Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Why Hire a Publicist by Kathy Carlton Willis

We’re all aware that marketing is a must for today’s authors. But it can feel quite daunting to many who don’t feel comfortable promoting themselves. This Writer’s Journey Wednesday we welcome Kathy Carlton Willis. She explains how a publicist can help. Thanks, Kathy!

Someone to Shine
the Light on You

What Is a Publicist?A publicist is a professional who has both the know-how and the network in place to help bring your name to the public. In the literary world, a publicist is key to the marketing plan, to creating consumer appetite for a book title, and stimulating buzz for the author.

A literary publicist promotes the book title directly to consumers through niche-markets with an interest in the storyline or subject matter of the book. The publicist also networks with media by pitching specific interview angles the author can provide—setting up the writer as an expert on certain subjects.

Sometimes publishing houses hire independent PR firms to manage specific book campaigns, or entire lines of books. Other times, they pay half toward an outside campaign, and the author matches that. The third option is for the author to pay all of the expense from their advance, believing that publicity and marketing is what will make or break the overall sales for the book. Publicists also assist with author branding for the career of the author, so the buzz extends beyond the life of one book.

Most PR and communications firms offer a wide array of services. We will come alongside of you at any stage in the writing game. We can help expand your platform, branding and name recognition. Need some help making sure your website is selling you in the best possible light? Ask your publicist. Some will even edit your manuscripts and write your book proposals, query letters and marketing plans.

After the book contract, your publicist will customize a plan for promoting you and your titles with the goal of maximizing exposure—and perhaps seeing the promotion go “viral.” This requires multiple reaches to the public, through traditional media presence, online spotlights, and waves of social networking.

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a dozen times, “I’m so glad I didn’t have to navigate this book promotion jungle on my own. Thanks for holding my hand through the process.”

Why Hire a Publicist?

1) A publicist has the media contacts and relationships needed to secure interviews/ reviews.

2) A publicist knows how to pitch your book to the media and how each journalist prefers to be contacted.

3) Most writers do not have the time to devote to a publicity campaign. It is a full-time job.

4) When an author is pitching his own book, it is sometimes viewed as being too self-promotional. A publicist is seen as a third party and most journalists are more receptive to discussing publicity with a publicist rather than the author.

5) When media, retailers and consumers hear an author has a publicist, they seem to see the author as having more “clout.” It legitimizes the expert-status of the author and elevates them to a higher professional standing.

6) An author with a publicity team has “peeps.” It’s that whole “I’ll have my people contact your people” approach.

Kathy Carlton Willis, of the same named communications firm, gets jazzed fiddling with words as writer, publicist, coach, editor, speaker, and more. She’s affiliated with Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, as well as CLASSeminars. Her articles have appeared in a variety of print and Internet publications, as well as three books. She writes and edits The Christian Pulse devotions. Read more at Kathy shines, whether she’s shining the light on others through her communications firm, or reflecting God’s Light during her speaking opportunities. Check out her company’s rack card at:

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