Sunday, April 22, 2012

Caroline Sun: How to Work with Your Publicist

Caroline Sun, the Senior Publicity Manager at HarperCollins Children's Books, gave us a much-appreciated glimpse behind the publicity curtain. Here are a few of the highlights:

Your editor will typically introduce you to your publicist 4-5 months before the publication date to share plans, timelines, and initial ideas. He or she will want to know about the author's personal media contacts (if any), the backstory, interesting anecdotes, and realistic pitch angles.

Publicity is the stuff that's open to the PUBLIC: the unpaid appearances, interviews, reviews, etc. Marketing is advertising, store displays, and other paid placements.

Publicists work hard. They send EVERY single galley to all of the trade publications... but the publications then decide what to review--or not. Media coverage of children's book is shrinking, and national radio and TV spots are rare. In other words, if your book doesn't get reviewed and/or you don't appear on the TODAY Show, it doesn't mean your publicist sucks! Publicity is unpredictable. You never know what will hit when.

So, what else is there?

  • bloggers and social media
  • conferences and networking opportunities
  • author communities
  • local book festivals
  • local author events
  • author-planned group tours

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