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Using PR to Promote Book by Former K-State President

Once again public relations is proving to be an effective communications and sales tool, in this case to promote the book written by a former president of Kansas State University.

In the years since I studied journalism at K-State (and later at the University of Missouri), the avenues for spreading the word have expanded. Here’s how the distribution has changed:
1970s – Mailed releases.
1980s – Mailed or faxed releases.
1990s – Mailed, faxed and started e-mailing releases.
2000s – E-mail releases. Post them on websites. Use online distribution services, especially for public companies and international distribution. Use blogs and social media for additional distribution and to create “buzz.”

Some things haven’t changed, though. The media still want news releases written in Associated Press news style that cover the “who, what, where, when, why and how.” And you still have to have a timely story or news angle.

Here’s the release for Duane Acker’s book about K-State, available in hardcover, softcover and e-book versions at www.iuniverse.com/bookstore:

K-State President, 1975-86, Recounts Stories in New Book

MANHATTAN, KAN. … In his just-released book Duane Acker, Kansas State University president from 1975-86, offers a behind-the-scenes look into happenings during his tenure, recounting many stories that are still relevant today. Because events often came in pairs, he titled the book “Two at a Time.”

The book offers candid descriptions of the inner workings of a major university, ranging from the humorous – when margarine was served at a dairy luncheon – to the more serious, such as athletics finances, academic freedom and student concerns. As recounted in an article in the Fall 2010 issue of The K-Stater alumni magazine, he also revisits his handling of disruptive protesters at a guest lecture in McCain Auditorium.

“The book is an honest and straightforward look at the unique challenges of a major land-grant university,” notes William H. Johnson, who was director of the Engineering Experiment Station in the College of Engineering during the 1980s. “While Acker cites his successes, he also does not avoid discussing mistakes he made.”

“Athletics consumed much of Acker’s energy as he went against the common view of the conduct of department management,” said Elizabeth Unger, then associate faculty representative to the NCAA and still a K-State faculty member today. “It was difficult but paid large dividends for both men’s and women’s athletics.”

“Acker’s recollections are narrated with candor and humor, offering descriptions of dealings with students, staff, alumni and policymakers, recalling his personal experiences with budgets, athletics and the Nichols Hall renovation,” said Richard Reinhardt, a K-State graduate and farmer near Erie, Kan., who was on the Kansas Board of Regents during Acker’s presidency.

Acker also shares his and his wife Shirley’s apprehensions and satisfactions at the end of 11 years in the presidency, and their experiences after leaving K-State.

The book will be of interest to those involved then or now with K-State or other universities in the state, as well as to current and aspiring academic leaders. “Two at a Time” is available from the publisher, iUniverse, www.iuniverse.com/bookstore, in hardcover, $31.95: softcover, $21.95; and e-book, $9.99.

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