When launching a book into the world, having a publicist is essential if you want to get eyes on it. Publicists spend their careers cultivating relationships with media outlets to get your book placed—without one, your book will get lost in all the noise.
However, not all publicity campaigns are equal. When you sign on with a publicist, you sign on for a certain amount of hours, and with all the campaigns your publicist is juggling, they really can’t do any extra work for you. Thus, here are some of our top tips to make your campaign more effective.
Interview multiple publicists and decide what’s important before you sign a contract.
Different publicists focus on different areas. See what different publicists offer and consider your needs. Are you interested in someone coordinating your events? Promoting your events? Running your social media? What kind of media hits are you looking for? Podcasts? Radio? TV? Magazines? Newspapers? Blogs? National? Local? Do you have the capacity to handle ARC mailings yourself? Some people end up hiring more than one publicist to focus on different aspects of marketing and publicity process.
Sign on for more hours than you think you need.
The number of campaign hours you end up purchasing covers more than just pitching. It covers creating your PR plan. Phone calls. Recap emails. Regular emails (sometimes—more on that later). Mailing your ARCs. Following up with media contacts. Designing materials for you. This all accounts for way more time than you think it will. Please, don’t spend more than you can afford, but this is not the place to try to save either.
Keep your emails brief, sparing, and professional.
If you email your publicist on an almost daily basis, or your emails are particularly long, your publicist will start counting emailing you toward your time. If you only have a quick question or two per week, go ahead and shoot them to your publicist. She probably won’t count it towards your time. If you are prone to asking a lot of questions, compile them into one email a week so you only get charged once.
Remember, they’re your publicist.
Not your therapist. Not your bestie. Not your editor. Refrain from telling your publicist about your day unless it is actually relevant to your campaign. Let them know if you’re going out of town or have a family emergency and will be unreachable. You don’t need to give them a 500-word essay on the details of the occasion. Speaking of, don’t expect your publicist to edit your content for you. If they asked for a 700-word piece, and you sent them 2,000 words, all of the time they spend reading it and figuring out where to cut is coming out of your time. Unless you budgeted extra time for this in your campaign, ask a friend with a sharp eye or hire someone.
Your publicist attempts to keep track of everything relevant to your campaign. This isn’t just for your benefit or the publicist’s; it’s also information shared with your publisher and the sales team. The sales team uses this as a gauge and can use your publicity to try to sell the book into more stores. Your publisher can see that a new hit could cause a spike in orders, so they may need to order another print run earlier than expected. Thus, when you coordinate any publicity activities yourself, tell your publicist. If your publisher isn’t looped in on the email, loop them in. And when your campaign ends, if you keep working at it, keep telling your publisher.