The following article is written by Charlotte Tomic of Tomic Communications.
In case you have not been written up in the New York Review of Books or The New York Times Sunday Book Review section, you might be frustrated about coverage for your newly-released book.
Whether you’re self-published or published by a major publishing house with a stable of writers, getting the ink you want to sell your book is a daunting challenge.
Big publishers don’t have the media relations staff to handle all of their authors; and self-published authors really don’t have the skills to publicize their own book.
Those that try find they can’t break through the ever-shrinking hole of mass media coverage to get there title and name out there. What to do?
Hire a publicist. A publicist has the proprietary research tools to find a targeted list of media to pursue to arrange for interviews that would lead to recognition of the author and his book.
In addition, a publicist can train an author on how to speak at a book-signing or on a radio or television program. They can role-play with the client and send talking points to him so he is prepared for any eventuality and surprise gotcha! question or situation.
Publicists also have talents in finding speaking engagements for authors focused on their expertise or for their targeted audience – such as business events for business writers and authors; women’s group events for self-help books or chick lit books; spas for beauty and fitness books, etc. Local bookstores like Books & Books as well as chain stores like Barnes & Noble and Borders provide great opportunities for author events and talks.
A publicist also works hard to arrange for in-person interviews with reporters who write reviews and profiles on writers. It is a very time-intensive job that truly becomes a labor of love. The publicist reaches out to many reporters, editors and producers to get interest in their clients and garnering results is always a challenge. They are available to help you prepare for interviews and counsel you every step of the way. They also try to get reporters to keep you in mind as a resource when they write stories that fit with your expertise and serve as a quasi-matchmaker between you and the reporter.
In choosing a publicist make sure you feel comfortable with your candidate. Ask if he or she would provide you with references of other clients who have used their services – especially authors. Interview the publicist before hiring and signing a contract to see if you feel that he or she seems really interested and connected to you and your book.
Recognize that hiring a publicist is much like hiring a lawyer. Their time is valuable and they must be paid fairly in advance for their work. When you realize how much money you’re actually saving on buying advertisements by hiring a publicist, you will recognize that you made a good investment.
If you have a good publicist, and feel good chemistry with him or her, you should stick with your chosen person and keep the relationship as long as possible. These media and speaking opportunities take time to develop and momentum happens when you parlay one media hit into other related opportunities. For example, if you want to get on a television show, sending a clip of how you appeared delivering a speech or on a local show gives a national news producer an idea of how telegenic and comfortable you are with broadcast media.
Publicists are willing to work within your budget to achieve your goals. They typically over-serve their clients because they want to achieve results that will keep their client happy.
Trust your publicist and know that he or she is looking out for you to help you achieve your goals. If you’re patient, you could get the ink you dreamed of and see your name and book in lights!
– Charlotte Tomic is a veteran publicist who moved from New York five years ago to start her own public relations agency in Miami. In New York, she served as Media Relations Manager for GolinHarris working with national and international accounts. She is a past-President of New York Women in Communications and taught public relations at St. John’s University where she served as their AVP Communications & Public Affairs for more than 20 years.
She represents authors using creative strategies to get publicity and improve book sales. Authors include food and wine experts, physicians from different specialties, nutritionists, fiction and science fiction writers, self-help authors and business professionals. For more information, please go to http://www.tomiccommunications.com.
Note from John Kremer: Be sure to get references from any publicists before you hire them. Also, keep tabs on their work and ask for periodic reports on their activity. Never go weeks or months without talking to them – both to see how you can help them more and to verify the work they are doing for you.