There are so many great duos: Sonny and Cher. Peanut butter and jelly. Calvin and Hobbes. An author and their publicist.
If you’ve hired a publicist to help market your book, you’ve already taken the first step in building a truly dynamic partnership. And with any partnership, it’s important that both sides are working together toward a common goal.
Here are a few things to remember as you start working with your publicist:
Communicate with your publicist
You know your book better than anyone else. If you have ideas on marketing strategies, let your publicist know. Any author can hire a publicist and let them take over, but you’ll find value in collaborating with your publicist and truly being a team.
Whether you’re a debut author or you’ve published numerous books, the publishing world is constantly changing, and that goes for literary marketing as well. Your publicist is there to help answer questions and guide you through your book marketing journey. They might not always have the answers, but a good publicist will work to help solve problems and be a listening ear for your concerns.
Be open to new ideas
Your publicist’s job first and foremost is to promote you and your book, and sometimes that can mean brainstorming fresh ideas and new ways to market your book to readers. Together, you and your publicist can get creative and figure out how to set your work apart from the pack. You never know how one opportunity can lead to another, and even “smaller” opportunities have value in the short and long term.
This one shouldn’t be a stretch: Most authors are used to working on deadline. If your publicist gives you a deadline for something, let them know if you’ll be able to meet that deadline — and then meet that deadline.
We know everyone gets approximately 1,187 emails a day, and your publicist isn’t purposely trying to add to your inbox (we promise!). Thankfully, the book industry isn’t one where fires are continuously being put out every single day.
With that being said, responding in a timely manner to your publicist’s communication helps them do their job. And the reverse is the same: Your publicist should be accessible to you, and you shouldn’t be waiting weeks to hear back from them.
Early on in your partnership, work with your publicist to set an expectation for response times that both of you can agree to follow. Or a good rule of thumb is responding within 24-48 working hours (aka, don’t feel like you need to give up your weekends or holidays).
And remember, if you’re going to be unavailable and away from email for an extended period of time, let your publicist know — we want you to enjoy that family vacay you planned without worrying about emails from us!
They say honesty is the best policy for a reason. Every relationship requires honest communication, and a working one is no different. If you’re worried about an upcoming event or struggling with a particular task you’ve been assigned, let your publicist know. And also expect honesty from them in return.
Remember, your publicist is on your team
Your publicist wants what’s best for you and your book, and both of you want to succeed. Publishing and promoting a book is stressful, and the team you assemble should help make that journey easy to navigate. Cultivate a good relationship with your publicist, and allow them to take the reins so you can do what you do best — write!
Jennifer Vance is a publicist at Books Forward, an author publicity and book marketing firm committed to promoting voices from a diverse variety of communities. From book reviews and author events, to social media and digital marketing, we help authors find success and connect with readers.