Chapter 29. Publishing and Publicity: The Path to Popular Audiences

Mara Einstein

Mara Einstein is the author of Brands of Faith: Marketing Religion in a Commercial Age (Routledge, 2008), a critique of promoting religion in today’s consumer-oriented culture. Dr. Einstein has been working in or writing about the media industry for the past 20 years. She has enjoyed stints as an executive at NBC, MTV Networks, and at major advertising agencies working on such accounts as Miller Lite, Uncle Ben’s, and Dole Foods. Her first book, Media Diversity: Economics, Ownership, and the FCC (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004), was the cause for much debate when research from this work was used by the FCC to redefine the media ownership rules. Her latest work, Compassion, Inc.: Charity and the Corporate Marketing of Misfortune, will be published by the University of California Press. She is an Associate Professor at Queens College, and an independent marketing consultant.

After almost 20 years in the marketing and television industries, I decided to leave corporate America and go into academia. On one hand, this was an incredibly easy decision. After five years working at the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) television network in New York, I felt my job had grown stale and redundant. I also couldn’t help but think that getting people to watch more television—yes, more television—couldn’t possibly be what I was put on this planet to do. On the other hand, it wasn’t all an easy decision. It was going to be a little hard to extricate myself from a cushy office on the 48th floor of 30 Rock with a TV, a couch, a refrigerator, and a view of Central Park.

Even so, once the decision was made, it was with the understanding that I didn’t walk away from the glamorous world of television—and its accompanying six-figure salary—only so that my work would gather dust and mold in the ivory towers of academia. I’d given up far too much for that to happen.

This chapter tells the story of my journey through the publishing learning curve and what I did—and continue to do—to ensure that my work reaches a wider audience. Like most writers, my path has had its ups and downs, but thankfully mostly up. Also, like many of us who write as a supplement to our teaching duties, the choice of books or articles to write are often dictated by issues of tenure as much as by tantalizing topic. However, these are only obstacles if you make them so. You are building a career and a point of view for the long term, and what you have to say is important, or you never would have put pen to paper—or, rather, fingers to keys.

 

Check out Brands of Faith.