The Importance of Using a Publicist
by Priscilla Goudreau-Santos
Congratulations, you’ve written your book! Now what?
The next step is letting your fans and potential readers know about your book. But it’s often confusing and overwhelming to begin a marketing and publicity program. With so many choices available today—traditional media as well as online social media resources—where do you begin?
A book publicist offers a starting point and plan that leads to recognition and book sales. Your path to book sales also depends in large part on your expectations and personal goals. Your book publicist is a resource and guide through all the myriad media outlets, but you are the primary driver of your book’s success.
Learning as much as you can about publicity and marketing will be helpful in designing your own publicity plan. You should talk with your publisher’s publicist or marketing manager well in advance of your book’s publication date for guidance. Once you’ve determined your goals and expectations, and thoughtfully plotted a three- or six-month strategy, you can decide whether working with a publicist makes sense for you.
One of the advantages of working with a publicist is that he or she can offer you needed exposure to media. Your publicist has the expertise to develop a list of media and bookstores that are best for you—saving time and energy. Publicists will also make the media calls for you. Although it’s necessary to make an investment in publicity, in the long run it’s much less expensive than traditional advertising and more credible. It also saves you time so you can do what you enjoy and do best—write.
Publicists understand how to approach media, bookstores, and reviewers. For example, many authors don’t know what a media kit is or why it’s important. A media kit is an industry standard that can be sent to media, bookstores, retailers and anyone interested in your book. Including your book synopsis, author bio, press release and question-and-answer sheet, your media kit tells your story. A publicist knows what to include in the media kit, and whom to send it to. Your publicist is also maintains the objectivity to best address media and others.
Partnering with a publicist to market your book arms you with the tools and knowledge you need to sell your book. The key is to begin well in advance of your book’s publication, know your goals and expectations, and make productive and sustainable choices about the publicity for your book and your identity as a writer.
When you interview potential publicists, ask them if they will regularly update you on their progress and provide you with information such as media lists, a schedule of media outreach, follow-up results, and any other outreach they may do for you. An experienced book publicist can be a valuable, effective partner who will offer education and direction, and can increase your book’s visibility in a very crowded, noisy field.
Priscilla Goudreau-Santos specializes in book and author publicity. She owns Charlotte-based PR firm Priscilla Goudreau Public Relations & Marketing and is a partner in the author online platform, AllAbouttheAuthors.com.