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5 PR Lessons Learned from Paula Deen

POSTED BY prbythebook ON June 27, 2013

Photo Courtesy of Evan Forester

We all hope to never be faced with a PR crisis, but as we’ve seen in the cases of Martha Stewart, Lance Armstrong, and most recently, Paula Deen, indiscretions seem to always find their way into the public eye. Even if you don’t have a multi-million dollar empire to uphold and can’t think of a single skeleton in your closet, as an author, you need have a plan in place to protect your brand. Here are five things you can do before, during, and after a PR crisis:

  • Practice your crisis communication plan. Think you don’t need one? Think again. One Facebook post or tweet can get you into some pretty hot water. Take, for example, John Piper’s choice of scripture after the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma. An innocent tweet or off-the-cuff statement can be misconstrued and provoke a negative reaction. You don’t want to be rushing to plan a response after it’s too late.
  • Hire a crisis communications counselor—immediately. Not after you’ve had to release an apology video to apologize for your first apology video, as in the case of Paula Deen. She has reportedly since hired Judy Smith, a top crisis management expert, but only after she incurred more damage to her image.
  • Establish the facts. Honesty is always the best policy. Write up a clear timeline of the incident that happened, take a deep breath, and tell the truth.
  • Appoint a person to respond. You need to be prepared to communicate quickly on all forms of media—but consider that you may not be the best person to respond. Any criticisms are going to feel very personal and it may be better to utilize someone who’s not emotionally involved in the situation (such as your manager, agent, or publicist, if you have one).
  • Take a cooling off period. Appearing on the Today Show so quickly may have done more to hurt Paula Deen’s image than help. Take some time to let the public discuss the incident while you form a calm, rational response. After you’ve issued your statement, take some time away from the spotlight, dig into work and focus on rebuilding your image and career.


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Do-It-Yourself Publicity: Tips for Authors

POSTED BY Babs Chandrasoma ON April 20, 2011
Do-It-Yourself Publicity: Tips for Authors

Marika was a presenter at the YA Conference in Austin, TX and shared these informative and educational tips about DIY publicity. We hope you can find you innner publicist using these insightful guidelines! A. The state of publicity • Over ½ million books published in 2010 • Print closings/ importance of online media • The […]

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GUEST POST: Carmen Oliver, Austin Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators

POSTED BY prbythebook ON November 8, 2010
GUEST POST: Carmen Oliver, Austin Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators

PR by the Book Founder Marika Flatt Here at PR by the Book, we would like to start inviting guest blog posts by some of our fellow industry professionals in order to bring more overall industry how-to firepower to you on a weekly basis. We will be inviting key individuals to contribute to this blog […]

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Author interviews: The art of speaking clearly.

POSTED BY doug ON August 25, 2010
Author interviews: The art of speaking clearly.

Remember when you were in high school, and the quickest route to an “A” paper involved enormous, unnecessary words? “While not expediently told, Great Expectations is a masterful and very interesting tome of great literature.” “Martin Luther King inspired many people including suffering individuals who had prejudice laid against them and together they undertook a […]

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Kathryn Bertine: A [media] tour de force in Sacramento

POSTED BY marika ON July 20, 2010

If you live in Sacramento, the name Kathryn Bertine might ring a bell. She’s an Olympic hopeful cyclist, a former pro figure skater (see All the Sunday’s Yet to Come) and ESPN’s 2008 Olympic experiment, which she wrote about in her book As Good As Gold: One Woman, 9 Sports, 10 Countries, and a Two-Year […]

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