The Corner Office: On the Record With: Paul Bogaards
The perception probably has something to do with my candor. I have always been candid with colleagues at Random House and in my external dealings with colleagues in the media. I don’t believe in telling people what they want to hear or speaking in code. Also, I have learned to say “no.” And media outlets are used to hearing “yes.” But as an advocate on behalf of the authors that we publish, saying “no” is sometimes essential. You have to know when to walk away.
Occasionally, you have to resort to a certain amount of tough love—with colleagues, with authors and with media. An editor wants more resources devoted to their title; an author wants to go on a bigger book tour; a media outlet wants an exclusive. Sometimes the requests are reasonable. Other times they are not. It is my job to respond accordingly, and always armed with data, logic and reason.
The craft of writing may be singular, but the process of publishing is collaborative. The power resides in the contributions of many, not one individual.
What’s your secret to getting the media to pay attention to your message?
● Credibility. Longevity (sigh). And always talking straight with the press.
I can’t underscore this point enough to colleagues just getting started in public relations. You establish credibility by becoming a resource. You become a resource by knowing everything about the specific book you are working on and the author you are promoting. As you manage up, you become a resource by knowing about your full list and publishing program; by knowing about your industry and the outlets that service it; by understanding the needs of bloggers, editors, producers and reporters; by always shooting straight with members of the press; by your ability to spot trends; and by making yourself available to reporters when they are on deadline, even if it’s a story that doesn’t involve you directly.