Hiring a book publicist is a big decision for any author. You are investing in yourself, your product, and your future. Book publicity is tedious work. The publicist has to know how to tap networks, make contacts, tactful inquiries and follow-ups. But some authors don’t realize they have to help a publicist help them.
In short, you are expected to do your part. What can you do to make the most of your publicity campaign?
1. Update and proofread your resume. It’s hard for an author to proofread his or her work and you may want to ask a family member, colleague, or trusted friend to do it. Check for typos and formatting consistency.
2. Check your author platform. If you don’t have one yet, create one now. Katherine Sands offers tips in her book, Making the Perfect Pitch, a book about getting an agent. Her tips will also help you with platform writing. “Why are you an authority?” Sands asks. “What credentials do you have that make you an expert in this field?”
3. Write a one-page author biography. Some publicists ask their clients to do this and you should know how to do it. Radio and television hosts don’t have time to read every book and rely on this one-pager. Your first paragraph should be a grabber and your bio should tell what makes your book different from others on the topic.
4. Clear your calendar. Your publicist will arrange interviews for you and you need to make sure you are available at most times. Tell your publicist about speaking engagements and trips you plan to take, so he or she can avoid scheduling interviews on these dates.
5. Be open to non-traditional ideas. This tip comes from Charlie Barrett’s article, “What Authors Need to Know When Working with a Book Publicist,” posted on the Book Marketing Maven website. A professional publicist himself, Barret thinks worthwhile publicists come up with non-traditional ideas. “Ideas lead to other ideas,” he explains.
6. Give yourself a reality check. Sure, you would like to be on top television programs and dream of being interviewed by Oprah. The chances of this happening are slim, at best. Though it happens occasionally, it is rare for an author to become an instant star. Resist the urge to tell your publicist how to do his or her job.
7. Be professional. Stay in touch with your publicist. You may wish to send an email saying a particular interview went well, for example. If your publicist asks for something, respond as quickly as possible. As Charlie Barrett points out, “The media is a fast moving machine” and you need to keep pace.
8. Work on local publicity for your book. You may participate in a book fair, for example, or give talks that expand on the information in your book. If you contact a newspaper, television, or radio station, pitch a story idea, not an article about you. Include some leads with your idea.
Finally, it’s a good idea to encourage your publicist. Tami DePalma, of MarketAbility, Inc., in Colorado, says publicists hear “now” more times than a salesperson and a two-year-old combined. In her article, “Tips for Working with a Publicist, published on the Midwest Book Review website, she says, “You’d be surprised what a kind word can do for morale.” Your publicist is boosting you; return the favor!