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Thursday, June 06, 2013

DO I NEED A PUBLICIST, AND IF SO, WHAT KIND?

THE FOLLOWING IS A GUEST POST (the first of three parts) by Rachel Sentes, publicist with gal-friday publicity. I've always wondered what a publicist might do for me, so I asked her to give us an idea of the types of publicists out there. Here' s what she has to say:

There are lots of publicists out there and several kinds that can help you. They are: 
  1. Freelance
  2. In-house
  3. Agencies or Firms, or
  4. Guaranteed Placements
A Freelance Publicist is usually an individual who works with a few other freelance writers or sub-contractors to contact media for self-published and traditionally published books and e-books.  

An In-house Publicist is a publicist that works inside a traditional publishing firm or a self-publishing company and is hired by the publisher to work on the book. In the case of a self-publishing house, they are usually part of a pre-paid package. If you are paying for a publicist as part of your publishing contract, then you are not with a traditional publishing house (and that’s a whole other post!) 

A freelance publicist is different than an in-house publicist in that a freelancer can choose what books they want to work on, and for how long. And that works well since publicity is an organic and evolving process. Many In-house publicists are given very little choice as to which books they want to work on, and they are usually done in three months, sometimes shorter depending on what other books are being pushed.  Which is too bad because some books take a little longer to have the media warm up to them, and so just when things start to go for them, they lose their support.

An Agency or Firm will have twenty or more publicists working on your book and often you will have two or three different people doing the bookings for you. These are the companies that so many marketing/publicity books (and writers) talk about when they say that you’ll be shelling out thousands of dollars for a publicist. And that might well be, as they tend to charge more than freelancers because they may have a few more resources on hand to help you. In my research and experience, freelancers can often land the same type of media that agencies can. A downside to agencies for some people is that they rarely read the books before signing you up, which can certainly affect the type of publicity you receive. However, since they have so many people working for them, their database can be substantially bigger than freelancers. 

The final kind, is mix of Publicist/Advertiser. Now I haven’t had a lot of direct interactions with many of them, but a few of my clients have, and while they did get placements, many of them weren’t a great fit for their book. And that’s generally because they have cultivated specific relationships with set types of media, that they know will do an article or interview with them. It’s almost like direct marketing with built in success. Now that might just be what you are looking for, so it’s worthwhile to research them. But be aware that your socially conscious environmental book might not fit the right wing business show that they end up booking you on. They do say that any publicity is good publicity, but if it’s not going to reach your audience it’s probably not a good fit. 

Rachel's Bio: Rachel Sentes is a professional writer and full-time publicist/CEO of gal-friday publicity, based in Vancouver, B.C. Her clients include actors, sports figures, publishers, authors, top tier businesses and dog rescue associations. She specializes in building publicity platforms and garnering media bookings for authors, helping them negotiate their way through the ever-changing maze of the publishing world. Rachel has booked clients on CNN, CTV National, BNN, The Seattle Times, Global, Shaw, City TV, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, NewsTalk 1010, TSN, Bloomberg Radio and The Vancouver Sun, to name a few. 

(Thanks, Rachel!)

Next Post: Publicists, Part Two: Can You Work With Two Publicists at a Time? by Rachel Sentes.

Stay tuned.

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