All public relations professionals have the same tools to utilize. What distinguishes the successful practitioners from the others is creativity and dependability. Authors come to us because of our reputation for delivering on their expectations with energy and creativity.
When an author inquires about representation, before we even chat, we do our homework. We read some of the author’s work and review his or her publishing history and social media presence so we can discuss the potential of our working together intelligently. Then we schedule a free phone consultation to go over the author’s ideas, goals, expectations and budget, as well as our thoughts on how we propose to proceed.
There is no Plan A or Plan B for our clients. Each plan is as different as the author and may include social media, traditional and trade media, marketing, promotion, advertising, special events—and more. We enjoy working as a member of an author’s traditional team, along with the literary agent, editor, house publicist, and marketing and special media people, but we are also enthusiastic about one-on-one relationships when the author is self-published.
A key component in a successful author/public relations counselor relationship is close communication. We need to know what books are in the works and in what stages, what’s on the author’s schedule in terms of writing, travel and family obligations. Both partners understand who is responsible for what, when and where. When the author is traditionally published, we communicate closely with the literary agent, house publicist and other key members of the team.
How Much Will It Cost
That depends on the author’s budget! One of the first questions we ask is how much money the author is prepared to spend, because we structure our working relationship accordingly. But the rule of thumb is that, in order to meet the considerable promotional demands of a career as an author, he or she must invest two primary resources: time and money. The more money the author is able to invest in hiring a professional, the less time they will have to spend doing these things themselves. Early on, most authors do the bulk of the work for themselves. As their production increases, and they sell more books, they usually want a professional to take on more of these responsibilities for them.
Authors who are far enough along in their careers that they need and want ongoing representation, or an author who has the financial resources for this level of service early in their career, usually opt for this working relationship. Based on the author’s needs and expectations, we estimate how much time we will need to invest each month and quote a monthly figure, which will cover our time. Since we can’t control expenses, those are billed on top of the retainer, but the client approves all expenses in excess of an agreed-upon figure. If we work extra hours each month, the client is billed for those. If work fewer, the client pays less the next month. We do an accounting for the author each month.
When an author comes to us with a budget for a specific project, we ascertain the client’s promotable qualities and identify hooks for the book. Then we seek input from the client’s agent and publishing house professionals to determine what they’ll be doing for the author. Next comes the fun part—we do what we do best—get creative! We come up with a creative promotional plan, which the author approves before we build a production schedule. In such cases, we bill for half the project budget up front and half upon completion.
Occasionally authors ask us to tackle specific promotions for them—write and design an eBlast, book a speaking engagement and contract with the sponsoring organization, etc. We quote the job up front, and, again, the client pays for half the quoted amount upfront and half upon completion.
We welcome the opportunity to discuss your publishing dreams—or those of your authors’. Contact us today.