Publicity: Keep It Simple, Stupid!

by Hashim Hathaway, Literary Publicist

The KISS Principle, first coined by Lockheed Skunk Works lead engineer Kelly Johnson, was a semi-humorous way to remind his fellow aircraft engineers that the simplest way was always the best as it pertained to design.

This same principle has been applied to various other aspects of life, and for the purposes of this blog, we’ll be applying it to publicity.

When entering the publicity process, it’s easy to come with a head full of ideas and little in the way of an organized plan of execution. It can be daunting to spill out all your ideas out at one time, because while you may understand everything your book is trying to say, the point of all of it is to make sure that potential readers also understand, because these are the people who you want to read your book.

Whether your book is about astrophysics, or how to cook the best-tasting duck breast, the goal of any good publicity campaign is that the simplest person can grasp the concept and determine for themselves whether or not they are interested in finding out more. This is the KISS Principle in a nutshell.

So how do you get there?

One of the first things you have to do is take a look at your work, and from it, distill the most basic of ideas, ideas that would resonate with anyone at just about any level, because that is what determines a successful campaign. It doesn’t matter what you think about your book, because chances are, no one will love the book as much as you will, which is fine, however, if you have designs on being the next great author, your goals are much greater than you…and much simpler.

Keep your message clear and driven towards a singular point. Make the author want to know more without giving too much away in the process. That is how you set the tone for a successful publicity campaign. Anything more than that will be attributed to “white noise” and often times ends up drowning itself out altogether.

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One response to “Publicity: Keep It Simple, Stupid!

  1. Edward Lovick, Jr.

    Clarence Leonard “Kelly” Johnson, who was Lockheed’s Vice President for Advanced Development Projects (the “Skunk Works””), occasionally did employ K.I.S.S whenever it seemed to be appropriate. It was his engineer’s version of Okham’s Razor. Every one in the Skunk Works understood it and applied it.
    Albert Einstein had a different version. “Make every thing as simple as possible
    — but not simpler!”
    See the fifth paragraph on page 39 of my book “Radar Man”.

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