by Stacey J. Miller
When authors place sole responsibility for their book promotion success into a book publicist’s lap and leave it there, the results are often disappointing. Despite their best intentions, book publicists may fail to generate important reviews. Interview opportunities may slip through the cracks. Worse still, highly promotable books may languish without visibility in a highly competitive marketplace.
Does that mean you should give up on publicists and wait for Oprah to call you? Or that you should give up on book promotion together? There is another option. You can work in partnership with your book promotion firm and take the following steps to maximize your chances of success:
- Be clear about your expectations from the outset, and make sure there is a meeting of the minds. If landing on the front page of the Wall Street Journal would be the ideal coup for your book, make sure your book publicist focuses on accomplishing that instead of pitching you to every producer at National Public Radio. Give your publicist your wish list, and offer to prioritize your publicist’s to-do list; you’ll both be happier in the long run.
- Suggest news angles for promoting your book, and provide your book publicist with a list of buzz words and phrases. Your publicist most likely isn’t an expert in your field and will welcome your help, even if he or she doesn’t specifically ask for it.
- Tout your credentials and sing the praises of your book to your publicist at every opportunity. Don’t worry about sounding pompous or immodest; your publicist will appreciate your self-confidence and be even more enthusiastic in pitching you to the media.
- Keep an eye on the media, and inform your book publicist about developing news stories and current events that might tie into your book. Ask your publicist what else you can do to complement his or her efforts. Are there professional associations or mailing lists you can steer him or her toward? Have you compiled contact information for your alumni, professional, and hometown publications?
- Ask your book publicist for what you need, whether it’s a redirection of energies, an accommodation to your schedule, or a weekly progress report. You’ll come out a winner if you ask your publicist to communicate with you and commit yourself to doing the same. And you won’t be disappointed with the results.
Stacey J. Miller is a book promotion specialist and founder of S. J. Miller Communications, an independent book publicity firm. Visit her online at http://www.bookpr.com/.