Book Publishing Never Bans A Ray Rice: NFL Shouldn’t Either


The whole Ray Rice -- and now Adrian Peterson fiasco -- with how a sports league (NFL) handles players accused of off the field wrong-doing has dominated media headlines for weeks. It’s time to put the whole mess behind us with one simple policy: Separate the law from work, just as we separate church and state.

Is Ray Rice a bad guy? Or can we say he did a bad thing? Certainly. Did the law adequately handle the situation? No. Is it the responsibility of the employee to do what the law failed to do?

No.

I don’t condone nor defend the actions of Ray Rice. As a fan I can choose to root for him or not. But the NFL, and his employee, The Baltimore Ravens, should no be involved in a non-sports related matter. Otherwise, the NFL becomes the judicial system and morality police. Where do you draw the line on actions, words or beliefs expressed by those connected to the sport?

Problem number one: If a person is punished by the law, why punish him twice?

Problem number two: If the law didn’t punish him and /or didn’t convict him of a crime, who is the league to say that he did something wrong?

Problem number three: How do you create an all-inclusive, consistent policy to handle things beyond what happens on the field? How will you rank things? Does spousal abuse rank higher than child abuse or getting into a bar brawl and breaking someone’s nose or cheating on your taxes or getting a speeding tick when doing over 100 mph?

I know it’s not easy to judge others and that’s why it’s no business of a sport to discipline off-the-field behavior unless it relates to performance. For instance, if you took a banned substance, from steroids to cocaine, you tried to cheat and pose a danger. Ban him. If you try to haze your teammate, ban him. If you publicly do something on the field that violates the rules or show poor sportsmanship, fine or ban him. But when one runs into the law, let the law handle it.

The real problem is the law and its ability to adequately punish and reform criminals- and to take steps to help prevent certain crimes from happening. Sports and other industries should not have to make judgments on actions, outside of the boundaries of work.

Look at book publishing and the entertainment business. We not only make money selling books about criminals or authors with checkered pasts, we also publish books by criminals, unethical losers, and admitted pieces of shit.

Book publishing, in both its fictional and non-fictional content, entertains readers when it comes to crime and criminal types -- TV and Hollywood studios produce many shows featuring people with broken moral codes, violent streaks, criminal activity. Many books feature hate, anger, bullying, negativity, violence and a slew of bad things.

Let’s not be hypocrites. Ray Rice should be in jail, but he is not, and so he should be running with a football down the field. Sports are separate from life off the field. So is book publishing and other industries and professions.

We would never say that a writer accused of a crime should be banned from publishing a book. We’d never say a person convicted of a crime can’t write a book. We would never say we shouldn’t publish a book about a criminal,  violent event or nasty person. We would never concern ourselves with any of this unless the author:

·         wrote a book of lies
·         committed liable or defamation
·         didn’t double-check the facts
·         advocates for violence
·         physically used a book as a weapon
           
Short of that, publish away. It’s up to readers to decide what to buy or read -- not a morality police, not a government censor.

And Rice should be playing football, not to be stopped by the morality police or a government that failed to punish him.

Society has an obligation to speak out against Rice and the government needs to do a lot more to handle or prevent such a crime, but it should never be the place of a sports league, a book publisher or a Hollywood studio to penalize someone over something that has zero to do with their work. 

Don’t put me down as someone defending a woman beater or the like. I don’t defend his actions. But the courts determine punishment, not a sport. And in the end, fans decide if they root for him or not, but the league should let him play. If his accuser can forgive and marry him that doesn’t make it any less of a crime and just because the law failed doesn’t mean he’s innocent or a nice guy. But he is allowed to work, to vote, and do what he does best -- play football.

And writers shall continue to write regardless of whether they are abusive parents, alcoholics, cheating spouses, liars, racists, or even criminals. Believe me many authors would fail a morality clause. Authors and athletes are no different. If you ban them, society loses out.


Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

Online Media Opportunities & Resources To Promote Books


According to a Digiday.com study, The Huffington Post publishes 1200 pieces of new editorial content a day – or about 50 per hour (or one a minute).  Additionally, 28 blog editors curate 400 blog posts a day – or one every four minutes.  That’s a lot of content and that’s just one site.  Buzzfeed.com generates 373 new pieces of content daily.  BleacherReport, an online sports hub, knocks out 800 articles every 24 hours.  Get the point – there are plenty of opportunities, especially online, to generate media coverage.  What’s your plan to get it?

Here are some online resources that may help you build up your social media connections or generate more media coverage:

Tame – You’ll learn about the most shared websites, hashtags, and people mentioned on Twitter.

NewsWhip – Learn what news is trending, by location or topic.

MuckRack – Find the right person to pitch to in the media, using key words, company names, competitors, and other filters.  You get emails notifying you when journalists write on the terms or topics you want to follow.

TweetDeck – I love this more than Twitter itself.  It helps organize how you see Twitter and your connections, but most importantly, it allows you to schedule your tweets.  I now tweet all day and night without worrying about staying up late.

WeFollow – Helps you search users by interests and their “Prominence Score” (How established one is in the topic of interest).

Yerdle – This is a swapping site of unwanted things.  It has 120,000 members.  Could this be a way to trade your book for something else of value to you?

FollowerWonk – You can search Twitter bios with specific keywords.  You can analyze their followers or whom they follow.  You can also search by how a user’s social authority ranks – and you can spot where people tweet from and during what hours.

MediaGraph – It recommends who in the media should cover your story, based on geography, social networks, your industry and other factors.

BlogDash – Allows you to search specific bloggers using keywords, categories, Klout scores, gender, location, and other factors.  You can then contact them through the platform.


Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014