How does a book publicist differ from a literary agent and why do you need one?
The job of the literary agent vs the public relations person or publicist is distinctly different. Whether you publish through a traditional publisher or plan to self-publish, you will need both people on your team.
A literary agent is a person who finds sells your manuscript to a publisher, negotiates the publishing contract in your best interest, and usually manages your publishing career over several years or more, with respect to seeking out publishers and other media, such as film/tv outlets to sell not only one of your works, but all of what you write. A true literary agent does not offer any market promotion to authors. Their job is to get the work “to” market via a publisher. The publicist’s job is to make the work or the writer discoverable to consumers.
The most critical time for an author to engage a publicist is during a “title launch,” that is immediately before a book or film or another product is released by a publisher for sale to consumers. But a publicist also can be helpful over the long term, in building, managing and maintaining the author’s platform, or what I call, his or her market visibility.
Not all publicists are created equal. Many are inexperienced or don’t offer the broadest range of services. An effective publicist is only as good as who he or she knows in the media, including reviewers, journalists, TV hosts, filmmakers, blogging influencers and the like.
Publicists can be expensive. But if the return is great enough, most of us would be happy to pay. Fees generally range from $3,000 to $25,000 or more, depending on what the firm includes in its package.
Publicists typically offer to book the author on local or national media shows and obtain newspaper and magazine articles or mentions and promote the author online, through social networks. Some also book speaking engagements and arrange book tours.
Before you sign a contract with a publicist, be sure to thoroughly check them out. Who are their clients, what do online reviews say, how does their contract read?
I once hired a publicist who promised to book a couple of authors on National TV shows. I flew the pair of them to New York only to find that the major network had no idea who we were and certainly was not aware of any appointment for an interview. So, do be careful.
Following are a list of seven promotional firms or people (in no particular order) that appear to me to have solid reputations. Bear in mind, I have only actively worked with two of them, but I get positive vibes from all.
Please do your homework. I’d love for you to share your experiences about working with them or others.
Cathy says her firm develops a personal, highly collaborative relationship with authors and tailors media campaigns to the needs, personality and professional goals of the individual. The company attempts to get authors seen, heard, and read about in every type of media and helps them build strong name recognition.
Her services also help build the author’s internet presence—from pre-publication to long past release.
Contact Cathy Lewis
Kathleen Carter Zrelak is the founder and CEO of Kathleen Carter Communications (KCC), a literary publicity and marketing agency that creates and implements strategic and customized campaigns for authors and publishers.
Kathleen’s background in publishing is rather unique, as she started her career at Goldberg McDuffie Communications as an intern and worked her way up the ranks for more than a decade to become Vice President and Director of Publicity. During that time, she executed campaigns for many high-profile and bestselling authors including Pope Francis, Jodi Picoult, Senator Kamala Harris, Arianna Huffington, Rebecca Skloot, Kimberly McCreight, Ellen Hopkins, Richard Peck, and Susan Cain. She’s also been instrumental in launching the careers of a number of acclaimed and bestselling authors including Fiona Davis, Elliot Ackerman, and Jillian Lauren.
Kathleen’s versatility and passion for books are evident in the diversity of projects she’s represented. Her campaigns have spanned many genres, with a specialization in literary and commercial fiction, young adult and children’s literature, and a variety of non-fiction including memoir, health/medical, science, pop culture, current events, and lifestyle. She has also promoted literary awards and festivals.
Kathleen graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from Fairfield University with a degree in English literature and art history. She spends much of her personal time reading with her two young children, whose enthusiasm for books fills her with pride and warms her heart. They live in the suburbs of New York City, where Kathleen was born and raised.
Follow her on Twitter @KathleenZrelak.
Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm with a special knack for working with Doctors, Lawyers, Authors, Startups and Entrepreneurs to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more.
Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. He’s generated media coverage for numerous genres including, fiction, health, romance, business and children.
His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, CNN, ABC Nightly News, Nightline, TIME, PBS, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Investor’s Business Daily, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Howard Stern, Family Circle, Woman’s World, and Entrepreneur, and many more.
Email form: Book Marketing Proposal Request Form.
Megan Beatie, a veteran publicist with more than two decades of experience in publishing, is President and CEO of Megan Beatie Communications (MBC), a book publicity and marketing agency.
Megan has forged publicity campaigns for numerous New York Times bestselling authors, including Melissa de la Cruz, Dr. David Agus, and Neil Gaiman and launched the careers of many novelists, such as New York Times bestsellers Sandhya Menon and Amber Smith. She has represented authors in nearly every conceivable genre including literary and commercial fiction, mysteries, thrillers, and graphic novels, as well as nonfiction books covering pop culture, film, entertainment, health, lifestyle, parenting, relationships, religion, and business. She specializes in promoting picture, middle grade and young adult books and handles the publicity for the annual YALLWEST book festival in Santa Monica, CA.
She spent nearly two decades at Goldberg McDuffie Communications in New York, rising to the level of Vice President, Director of Publicity. While there she cultivated strong, long-standing relationships with editors, journalists, and producers at the most influential television shows, radio programs, magazines, newspapers, websites, and blogs around the world.
In 2015, she formed her own namesake agency so she would be able to focus on more personalized strategies and outreach opportunities for books and authors about which she’s truly passionate, and the results are undeniable.
After more than five years of working in New York City, she returned to her home in Southern California and currently resides in Los Angeles where she’s outnumbered in her all-male family by her husband and their two sons.
Book publicity campaigns for authors and publishers are the focus of Susan Schwartzman Public Relations. Dynamic, aggressive yet affordable book publicity designed to enhance visibility in today’s extremely competitive market is her hallmark.
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NetGalley is a service to promote and publicize forthcoming titles to readers of influence. If you are a reviewer, blogger, journalist, librarian, bookseller, educator, or in the media, you can use NetGalley for free to request, read, and recommend titles before they are published. Sign up here.
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Individual authors can list their books on NetGalley either directly or through the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA).
Listing directly with NetGalley: Two Options
- $699 Marketing-plus-Title listing. This special bundle includes a 6-month title listing plus one spot in any scheduled NetGalley Newsletter. This bundle must be purchased as part of the title listing, and newsletter spots are subject to availability. This is a great way to benefit from direct messaging to members interested in a specific genre, or a specific member type, while still taking advantage of all of the benefits of a standard title listing (listed below).
- $450 Six-month title listing
- Titles can be active on the site for up to 6 months, available on NetGalley for professional readers to request or download, depending on your preferences.
- We will help you set up your title in your own personal account and provide you with advice about managing your account, including approving requests.
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- You will receive email support, but NetGalley does not provide phone support for single-title listing clients at this time. If you are not comfortable with running your own account independently, the IBPA program may be a better fit.
- Participation in any marketing programs will be in addition to your listing fee, and discounts are not available. If you’re considering marketing, take advantage of the bundle above!
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