Critical Ingredient To The Success of an Author
By Dee Power and Brian Hill
Dee Power and Brian Hill
is an important ingredient in the success of any author. We were
lucky enough to interview Theresa Meyers, the founder and president
of Blue Moon Communications, www.bluemooncommunications.com
Theresa has been a publicist for numerous New York Times
bestsellers that have included authors such as Carly Phillips, Rachel
Gibson, Vicki Lewis Thompson, Susan Andersen, Pamela Morsi and others.
work closely with publishers and authors. How often are you in contact?
“I give status reports regarding my PR activities on a regular
basis to clients, which include both publishers and individual authors.
I am usually in contact with them on a daily basis by phone or e-mail.”
are some of the specific tactics you have successfully employed
“Placing stories in trade media in order to reach both readers
and booksellers. Radio is one of the easiest and most effective
ways for an author to reach a large audience. Drivetime radio is
particularly effective. Radio interviews don’t involve a lot
of expense or time for the author. The author can be interviewed
from his or her own home. And there aren’t the travel expenses
you would have with a book tour for example.”
do you go about designing a PR campaign for a bestselling author?
“You start by doing a brand analysis. First we analyze the
authors brand to see where it is at versus where the client wants
it to be and then we ask what do we want people to remember?
publicity is totally different from non-fiction publicity. In non-fiction,
you can take the book’s theme or subject matter and use that
as your core message point, such as “how to raise a healthy
child.” With fiction, the media doesn’t care that you
have written another book. What they want to know is what do you
offer as an author in terms of: exploding a myth, offering opportunity
or proposing a solution. With Carly’s book, The Bachelor,
we had to decide which of three of those tactics to take, and make
sure the messages were consistent in all the media we worked with,
including her web site. We developed a logo for her that carried
this message. We came up with sound bites for her to use in interviews.”
are some other methods you used to get the message out besides print
media and radio? “Having contests on her web site,
giving away free goodies, has been very successful. This helps build
database of readers, and it keeps them coming back to the web site.
We also use a monthly newsletter. With newsletters, it is important
that you send out fresh material, keep the website updated regularly.”
an author becomes popular enough to reach bestselling status, why
does he or she still need a PR person assisting them? “A
bestselling author needs a publicist more than a starting
author. Once you reach bestselling status, the entire way that people
look at you, their perception of you, changes dramatically. You
haven’t changed, your writing hasn’t, but the perception
of you has. This puts a whole new degree of pressure on a writer,
expectations from readers and publishers both.
you get many invitations to speak at conferences. Book signings
become a big deal involving a lot of planning and coordination.
The author may have in the past had to plead to let bookseller have
a signing at their store.
author has to have some organized way to filter all this information,
these requests, these offers—and continue to write the books.
So I filter a lot of this for clients, and only bring them things
that absolutely have to be handled by the client. I work on scheduling
the interviews, sending out proposals for conferences, and just
in general filter people who ask for client time.
is another critical function a publicist can perform and one that
is not widely known: a crisis management plan. With the celebrity
status that comes with being a bestselling author, there is inevitably
somebody out there is going to want to use your name in the press
in a negative way. The author needs a plan in place to deal with
any of these situations that may arise, even scenarios that seem
far out such as, What if one of the author’s children were
kidnapped by someone wanting media attention? How would we deal
with this type of serious situation? What statement would the author
issue to the media?”
do you promote an upcoming book? “For every client
it is different, but there are some things that generally are considered
in each client plan. I work 7-8 months in advance on things, doing
such things as placing media in women’s magazines.
book tour must be planned well in advance, as well as speaking engagements
looking at possibly doing a satellite media tour. This involves
having the author sit in a TV studio, usually in New York or Los
Angeles, and do brief, 5-minute interviews over a three hours stretch
with TV stations all over the country. These are the short segments
you often see on the evening news on local stations.
job of promoting a bestselling author involves a lot more than sending
out press releases.”
for an enlightening interview Theresa.
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