by Steve Laube
Publicity is the art of telling the world about you and your book. We recently received a few questions about publicity via the green button you see in the right hand column of our blog (yes, it really works).
1.) When should a writer hire a publicist?
I think an author should wait to see what their publisher will provide in this area. If you do hire a publicist make sure they coordinate with your publisher so as to not duplicate efforts. (Don’t aggravate your local TV station with multiple PR contacts.)
But the question was “when” not “should.” So let me re-answer.
If you are on your own with regard to your PR, you should hire that firm six to nine months prior to the release date of your book. The PR firm will be handicapped if you wait too long. They need lead time especially in the area of getting reviews for your book. Few review outlets are interested in a book after it has already been released.
Seth Godin says that book marketing needs to start three years before publication date! (Read the linked article to see what he means by that.)
2.) What can a writer expect from a publicist?
A good publicist is all about communication, both to you and to your publisher and to the media.
A good publicist will respect your schedule and try not to book an interview at 6 a.m EST (when you live on the West coast).
A good publicist will know how to convert time zones. (I don’t know how many times an author has complained about this issue when making booking mistakes.)
A good publicist will be a champion for you book and help you figure out the best media-friendly talking points.
3.) What is the best type of book to promote on the radio or television?
Non-fiction topics lend themselves best. This is critical for the novelist to understand. If a novelist is to be attractive to media they must find a non-fiction issue or topic upon which they can comment…as it relates to their novel.
At the same time even a non-fiction author needs to be careful that their book is front and center in the talking points for the interview. Otherwise the opportunity for making a sale will be lost.
Hopefully you have a web site that is easily remembered after hearing the interview or a book title that does the same. For example, if I were on the air I would have to careful since my last name is pronounced “lobby” but spelled “laube.”
Are there any other questions you might have?