by Helen Lewis – Literally PR
- Seek word of mouth recommendations. If you don’t know any authors to chat to directly, join a Facebook forum or a writers group and ask for their recommendations. Put a shout out on Twitter or LinkedIn. Look at who seems to be driving publicity for other authors.
- Create a list of possible contacts and initially contact a few and see what they come back with. Don’t just go with the first person who replies – the email may have just gone through at the right time, but the right person may not be available until the next day.
- Try to meet (even if just by Skype) so that you can build a strong relationship from the start. It’s always better to ‘know’ the person you’re working with and if you’re going to be working together for three to nine months it’s worth taking the time to chat over a coffee.
- Look at the other clients they’ve worked with – have they experience of working with authors in your genre/similar to you? Email four or five of their former clients and check what their experiences were.
- Discuss your expectations. We believe it’s important to aim high and we chase your ‘dream’ coverage, but we also regularly have to manage expectations. A publicist cannot force a journalist to write about an author, or to review a book kindly. A publicist can only try their best – creatively – to put their client in front of the right people at the right time.
- Understand what is required of you and make it clear when you won’t be available (holidays, particular days of the week etc).
- Keep in regular contact but don’t inundate them with requests for calls and emails too much or you’ll be taking them away from the work they’re doing for you.
- Remember – most publicists won’t be working on your account every day – the finances don’t really work like that. But they will be dealing with the press daily and whenever possible they’ll be pushing your book as much as the next – depending on who they’re talking to. I try to tailor many of my conversations with the press to include at least a couple of books at a time.
- Be proactive while you’re investing in publicity – two heads are better than one! You can do plenty on social media (blogging, guest blogging, focusing on Twitter and building up a strong following, branching out into another such as LinkedIn, Pinterest or Tumblr depending on your audience).
- Keep in touch with your publicist even after your time together ends. We still send on opportunities, support former clients via social media and where relevant introduce them to the press long after we’ve finished working together. You never know when you might need them again so it’s good to stay friends J
Helen Lewis is the director of Literally PR, a unique book publicity agency specialising in supporting indie authors to publishing houses. With a team of experts supporting each client, Literally PR offers creative and innovative publicity campaigns, talent management, social media consultancy and many more services geared towards authors regardless of their budget. Based in Kent and London, in the UK, Literally PR has connections globally. Helen is regularly asked to talk at author and publishing events, and continues to write for magazines (consumer and trade) as a freelance journalist after leaving university in 2001 with a journalism degree and lots of debt she feels she owes it to her 20-year old self to continue! For more information about Literally PR please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.literallypr.com.