The reason it’s confusing is because nothing is guaranteed with PR. You’re buying effort and contacts.
It’s not like advertising where you buy an ad, it shows up. PR is a gamble. No publicist worth her salt will guarantee you placement. She can’t. A publicist’s job is to craft a pitch and get it to the right media outlets. But close the deal? That’s just not in her hands. The New York Times doesn’t listen to her when it comes to what to review. O Magazine will read the publicist’s pitch but she’s not invited to the editorial meeting to help them decide what books they are going to feature.
But knowing all that isn’t enough. I know it and yet it never seems to sink in.
And I’ve been trying to figure out why.
I think it’s because novelists are creative, imaginative people. Whisper glossy magazines to us and we can picture them. Mention an appearance on a TV morning show and we can’t stop visualizing sitting there and being interviewed. All the way down to the new Manolas you’re wearing.
In order to be an author we have to be optimists. How else could we spend a year, two or more of our time writing a book? Believing that we have a story worthy of telling? That people will want to read?
So presented with the potential of a PR campaign that will catapult our book onto the bestseller lists, it’s in our nature to start to drool and believe it’s all possible. Even probable. After all didn’t the book sell?
I’m not against hiring a PR firm. Quite the opposite. I think it’s a great idea. But you have to do it with your eyes open. You have to be a realist about it. And you need to make sure you have insurance.
Insurance [Read more…]