Building New Leads Helps Debut Find International Audience

Holocaust survivor Laureen Nussbaum’s riveting account of her family’s escape–thanks to the intervention of a brave, little-known German official named Hans Calmeyer–deserved as wide an audience as possible.

Despite the enduring cultural significance of this event, it can be challenging for a new title to get attention because of countless other titles dedicated to accounts of the Holocaust.

Resilience, persistence and adaptability are key in any good publicity plan, and we developed a fresh strategy for hooking the right outlets for Nussbaum’s book Shedding Our Stars.

We conducted ultra-specific research to find new leads, targeting journalists who were consistently writing about a). Holocaust survivors, b). Anne Frank (whom Nussbaum knew personally), c). stories of positive German involvement in the Holocaust and d). hyper-local human interest pieces in Seattle, Nussbaum’s city.

By sending very personalized pitches to these leads, we were able to secure feature stories, reviews and interviews in major international media such as The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (which fed to The Jerusalem Post and Jewish News Syndicate), The Jewish Voice, Jewish Journal, Aish Magazine, Arutz Sheva and The Dutch Review. ​We also arranged a prominent feature story for Nussbaum in The Seattle Times.

Some doors in publicity take a little finesse to open–the important thing is to adapt your approach and never stop trying! Thanks to the creative strategy and Nussbaum’s powerful story, the first print run of 1,500 copies sold out within the first couple months of publication, and the book entered its second printing! We are especially proud that the exposure met Nussbaum’s personal goal of spreading awareness of Calmeyer’s brave resistance to his Nazi compatriots, as she has received correspondence from readers enthusiastically asking more about him.

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