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The 8 Best Books for Publicity Seekers

By Lynn Fenske

For those of you pursuing and perfecting the fine art of getting publicity, here's a list of books you can't live without:

1. Guerrilla P.R. How You Can Wage an Effective Publicity Campaign...Without Going Broke
Michael Levine

HarperBusiness, 1993, ISBN 0-88730-664-0
This book is an action-packed, how-to and why-to manual that empowers anyone dealing with the media. Through his conversational style and hundreds of real-life stories, Levine actually instructs the reader on how to think like a publicist.

2. In the News The Practice of Media Relations in Canada
William Wray Carney

The University of Alberta Press, 2002, 225 pp., ISBN 0-88864-382-9
Excerpts from this book have been featured in recent editions of Hotlink for good reason. It's an all-Canadian, comprehensive text that is research based and provides both a practical and philosophical guide to dealing with the media.

3. Public Relations Kit for Dummies
Eric Yaverbaum & Bob Bly

Hungry Minds Inc., 2001, 346 pp. (including CD-ROM), ISBN 0-7645-5277-5
Bold descriptive headings, concise copy, and pertinent graphics that highlight "tips", what to "remember" and the occasional "zinger" all add to this book's readability and value as a reference for both beginners and experienced pros. Don't pass this one by just because you've been in the business a while - it's a fun read and a powerful reminder of how great campaigns get implemented and evaluated.

4. The Canadian Guide to Managing the Media, Revised Edition
Ed Shiller

Prentice-Hall Canada, 1994, 189 pp., ISBN 0-13-324724-4
Media consultant and Hotlink contributor, Ed Shiller, wrote and revised this book some time ago and contrary to what your local book retailer may say, it's still in print and available from the author. Every aspect of media relations is covered including crisis management, handling an interview, planting a story and mastering the tools of the trade (media kits, releases, videos, conferences).

5. Guerrilla PR Wired:
Waging a Successful Publicity Campaign Online, Offline and Everywhere In Between
Michael Levine

McGraw-Hill, 2002, 281 pp., ISBN 0-07-138231-3
Hollywood PR guru Michael Levine applies his Guerrilla PR strategies to the Internet with stunning results. Don't build a Web site or online campaign without reading this book. And pay attention, there may be a test on this material! (there really is a test - at the end of the book!)

6. The Public Relations Writer's Handbook
Merry Aronson & Don Spetner
Lexington Books, 1993, 210 pp., ISBN 0-02-901052-7
Anyone writing material for media consumption should have a copy of this book. Buy it. Read it. Use it. It's as indispensable as a dictionary or thesaurus.

7. Publicity & Media Relations Checklists
David R. Yale

NTC Business Books, 1995, 190 pp., ISBN 0-8442-3218-1
For task-oriented, list making publicists (count me in!), here is the ultimate collection of checklists. Absolutely every PR activity is covered, from the initial approval process right through to hiring a clipping service to track your campaign.

8. Media Names & Numbers
Published by Sources
489 College St., #305, Toronto. Phone: 416-964-5735.
Determine who to contact and where to find them, quickly, with this comprehensive directory of media outlets that includes radio, television, daily newspapers, campus media, Web sites, consumer magazines community and ethnic papers, trade magazines, scholarly journals and associations. It also includes geographical, language, owner and subject indexes.

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Lynn Fenske
“putting your ideas in writing”