What does a book publicist do?
Read Through Manuscript – When a book publicist reads the manuscript, we aren’t reading like a traditional consumer. We are wearing our PR hat, ultimately thinking about the end reader. What sections of the book will they resonate with? What content is the media going to latch onto? Is there new data? A counterintuitive point? A provocative quote or section? What problem is the author solving for the reader? How can it be connected to news of the day or current trends? Is there a behind the scenes sneak peek? I highlight, dog ear and take copious notes in the manuscripts. It’s looks like a textbook by the time I’ve read it through.
Develop Assets + Targeted Media List – Now it’s time to prepare all the elements to tell the story well and who to tell that story to. What pitch angles are going to land? Which reporters, editors and producers are the best ones for this specific book? Which format(s) will the author be the most successful in and on? Do I need video? Is imagery important? Do I want them to read particular sections? Why should media care about this specific author? Customization is key here. My communication must be clear, concise and compelling.
Pitch – This borders on private eye investigation and stalking, essentially. I’m taking a very strategic, intentional approach to which outlets and which contacts at those outlets I’m reaching out to in order to secure coverage for my author. Pitching happens both verbally and in written form. And the follow up is just as critical. You have to be the most current bug in their ear. So often if you’re at the top of their email that helps. Frequent (non-annoying) attempts matter.
Coordinate Coverage – Whatever is required for this coverage to occur, it’s my job to coordinate all the details and logistics. Interviews, books being sent, calendars aligning, determining hit dates, exclusivities, etc.
Prep Author – I want my author to walk into her interviews set up for success, which means it’s on me to prepare her accordingly. What are key talking points? Who is the target audience? What do I know about the host? What are potential pitfalls? How should she be dressed? It all matters to both the media outlet being happy with the results and the author nailing the interview.
Promote Hit – At the end of the day, media want their audience to be informed, surprised and delighted. The author wants credibility and exposure from that media platform. Both are looking to benefit and grow their audiences. It’s my job to make sure that each side that I’m the buffer between are accountable.
What other questions do you have about book publicity?