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THE SOCIETY OF MIDLAND AUTHORS

November/December 2006 Publicity Tip

Monthly Tips Index Ask Tom a Question

BOOK PUBLICIST REVEALS SECRETS OF THE TRADE
by
Tom Ciesielka from TC Public Relations

It's true that interacting with the media takes organization, skill and innovation. Training, research methods, and pitching techniques also help. However, what you rarely hear from publicists is that at heart, PR is a lot simpler than you might think. It is basically the art of building relationships to spread ideas.

Although simple, these relational rules are key in connecting with the media and building the relationships to help you get the coverage you deserve.

Say “Please” and “Thank You.” Like most people, media contacts don't like rudeness. While it's important to be direct, take a friendly tone and make sure to let them know you appreciate their time and attention.

Ask First, Make Pitches Later. Show consideration by asking your contact what he or she is looking for at the time. Instead of just throwing your thoughts at the media, listen and offer your book or your ideas as a helpful resource.

Keep in Touch. Polite persistence is crucial in building a rewarding relationship with the media. Drop regular notes when you see information they might be interested in or to ask what they are working on. This keeps you “top of mind” when they need a comment on your area of expertise.

Success with the media hinges on your ability to connect and build relationships. Take these extra steps to help your media contact think of you as an ally, and to provide you with coverage that puts your name and ideas in front of your target audience.

Your Publicity Buffet

The press is a smorgasbord of potential placements if you are willing to think outside of the “book review box.” Once you connect with your media contacts and open a dialogue, you multiply your chances if you know what your options are. Don't let a contact get away without considering at least one idea that goes beyond book reviews.

Feature Story. Of course, you'd like this story to be all about you. However, in case your contact doesn't realize your greatness, try suggesting another topic and offer your expertise as a resource.

Contributed Article. A contributed article is a win-win for you and editors. They get a free article, which saves them money and time, and you get to display your expertise and mention your book in the byline.

Chapter Excerpt. This variation on the contributed article demands even less work from you. It also gives readers a great idea of what the actual book is like. Make sure you get permission from your publisher before using an excerpt.

Event Listing. Many people discover authors from book signings or speaking events. Let the local papers or magazines know when you will be out and about, and they can tell potential readers when and where to see you.

Sidebar. Editors love ready-to-go sidebars. Suggest a funny or unusual idea that you could write about, and put together some quick tips on the matter.

Book reviews are great, and you should pursue them whenever possible. However, keep your other opportunities in mind. Let your media contacts know that you can be a resource for them in many ways, and take advantage of a wide range of publicity options.

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