Power Book Publicity Tips for March 2010

In this issue:

  • Article: Five Factors to Consider Before Engaging a Publicity Firm
  • Tips for Authors: What to Know About Your Book – and Yourself – Before Starting a Publicity Campaign

A few reminders:


—Our Smith Publicity blog is up and running! Each week we provide followers with essential tips on everything from how to make the most of your book signing to what your book’s back cover should—and shouldn’t—display. Please follow us to stay up on the latest industry news: www.smithpublicity.blogspot.comor access it from our home page www.smithpublicity.com

—We offer a service uniquely tailored for poetry books and authors. Specially designed to target poetry media outlets only, this four week campaign is an effective way to reach out to the niche poetry market.  For further information, please visit: www.smithpublicity.com/?page=poetrypromo

—Ask about our brand new Media List service. You can get up-to-date media lists for self-promotion, the same lists Smith Publicity uses! E-mail info@smithpublicity.com for more information

—Worried about your upcoming radio interview? Have you no prior media experience? Ask us about our media training service. We’ll help prepare you for the media spotlight and give you effective tips to succeed in your interviews.

—Remember, as you are planning your Spring book events, Smith Publicity will be exhibiting at the London Book Fair and the LA Times Festival of Books in April, plus Book Expo America in NYC in May. If you would like to meet to learn about publicity options for your projects, please let us know!

—Don’t forget to check out our Combined Book Exhibit service where authors and publishers can affordably showcase titles at book events around the world: http://www.smithpublicity.com/?page=cbe

Warm Regards,

Sandy Diaz
o: 856.489.8654 ext 301
f: 856.504.0136
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Five Factors to Consider Before Engaging a Publicity Firm
by Dan Smith, CEO/Founder of Smith Publicity, Inc.

Your book is ready (or almost ready), final editing touches are completed, and you’re ready for people to learn about your book…now what? The hard truth is that without publicity and promotion, virtually no one will ever know your book exists. If you’re a self-promoter or a publisher with some in-house expertise and have the time and resources, it is possible to successfully publicize your book. Hiring a professional, however, can make all the difference.

There are plenty of options when it comes to publicity. From “one-person shops” and large companies to radio-tours and pay-per-placement firms, it’s easy to get overwhelmed in the decision-making process. Here are some tips that can help you make the right decision:

1) Personality—Get a feel for the personality of the firm. Do they return calls and emails promptly? Do they have a sense of excitement about your project? Do they have a grasp of your book and your target audience? You are investing not only your time and money, but your reputation as well. You want to make sure you feel a sense of trust—a connection—with the firm or person.

2) Track Record—Every reputable firm will have testimonials from clients. Granted, you’re only seeing the good things author’s have said about the firm, but testimonials can still reveal a lot. Are they “boilerplate” testimonials, or well-thought out, personal commentary? Likewise, you should always ask for references. Don’t expect to be provided phone numbers of references, but the firm should have clients or previous clients who don’t mind receiving an email query about their experience.

3) Picking the Firm Size—A large firm boasting “A list” authors is certainly appealing. Before you hire them, if you’re not an “A lister” (yet!), make sure you know who is handling your account. You don’t want to be relegated to a college intern or become the small fish in a big pond. On the opposite end, if you’re considering an individual freelancer, ask for a contingency plan should there be illness or a family emergency during your campaign.

4) Fee Structure—The cost of publicity service varies widely, but there are three main categories you should understand when selecting:

a) Retainer-based: The most common fee structure in book publicity, a retainer-based agreement is typically for three to six months. When considering this option, ensure the firm has a solid reputation and impressive credentials since you’ll be committing for a period of time.

b) Pay-Per-Placement: This fee structure can be attractive, but be sure you know exactly what you’ll be getting and what you’ll pay. The idea of only paying when a media opportunity is secured seems perfect, but the numbers often tell a different story. Consider this example: You have a very “publicity-friendly” book and decide to pay a firm $150 for every local radio interview, $1,000 for local, network affiliate TV interviews, and $5,000 for  a national TV show interview. Since your book has high potential, the firm quickly secures dozens of radio interviews, a few local TV interviews, and one national TV show appearance.  Within a month you can easily spend $8,000. Another firm could have achieved the same results for less than half that in a retainer arrangement. Also, read the fine print. What if a TV interviews is taped, but never airs … do you still pay? On the other hand, if your book is challenging, a publicist may opt to spend his or her time on a more publicity friendly project that is “easy money.”

c) Flat-fee: A one-time, flat fee for a specific set of services and a set amount of time is something to consider if you’re on a limited budget, want to test out a publicity firm, or get a sense for how the media will react to your book. As always, make sure you know precisely what the firm will be doing, and for exactly how long.

5) Be wary of promises and guarantees—I’ll say this as clearly as possible: No publicist—and I mean no one—can absolutely guarantee you will receive media coverage or tell you how many books you will sell. It’s impossible to know. If one does make such guarantees, run the other way. Publicity, by its very nature, is full of unknowns, which makes the process both challenging and exciting.  There are variables which affect media coverage and book sales, and these variable are out of anyone’s control.The bottom line: Do your due diligence when selecting a firm, and ultimately, go with your instinct when deciding; go with the firm or person that just feels right. You can rarely go wrong by trusting your instincts.

Tips for Authors: What to Know About Your Book–and Yourself–Before Starting a Publicity Campaign (with a publicist or on your own!)

1. Know your book’s audience: It is important to know your book’s audience—both the mainstream and the fringe markets. For example, a book about organizing your finances and investing should naturally appeal to personal finance media. However, it could also appeal to women’s and men’s magazines, newspaper lifestyle editors, in-flight magazines, and many others. By knowing the audiences before your campaign begins, you can ensure the appropriate media is contacted during your campaign.

2. Know your intentions and expectations: Sharing all of your expectations with your publicist before you sign the contract is crucial. As publicists, we need to know what your intentions are for a campaign—be it to secure national television interviews, to build a local or regional author presence or to sign a movie deal. By being honest from the beginning your publicist will let you know whether or not they can assist you in achieving your goals. You’ll also help your publicist set the campaign up to work on targeting the results you’re seeking.

3. Know your short term and long term goals: By knowing and communicating your short term (3-4 months) and long term (3-5 years) goals, your publicist can execute your campaign with creative and sustainable pitching ideas to not only carry you and your book through your campaign but also to help set you up for success in years to come by “branding” you. A publicity campaign could position you as an expert/author now as you plan future books and opportunities.

4. Know your travel schedule: If you have plans to travel during your campaign for business, pleasure, or even a family visit, let your publicist know. Any traveling you do during a publicity campaign is an opportunity for regional and local media exposure in the area you’re visiting. When your publicist can contact producers at television stations with the offer of an in-studio interview within a specific window of time, it creates a sense of urgency to confirm.

5. Know what makes you an interesting interviewee: The themes in your book may not be the only things you’re qualified to speak about in an interview. So, what makes you unique? Don’t hesitate to step outside of the boundaries of your book and explore your educational, family, career and lifestyle background. The more information you provide your publicist about yourself may broaden the media markets they can pitch to. We always say, “You can’t interview a book!” so when your publicist can position you as the interesting piece to an interview, your guest appeal increases.

About Smith Publicity, Inc.

Beginning in 1997, Smith Publicity has evolved from a one-person operation run from a bedroom office to one of the nation’s leading promotional firms. Fueled by a passion for making good things happen for clients, we’ve worked with over 900 individuals and companies–from authors and entrepreneurs to publicly-held companies and business representing a wide range of industries.The Smith Publicity reach is international; we’ve effectively worked with clients throughout the United States and Canada, and countries from the U.K. and Australia to Israel and Malta. We have offices in New Jersey, New York City, Los Angeles and London.

While our expansion from boutique publicity agency to a multi-faceted public relations and creative communications firm has greatly expanded the breadth of our services, the fundamental driving force behind everything we do is superior presentation, promotion, and positioning of our clients. Our refrain, “make good things happen for clients,” has propelled Smith Publicity from just another agency to a premier promotional firm offering outstanding, cost-effective service with unparalleled customer attention.

If you are interested in receiving a proposal for your project, please contact Corinne Liccketto, corinne@smithpublicity.com, www.smithpublicity.com or 856-489-8654 x309.

Contact information:
Smith Publicity, Inc.
856.489.8654 ext 309
Mailing Address: 1930 E. Marlton Pike, Suite I-46, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003

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