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 May, 2009

My Interview with Lee Habeeb
 by Marsha Friedman

Part 2
(See Special April 15th Issue for Part 1)

Lee currently coaches 7 of the top 10 talk show hosts in America; people like, Michael Medved, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Hugh Hewitt and Bill Bennett. He also developed “The Laura Ingraham Show” and was Laura’s Executive Producer for many years.

Marsha Friedman: One thing I regularly tell my clients is the importance of not only being interested in the talk show host who is interviewing them, but also demonstrating a caring for him, his show and his listeners. In your opinion, how important is this? (continued below...)


Self Publishing Adventures


by: J.N. Reynolds

I ventured into Self Publishing some five years ago, when my children were quite young, and I was about to be signed onto a traditional publisher. When the publisher decided change the content I put my foot down and said “No!”  When I mentioned I would self publish, they sent me a rather rude e-mail and were miffed by my decision. However, I do not regret my decision.

It has been a world of discovery.  I had picked up a book sent to me from a radio host when I asked a relevant question regarding self publishing.  I felt the book was some sort of 'proverbial sign' for me to self publish.  With extensive research, I found my decision was sound. 

After a few life changes, I managed to finish my book, 'The League of Light - Guardians of the Light' ISBN-13978-0-9735353-1-0 and ISBN-100-9735353-1-8.  I got my CIP number and bar code for pricing and country of origin.  I was excited!  I then went to several people and started to tell them about my book and what I had done. 

I developed the story over the years, between two countries, two ex-husbands, two provinces, and two children.  When I put together the marketing copies, I used Cerlox binding and handed them out for half of what the book would cost.  I got enough money together to make my first set of 50 books at the printers.

I found four different sponsors.  Each one helped in their own way. For example, I managed to get a publicity shot in exchange for a book.  I used the computer at work (with my boss’s permission) and used the materials I brought to work to put my books together.  The Printer helped by waiving certain fees and extras and all I had to pay was the actual fee, no set up costs, as long as I did all the prepress work (typesetting and editing).

I generated the local publicity I needed by appearing on a local cable talk show and did local author readings.  However, because of time and money constraints, everything came to a grinding halt and I found myself embroiled in personal issues, having too little money to promote my book.

I left it for just over a year.  Now I'm starting out again, and this time I hope to generate interest not only locally but further afield and take my book to the next level, which is of course a film.  If that becomes feasible, I have contacted locally with a couple of directors but have not heard back from them in over a year.  This is hardly surprising. 

The whole process of self publishing has been a very satisfying and all-encompassing experience.  Several mentors helped enormously with my writing, publishing and focus on selling and marketing.  They have always encouraged me and would not let me give up when I felt I couldn't put one foot in front of the other. 

On the whole, self publishing has been an exciting experience.  I have gone the self publishing route via the likes of self publishers on the Internet, and while they provide excellent service, there is so much competition that I would be one out of 80,000 on one publishing service alone!  That is very intimidating and doesn't really encourage me to get out there and do something about my book.

I can see others who have done their work and have the money and capacity to put their work online, so that they are industry leaders.  But I am encouraged by the number of self publishers in the market and the healthy competition that has developed. 

My book 'The League of Light-Guardians of the Light' still remains an obscure tome and few if any have heard of it outside of the city where I live.  (The League of Light is not to be confused with the cartoon characters that pervade the Internet with the same title. In fact, I believe they are breaking copyright of my titles. 

The League of Light is a fictional fantasy thriller based on events which occurred during my stay in Wales in 1997.  The book was borne out of research done and conducted at the time in Wales, where I was living in a small and obscure village.  Rumour had it that there were several groups of people who practised the 'The cult of the Dead' and Paganism.  There were many incidences and coincidences that would not be pushed to one side, so I based a story on some of the events which had occurred at that time.

Thumbnail sketch of The League of Light' - 'Guardians of the Light' is: Rules were meant to be broken, but not the rules of the Universe or those that govern it.  Zarya has broken those rules and must now bear the consequences.  With betrayal and murder left in her wake and an evil so ancient and dangerous tracking her every move, will Zarya survive? From one end of the globe to another, mysterious strangers become her friends, but are they enough to help her and can she trust them for what lies ahead?

The book keeps the reader guessing until the very end and gives a good twist on the whole story.

I did plug this to publishers but they didn't seem to be too interested and, because the book is written in the first person, to bring the reader into the narrator’s world and see first hand what goes on, it has scared a few people. Thus it's not a book for youngsters or those who can't sleep at night.  If you are looking for a good ghost story or a really good thriller that will get your blood pumping, this one might just do it!

For more information on my books please contact me at clankjn@hotmail.com  People who have read my book The League of Light actually go to bed with the light on for a few days afterward.  They have been a little 'thrilled'.  If you are interested in knowing more about the books I write, creative works on being a single parent and “That Cat” (a children’s book).  Plus a series of short stories with poems about loves lost bloom.

I work as an Administration and Marketing Tourism Consultant for Battlefords Tourism in North Battleford, Saskatchewan.  Tourism is one of the biggest industries in Saskatchewan and with the Yellowhead Highway (Hwy 16) passing through the Battlefords, this brings a lot of potential high tourism traffic into the Battlefords.  I am as enthusiastic about Tourism as I am passionate about my writing.  

Further to some of the above information, I have contacted Booksurge and have submitted my book for the US and UK markets on Amazon.com.  I'm hoping to see some results.  Booksurge has been fantastic, very professional and always available to answer questions no matter how mundane.  I am particularly fussy with my books and where they are in the publishing process, which has led me on occasion to be slightly frustrated when things don't go according to plan - which can happen. 

My confidence in submitting my book led me to publish books done by my children for Christmas presents: for example, 'What Walter Did Next' (our next door neighbour's cat). This has also encouraged my children to explore the world of writing and see the process first-hand from concept, idea, writing, submission to publishing.  They have found it to be an exciting process and, when I find myself becoming jaded by the whole publishing process, I think of their enthusiasm and it makes me realize that it's only my expectations and frustrations that hinder me.

As for my book "The League of Light", locally it's doing very well.  We shall see what comes of the work I've put into getting it this far.  If locals are interested, hopefully there will be enough interest generated globally to buy it or even acknowledge it.  I hope people are inspired to read it and will tell others about it.  While I don't think I'll be the next J.K. Rowling (that would be nice!), I do think that when people read my book, there is no in between. They either really like it, or really can't handle it.  I have a press release as well as a book review coming out shortly.  This will be put onto a website I'll have up and running soon as well. 

Having put out the money for the publishing of my book, I certainly feel a certain sense of satisfaction to see it in print for the first time and with people coming up to me asking me where they can buy it. 

Once my book was launched I decided to get a press release.  BookSurge helped with the wording and when I got the first draft, although it was good, it wasn't quite right.  So, with some assistance from the folks at BookSurge, we managed to complete an updated press release. 

Along with the press release I was also persuaded to get a book review.  Several weeks later I got the review back.  It had been outsourced to another company, a very reputable one.  Unfortunately the review was not what I expected but then my book is somewhat of an unexpected genre. 

After going through the review I found that it contained several mistakes (which would not have made if the reviewer had read my book) I filed a complaint and asked that the mistakes be rectified.  They were and, somewhat mollified, I found myself not using the review at all.  It really is a case of self publishing being at the mercy of what we can afford. 

The lesson I learned from all this was that a review done by someone else who doesn't know the subject and isn't sympathetic to it, doesn't matter.  It's what the writer/author feels about the book, and how passionate they are about it.  That passion will transcend a lot of barriers and keep them going through some of the toughest times.  Personally the review was a tough one to come to terms with and many people reassured me that my book was worth more than someone else’s critical and angry point of view.  In the end I had to agree with them.

The League of Light by JN Reynolds is available on BookSurge.com or at Amazon.com, among other websites internationally.

Attached Images:
Click image for larger version - Name: league_of_light_cover.jpg, Views: 2, Size: 217.76 KB 




Habeeb.. (continued)

Lee Habeeb:  In my opinion listeners are attracted to this sort of caring.  Take the case of Click and Clack, the two car brothers.  I don’t really care about car repair or cars, but every time my wife and I are in the car and those guys come on, we tune in because there’s such energy there.  You get the sense that they live, breathe and love cars.  But furthermore, they love each other.  The audience loves them!  The show is so rich in detail, in warmth and humanity, you can’t help but tune in whether you like cars or not.

The best performance comes from those who are relaxed.  These brothers are so relaxed because they prepared for so long, they’ve got the details down so well that when they get on the air, they are ready to go.  And this is what happens as you can probably imagine for most guests doing a radio tour.  The more prepared they are and the more interviews they do, the better they will get! 

MF:  That’s a great example of how to manage the expectations of a guest.  After booking guests for 20 years, I know that by their 15th interview, that’s when they start hitting their stride.

LH:  Yes. The staged interviews you do in a room that aren’t real can be a real waste of time.  It’s like scrimmages.  If you ever coached college basketball and said, “Hey, let’s scrimmage and then we’ll play one basketball game” no one would ever get better.  That’s why there’s lots of practice, but then you get right into the season and you start playing games.  And luckily, there are a lot of games before the NCAA tournament so you can get really good.

It’s the same with radio interviews.  There’s generally a progression.  In the beginning - you’re awkward, not sure what you’re doing, and after all, it’s your first time.  Then step by step, interview by interview, you get better at it. 

MF:  I often try to explain to people that this is an art - a skill that you develop.  It’s not the same skill as being a public speaker or being a professor.  Just because you’ve done hundreds of public speaking engagements or talked in front of groups, it is not the same thing.  It’s very different, and that difference really needs to be understood.  I emphasize the fact that there is a skill attached to this kind of activity.

LH:  Well, look at E.E. Cummings - I think if you had stuck him in sonnets, I don’t know how good he would have been.  So even with poets or even actors who are great on the stage, they just may not be as good in front of a camera.   A good 100 meter sprinter is a different runner than a 440 or a 400 meter.  And I get this all the time.  “Man, he’s such a good guest.  He should host a radio show.”  My response is, “Oh, no, no, no, no.”  Most people who are good guests can’t host a show because they’ve been so good at reducing stuff to six minutes that the idea of carrying a show for 15 hours a week doesn’t work as well.  They’d rather spend 15 hours in a week to get six solid minutes.

So if you’re a professor and you have an hour a day, three days a week, 15 school hours, and you’ve had 8 years to prepare this, that’s a lot of time to make your point, get those ideas across, and do all the goodies and magic you do in that classroom.  But it has nothing to do with coming on a radio show and having seven minutes to impress the listeners.  It’s a totally different format. 

MF:  You know you’ve really sent home the point that being a good guest is a craft.  You’ve got to study, prepare and drill.

LH:  I can go to a basketball game and during the practice, I can pick out who the captain is by how he walks around.  He’s not the guy slamming the ball down and trying to impress the cheerleaders.  No, he’s the guy in a quiet conversation over here because he’s actually the leader.  He’s acting like it; he’s talking like it.  The best way to credibility is to be credible.

The best way to be credible is not to talk about yourself.  Talk about the problem and the solution.  Talk about the audience’s problem, the host’s problem, not your own problem.  Here’s the solution.  I’m not the solution.  This is the solution.  And then your credibility goes up the more comfortable you are in your own skin.  The more you try and sell yourself, the less credible you sound.

MF:  That brings up the question about how someone should pitch themselves as a good guest?

LH:  For starters, don’t pitch yourself.  Talk to the host, engage him and then through him, define a problem and offer the solution.

These hosts and producers could care less about you…they care about their show!  Every day they look at the pitches they get and think, “Hmm, what would make this show work today?”  And in the timing of the news cycle, what would make the show work.  No matter what business you’re in, there’s a news cycle.  If you’re in the vitamin business, it’s vitamin news.  I’m just trying to make the point that there’s always news you can tie your message into.

MF:  Lee, you’ve given us so many nuggets.  Is there a final piece of advice you would like to share?

LH:  Get with a professional media coach.  You’re not going to get good as a talk radio guest by yourself.  And, if you’re going to spend x amount of dollars on a PR campaign, make sure you’ve got the coaching.  And make sure you get coached from a seasoned professional who’s actually done it as this is a specialty.  If you’re going to get out there, be prepared. 

MF: Lee, thanks so much for taking the time to sit down and speak with me today.

LH: It has been my pleasure Marsha!


###End of Part 2###


I sincerely hope you enjoyed my interview with Lee and found some interesting points to consider when thinking about your own talk radio publicity campaign. 

If you are interested in learning more about a customized talk radio campaign to promote your book, product or service, then we can help you.  As a leading resource for talk radio guests for 20 years, we know how to develop newsworthy hooks that interest talk radio hosts around the country.  We do it everyday and that’s why we’re able to schedule 40 to 50 interviews every week! 

Our team of talk radio experts can help you gain national recognition and instant credibility for yourself, your book and/or your company.  Call my partner Steve for more information.  He can be reached at 727-443-7115 extension 202.

Warm Regards,

PS: Don’t be concerned about your level of experience as a talk show guest.  Keep in mind, every pro has a coach (even Tiger Woods!) and we can also make sure you have the best media coach available in your corner.

Marsha Friedman, CEO
1127 Grove Street, Clearwater , FL 33755

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