Things to Do (or NOT Do) When Working with a Publicist

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When it comes to creating a book, whether you decide to secure an agent who lands a publishing contract for you, work with a hybrid publisher, or self publish through your own publishing company, there are many different people you’ll need to work with in order to make your book a reality.

That list of professionals may include agents, editors, publishers, freelance publicists, in-house publicists, website designers, cover designers, formatters, among others. I am in the process of curating some of the best advice out there on how authors can effectively work with each of these professionals, and I’m thrilled to be sharing it with you throughout 2021.

While I await the advice to come in from my professional network, I figured I would start with what I know the most about, and that’s working with someone like me — a publicist and media trainer.

Helpful and Relevant Tips when Working with a Publicist and Media Trainer

It’s a collaborative relationship

Understand that it is a collaborative relationship between the two of you, with both parties bringing a great deal to the table. You’re not delegating the important aspects of book promotion to someone else, thereby freeing up your schedule for other projects. In fact, if your publicist is successfully doing her or his job, you will both have plenty to do that will move you forward in the direction of your own vision.

Keep private information private

Media contact information can be sacred and your publicist worked hard to earn their trust, often giving a promise that the information won’t be shared. You might have it in order to do an interview or an email Q&A with the host or journalist, but that’s all. The most important contacts are not listed on websites and they are not public, so don’t hurt the relationship with your publicist by sharing personal contact information with your entire network when it isn’t yours to share.


Make a list of your keywords. We live in a digital world and keywords are King and Queen. What terms would people use if they were searching to solve a problem that you are the answer to? In other words, if someone needs what you have to offer, what words would they put in a search engine in order to find you, and solve their problem?

Formulate your Key messages

You know this one since it’s something I harp on all the time. If you’re going to be doing interviews, don’t rely on the host to have read your book and prepared the right questions. You need to deliver your key messages throughout the interview and maintain control.

Create a list of hashtags

Hashtags are a way to sift through the enormous amount of social media content and pull up information around a specific topic, event, theme, or conversation. If others are searching for the type of content you and your book provide, what hashtags would they use? Consider creating one or two specific to you and your book.

B roll and other visuals

We not only live in a digital world but a world that constantly requires visuals. Gone are the days where print is just print and video is just video. Everything is multimedia now, i.e., magazines require photos and video and other graphics, television stations and programs have websites that require print content, pictures, and video. Embrace that and prepare different types of content ahead of time.

The channel or network called YOU

Create your own channel or network so you can deliver your own content. Then reach out to other media. When you want other media brands to pay attention to you, particularly if you have top-tier media in your sights, they want to see what you can do before they take a chance on you. Give them what they need to make a decision. No one has to take a gamble on their guests anymore.

Get media training

See the tip above. You don’t want to do your warm-ups doing actual interviews. Better to warm up first and then get in the game. Remember, media wants to see, hear, and know that you can deliver, so get the training that will help you to do that. It just makes sense.

List all your gigs

Be sure your entire team knows what you’re doing. You never know who can tie into one of your events in a way that will be very helpful to you. Also, if you list your schedule someplace that everyone has access to, they’ll automatically be updated, thereby saving you time and brainpower, which you can direct toward more important items.

Get organized

Get your efforts out of your head and onto a spreadsheet so it’s all in one place. Each time you need to send a particular link to someone, eliminate the time it takes to think about where that one link might be. Have a specific place where you keep it, can get it, and send it. Plus, those on your team need access too, which will save you all the time involved in them coming to you for what they need.

Create an editorial calendar

This could fall under “get organized” but it’s so important, I’m giving it its own tip. Stay out of overwhelm mode by making a plan and sticking to it. For example, if you have a blog and newsletter, decide how often you will reach out to your network and what the format is going to be. “I will send an email on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays with a teaching element, a guest post, and content curation to give value to my network.” And then do that. This is simply an example, obviously, and it doesn’t mean that you can’t make a change and do something different from time-to-time. Start with something.

Additional ways to stay focused

It’s so easy to overestimate how much you can do in a day, and completely underestimate how much you can get done in a year. If you really want to stay focused, create a plan for the next three years. What do you want? And start filling it out.

Social media

Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. Platforms will change, of course (How many here are on Clubhouse?), but posting regularly to social media is necessary. Create a format that you like and will stick to. Write it on your editorial calendar and then do it.

Email list 

Yes, you need one. And you need to talk to them. Otherwise, what is the point? People opt in specifically because they want to hear from you. If you aren’t staying in touch, then this is a huge missed opportunity.

Bottom line

As an author, you will have many professionals to work with at various points along the journey. Listening to the advice of those who have gone before you and have learned a thing or two, just makes sense.

I look forward to sharing much more with you in the weeks and months ahead.

To your success!


P.S. It’s a new year. Is it time for a new promotional plan for your book? Time for some media training? A Media Strategy Session can be just the boost needed to get you, your book, and its message out there. Join me.






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