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The Truth About Book Publicity

Why authors should consider hiring their own publicists

By Marcela Landres
Published on LatinoLA: September 23, 2013


The Truth About Book Publicity


In continuation of my celebration of Latinidad's tenth anniversary, I am
culling the best advice and advisors from back issues to help you get
published. Previously, I've discussed managing money and time, writing
classes, critique groups, the revision process, the submission process, and writing for magazines. This month's focus is on traditional publicity; next month we'll discuss online publicity.

Authors often assume publishing companies proactively promote all their books, when the truth is only a small percentage of books receive the lion's share of a publisher's support. Bestselling authors can reasonably expect their publishers to publicize their books; debut authors and those with modest sales histories will likely find they are on their own. In certain cases, hiring your own publicist can be a prudent investment. To learn more, read this month's Q&A with Camille McDuffie, President of Goldberg McDuffie Communications, Inc., who offers an insider's perspective on what writers should--and should not--do when seeking a publicist.

Q&A

Camille McDuffie is the President of Goldberg McDuffie
Communications, Inc. which sets the standard for book publicity.
They have worked with virtually every major publishing house, and
handle a broad range of projects including literary fiction, quality
non-fiction, business books, commercial best sellers, reference
books, and electronic books. Past projects they have worked on
include Paula by Isabel Allende, Having Our Say by the Delaney
Sisters, and Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho. For more information, visit http://goldbergmcduffie.com

Q: How do you choose the writers with whom you work?

A: There are several factors that go into how we choose which books and
authors to work on. Sometimes we are asked by the publisher to work
on a book and we rarely turn down the opportunity to work on an
important book by a major publisher. But even more often we are
called by authors who are willing to invest in their career by
hiring their own publicist. We ask to read the book (as much as we
can), we consult with the author about their goals and needs, and we
confer with their publisher as well. Then we decide if we can be
effective for them.

Q: What is the best way for writers to find a publicist who is right
for them?

A: There are a number of freelance publicists and by asking for
recommendations from fellow authors, their publisher, and their
agent they will end up with a list of names. Authors should check
out the publicists' websites and look at the books they've handled
in the past. Some publicists focus on certain areas such as diet
books, self help, parenting, spirituality, business books, or
cookbooks. Others, like us, are more generalists. Then the author
should call and chat with a few of them, gauge their interests and
proceed from there.

Q: What are the most common mistakes writers make when choosing a
publicist?

A: Some common mistakes include hiring a publicist before checking with
their publisher to find out what, if any, plans the house has for
the book; thinking that if they hire a publicist they can sit back,
relax, and watch their book hit the best-seller list--a good
publicist will want the author to be very involved in the campaign,
helping with ideas, pitches, and other aspects; thinking there is
only one good publicist for your book--if one firm can't take on
your book, there is someone else out there who probably will.

Q: What is the most important thing writers can do to promote their
books before they are published?

A: Be involved and communicate with your publicist--and hire your
publicist at least four months before your book's publication.
Provide her with thorough biographical material about yourself;
provide her with a list of your own contacts in the media, if you
have them, who may be helpful; discuss your goals and work with your
publicist to decide how best to achieve the coverage you want. Be
optimistic but realistic about the publicity possibilities--not
every book is suited for an hour on "Oprah."

Q: What is the most important thing writers can do to promote their
books after they are published?

A: If you wait until after publication to decide you need a publicist,
you will be very disappointed. Most publicists do not take on
projects after the publication date because it is difficult to be
effective. Book reviewers and other media outlets need to work in
advance to plan reviews and stories. So don't wait till it's too
late--think ahead about your publicity needs.

Excerpted from Latinidad?« ?® 2003 by Marcela Landres

About Marcela Landres:
Marcela Landres is the author of the e-book How Editors Think. She is an Editorial Consultant who specializes in helping Latinos get published and was formerly an editor at Simon & Schuster.
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