Public relations – the holistic process. One topical example, Donald Trump

I’ve worked for a PR company in my long and chequered career  and they had a great definition  posted up on the wall, wish I could remember exactly how it went, maybe someone can remind me? It was based on a first date

He tells her ‘I’m the best dancer / cook / lover / (pick one) you’ll ever meet’ – that’s advertising

He tells her ‘ask that woman over there, she’ll tell you I’m the best dancer / cook / lover you’ll ever meet’ – that’s marketing

She says to him ‘I hear you’re a wonderful dancer / cook / lover ‘ – that’s public relations.

We of course insisted PR was the best way to package anything.

It can go either way, once the word is out there it takes on a life of its own. Donald Trump, then and now, is a wonderfully topical example. Three years ago if anyone had said ‘Donald Trump’ you’d picture that bizarre hair, the hectoring thuggish image, oh yeah I heard of him, Ivana Trump’s ex? Today, whether you’re a supporter or bug-eyed that he has supporters, you know the guy better than you know your neighbours.  Power of publicity.

Right now I’ve got three areas of my life that need work. Dating, looking for a new job as redundancy is happening early next year, and selling books.

Dating, the advertising part is setting up your website profile, sure, but marketing?  It’s an area where you don’t really want to promote the fact you date a lot, that doesn’t imply permanence and that hand-in-hand walk into the sunset!  And frankly, double standard is still double standard, is it really good PR if a man says hey, I hear you’re hot in the sack? So the trick would be to find a website with a public forum, set up a good profile without over-selling, make engaging comments on the public forum, and build up exactly the right image so that others find you fascinating and queue up to date you. What could possibly be easier?

roll eyes

Job-hunting isn’t something I do very often and I suspect I am both very good and very bad at it. My ad, the old faithful CV, is good. My record is good, and my verbal references are great – I rarely go for an interview without being offered the job but, here’s the crunch, I never get offered top salary. Ever.  That needs salesmanship or amazing PR and I am rubbish at selling.

doh

Take selling books, oh, I know the process. Putting link after link on social media and trying to word them exactly right to hit that elusive demographic, the reader who clicks and buys, is the learning curve.

Marketing, that even more elusive demographic, the reader who reviews, who is prepared to put on record that they (a) bought the book (b) enjoyed it and (c) will buy more  – oh how we love them. That gets abused, too, especially by the professional publishers, within minutes of a book going on sale several hundred, or thousand, readers (numbers depending on budget) rush to record it is the Very Best Book they ever read ever EVER.

PR is the reader who tells friends about the book they enjoyed. The priceless word-of-mouth  recommendation. Dream world, that friend tells friends, conversation starts and spreads like wildfire.

daydream

I did write a how-to book about dating as a mature single. Perfect world, it could sort out the employment and increase sales of my other books as a by-product. Any PR gurus out there – call me? And oh yes I do realize putting Donald Trump in the headline was an odd attempt at a demographic. Politics aside, though, he’s a type of older man us autumn roses would come across and seriously, picture him without the billions, would you date him? Should you?

help

mr-will-do-nicely

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Don’t accept the first offer, haggle. Apparently. Does that cover first dates as well?

I have been offered job relocation to a much more expensive part of the UK, but it wasn’t a very good salary offer, so I said no. The offer was instantly pushed up to around 25%  more than my existing salary.

Hang on – if you want me, why make a mediocre offer to start?  I said I would think about it but all I can think is hmm, should I refuse again and see if it goes higher? Push my luck?

As it happens, my car insurance just came due. 9 years no-claim bonus, 16 years with the same insurer, £400. In the same post I got a letter from Saga offering car insurance starting from £109 a year. So of course I got an on-line quote. Like for like, plus lower excess than my current insurer, plus a couple of handy extras, the quote came in at £258.

I rang my current insurers to say I wouldn’t be renewing and they instantly dropped my £400 renewal cost down to just over £300. Pass.  But I did ask why, with 16 years loyalty, I didn’t get the best possible offer to start with?

Like why, with my existing proven track record with my current employers, who do want me to relocate, I didn’t get the best possible offer to start with?

How far does this haggling thing go, anyway? Has it spilled over into all sides of our lives?

I’m a mature single on a dating website (write books about it and all) but have I missed a trick here? When someone suggests a first meet over a pub lunch somewhere, should I be responding ‘not unless you send a taxi and make it a proper lunch at the Ritz Grill with you picking up the tab’ just to start the negotiations?

I looked on Amazon – with over ten million titles available, I reckoned there’d be at least one book on the subject. There was one on how to haggle to save money on everything. It was quite expensive – I emailed the author a counter-offer.

But there was no book I could see on haggling for the BIG things.

  • Income.
  • Politics afloat on a sea of money but offering us crappy choices.
  • Lots on religion but nothing comparative, you know, to compete for our patronage and donations.
  • The start of love has millions of books, but none on haggling up front. Once love is launched, there’s some financial advice but most books covering finance are reserved for the end of love, the really expensive bit. May the best haggler win.

It seems that for the really big things  we either have no choices at all, or need iron nerve and bluff.

That’s seriously worrying because my how-to book on successfully meeting mature single men is already on pre-order and if I missed an entire haggle culture, it’s not going to be as seriously useful as I thought it was.

sigh


mr-will-do-nicely

Drop dead, darling

Want to know how to kill someone? Ask a single person who has been let down with a bump. Hell hath no fury like any single person scorned, it seems.

I’ve now written eight whodunits (the eighth currently out with beta readers) and although the bodycount isn’t high per book, I’m running out of ideas – I’ve strangled, knifed, shot, bludgeoned, and poisoned my characters, dropped them out of sight to starve, hired hitmen, and set deaths up to look like suicides, what next?  I idly put the question to my singles website, which has a very interactive blogging section, and uncovered an unexpected vein of serious bloodthirstiness. Seems quite a few mature singles have brooded on opportunities missed and the sweet taste of revenge.

Not sure if I can use any of the surprisingly inventive options offered, because they’d be either too easy or too hard to solve, but I know one thing, I won’t be quite so quick to rush off to the next meet-up. Yikes.

One or two wrote to me privately rather than publicly chatting on the blog about their activities. Bit difficult to say socially you buried your own mum-in-law in the garden and built a rockery over her, even if the writer swore she died of natural causes and oh yes was definitely dead, don’t need a doctor to confirm these things. His wife of the time had reckoned she could continue to collect her mum’s pension if mum just dropped out of sight . . .

Funny old world we live in. Truth really will always be stranger than fiction, and I begin to wonder if I have enough imagination for this line of work. A whole bunch of amateurs throwing themselves into the problem with gusto, maybe the next book should be a DIY manual!

We should just appreciate ‘heart-breakers’ differently –

I’ve met one or two men in my life who should be made national treasures,  because they make a woman feel so good about herself.  We do perhaps need to change our thinking, make an exception in their cases?  We know we don’t get to keep them but we should instead appreciate the time we get, rather than resentful when they move on.

I’m not even talking about affairs here, I hope every woman reading this has spent at least one evening with a man who was admiring, charming, and fascinated by her. You should bounce away walking on air … but the average woman either eyes him with deepest distrust or, worse, instantly thinks WANT! MINE! and tries to corner him, chain him down, until he bolts for cover and then she’s devastated and we say oh you poor thing, what a swine.

So when I rule the world (which I hope will be fairly soon) I will make it a rule that we identify the true charmers, re-educate women to enjoy them for what they can offer, and not resent them for what they can’t offer  … because they are LOVELY.

Any solid gold charmer wanting to be pre-approved, feel free to get in touch.  grin

 

teddybear

Keeping a keeper. Easy, really.

Nice guys are actually very straightforward. They say so, in a bewildered way, usually when they can’t understand why the last relationship went wrong. They’re so easy, so ready to settle down. When they’re pressing fifty or accelerating towards sixty-something, you have to know things have gone wrong before. Why? He’s such a nice guy. Ask Clarissa. She wrote the book, literally (there, see it, in the margin?)

Actually I don’t want to mislead you. The men she meets aren’t keepers. Interesting, but not keepers. In fact we’re slipping off the topic a bit, which is nice guys, aka keepers, and how to keep them. They are easy. They are looking for nice women who will gently but firmly move in, take control, run their lives and keep them happy. It really couldn’t be much simpler.

Ha Ha Clip Art_thumb[1]

So, all a woman has to know, to get the lovely man of her dreams and her happy ever after, is

A – when to turn up. He has to be over the last one, and just wondering when the next one is going to arrive

B – what to look like. He might want you to gain just a little weight, or lose a little. Grow your hair, or cut it. Wear skirts at all times, or occasionally wear jeans. Always be immaculate, or always look as if you wouldn’t mind being a little mussed-up. The tricky part is sussing that out, because he will inevitably say he doesn’t mind, until you go too far the wrong way and he does.

C – Good food should happen effortlessly, so have a core list of recipes you can cook from memory from stuff that hangs around most pantries. Time enough to get exotic when he’s addicted enough to your repertoire to run your shopping errands. Do housework and cleaning while he sleeps. If he believes tidy happens just because you’re there, you’re in.

D – get the sex just right. I’m not saying Clarissa’s book could help here, but it couldn’t hurt. At least you’ll be braced for all sorts, especially if you’re a bit on the naive and inexperienced side yourself. Sometimes he’s in a quickie mood, and sometimes he wants to be adored and seduced, and sometimes he wants to do the seducing and coaxing himself. Sometimes he doesn’t want sex at all, just a quick cuddle. You need to know instinctively know which mood he’s in.

E – last point, or maybe the first point – some men want to hunt, some men want to be hunted, and some men just want you to turn up at the door (see A), looking right (see B)  and be easy to live with (see C and D).

See? Couldn’t be simpler.

Go find one.  Let us know how you got on.

wrinklie love

Setting expectations …

I’ve talked before about setting expectations when you’re meeting someone.  Launching a new book has a lot in common with a new relationship. The writer, for example, is expecting the reading world to fall on the book’s neck. At last, a fun novella about the issues facing the mature single woman who is re-entering the dating world after a long, sedate, and frankly slightly boring marriage!

The reader, on the other hand, has to be coaxed, titillated, seduced, into parting with hard-earned cash to try out a new book by a writer they never heard of.   And an unfamiliar subject – mature. What do mature singles know about sex, breathless excitement, expectations, heartbreak?

Actually, think about that. Long term singles know more than most readers (unless also mature, single and very active) will ever learn!

Not Dorothy, though.  Having spent most of her life being told what to do by the people in her life, she is possibly the most naïve woman you’ll meet, although you know the type – my husband takes care of all that sort of thing.  When her husband starts taking care of someone else, her daughter signs her up on the Yellow Brick Road singles website. Her first date is with a man who calls himself Scarecrowe …

Innocent hopefuls looking for the perfect mate, time-serving singles only interested in the next adventure, the easily-bored, the destructive, men and women who have avoided commitment for years and intend to continue avoiding it:  every character in A Second Rainbow is a common type, tweaked just a tiny bit further to fit the underlying Wizard of Oz thread, and the result is a romp with love, sex, betrayal, tears, determination and laughter.

Right now it’s on a pre-publication special price: put it this way, would you gamble the price of a cup of coffee?

You would? yayThen click on the image below to be taken to your closest Amazon.  The price goes up within 24 hours of launch,

Before you click on the cover, a couple of things you should know:

  • It is only available as an eBook at this stage
  • You’re ordering it for delivery to your reading device on April 14th
  • You can download an app from Amazon which will let you read Kindle books on your computer or phone
  • If you click on the cover image, it will take you to your closest friendly Amazon. It can only be ordered through Amazon

A second rainbow (4)

Three cheers for sensible! Hip-hip-no way

If you’ve read my blogs, I talk a lot about singles, the second-time round variety. Now there’s a book on its way.

Dorothy is signed up on a singles website, the Yellow Brick Road Singles, by her forceful daughter when her marriage suddenly goes phut. The first bloke she meets has the profile name Scarecrowe . . . oh, have you spotted a pattern yet?

laugh Simon Crowe, Tim Mann, Leo, and just in case the point wasn’t already hammered home enough, the book is titled A Second Rainbow. It’s not a copy of L Frank Baum’s book, or an adult version, that’s more of a sub theme. Later on in the book the women start appearing, which required a bit of fudging because The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has only one surviving wicked witch. Instead I collectively call them the harpies. Artistic licence, okay?

Getting the book title was easy. A writer name, not so much. I didn’t want to mislead my EJ Lamprey regulars, some of whom would love it, but some would be shocked. I wanted a name that made it clear this wasn’t a gently humorous whodunit and I learned with Eleven Twelve that splashing warnings in the title, the blurb, and the first page of the book, is simply not enough. Some readers were still taken aback to find they had been misled into buying a genre-crossing Halloween romp, I felt terrible for those who felt cheated. I had tried! (I know. I’m very trying)

Friends threw themselves enthusiastically into the challenge of coming up with an alternative name, and by far the best was Rogers-Briskly. I loved it, but I wasn’t sure the book was raunchy enough for a wonderful name like that. Still, I can resist anything except temptation. Clarissa Rodgers-Briskleigh is the youngest and newest writer in my small stable.

Writing a book about mature singles romping and skipping like lambs isn’t what you’d call a sensible move. As one of my (younger) beta readers said rather sternly, ‘Biff, make all the characters in their twenties and thirties, put the pedal to the metal in the sexy scenes, and this will blow like a geyser.’

uh oh

Maybe. More likely not. There are a lot of those books already out there, and anyway that wasn’t the point. I was enchanted to find out there is a second rainbow, an Indian summer, in life. Clouds start gathering when you’re speeding towards forty, right? Mortgages, career pressures, teenage children, life begins here? What a crock. Those clouds keep building up for the next ten, fifteen, years – and suddenly they clear. The sunshine may be the late summer variety, warm and mellow, rather than blazing brightly overhead, but there’s plenty of it.

I’m on a mission to get contemporaries to realize that, because I wasted a couple of years wondering why I suddenly felt so good without doing anything about it. I’m in no way saying dump the current spouse and rush to the singles websites, if anything the book is a warning as much as a guide! But this is a great age and stage, late middle life.

Celebrate it with your partner, and if you don’t have one, go find one. Read the book first, though. It’s something of a handbook, in its own way. The characters are staying the age I want them to be – your age, too, if you’re my target reader, somewhere between forty-something and too old to care any more. And the sex stays this side of pornography, and isn’t the focus of Dorothy’s story. The main focus is the second timers, the mature singles getting out there and grabbing life in both hands and twisting out every last ounce.  This won’t be a best-seller. But it is an eye-opener.

The countdown starts now. I’m setting the timer tonight. In less than a week you’ll be able to pre-order at a special 48 hour launch price, but don’t worry, I won’t let you forget. roll eyes There will be blogs. Or you could really play it safe and join my mailing list.

Click on subscribe, top right. You can’t miss it.

Nick mountain mist