Pre-news

Today on Facebook, I saw a post from a friend saying “tomorrow I’m going to say something about my upcoming novel.” I also saw several iterations of a post from Mensa’s Annual Gathering Chair saying “tomorrow I’m going to tell you who the gala speaker is.”

I know we’re all trying to grab as much publicity as we can, get people to notice whatever it is we’re doing, by doling out tidbits of information. In publishing, we send out pre-publication galleys in hopes of garnering reviews timed to the book’s release. Announcements in the trade journals of book sales are a staple. And now, “cover reveals” have also become a thing. (As an aside, I’m still not sure why “gender reveals” are a thing, so I’m just going to ignore them.)

But I’ve always been annoyed at politicians and business leaders announcing that they’ll be holding a press conference to announce thus-and-such. It seems to me that making the statement is making the statement. “I’m going to announce my support of this bill at a press conference tomorrow,” or “we’re going to announce this new product line next week.” So why do I have to go to the press conference? Aren’t you telling me now?

On the other side of that coin, of course, are the reporters asking those politicians or business leaders what they’re going to do or say or announce in the coming days when they don’t. “You’ve scheduled a press conference for tomorrow. What are you going to say at it?” Grr.

Do those things really work? Are you more engaged in the upcoming new book or movie or sponsorship when it’s hinted at and teased and pre-announced before it’s announced before it’s finished before it’s available for sale? Am I just failing in my job as publicist by not doing all of that, by not making up pre-news news to share with you constantly?

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