Tuesday, November 26, 2013

PR in Your iPad

This year, I've collaborated with a colleague on a public relations guide that we've intended from day one to be an e-book. Turns out, it's harder to get an agent to bite on an e-book than a real book.

I've read and used my share of textbooks about PR. The one that works best for me is Fraser Seitel's The Practice of Public Relations, now in its 12th edition. I've used it when teaching college PR classes. It's readable, full of short case studies and executive interviews, comprehensive and doesn't go out-of-date too quickly.

But if you're in crash-course mode, Seitel's book and other texts are a bit heavy. If your boss told you yesterday that, in addition to your other duties, you had to write news releases and promote the business through social media, our little e-book would be easier to use. And it would leave less of a dent on your debit card than Seitel's $143 textbook.
E.B. White

My co-author and I believe there's a place for a smart little e-book -- about the size and heft of E.B. White's The Elements of Style -- that PR newbies could download and digest, and go about incorporating our ideas into their PR projects.

The agent, however, said our e-book wasn't hefty enough. She wanted twice as much content, and told us to charge twice as much.

Truth is: to fully cover all the content in Seitel's book would take two semesters. It's more than all but the most PR-obsessed need to read. As in most cases, "TLDR" means Too Long, Didn't Read. And we didn't want our e-book to be TLDR.

So, instead of adding 100 percent more stuff to the book, we subtracted 100 percent of the agent. And we'll look for another one. Stay tuned.