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Tips for Working with a Publicist

  1. If media follow-up is part of why you are working with a publicist, hire only one who is passionate about your project. Follow-up calls are HARD. A publicist must believe in your project, sell your story and keep motivated to get you exposure.
  2. Discuss your expectations. Your publicist must know what results you expect them to achieve within the confines of your budget. As much as publishers hate it, a publicist should be prepared to strive for all possibilities, but shouldn't promise anything. No matter how good your publicist is, one single, significant world event can wipe out many of your media appearances.
  3. Start with a plan. This may seem like a waste of precious moments, especially when there is so much to do in so little time. You and your publicist must know and agree who you are targeting, how you will reach them repetitively, how you will capture their attention and why they will buy your book. Skipping this information in the beginning will lead both you and your publicist to frustration.
  4. Communicate with your publicist! If you don't like an angle, explain to your publicist and listen to their answer. You have the inside scoop on what's hot in the industry and what might be the next emerging trend. But your publicist knows how to sell it to the media and your other targeted markets. You should always have final approval of all materials, but your publicist must be fully behind the story angles to do the best job for you.
  5. Revisit your plan often and decide to stay on track and/or follow new opportunities (and how).
  6. Ask the publicist what items you can do to save money, yet not compromise the effectiveness of the campaign. Internet Marketing implementation is something the author can often do better than a publicist. (You are the expert in your field, not us!) Preparation and mailing of your materials is an expense the publisher can eliminate. Have your publicist send originals and a complete sample media kit. Then stuff, seal and label the envelopes yourself. If your marketing materials are strong enough to stimulate response from the media, consider eliminating the media kit folder. This will not only cut the expense of the folder, but will dramatically reduce your postage.
  7. Before you call your publicist, plan out any questions or concerns you have throughout your campaign. We often request our clients e-mail or fax us with questions. The publisher asks better thought-out questions and receives more complete answers in writing. It is also the quickest way to communicate -- allowing the maximum time for follow-up! Ask your publicist when they do the majority of their follow-up calls to the media, and avoid calling at those times.
  8. Encourage your publicist! As they make your media calls, they hear "no" more than a salesperson and a two-year-old combined. You'd be surprised what a kind word can do for morale. Ask them what common rejections they are receiving so you can offer new ideas. Together you can reformulate the pitches.
  9. Publicists are creative people. Good publicists have discovered how to become detail oriented, as well. During the planning stages, ask the publicist how they will let you know what is happening throughout your campaign. There is a lot of "behind the scenes" work and it takes several contacts to get the media to say "yes." Let your publicist know your expectations. Do you want weekly reports? Reports as possibilities arise? Reports when results happen?
  10. Get involved! Attend publishing associations, organizations, universities, private seminars, trade shows, conventions. You can't place a value on the contacts you make and the things you learn.

Tami DePalma
MarketAbility, Inc.
813A 14th Street, Golden, CO 80401
Phone: (303) 279-4349 / 1-888-55-TWIST
Fax: (303) 279-7950

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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