Trust Your PR Gut!

My book Don’t Bring It to Work was published by Jossey Bass last year. Honestly, I did everything right, well almost. I hired a P.R. firm in Manhattan, sure that the big bucks it cost would get me to the top of the heap.

Now, let me say this, I believe in what I wrote. In fact, my publisher sent the book as a contender to the Nautilus awards and yup, I won a best business book of 2010 award. Hear me smiling!

Back to last year. The P.R. firm I hired was rather “snooty.” They had some well known authors, yet they were in the rather academic (and not for public taste) fields of economics and law.

I know, hear me, I knew that the dry and boring approach they took would not make my book stand out. Yet, I was a first time author, so I had little but a gut reaction to go on. They were the experts and they told me that over and over and over.

My assistant would say “What about radio?” They would say “not yet.” I would say “What about popular magazines?” They would snort in disapproval. They talked about getting me to be a guest blogger and I loved the idea. After all, I wrote a book, I love to write. They were picky, picky, picky and so I got lost on some fancy blogs that mostly go unread.

I wanted to do some bookstore discussion groups. They said, “That is old fashioned.” I called one in San Francisco, actually went in when I was visiting my daughter and we took the grandkids in to buy them books. I talked with the owner, and voila, I had a date and time and the owner did all the advertising.

I could keep going, except it still makes my stomach hurt. Thousands of dollars later I finally said bye to P.R. upper crust. They told me I would regret it. I did not, and do not. The only thing I regret was the past of me that was so snobby I wanted the prestige I thought they would give me.

I have since met with some amazing people, taken some one and two day workshops, and learned about what public relations is really about; it is about loving your book, loving to talk anywhere, any time; radio is great and has been a good friend to me.

I do not, hear this, I do not turn down a radio station that is in the middle of a small town with few listeners. I do not turn up my nose about going to a small meeting with only ten people. In fact, I consider it an honor.

What I learned is that there are some really great, affordable companies that want to help, that do help. Go to a Rick Frishman program, call Jess Todtfeld at Success in Media, and see what Steve Harrison is up to. You won’t have to spend six months smacking yourself for being so dumb!!

Dr. Sylvia Lafair, Author, Leadership Educator, Executive Coach for over 30 years is an authority on leadership and workplace relationships. She is President of Creative Energy Options, Inc. Visit and