Things Book Publicists Do and Do NOT Have in Their Control

Things Book Publicists CAN Control:

Creation of quality press materials: As book publicists, part of our job is to formulate quality press releases in a format the media is accustomed to reviewing. We must tailor our materials to be concise, relevant to the target audiences, and effective in representing what makes a book and its author unique. Book releases should not exceed two pages, including the author’s biography.

Creative, effective pitching efforts: Publicists can control the proactive monitoring of ongoing news trends, social issues, and popular developments that tie into themes and topics in a book. Publicists can also continually think outside the box to create new pitching angles to encourage media attention and spark media interest.

Close client communication: Since publicity is not guaranteed, keeping clients updated on the progress of their campaign is crucial – and within a publicist’s control. Detailing the pitching efforts, media feedback, and ongoing plans not only informs authors of the direction of the campaign, it also keeps publicists focused.

Follow-up efforts: Once the media connection has been made, it is in a publicist’s control to continue following up with each contact to encourage coverage. Continued follow-ups help ensure books will not be lost in the pile. Follow ups also provide opportunities for publicists to offer new story ideas/angles that pertain to the book and author’s message.

Things Book Publicists Cannot Control:

Media coverage: A book publicist cannot force media to review a book, write an article, hold an author interview, etc. Our job is to tactfully and creatively package a book and author into timely story angles that will entice the media to take the next step. Once the book is in their hands, however, the choice to use/cover/write about the book or interview the author is up to them.

Negative or positive reviews/coverage: As book publicists, a major part of our job is to remain unbiased so media can formulate their own opinion. If a negative book review is written, it is the thoughts and feedback of the reviewer that are reflected–not the book publicist.

Book sales: Book sales are dependent upon many factors–including how the author performs in an interview, where the book is available for purchase, timing, quality, relevance and how the author maximizes his/her traditional media exposure, to name a few. It is important to keep in mind that as publicists our main goal is to solicit media placements to give the book the best possible chance to sell.

Corinne Liccketto is the Sales & Marketing Manager at Smith Publicity, Inc. Beginning in 1997, Smith Publicity is one of the world’s leading promotional firms, specializing in book publicity. Fueled by a passion for making good things happen for clients, the company has worked with over 900 individuals and companies–from authors and entrepreneurs to publicly-held companies and businesses representing a wide range of industries. The Smith Publicity reach is international with offices in New Jersey, New York City, Los Angeles, and London. For more information about Smith Publicity, Inc., please visit


  1. says

    It’s also good to know that a good publicist – one who takes the “media relations” of his/her job seriously – knows when NOT to follow-up. Or when enough is enough. Being viewed as a pest or someone unable to see a lack of response=no interest doesn’t build positive relationships.

    Also, sometimes we know when a particular type of book or subject matter is something that a contact will despise. So, depending on what’s right for a book, it may or may not be sent.
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