Over the years since our firm’s (www.thebarrettco.com) very first best-seller book PR project in the 1990s (Oscar winner movie producer Marty Jurow and his autobiography “See In’ Stars: A Show Biz Odyssey” from SMU Press), we at The Barrett Company have been contacted via email or phone by hundreds and hundreds of authors interested in publicizing their books.
One of the very first questions I ask an author is if they have done at least some basic homework beyond Amazon to get some knowledge of the publishing marketplace and where their published work may fit into it. I’m never surprised to still find that many trade publisher and self-published writers really have no grasp of how the whole process works in getting a book to the competitive marketplace. Many of these very talented non-fiction and fiction authors have been too immersed in getting their book published, quite knowingly a very intensive and very detail-oriented process – – with little time for anything else. Fair enough.
If an author can plan and execute their own PR plan for a book, which to be successful includes, but not limited to – – how to “sell” their book to the book media, write and distribute their own press releases to the print, electronic and growing digital medias, research and determine who it would be best to send their book to for review, if he or she is able to “self-train” themselves for medias interviews, arrange their own suitable book signing venues, determine how to enhance their book’s web site to make it more media friendly, is able to research and determine how to conduct their virtual book tour on the Net and also able to develop the ability to reach out and set-up their own interviews with the producers of meaningful radio and TV shows (“Charlie Rose”) and editor / writers at key national US magazines from “Men’s Health” to “Cosmopolitan” and others…then they do NOT need the services of a professional book publicist.
For any real and successful DIY media campaign for a self-published book author, it comes down to the media contacts he or she may have, be it for national TV shows such as Today or The View or in radio for shows like Coast To Coast AM with George Nouri for a science fiction / fantasy book author or maybe Good Day USA for a book on the U.S. political landscape these days. Their own PR campaign also depends on how they can put together ways of capitalizing on the social network portals like Facebook, Twitter and others to their best advantage to spread the word on their book. Obviously, this is going to take a great deal of time during business hours and oftentimes after business hours too.
First off, I would advise any author new to the world of book publicity to reflect upon what their publicity goals are and to ask themselves: are these realistic goals? One of the most common first questions book PR people can be asked is, “Can you get me on Oprah (I personally handled PR for Ms. Winfrey’s 2007 ABC series “Oprah’s Big Give”)?” Well, of course we can, since we have relationships with the show’s producers. But an author must truly realize it is the producers who ultimately decide to book the writer to fit perhaps any theme the show may be exploring such as child abuse, cheating spouses and maybe adoptees looking for their natural parents and so on and so on.
Now, if an author is being published by Simon & Schuster or Globe Pequot Press, the publisher’s publicist (my firm is a consultant to some big box publishers) will service the reviewers at such key outlets as Publishers Weekly, Book List and the others, but it can often stop at that point since they have other book releases that particular month to work on to expend their monetary and time budgets. So, what happens often is that good books get “lost in the shuffle” through no fault of their own.
If an author has a publisher with a PR department he or she should keep in constant contact with the publicist handling their book. Book reviewers and long lead magazine editors often plan 5 to 6 months ahead of publication month and TV shows too. Many, many big box publisher authors have engaged us to work with their respective publisher publicists to make sure all the bases are covered when their book comes into the marketplace. There is a lot of planning to be done and it’s never too early to start.
As a book publicist I welcome most calls I get from prospective new clients. I have listened to some of the most hilarious to the most sad stories all wrapped up in a book that is coming be it non-fiction or fiction covering – – biographies, politics, health, advice on getting remarried to maybe a thriller / new detective series.
If an author is interested in engaging the services of a professional book publicist he or she should make sure they get a free consultation with the publicist in-person or on the phone. Also, from there, a written plan or proposal should be provided to the author from the PR professional spelling out in detail what they feel they can do to help the author reach his or her goals in getting themselves known…to expand the awareness of their work.
About the author
Mr. Barrett formed The Barrett Company after serving in top PR and media relations positions with the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) for more than ten years, where he was in charge of media relations for The Tonight Show and Johnny Carson and also, Today, among other well-known NBC shows such as Unsolved Mysteries, Fame and numerous highly-rated NBC specials, including The American Film Institute Awards and The American Movie Awards. As a film publicist in Hollywood, Charlie has worked with Dennis Hopper, Robert Stack, Tatum O’Neal, Steve McQueen, and Candice Bergen.
Charlie began his media career as a reporter with The Associated Press in New Haven, CT and later served on the editorial staffs of both The Hollywood Reporter in Los Angeles and Billboard in New York. He has also authored numerous articles for magazines and newspapers on the performing arts and travel as well as appearing as a regular contributor on major US radio talk shows discussing celebrities, films, television and books. Charlie was voted the Book Publicist of the Year award by the Southern California Book Publicists Society. TBC is a member of The Publishers Association of Los Angeles, The Academy of TV Arts and Sciences (ATAS gives the Emmy Award) and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (the Oscar).
The Barrett Company is well known and regarded among the world’s media outlets for its credibility and creativity. Through years of client assignments TBC has developed remarkable and successful PR campaigns for a wide range of authors/publishers, Hollywood creatives, companies and celebrities, which have paved the way for the firm to produce media, consumer and trade events of all descriptions both in the US and overseas, from Book Expo to NATPE (the renowned annual television program executive conference) to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, The Frankfurt Book Fair and The Cannes International Film Festival. The TBC web site is at www.thebarrettco.com.0