Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It's Hard Out There for a Book Publicist

This just in from an inhouse publicist, "Jane," who's promoting a nonfiction book by "Sally," a nonfiction author who's going to be reading at a premier Denver bookstore. Sally was recently interviewed about her book on NPR and had an opinion piece on its subject published in a major metro daily. I had suggested that Jane pitch a local network affiliate that often has authors on its mid-day show.
I'm crossing my fingers that there will be a good turnout at Sally's bookstore event. Tour media has taken shape nicely in her other cities, but I have had SO much trouble with Denver media.

Despite (or perhaps because of? I guess a publicist never knows...) repeated and persistent follow-up, nothing has come through. The TV show was initially interested, but ultimately said they were "understaffed" on the days Sally would be in town. The other TV and radio shows I repeatedly reached out to either ignored me or said the book wasn't newsy enough, even though I pointed out all the Colorado-specific news hooks.

And the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News have been utterly and mysteriously silent for the month-and-a-half I've been pitching them on this book. Sigh.

I'm bummed, because I wanted to get Sally topline media coverage in every city she visited, but at least I know I did my darnedest (even if it didn't pay off). I feel like maybe the run-up to the convention in August has the major Denver news outlets focusing strongly on the presidential campaign, at the expense of other stories that might fill their political/cultural coverage slots? Sigh, again.
So remember, authors:
Just because your publicist didn't get you any media coverage doesn't mean she didn't work her buns off for you.


ed said...

I should note that the same thing can be said of certain publicists who fail to return emails and calls. Not that everyone is this way. (Most are not.) But some publicists and indeed some HOUSES are asleep at the wheel.

Mr. Obie Joe said...

Thank you for saying this! In all of my contracts, I have the clause "Results are not guaranteed," because for some clients their understanding of how media works is woefully unsophsicated. They truly think you make the call, the booking is made.

A good publicist has her mix of developed contacts, strong pitches, and nice persistence, but much of the bookings could be classified as surprised luck.