Thursdays with Dan: 5 Valid Complaints About Book Publicists, from a Book Marketing Agency Owner


OK, so maybe you don’t often hear a book publicity agency owner write about valid complaints regarding book publicists … but you will from Smith Publicity!

At Smith Publicity, we’re very good at what we do. Better than any other firm, in my humble opinion. But even we sometimes make mistakes or give reason for authors to complain; every book marketing agency and publicist does. So, I thought I’d take a shot at describing five valid complaints authors make about book publicists. This isn’t an exhaustive list, just five that immediately come to mind.

  • Communication – Authors are communicators by nature, and they need communication from those with whom they work or hire. Not hearing from your publicist for several weeks is not You’re paying professionals good money, you deserve to be kept in the loop on what is happening. Not on a daily basis – authors need to let publicists do what they do best and not micromanage – but at least once a week.
  • Overstating and not verifying – Book publicists are always excited to report good news. We’re human, and we want to make our clients happy. But telling At Smith Publicity, we stress that media interest should be reported accurately, and only when something is absolutely confirmed – an interview or feature story – should the publicist tell an author. If a publicist even says some coverage is “probable,” and it doesn’t happen, an author has a right to complain.
  • Shot-gunning, with no rifle attack – Disseminating information, press releases or pitches to large numbers of media contacts at the same is OK in some circumstances, and is often a matter of necessity, Particularly, for example, when pitching for radio interviews on general interest talk shows. However, while it’s OK to fire the shotgun, a good publicist knows that no book marketing campaign can be effectively implemented without a rifle – pinpoint, personalized pitching. Good, old-fashioned research and personalization – whether on a phone call or email pitch – always reaps positive dividends. Shot-gunning only is lazy book publicity.
  • Poor response time – As a general rule, a publicist should respond to communications from an author-client the same day, or no later than the next day. Now beware authors, overloading your publicist and bugging the heck out of her will cost you valuable time – time you’re paying for.
  • Not admitting a mistake – Every one makes mistakes, even veteran, highly-skilled book publicists. A professional admits when he makes a mistake, and doesn’t try and talk around it or out of it. If this happens, an author has every right to complain.

So there you have it, five sample valid complaints authors have about book publicists, straight from the guy who started this thing called Smith Publicity.