ASPR’s philosophy is “Uncover the Story.” This means we dive deep to find what makes a book unique and interesting for the target audiences and the places where they get news and information. On another level, “Uncover the Story” means we work just as hard to uncover how media outlets and influencers think about a story. We view our job like that of a U.N. translator: We must understand two different languages (the author’s world and the media world) in order to make a translation happen. Success occurs when a message is delivered and widely circulated.
“Changing the Odds for Children at Risk,” by Susan Neuman
This was the first book by Neuman following her role as Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education in the U.S. Department of Education during the George W. Bush Administration. She was primarily responsible for initial implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act. The publicity campaign needed to carefully deal with questions about her tenure while also highlighting the book and its findings. The result was news coverage in The Wall Street Journal, TIME magazine, and a Detroit Free Press op-ed. We also secured a prominent position for Neuman during an election year town hall hosted by CNN.
“Fallen Giant: The Amazing Story of Hank Greenberg and the History of AIG,” by Ron Shelp
Shelp’s insights about AIG had a lot of media potential because of its rescue by the government, making it the largest bailout of its kind in U.S. history. The key to the PR effort was helping position Shelp’s opinions in a way that were understandable and digestible to lay audiences. We aided Shelp in writing a provocative op-ed that we placed in POLITICO and then got it picked up by The New York Times (which had originally passed on it). We then leveraged this for regular appearances on CNBC, Fox Business Network and others. Shelp is now a regular paid speaker about AIG and related issues.
“King’s Counsel: A Memoir of War, Espionage, and Diplomacy in the Middle East,” by Jack O’Connell and Vernon Loeb
O’Connell hoped that readers would learn from his experiences as the CIA station chief in Jordan, but he passed away before his book was published. We worked carefully with Loeb, the coauthor, so that O’Connell’s perspective would come through in interviews and book talks. We secured a speaking spot at The George Washington University and then invited C-SPAN to cover it. There was another interview on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” as well as positive book reviews in The Washington Post and Boston Globe that helped drive Amazon sales.
“Miriam’s Words: The Personal Price of a Public Life,” edited by Mary Lou Judd Carpenter
Miriam Judd recorded the political and personal events she witnessed as the wife of a prominent congressman; decades later her daughter Mary Lou believed they would make for an important book. This was a self-published book; an additional challenge was to find ways to connect this history to today’s world. We succeeded by writing and placing an op-ed in USA Today, securing an interview on the Jim Bohannon national radio show, placement in The Washington Post and with speaking opportunities.