Saturday, August 29, 2009


Publicists Pam Perry and Dana Pittman will answer questions about their business and what they do for their clients.


rhonda mcknight said...

I am considering hiring a publicist, but I have to admit I'm skeptical. Publicist are very expensive, and many require a contract that obligates the author for several months. When I spend a good chunk of money or commit to spending that money over time I have to be able to see a return on my investment. Please share with me what you consider to be the measurable components of what you do and what reasonable reporting looks like.

Thanks in advance. Both of you have been a blessing to me. I've learned so much from your freebies!!!

Rhonda McKnight
Secrets and Lies, Nov 24th

E. N. Joy said...

I thank each publicist for taking time out of their Saturday schedule to answer a few of our questions.

As a published author for over a decade, I understand that my role as an author goes far beyond just writing the book. It's my job to make sure the readers know it's out there and the publisher's job to make sure the readers can obtain it through distribution. Using the 100% scale, what percentage, as a publicist, do you advise your clients is their responsibility as far as marketing and promotion, and what percentage is the publisher's.

Faith said...

Should an author choose a publicist based on genre? Do publicists work with certain types of authors (such as Christian or non-fiction) exclusively? What are the things to look for in a publicist and what should an author avoid? Thanks!

Pam Perry, PR Coach said...

Rhonda, you may not need a publicist. As far as I can see, you already have the basic skills. (Most authors do). What you may need is a Publicity Virtual Assistant. They help you virtually in every area of the campaign - doing the administrative word and follow up!!!!! Key: Follow up takes time...and diligence. Contact my Publicity VA, Leah Hubbard at (248) 342-8806 or It is less expensive than hiring a full time publicist that has agency salaries to pay. So, I hope that help. Leah is Christian and serves her pastors to by the way!

Jeanette Hill said...

My question is from a little different perspective. (Until I publish my book:) I am a playwright and my products are my plays. Other than promotional interviews for magazines and radio shows my exposure outside of my local area has been minimal. I'd like to know if there would be any benefit in having a publicist at this point unless I was planning a tour? If I did get a publicist, should it be on an 'as needed' basis instead of a longer term arrangement?

m harris said...

Authors sometimes complain that their book isn't "big" enough for their publishing house to spend time and money on their title. What should the next step be for an author?

Dana Pittman said...

Hello Everyone. I appreciate the opportunity to "appear" in this forum. This is a wonderful opportunity and I hope you all take advantage of it.

Now to your questions.


Rhonda, it really depends on what you would like to "see". Some people measure results by secured events, interviews, appointments, presented opportunities, website stats, etc. Thus, you should first consult with a potential publicist after creating your book marketing plan. Usually, your marketing plan will assist in determining an appropriate means of measuring your outcome. However, I must stress that no one can guarantee results. The most that can be given is best effort to assist you within the areas covered by the agreement between you and that publicist.

E. N. Joy:

That's difficult to gauge since the publishing industry has changed drastically in the past year. However, I would estimate 80/20. 80% on the author. 20% on the publisher. This may be far reaching but many publishers are suffering in the current economy. And even if you find a publisher that is committed to promoting your book most efforts are boilerplate or general at best. Whereas your efforts could be focused on your target market.


Selecting your publicist by genre is possible with some; however, I would suggest that you focus on your goals. Some publicist are stronger in particular media outlets than others and this may be tied to their connections within a specific genre. I've noticed that some publicist work specifically with Christian authors but I would venture to say that I'm sure if they found an interesting project or if they connected with that author that their skills and resources should be transferable.

So, basically I'm saying do what works best for you. Look at your budget, time, goals, genre, etc. when selecting a publicist. As far as avoidance, all I can say without more information is research, ask for references if needed, and follow your gut.


Hum... I'm not sure I have a direct answer without knowing more about your project. Particularly, it would be helpful to know why you believe you need a publicist. Do you plan to tour in the near future? Are you planning to produce your plays in staged production? Will people be able to purchase them if you do?

This is just a few questions I would consider with your project. Having publicity would assist in exposing your product (i.e., play, book, etc.) to your targeted audience.

Working on an "as needed" basis would possibly help. Having someone on retainer would be another option as well.

I would suggest contacting a potential publicist and having an initial consultation. That should assist you with determining whether having a publicist, right now, would be of benefit to you and your "product".

Feel free to answers some of the questions above if you would like a more detailed response.

M. Harris:

Hit the ground running.

You should have a book marketing plan. You should have a website, a online marketing strategy, etc. to implement. Don't wait on the publisher. If you want it you have to go get it!

Dana Pittman, JD
Nia Promotions

Pam Perry, PR Coach said...

How to Hire and Work with Your Publicist or PR Coach

So you don’t know anything about PR and you hope the people you hire know their stuff. But how do you even find, interview, hire and work with this key link in your media campaign?

What does a publicist or PR coach do?:
• Prepares or evaluates promotional material such as press kits, press releases and enticing emails
• Submits news releases and E-Blasts to media outlets or gives you the services to use
• Schedules radio and/or TV interviews; or shows you how to deliver a snappy phone pitch in 15 to 30 seconds
• Schedules local and national appearances and/or book signings or provides you with people to call
• Has a plethora of resources, contacts, and connections in the industry & they invest time in developing and nurturing strong relationships with their media contacts
• Gives you creative ways to market your book (keeping your market in mind) and knows exactly what you need to accomplish a publicity campaign

Guidelines for Picking a Publicist or PR coach:

• When meeting with a prospective publicist/PR coach, casually ask for the names of three clients who could recommend her services. If she feels good about the work she's done, she will quickly and enthusiastically come up with several names on the spot. Or just look on their website and contact the clients directly yourself.
• When you have the reference on the phone, ask him to name the best thing the publicist has done for his company. Ask specifically about results.
• Ask the publicist what she does best. Her answer should be something you think you need. If she specializes in something you don't need, she may not be right for you. (One point of caution: be open to new ideas!)
• Ask yourself, "Is this person as smart as I am?" A good business person always strives to surround himself with geniuses! At least, you will want to hire someone who seems very bright.
• Don't just ask the publicist what she costs—ask her why she costs what she costs (and do a comparison to other firms).
• Take note of whether or not she asks intelligent, thoughtful questions about your company. You don't want a publicist who makes a lot of (wrong) assumptions!
• Define up front what a successful marketing plan looks like, and determine a schedule for deliverables. It is imperative that both parties begin the relationship with the same expectations.
• Don't be stiffed by your publicist's vendors or settle for poor quality. Ask her how she chooses vendors, who her vendors are, and why. Leave vendor options open; three bids is not unusual. Does the vendor's portfolio of work wow you? Even one "dud" should disqualify them, because if they are capable of doing bad work, they will do it for you.
• Be sure she is a team player, not a superstar.

Pam Perry
Need more info: see my website at and get free mp3 and Ebook "What Every Christian Author Should Know" and go to

Pam Perry, PR Coach said...

If or when you’ve picked a publicist, here are some Do’s and Don’ts:

• Tell them your schedule & where you’re speaking and what events you are planning
• Give them ample time to process your requests and return your phone calls.
• Tell them things that come across your desk or emails that would help them get the word out for you. They can’t be everywhere all the time – sending FYI emails or Faxes are fine.
• Tell them if you get a good response from an 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, speaking engagements, 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 an up-to-date database. Everywhere you go and speak – add to your mailing list. Emails especially!
• Send personal 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 materials to work with: a great book cover, a good head shot, a great book title and great endorsements. Have a good business card too (with photo if possible).
• Be nice to the media and get rid of the “entitlement” attitude.
• Whenever possible, advertise on the media stations/TV or in the media outlets you’re featured in, especially if you get a good response.
• Remember to say your book title and website several times during the interview.
• Follow the advice, suggestions and recommendations of your publicist.
• Let your publicist know your expectations right from the beginning.
• Be grateful to your publicist and show appreciation for their efforts. Tell them.
• Be consistent with the media.
• Make a positive confession about your publicity campaign and ask for prayer from your “inner circle,” including your publicist. They’re 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.”

• Reschedule an interview directly with the producer or reporter. Go through the publicist.
• Ignore interview requests.
• 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 facts or what you’re doing.
• Don’t lie or over exaggerate the truth to the media. They check you out anyway.
• Call your publicist after work hours or on the weekends unless it’s an emergency – they’re human too. The have their own lives, although 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 it may not come at all if you’re negative. Faith and patience produce the promise.
• Expect your publicist to know everything and everybody. Give them updates and FYI's 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 to their periodical/newspaper via the website.
• Be a lone ranger. Connect with other writers/authors/speakers. Go to other author’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.

Go to the PR PRO Shop at or get group coaching at

Unknown said...

Good Afternoon all,

This session is very helpful by the way. I have a few questions.

when working with a publicist, what are the Dos and Don'ts of the relationship? For example, if you have an out of town event that the publicist will be attending also, do you pay for their room. If you go to dinner together, do you pay for the meal. Basically are they exempt from certain things because they are your publicist? And does this depend on the payment you have arranged?

Also, I am currently looking for a publicist. Where can I find a listing and/or recommendation?

Pam Perry, PR Coach said...

E.N, Faith and Jeanette and M. Harris: The key to any good PR is preparation. I get tons of calls from people who think they are ahead of the game if they call me 2 weeks before the book is printed! NOPE.

You have to prepare a marketing strategy before the book is even written. Who are you targeting, what are the listen to, watching, reading and what social networks can you find them on...and also what problem are you solving for your audience or what do they want gain from YOU. What value to add to the reader? By asking these questions before the book is written will save you time, money and heart aches.

Get before God and hire a good PR consultant or PR coach to help you through the process - it's so much easier once you have a road map.

I would suggest the following books to read before you really start trying to hire someone:

Recommended Reading List

1. 1001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kremer

2. The Complete Guide to Book Publicity by Jodee Blanco

3. The Savvy Author's Guide to Book Publicity: A Comprehensive Resource--From Building the Buzz to Pitching the Press by Lissa Warren

4. Publicize Your Book!: An Insider's Guide to Getting Your Book the Attention It Deserves by Jacqueline Deval

5. Guerrilla Marketing for Writers : 100 Weapons to Help You Sell Your Work
by Jay Conrad Levinson, Rick Frishman, Michael Larsen

6. Jump Start Your Book Sales: A Money-Making Guide for Authors, Independent Publishers and Small Presses by Marilyn Ross, Tom Ross

7. Synergy Energy: How to Use the Power of Partnerships to Market Your Books, Grow Your Business and Brand Your Ministry by Pam Perry, Crystal and Anthony Obey
Also see, for more FREE stuff!

8. Complete Guide to Book Marketing by David Cole

9. A Simple Guide to Marketing Your Book: What an Author and Publisher Can Do to Sell More Books by Mark Ortman

10. Guerrilla Publicity: Hundreds of Sure-Fire Tactics to Get Maximum Sales for Minimum Dollars by Jay Conrad Levinson, Rick Frishman, Jill Lublin

11. Over 75 Good Ideas for Promoting Your Book by Patricia L. Fry

12. How To Publish and Promote Online by M. J. Rose (Author), Angela Adair-Hoy (Author)

Prepared by: Pam Perry,

Pam Perry, PR Coach said...

Want a publicist? Try these

Company: TaylorMade Media
Karen Taylor Bass
Phone: (516) 285-4999

Company: VMS Communications
Phone: (888) 436-2158

Company: BuzzWorthyPR
Phone: (985) 859-4842

Company: PR, et Cetera, Inc.
Phone: (408) 499-3664

Company: P R Communications Group, LLC
Pam Purifoy
Phone: (919) 451-2620

Company: Kathryn Leary, Marketing and PR Consultant
Phone: (201) 386-9159

Ministry Marketing Solutions has a select list of Christian authors we work with - if you would like to be considered, contact Leah Hubbard at javascript:void(0)248.342-8806 or Get free mp3 and ebook at our website and join the Chocolate Pages Network and read Ty Webbin's NextLevel blog there!

Faith said...

Thanks Dana and Pam for all the useful information!

Pam Perry, PR Coach said...

Hey, you guys everyone is asking about hiring a publicist...that costs from $2,500 to $10,000 am month. Got it. Then that's Fine. But if you have no time to do all the PR Task needed to run a successful Publicity campaign?

DELEGATE to a well-qualified
Publicity Virtual Assistant!

Publicity virtual assistants are especially beneficial for those many first-time authors who are overwhelmed with the publishing & marketing process. By partnering with a Publicity Virtual Assistant, the stress of having to know it all is drastically reduced and the author can rely on their PVA to take over and implement much of the publicity campaign.

Ministry Marketing Solutions offers you an answer:
Mrs. Leah Hubbard, PVA Extraordinaire!

As a busy author, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by all the details of your book, marketing plans, website needs, and promotional duties. I feel you!

Your many projects and ideas can lose their effectiveness if you can't implement them successfully.

Enter - The PVA Solution: Leah Hubbard! (
Delegating will help you go from obscurity to fame!

Self-publishers and published authors alike often need assistance with the most vital aspect of their book journey, marketing and publicity.

You need do an aggressive marketing campaign and get out there and promote your hard work.

Publicity Virtual Assistants are virtual assistants who specialize in publicity and marketing.

Publicity Virtual Assistants utilize all their expert talents and superb writing abilities for book marketing and promotions, thereby helping authors achieve the success they deserve by providing extensive marketing support, help with social networking, following up on media pitches, proofing and editing capabilities, extensive research, administrative support and so much more.

Leah Hubbard started Wise Administrative Associates in 1996 to support small-mid sized companies and entrepreneurs in all phases of Administrative Support.

Publicity virtual assistants are especially beneficial for those many first-time authors who are overwhelmed with the publishing process.

By partnering with a Publicity Virtual Assistant, the stress of having to do it all while maintaining the rest of your live is drastically reduced and the author can rely on their PVA to take over and implement much of the publicity campaign.

As your Publishing Virtual Assistant, Leah Hubbard will:

Proof articles and post to your blog
Be your social networker: finding you friends, followers and fans
Submit articles to online directories & press releases to the media
Follow up on media contacts & set up interviews (a job all by itself!!)
Assist in arranging book signings and speaking engagements
Mailings of marketing materials to various outlets
Calendar Coordination to keep you on top of appointments
Help you keep your sanity and keep your dream alive while you work by providing top-notch administrative support!

For pricing information, please email her at or call 248.342-8806.

rhonda mcknight said...

Wonderful, wonderful information from both of you. Thanks so much.

Pam - You are the tenth person who has told me I don't need a publicist. :o) I do need a publicist, because I don't have time to do it all! But I did connect with a publicity V.A. just this week. I hadn't made a final decision on whether or not I was going to use her services, but now with your advice here I'll go ahead and start there and perhaps work my way up. Thanks so much.

Dana - thanks for redirecting me to my marketing plan. I agree good place to begin.

Again - Thanks for all the free information. You ladies have been a blessing to us newbie authors.

rhonda mcknight said...

Thanks also for suggesting, Leah. I'll contact her.

Farrah Rochon said...

Excellent information! Thanks for freely sharing your wisdom with SORMAG's readers!

Author Shelia E. Lipsey said...

All of this information has been so beneficial. You have many of my questions. Looks like I definitely need a PR Virtual Assistant. I will check out the suggestions given. This has been a wonderful panel discussion.

Pam Perry, PR Coach said...

What Makes a Best-Seller?
By: Pam Perry, Ministry

1. Title – is it griping, interesting? Would one know what it’s about without reading anything else?
2. Cover – people do judge a book by its cover. Make sure it has enough punch to stand out on the shelves among the thousands of other books. Is it clean, neat and crisp – yet interesting?
3. Endorsements – what others say about you is key. Who these people are is even more important. Pull together the “best words from the best people.” It will pre-sell your book before you even open your mouth.
4. Writer’s credentials – do you have anything else with your byline? Do you blog? Do you have an audience that actually likes what you write?
5. Knowledge of the Market the book will reach – and the author’s reputation in that market. The author must create a market for himself by really addressing the needs of that market, knowing that market and communicating the right message to that market.
6. Timing – in relation to other events going on in the world/society. Are there movies, songs or talk shows that are bringing up the subject you have discussed in your book? Do you read the newspaper regularly and respond with Opinion Editorials when they are discussing “your” platform/topic?
7. Advertising – targeting the right message to the right media at the right time. Consistently!
8. Media coverage – publicity. The frosting on the cake. Getting on radio, TV and in newspapers and magazine and Ezines. Consistently (w/advertising)
9. Distribution – If you want to be a best-seller you have to have your book available. Make sure you sign up with a distributor or wholesaler so it is accessible to bookstores. (Amazon is not national distribution…it is a website) Best-sellers are sold in real bookstores and they only order from distributors or wholesales. (See Christian Writer’s Market Guide for Distributors to approach. Note: You must have a press kit and solid marketing plan for them to consider you).
10. Word of Mouth – The best advertising. The more “buzz” you have about your book the better. How do you get people talking about your book? By engaging in their culture and creating messages in their media. Be relentless in your goal to be a “best-seller” – and it will happen if you commit to the publicity process and pray for favor.

Pam Perry, PR Coach said...

Take this Quiz before you publish...publishing and book promotion "ain't no joke!"

Are You Ready to Publish Yourself?

1. You have at least $2,500 to $5,000 to invest in the project.

2. Your topic is a topic that is very “marketable” in a book.

3. You regularly support other author events, i.e. book signings and lectures.

4. You frequently visit bookstores and know what the trends are in Christian books and know the bestsellers.

5. You have a website or plan to get one to sell/market your book.

6. You’ve published articles or regularly speak/lecture thereby you have an “audience” for your book.

7. You research and read books/magazines on publishing or go to writer’s conferences or are part of a writer’s group.

8. You know a good graphic designer, editor and webmaster – or at least know where to find one.

9. You have a written marketing plan and know how you’re going to seel your book– before you’ve written it.

10. You have at least 10 hours a week to promote your book.

11. You are part a writer’s discussion group online, blog regularly and do some social networking.

If you have answered “yes” to 7 or more of these questions, you are a good candidate to be a successful author. If not, you now have a guideline us to what to do before you start the publishing process.

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.

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, see for free Ebook and audio on PR Coaching

Unknown said...

Excellent workshop!

I would love to hear more about booking lectures and speaking engagements.

I would also like to know more about how to build the best marketing plan.

thank you,

Pam Perry, PR Coach said...

Final words:


1. Waiting until the last minute to start promoting – thus not creating a demand or building a platform!

2. Bad “branding” or confusing branding or NO branding…. Photos, logos, website, biz cards, postcards, taglines, bios

3. Not do their due diligence and really knowing the industry….this is a business. Your book is your business (who is your target, what are your competitors, what are the trade mag, where are the industry conferences, meetings, websites)

4. No web presence. NO email list. No capture page. NO LIST! (and no team or coach to help them)

and final, final word...get comfortable with video...and get pretty if you're a girl :) and get buffed if you're a guy :) HAVE FUN, LAUGH AND LET YOUR PERSONALITY SHOW and post up on YOUTUBE and shoot straight to the top!

See my video channel:

CONTACT ME ANY TIME VIA EMAIL, TWITTER, FACEBOOK.... Had a great time. Thank you so much SORMAG. LaShaunda this was fun. YOU ROCK girl!

Hugs...I'm outta here.
Speaking the the National Black Book Festival Next Year. Come and see me. It's on Tywebbin's blog and in

Wholesale Writing Desk said...

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Wholesale Writing Desk said...

Thanks for your information.
May be an additional experience for me...

Please visit also to our website

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