Most authors want to publish their book. And to share their story with the world they have to publicize it. But publicity is murky. Sometimes difficult to navigate. You might find yourself asking, Can I manage publicity on my own? How do I know if I can trust a PR firm? What should I look for in an author-PR firm relationship?
We caught up with Julia Drake, co-founder and president of Wildbound PR, a literary-publicity company that helps authors across the globe gain exposure for their book. In our interview, Drake shared her insight and recommendations on what authors can expect from an author-PR firm relationship.
Transparency in the Plan
The first thing—and most important thing—you should look for in a PR firm is transparency.
A good PR firm will be up front with their publicity plan. They will present a proposal of publicity avenues they believe best suits your book and how they will help you accomplish your goals. This should be a methodical analysis—not randomized. It should be personal to you. And your book.
What if a firm refuses to share details about their publicity plans? Or claims they have a “secret sauce” they can’t share with you?
Leave. Lack of transparency in publicity plans, according to Drake, is typically an indicator of a scam.
Another thing to be wary of: A firm can appear perfect on paper but former clients might not be happy with their work. To recognize if a firm is good for you, reach out to their former clients. Ask if their experiences were positive. Ask if the publicists helped them accomplish their goals. A PR firm should be willing (and excited!) to share former clients with you. It means they’re proud of their former work.
Publicity is hard work. It requires experience and connections with the media to share your book—and not every publicist has the connections that will benefit you most. A publicist should be clear and transparent in what they can do for you.
Collaboration and Expectations
The author-PR firm relationship is a partnership. It’s teamwork. It’s a collaboration. An author who jumps into the action and is willing to collaborate with their publicist will run a stronger campaign than an author who sits on the bench.
A successful author-publicist relationship requires two things: communication and effort.
What are your goals for your book? Do you want to sell a thousand copies? Do you want your book to reach select audiences? Do you want to promote on TV or radio? Communicate your goals to your publicist. And be willing to spend time with them brainstorming publicity avenues.
As with any collaboration, you have to trust your PR firm. So it’s important to find a publicist who connects with your story. (This means they have to read your book!) Some firms read only the book’s summary and the author’s bio; run away if this is what they do. You want a publicist who believes in your story. Someone who has read your book, who makes the effort to connect to the theme and audience, and is passionate about sharing your story with the world.
Since an author-PR firm relationship is built on transparency and collaboration, you need to be clear on your expectations of the partnership. Be honest with your publicist about your goals, trust their judgment on recommended avenues, and put in the time and effort to publicize your book.