Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Using an Independent Publicist by publicist Lauren Becker

We all know that publicity for our books is crucial. Now we welcome independent publicist Lauren Becker to WriteOnCon.

The New Guide to Promotion: Book Blogs and Freelance Publicity

It’s not uncommon for the brunt of promotion to land on the author’s shoulders. You wrote the book, edited it like crazy, finally got it published…and now you have to be your very own promotion team? Well, yes. But it doesn’t have to be that bad! There are a variety of ways to get help with promotion these days, especially on the internet. As a book blogger and freelance publicist, I know how tough it can be to promote your book…but I also know some different ways to spread the word. Some current clients of mine Denise Jaden, Lee Bantle, and Linda Gerber are here to share their thoughts.
-Lauren Becker

All Hail the Book Blogs

Denise Jaden: In most cases, book bloggers have contacted me. I suppose they’ve heard about my book through the grapevine and contact me for interviews, ARC requests, etc. In a few cases, book bloggers have been recommended to me through fellow authors in either the Class of 2k10 or The Tenners (two debut author groups I’m a part of). Author friends may mention that a certain book blogger is looking for authors for an interview series, or maybe they are running a column that is particularly interesting.

I’ve had a great experience working with bloggers! They have been nothing but professional with me, and I really think of them as wonderful promotional people for YA literature in general.

Book bloggers help spread the word online about upcoming books, and because so many teens live online, I think this is an incredibly helpful way to get the word out. I expect that many teens pick up books based on recommendations, so I believe any avenue that can be used to pass on recommendations (i.e. blogs) will be helpful.

Lee Bantle: Because mine was a gay-themed book, I googled other gay writers to see which websites were reviewing their books.  Once you get into the network, with all the linking, the sites are endless.  I have enormous respect for bloggers.  They go to high school and run a website that requires a lot of a reading on the side.  It amazes me.  And delights me. Bloggers gives authors a platform in the teen world.

Linda Gerber: I've gotten to know several book bloggers through their blogs (I like to read YA reviews - especially thoughtful ones), through twitter or facebook, or - when I'm really lucky - meeting them in person. As a whole, they are an amazing and very supportive group of readers/writers.

Bloggers can help create a buzz online. They spread the word about books they like. Their reviews help with web presence. I owe a lot to the enthusiasm and support of the book bloggers who have reviewed my books - even if they weren't completely sold on them.

Freelance Publicity, Say What?!

Denise Jaden: With my first book, I’ve had a very open-minded attitude. I really didn’t know from the start what would be worth it or useful, but I’ve been doing my best to try a bit of everything. Because of this, I hired a freelance publicist, not really knowing what to expect. By the time I found my publicist, I had a pretty good handle on planning my own online presence, at least within the writing world, but Lauren has helped me think outside the box and pitch my book to other outlets I never would have thought of on my own.

I feel like as authors in the current market, we are expected to be a jack (or jill) of all trades. Not only do we need to write a good book, we need to be able to sell it, read from it, and come up with creative ways to expose it to the world. I think a freelance publicist can be invaluable to any authors (probably most of us) who don’t excel in all of these areas.

I had very little clue how to write a press release, and I probably could have taken ten or twenty hours of my writing time to figure it out, but I figure, why not let people do what they know how to do? Especially if you can find someone as reasonably priced as Lauren.

My publicist with my publisher is available for help when I need it, but she has many other authors to take care of as well, and unless I know specifically what I’m looking for help with, it can be difficult to figure it out. My freelance publicist has helped a great deal with brainstorming ideas, and in every case so far, she has also been implementing her ideas, so I have not had to go back and ask the publishing house for help.

Lee Bantle: I chose to work with a freelance publicist because I am busy.  I have a law practice and write novels. Getting some assistance is key.  They do the spadework.  And much, much better than I could.  They know the field and show me around.

No question that authors should work with bloggers and independent publicists. You help us be fruitful.  You help us multiply our readers

Linda Gerber: I really wanted to step it up in promoting my next release, TRANCE. The problem is, the busier I get writing books, the less time I have promoting them. I also found myself stuck in a rut of doing the same things over and over again with each book. My publisher publicist is great at putting together the big stuff, like magazine ads and approaching the industry reviewers, but I felt like I needed help with the grass roots part of the publicity.
At the onset, I just hoped for some original ideas and maybe some help setting things up since I am pressed for time. What I've gotten has gone way beyond that. Lauren has set up promotions, review tours and signings, procured business donations for online contests, sniffed out promotion opportunities I never would have thought about, and keeps the ball rolling when I get overwhelmed. She is fabulous.

Lauren Becker has been an entertainment blogger for three years with her blog Shooting Stars Mag. She’s freelanced for CityBeat, Venus Zine, and Sadie Magazine. She’s currently a freelance publicist for authors, specializing mostly in Young Adult. She resides just outside Cincinnati, Ohio and can be found at: or

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