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Sunday, November 4, 2012

More than Just Marketing: The Many Ways a Book Publicist Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

By Paula Margulies

Hiring the right book publicist is one of the most important steps an author can take when it comes time to promote his work. A good publicist can help craft the author’s brand, identify his target audience, and promote the author’s book to the world of readers hungry for the next good story.

But a publicist can be much more than a megaphone for an author’s work. In addition to creating press kits and pitching the media, publicists play a number of other important roles for their authors. Here are a few of them:

1. Information Resource
An experienced publicist with good industry knowledge is an invaluable resource for all types of information an author might need. In addition to crafting press releases and booking speaking and media gigs, a publicist can help authors connect with professional cover designers and editors, identify the right blog tour companies, provide lists of top and mid-tier reviewers, pinpoint the right contests to enter, suggest options for distribution, and define and locate the author’s target market. A good publicist can also provide tips on different aspects of the overall process, including suggestions on how authors can best represent themselves at promotional events and media interviews and the right timing for various aspects of the marketing campaign.

2. Sounding Board
One of the benefits of hiring a publicist is that she can help be a sounding board for ideas you might have about marketing your book. As a new author, you may want to try certain techniques you’ve discovered or consider advice you’ve received from others authors. Your publicist should be willing to discuss the available options and share her experience with different marketing strategies and methods.

3. Cheerleader
Many authors find the marketing process to be time-consuming and stressful, especially if their publicists have been successful at setting up a number of events and interviews. At some time during the process, those who are exhausted from the rigors of traveling, speaking, and promoting can lose focus and may reach a point where they want to give up altogether. Your publicist is there to listen to your concerns and help you reconnect with the joy of having created a published work. She can buck you up when you’re down and help you to regain your focus and energy by providing encouragement and support when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

4. Devil’s Advocate
Your publicist can also provide feedback on your efforts and help you to ferret out what’s working and what isn’t as you go through the promotion process. She can encourage you to consider other options, ask the “what if” questions, and help you think outside the box when you’re feeling less creative or have run out of ideas.

5. Reference
Oftentimes authors need references to help with obtaining speaking spots, applying for artist residencies or writing jobs, or networking with important connections. Your publicist can support you by sending out letters, answering inquiries, and acting as a character reference on your behalf.

6. Reality Check
For some authors, the sky’s the limit as far as where they hope to go with their publicity campaigns and how much time and effort they’re willing to spend. A good publicist will help you define parameters and manage expectations, so that you focus on obtainable goals and don’t waste time chasing opportunities that might be unattainable or not in your best interest.

7. Source of Inspiration and Ideas
Your publicist is your resource for anything related to the marketing and promotion of your book. Use her to evaluate ideas, explore resources, and identify sources of inspiration. A good publicist will support you, cheer you on, and work hard to help you obtain your goals.

When evaluating potential publicists, check their references and make sure the one you’re considering best fits your personal style and understands your goals. Choose wisely, and your publicist can help you – in many different ways – to make the most of your book marketing efforts.
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Paula Margulies is a book publicity and promotions expert in San Diego, California. You can reach her at paula@paulamargulies.com, or visit her at www.paulamargulies.com, on Twitter at @PaulaMargulies, or on Facebook at Paula Margulies Communications.

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