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Book Publicity: Ten Ways to Find Your Book's Best Publicist

Apr 8, 2008
It's hard to say it any better: "Publicity is the voice of visibility."

That's from the book, High Visibility. And its lesson to authors is clear, nothing can spotlight your book faster than good publicity.

But how do you find a publicist that best fits you and your book? Here are ten easy rules to follow:

1. Publicists often specialize in different genres of books (e.g., non-fiction, fiction, children's books, religious titles, etc.). So, if your book is religious, find a firm that specializes in religious media as they'll have the strongest contacts and will know which shows and publications represent the best exposure for you. Same holds true for fiction publicists, children's books, etc.

2. If your book has a very unique subject or audience -- e.g. charitable giving, or secrets of the cable TV industry, etc. -- it's unlikely you will find a publicist who specializes in just that topic. Instead, you'll want a publicist who will take the time to familiarize themselves with your topic or book and will craft a campaign to match your special needs.

3. Find a publicist who specializes in the medium of choice for your book. Not every publicist is a master at every medium. Many publicists specialize in one medium and will refer business to other specialists when it's best for their client. So, if for example you've written a book on fashion or photography - the best exposure for your book would obviously be print or TV, as they're both visual mediums. In this case, you want a publicist who procures print and TV placements on an ongoing basis.

4. Ask for sample campaigns. Sure, it will be the publicist's best foot forward, but a sample will still demonstrate their skill and proficiency at obtaining media.

5. Along with reviewing sample campaigns, speak to past clients, too, if you have the slightest hesitation about engaging their services.

6. Find a firm whose fees are in range with other firms. No need to find the most expensive because they have a fancy address in a major metropolitan city.

7. And speaking of fees - in the book industry you'll find many publicists who work on a performance or project basis. This is not at all common with PR firms in other industries, and an opportunity you want to take advantage of. So, steer clear of monthly retainer based firms.

8. Get past a prospective PR firm's sales hype and find the firm you feel will get the job done. The problem an author can run into is the sales person they speak with and build confidence in, is not always the person who will be handling their campaign. So, don't be shy about asking who will be writing your press releases and who will be pitching you to the media. Find out how long they've been with the firm. Ask what their level of experience is. After all the time, money and hard work you invested in writing your book, you want to make sure your campaign isn't being delegated to a rookie out of college.

9. In your search for the right publicity firm, don't just talk to local agencies. Especially if you're looking for regional or national reach. Virtually none of the work with your publicist will require "face time", so just look for the best ... period!

10. One last point - find a firm that has an understanding of your topic and an enthusiasm for your message! Their determination alone can often be the driving force behind prime media placements for you.

So think about it: Nothing can get your book more visibility than the right publicist!
About the Author
Marsha Friedman has been a leading authority on publicity for authors for nearly two decades as CEO of Event Management Services, Inc (EMSI). If you would like to receive her free Ebook "How to Be a Great Talk Radio Guest" visit http://www.emsincorporated.com.
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