It’s our second installment of our media interview series, and we’re very pleased to feature Teresa Novellino.
Teresa is the Entrepreneurs and Enterprises Editor for Upstart Business Journal (formerly known as Portfolio) and here at CHC, we often work with her on bylined articles for the Author Author section.
If you’re looking to place with her, the piece will need to be conversational, full of examples (an essay on a topic; listed number of tips; commentary about something in the news that draws back to the points in the book) and targeted at younger, entrepreneurial types. They don’t want anything that’s dull, dry or academic!
Here is what Teresa had to say about business books, pitches, and working with publicists.
1. What’s your biggest publicist pet peeve?
It seems publicists greatly outnumber reporters these days, so writers are deluged with pitches more than ever. As a result, when publicists phone me or email me to suggest a topic that I would never cover and have never covered, that is especially frustrating. It says that you didn’t take the time to do research before you picked up that phone or sent a long email, and it wastes my time (and theirs). A little research and thought goes a long way.
2. What gets your attention in a pitch?
A pitch that has a news element, or a sense of immediacy and one that comes from someone who did some research on our publication and grasps the type of stories we are looking for and what stories I specifically cover. For me, the news element and the timeliness issue give me a reason to say yes.
3. What causes you to pull a book out of the stack?
Because I receive so many business books, most of them just get a quick glance. It helps if its title grabs me and immediately makes it clear that it is of relevance to our audience. In the case of Upstart Business Journal, that means it must be either written by or about entrepreneurs and/or innovation and/or startup life, or it must be a topic that would be helpful for someone starting a new business in a cutting-edge arena. QR Codes Kill Kittens by Scott Stratten and The Year Without Pants (about WordPress.com) were two that really caught my eye in 2013 and as simplistic as it sounds, the cover art (a pair of red men’s underwear in the first case, a kitten in the second) and the clever titles in both cases were a big part of it. Our audience is into punchy, funny material that is also relevant and informative, and those two especially fit the bill over the past year.
4. It’s been a little over a year since Portfolio changed to Upstart Business Journal. What would you say has been the biggest change other than the name?
We really focus on the upstarts of the business world—leaders you might not know now, but will know in the future, or those that you do know who are, again, doing something so insightful, forward-thinking and extraordinary that they grabbed our attention again. With most new business really revolving somewhere on the axis of technology, we often look at digital innovators and visionaries, but we’re into off-line too.
5. What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
I like to read a lot of fiction and one of my favorites in recent months was Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, a historical novel about a woman who lives the same life, sort of, over and over. Really fascinating concept.