George R.R. Martin, ‘Game of Thrones’ and Mastering Cross-Promotion

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One of the least used methods of excellent PR lies in the application of well-placed praise of others in your field. You see it during award shows when stars of stage, screen and music applaud each other. And, you see it in business when brands offer tacit approval or outright praise of others in connected — if not competitive — fields.

George R.R. Martin, the author of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, which is the inspiration for HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” is riding high right now. The award-winning author and TV writer is at the pinnacle of his personal success. But, oh, about that book series. See, it’s not quite finished, and fans have been waiting a long time for the next installment. So strong is the enthusiasm for the next book that Martin cannot seem to escape questions about it. At the Emmy awards, at conventions, in book discussions, and endlessly online, the author is under the gun with antsy fans.

So, what can he do to stay front and center without being blasted with questions he can’t — or would rather not — answer? Simple. Change the subject, but keep himself at the center of the conversation. Deflection is a classic PR move which Martin pulled off marvelously in a recent blog post.

Instead of answering fans’ questions about book progress for the umpteenth time, Martin suggested several books by other authors his fans may enjoy in the interim. In this, Martin shows an understanding of his market’s appetite and its habits. They are going to read anyway. They may even read some of the same books. Now, they will read those books at the request of Martin. So, instead of being connected to frustration and unrealized expectations, Martin is once again completely connected to someone enjoying a book.

How can you use carefully expressed cross promotion to benefit your own brand? Answer that question with as much market understanding as Martin, and you will enjoy the fruits of very well-played public relations.


Ronn Torossian is an epic reader — who doesn’t watch “Game of Thrones.”

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