Thoughts on books, publicity, and the media from our Cave Henricks staff.

Media Interview Series: Five Questions with Skip Prichard, Blogger for Leadership Insights

I’m delighted to feature Skip Prichard and his blog, Leadership Insights, on this week’s installment of the “Five Questions With…” media interview series.

As the former CEO of Ingram Content Group and the current CEO of OCLC (a global technology company serving libraries), Skip is certainly no stranger to the book publishing industry. He started Leadership Insights several years ago so he could have a place to share his unique insights and highlight the fascinating people he has met along the way.

Skip Prichard, Leadership Insights

Skip Prichard, Leadership Insights

If you’d like to pitch him, keep in mind that his interests include leadership, personal development, marketing, motivation, health and psychology. And while he has a very large audience in the book industry itself (publishers, book retailers, wholesalers, and librarians) his main audience is made up of folks who want to know more about leadership and personal development in general.

Here is what Skip had to say about working with publicists and selecting content for his blog:

1. What is your biggest publicist pet peeve?

For the most part, I enjoy all of my interactions with publicists. I find most are interesting people with varied backgrounds and different passions. Getting to know some publicists this way has been an extraordinary gift. So, I don’t have many pet peeves.

My biggest pet peeves: wasting my time, unresponsiveness, and outsized expectations. For every interview, I read the book and prepare questions. I make it clear that I do not “review” books. I won’t write a review without an interaction with the author. Though very rare, I am annoyed when I invest my time reading a book and sending questions only to have the publicist say that the author does not answer questions. I have had a few publicists pitch me hard, then disappear for months and not respond. Then they are surprised when we turn down a future request. Lastly, some will send me a book on Friday and want a post out the following week. Sorry, but that’s just not possible. I am a busy CEO and my focus in on my organization’s goals.

2. What’s the most common mistake publicists make when approaching you?

For those who have not worked with us, I would say that the top 3 mistakes are:

1. Expecting a book review. I don’t do book reviews. I read every book before it is featured, then send a list of questions. Alternatively, we accept guest posts. There are some books I read that I do not think fit the audience and then we decline.

2. Expect a telephone interview. I don’t do them. I don’t transcribe them. If I did, the results would be poor.

3. Sending a book without a commitment for an interview. My time is valuable. Don’t send a book if you don’t want an interview.

3. While Leadership Insights is for anyone interested in leadership and success, it’s also very well read by folks in the book publishing industry. How does this, if at all, affect the way you select content?

My filter is usually not focused on where people work, but how the content can help them do a better job at what they do. Whether you are a librarian or managing a bookstore, you likely can benefit from articles on being more thankful (How to Live a Life of Thankfulness), personal branding (Why Standing Out is More Important than Ever) or being appreciated at work (4 Ways to Get Appreciated at Work). My goal is to help people be better leaders, wherever they work and in whatever position they are in.

4. Why did you decide to create Leadership Insights?

After a speech, I would have requests for my notes or the recording. As I started sharing, someone suggested that I start to put it in one place. That’s when I realized that the hard work of writing was usually done, and then I advanced to the next presentation. Why not capture all of the ideas in one place since the extra effort needed was minimal? So, I created the blog to share ideas and insights whether my own or from the fascinating people that I meet. My goal is to inspire readers to find their unique gifts and make a difference.

5. You’ve interviewed many, many people. Who has been your favorite?

“Favorite” questions are impossible for me to answer. In every case, I have benefited the most from all that I learned whether in the book, the interview, or the interaction. I enjoy interviewing high profile leaders who have excelled. In-person interviews have included news personalities like Dan Rather and Lee Woodruff, sports stars including John Smoltz and R.A. Dickey, business leaders like Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and Thomas Nelson’s Michael Hyatt, to motivational leaders including Joel Osteen, to fiction writers like Karen Slaughter and John Green, to politicians including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Senator Bill Bradley.