Lately, I have been hearing some troubling stories about “publicists” that have ripped off clients. Promising promotions and services that they can’t follow through with. I would like to delve into this topic a little, but also open the lines of communication. So starting today we are going to be doing a monthly post entitled “ask a publicist”. You can email us via our website http://gliterarygirlmedia.com or you can comment here. But reach out and let us answer any questions you may have about the PR process and getting your book some solid visibility.
Now, this is going to piss off a lot of bloggers on the net but the truth is, writing a blog and hosting blog tours for authors does not a publicist make. There is a reason promotions and book marketing is a skill…it takes a tremendous amount of research, knowledge and knowhow to get the work in front of the right people. And yes, blog tours work, as do cover reveals and giveaways, but remember it is all a numbers game and the winner is always the one with the growing bank account – usually the blogger who sold you on their services. However, that doesn’t mean it is all for not. I have done book tours after all, but I also run a publicity firm, spent a lot of time working with authors, and I have a masters in marketing and communications, so if anything, I am at the very least qualified to give this advice . All that aside, there is a huge difference between a promoter and a publicist. Essentially they, in name, do similar things – spread the word – but this is not a mutually exclusive job description. Publicists generally campaign long term and focus more on the author and not just the book. A promoter usually organizes and promotes, based on a campaign by campaign basis.
So who and what should I trust? And what should I do?
Well first, you go with a professional, someone who understands the industry. And then you need to evaluate whether you want a relationship with someone who will work for you over a period of time, harvesting your brand and reputation while working to expose you to the mass market, or would you prefer a company to organize and launch your worked on a per campaign basis (blog tours, cover reveals and book blasts – this may seem like the cost-effective route, but after several campaigns you may have second thoughts).
Rather than just looking to save a buck by hiring a blogger who offers really cheap book blasts, hire an actual publicist to get you what you need. Yeah, it might cost you a bit more, but the results will be worth it. Have them work to get you interviews, schedule guest posts, handle your social media blasts and set up a fan page. They will talk to your local bookstores and work to get you signings, or perhaps get your swag in those book bags at conventions. There are numerous ways to sell a book outside of the book tours and cover reveals and although I (depending on the launch) recommend them as well, you should have someone out there pushing you in front of readers, because the readers are who you need to dazzle.
Lastly, you need to focus on your image, what you say, when you say it and how you appear to the public. Everything, down to your headshot and Twitter cover. A publicist or trained marketing/communication professional can assist. They know what works, what the public wants and how to communicate your messages effectively. For instance, most people don’t know how to draft a media kit; what true market analytics entail; benchmarking; proper website design (not from a web designers prospective but a marketing perspective); how to analyze the current platform and help you build one that will entice readers and eventually publishers. You need someone to help you engage your audience so you are a significant presence, not just some indie author that no one wants to review because your cover is homemade and you have two suspect reviews on Amazon.
Did you know you are more likely to have a book reviewed if a publicity company sends out requests as opposed to sending those Goodreads invites?
There is a lot to be said for having solid representation. And beyond all of those previous points, you get time to write because you won’t have to spend all that time hustling your own book. Like I wrote in the beginning of this article, I am opening up the floor for you to ask questions, tell me what you think and get advice.