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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

Thursday, October 27, 2005

PANEL: PR Pizzaz

WELCOME TO THE PR PIZZAZ ROOM

OUR PANEL TODAY IS:

Michelle Buckley, LaShaunda Hoffman, Belinda Williams, Pam Perry, Dee Stewart, Lori Soard

Public Relations is an important part of writing. Come learn about what to do and not do in your PR campaign.

12 comments:

Tempie said...

Hi...my question is directed to any member of the panel...

I am firm believer in having good Public Relations and have seen it's importance in almost everything.

Would you share some specifics of how Public Relations can play an important role in the overall process of a publication?

Want are some do's or don't's in reference to marketing of your publication? Do you have any recommended tips?

Thanks
Tempie Badge#151

rootwomin said...

hi,

in a tangent of a question i asked on another panel i'm wondering how many of you have hired pr people and if so how much success did you have in doing so or would you have rather worked the pr yourself?

thanks,
meri#129

BlackButterflyReview said...

At what stage should you hire a PR person? Also, is there something specific that you should be looking for when hiring this person?

Eleanor (#17)

Tempie said...

Good Morning..any member of the panel may answer..

To tie into both of the above questions...I was wondering would it be beneficial for an author to represent his/her self as PR, given the fact they have strong people, sales, marketing and management skills and have successfully represented others in other professions?

Or do you feel objectivity would be a factor? What are your thoughts concerning this?

Thanks Tempie
Badge #151

Cindy Appel said...

My question is relatively simple: Is hiring a publicist worth it for your typical "mid-list" author (ebook author or print)? Is there a rule of thumb that you need to be making X amount of dollars per year from your writing before hiring a publicist?

Thanks!

Cindy #19

Michelle said...

Sorry - I'm responding so late -- but unexpected events of the day, kept me from responding in a more timely manner. Okay -- let's get started...

Cindy #19 said: Is hiring a publicist worth it for your typical "mid-list" author (ebook author or print)? Is there a rule of thumb that you need to be making X amount of dollars per year from your writing before hiring a publicist?

I think whenever you can hire a good and effective pr person -- it's worth it. Problem is, publicists aren't cheap. You can easily expect to pay $2000-$5000/mth depending on what you ask your publicist to do. The average pr campaign lasts about 3-6 months. So you have to weigh the cost against your goals and the expected income it will help bring in.

Michelle said...

Eleanor #17 said: At what stage should you hire a PR person? Also, is there something specific that you should be looking for when hiring this person?

Answer: You should actually hire a publisher months before your book is released. Keep in mind that magazines in particular work 3-4 months on issues in advance so if you have a May release date, you'll want someone contacting the long-lead magazine pubs in Feb at the latest. Publicists are great for creating "buzz" before your book comes out. I know of one author who was doing online marketing/pr 7 months before her book's release -- so preparing the marketplace for your book is really important. It's important to get those early sales!

When looking for a pr person, I'd say to ask for credentials, talk to previous clients to see how pleased they were with work. Ask if they've worked with other literary clients. Ask what kind of contacts they have -- do they already have great relationships with key media, etc.

Michelle said...

Meri#129 said: in a tangent of a question i asked on another panel i'm wondering how many of you have hired pr people and if so how much success did you have in doing so or would you have rather worked the pr yourself?

I am a publicist by trade so I have not hired a publicist, I've done my own publicity. In retrospect, as a first time author, since there are so many other things to attend to--scheduling events, writing second book, promoting first book, etc...I think I would look into getting someone to help out with the publicity/promotion. I am lucky in that Urban Books, my publisher does some magazine advertising for its artists, so that helps as far as having a long lead magazine presence. I've known several authors just getting started who have had mixed success with publicists. Some have been very successful whereas others have not. If you do hire a publicist, know that you can't just hand things over to them -- your involvement in developing and implementing a pr plan is important too -- it keeps them accountable.

Michelle said...

Tempie 151 said:
Hi...my question is directed to any member of the panel...

I am firm believer in having good Public Relations and have seen it's importance in almost everything.

Would you share some specifics of how Public Relations can play an important role in the overall process of a publication?

Answer: Public relations is great for creating buzz for a book. Specifically pr can help with sales, event attendance, and creating awareness/helping author develop themselves into a brand -- which will help in the establishment of a LONNNNG career.

It's particularly effective in the months leading up to the book. Early book sales are important (like opening weekend for a movie) and the more you can do on the front end of your book's release --that gives you a stronger base to grow your readers from. Long lead publications, like magazines should be focused on before your book comes out. Local media should always be focused on whenever you're doing signings/events after your book is released. Make sure you contact local media at least 2-3 times. The first time should be at least 2-3 weeks prior to the event.

Public relations in the form of online outreach should take prior to a book's release, and in the early days. Join online book clubs, and writers groups to help spread the word! There is nothing like third party endorsers!

Want are some do's or don't's in reference to marketing of your publication? Do you have any recommended tips?

I have shared as part of the Workshop 2 portion of the day dos and dont's when it comes to marketing your book & dealing with the media. Feel free to check that out and contact me directly with any questions at prgalkc@hotmail.com.

Michelle said...

Good Morning..any member of the panel may answer..

To tie into both of the above questions...I was wondering would it be beneficial for an author to represent his/her self as PR, given the fact they have strong people, sales, marketing and management skills and have successfully represented others in other professions?

Or do you feel objectivity would be a factor? What are your thoughts concerning this?

Answer: If you can afford a professional, I would suggest hiring one. They have specific skills, not to mention established contacts that will prove invaluable. That's not to say that an author can't do their own pr.

Just know it is very time consuming and there are specific rules/dos and don'ts that you should honor when dealing with the media and various other outlets, like online groups.

Also be careful to not step on any toes, people have long memories....

Pam Perry said...

So can you afford not to promote your book if God told you to write it?

“I want to be on the New York Times best-seller list. I know everyone is going to want my book. It’s anointed.” I hear stuff like this from new authors all the time. Strangely, those who have been in the game for a while don’t say such statements. They’ve learned. Even the authors who have a track record with three or four books published (not just printed), don’t expect to be the next “Oprah book club darling.” Everyone who is anyone wants their book on Oprah. I just smile when I hear the comment and pray, “Lord, help me.”

I specialize in the Christian market because I believe in the message of the Gospel. That’s my mission – to market the message of the gospel to as many people as possible. So I run across tons of Christian authors. I encourage many to write their books. I even mentor some through the self-publishing process. Yet, I always tell to write what God tells them – not what’s popular.

This is where it gets sticky. Even though God may give you a word to write and the book is published, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be the next T.D. Jakes or Joyce Meyer. The book may be anointed but it still has to be sold through the world system – which is business. I try to tell authors “do not despise small beginnings.” Every business has cycles. Start up is phase 1 – and the most expensive.

Books are business. People pay money for books and when money is exchanged, there are expectations. People buy what they are motivated to buy – not necessarily what is “best” for them but what they desire. Advertising, marketing, publicity create desire.

Now, if an author were to print books and give them away – that’s another thing. No marketing is needed. But most want to make some sales. And it seems like some new authors even dream of being “rich and famous” and having people hunt them down for an autograph.

I don’t get it. What’s the heart motive? That’s why I don’t promote people – I promote the message of Jesus through their books. If it’s all about the fame, prestige and money, there are easier ways to become a millionaire. If your heart is not right or your ego is out of line, the book will flop. Guaranteed. God resists the proud.

Once the book is published a lot of authors believe it will sell by itself. Many Christians sway the other way and are too humble to tell anyone about their book. They believe if they put it up on Amazon or tell a few of their “yes buddies” it will take off. NOT! Just like any product that is sold for cold cash, it must be marketed and promoted in order to sell. It takes money to make money.

What part of that don’t Christian authors get? If they “get it,” why don’t they want to invest in the process to getting the book out there? Or why don’t they have a realistic marketing plan that will move books on a consistent basis? Why do they think others should “sow” to help them make books sales?

Why is it, “My book will help people” translates into “I don’t have the money to pay to promote it?” If God gives the vision, He will make provision to pay the professionals to make the book look excellent and be marketed professionally.

It’s really a disservice to the name of Jesus when I see authors who are in the book business and have not done their “homework.” They make a mockery out of the gospel by not doing things in an excellent manner. If the book that God told them to write is so important, then why don’t they do all that is humanly possible to make it appealing so people can buy it?

We are not to hide our light under a bushel and Christians will never sell the millions of books on Amazon – without some kind of marketing plan and PR strategy. God always had a plan – and Christians need one too – and to work it! By: Pam Perry, www.MinistryMarketingSolutions.com 2004©

Pam Perry said...

I'm sorry I am a little late in this discussion but since I work with Chrisitan authors only (many who have never had a publicist before or really DON'T know what a publicist does) I give them this "Do's and Don't-s" TIP SHEET. I hope this helps.

How to work with your publicist?
Do’s
 Tell them your schedule & where you’re speaking especially
 Be grateful and show appreciation of their efforts.
 Tell them things that run across your desk or emails that would help them get the word out for you. They can’t be every where all the time.
 Tell them if you get good response from the interview
 Tell them your “wish” list of media interviews and hosts you’d like to talk to and WHY
 Give them as much background on you as possible: schools, awards, conferences spoken at, places of employment (any place where there have been gatherings of people that know you or about you)
 Help other author friends. You reap what you sow. Look out for others.
 Keep a database. Every where you go and speak – start a mailing list
 Send thank you notes to the media. Keep in touch with them – but don’t be annoying.
 Give them ideas. Discuss new publicity angles. Publicists work with a variety of clients and they appreciate clients that are engaged in their publicity process and can see natural opportunities that they might miss.
 Give them good stuff to work with: a great book cover, a good head shot, a great book title and great endorsements
 Be nice to the media and get rid of the “entitlement” attitude.
 Whenever possible, advertise in or on the media you’re featured. Especially if you get a good response.
 Also remember to say your book title and website several times in the interview.
 Follow the advice, suggestions and recommendations of your publicist
 Let your publicist know your expectations right from the beginning
 Be consistent
 Make a positive confession about your publicity campaign and ask for prayer from your “inner circle” including your publicist. They are your “cheerleader” and intercessor.
 Research & know your market and ask them what “buzz” they have heard about your book and what you could do to improve
 Critique your interviews and constantly improve your “sound bites.”

Don’t
 Reschedule an interview directly with the producer or reporter. Go thru the publicist
 Ignore interview requests.
 Don’t take credit for your “media” success – know that it’s God that orchestrates everything and a team that helps you LOOK good
 If you have a question about the interview, ask your publicist immediately. Don’t ask the interviewer. They’ll take it as a bad sign that you don’t know your stuff.
 Don’t lie or over exaggerate the truth to the media. They check you out anyway.
 Don’t call your publicist after work hours or on weekends unless it’s an emergency – they’re human too with their own lives – though they love you and your book – give them some space
 Complain to your publicist if they can’t get the media hit you’re looking for right away. It may come in time but won’t come if you’re negative. Faith and patience produces the promise.
 Expect your publicist to know everything and everybody. Give them updates and FYIs via email. Keep in contact but don’t be a nuisance.
 Assume that the media will give you copies of the story or the interview. Ask before the interview begins – or better yet tape them yourself and/or subscribe the periodical/newspaper via the website.
 Be a lone ranger. Connect with other writers/authors/speakers. Go to other’s book signings. You reap what you sow.
 Be antagonistic with your publicist – they can be your best friend or worst enemy. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
 Think you’re a failure if you don’t get on Oprah.

About Me

My photo
I believe in promoting authors and their books. Let me introduce you and your books to online readers.

I'm also a happily married mother of three who's trying to break into the Christian writing field. The writing road can be rocky.

I’m available for:

Online promotion coaching
Lectures
Seminars
Freelancing
Contact me at:lchwriter@gmail.com

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