Scott Manning & Associates
433 Broadway, Suite 433
New York, NY 10013
p. 646-661-6665
20 Main Street, Box 417
Hancock, NH 03449
p. 603.525.4767

scott@scottmanningpr.com
Featured: Rust Belt Boy by Erica Armstrong Dunbar
Never Caught bookcover

Never Caught—or What is an outside publicist to do when the in-house publicist is FANTASTIC?

When Erica Armstrong Dunbar called us about her book Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge (Atria, February 2017), we knew immediately that it provided us with a great story to tell via the media. It’s commonly known that George and Martha Washington had slaves. But, until this book, no one knew that the President and First Lady circumvented the law to keep their slaves in bondage-- and that one young woman escaped their clutches, outmaneuvering them and outliving them for 50 years in Portsmouth, NH.

What is an outside publicist to do when the in-house publicist is FANTASTIC?

Soon after we took on the project, we met Atria’s powerhouse in-house publicist, Yona Deshommes. She had a clear track record of generating quality publicity for her authors, and great contacts in local and national media, including deep relationships with African-American outlets.

What was left for us?

As it turns out—plenty. This was one of the best collaborative experiences we have ever had working with a publishing house. Yona, Abby, and I put our egos aside, and got down to the work of what each of us could uniquely bring to the table.

This was one of the best collaborative experiences we have ever had working with a publishing house.

While Yona had deep ties in African-American media, we have similar links to New England outlets and venues. Yona got a sold-out appearance at the new National Museum of African American History and a review in Essence, and we got record turnouts of almost 300 people at the Black Heritage Trail event in Portsmouth NH and the Monadnock Lyceum in Peterborough, NH, an hour on NHPR, and features in the statewide mainstream and alternative papers. While Yona got a great profile in The New York Times, we got Erica on NPR and PBS. And on, and on…—all amplified on Erica’s social media platforms with Abby’s help.

I once taught a class with a colleague who told our students, “a publicist can never put his or her head on the pillow at night knowing they have done everything possible for their books.” In this case, there were three publicists having sleepless nights, but knowing that we had each others’ backs to cover all the bases.