PR will not save you

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If a young man tells his date how handsome, smart and successful he is—that’s advertising. If the young man tells his date she’s intelligent, looks lovely, and is a great conversationalist, he’s saying the right things to the right person and that’s marketing. If someone else tells the young woman how handsome, smart and successful her date is—that’s PR.

—Sylvia H. Simmons

Last week, I promised to address publicity and PR. First, definitions.

Public Relations (PR): What the public sees, hears, and reads about you.

Publicity: Getting placement: TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, blogs, podcasts. (This is changing rapidly. In 5 years, author interviews will be conducted in VR by intelligent self-driving cars.)

So publicity is a tool you use in your public relations campaign. PR is the umbrella term for getting people to care who you are and then getting them to like you once they do.

Clear?

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I can’t help you—writing is hard

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Janine: I bet you like to read a lot, too.

Egon: Print is dead.

Janine: That’s very fascinating to me. I read a lot myself. Some people think I’m too intellectual.

Ghostbusters (1984)

Learn how to learn

A quick recommendation: Learning How to Learn is a popular Coursera course co-taught by Dr. Barbara Oakley, professor of engineering at Oakland University. I liked it so much I got Dr. Oakley’s book, A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra).

Remember when I wrote about packaging your book? This is a book about learning deep, difficult concepts—period. Unfortunately, the title sends the wrong impression. Sure, Oakley draws stories and examples from the sciences, but the advice applies equally to the task of absorbing any demanding subject.

The book itself is anything but demanding, a light and compelling read I’d comfortably recommend to a middle school student. Let alone a brilliant and accomplished professional like yourself.

Continue reading “I can’t help you—writing is hard”