We have a wonderful client and friend who is a savvy magazine publisher, editor, marketing wiz, television writer and overall brilliant person. To call him a prolific content producer is an understatement. Recently he came to us with a completed manuscript for a fast paced, women’s fiction novel. Think murder mystery set among the social elite. A fun, guilt-free pleasure. Could we help him get it published?
The requirements for our clients are simple: 1. We have to love it 2. Be real with us (hyperbole or superlatives, no thanks), and 3. We are experts in the space.
This book publishing project presented us with an interesting challenge. We are not book publicists and we have no expertise in the space. Could we really help? Always love a good challenge and we were motivated to make it happen for a friend we believe in.
We approached this project as we would a traditional PR campaign: extensive research to understand the market + process; identify key influencers (in this case literary agents are the major gatekeepers and influencers with publishers); create and qualify the database; develop pitch materials; customize each pitch to each target influencer; and hit go. This of course is only the beginning of the execution phase, but I’m a huge believer in doing targeted research and qualifying BEFORE anything goes out the door. Otherwise you are just doing PR for PR sake, hoping something will stick.
We are still deep into the process, but we have already begun to see some success. Just yesterday, a top literary agent responded to our initial “query” and asked for the first 50 pages. A big win. This is akin to a WSJ reporter or Architectural Digest editor (depending on your market) responding to your pitch (in a positive manner) and asking for additional information.
Everyone, it seems dreams of being published, becoming an author. You would never know the publishing industry is undergoing a tremendous shift. Corrective changes are clearly in the works. Only the best, most nimble and digital savvy will survive. This all contributes to make the space for published books more competitive. It’s a tough space, exactly the type of challenge that is tailored made for us PR folks. Bring it.