A Snarkling ponders Miss Snark's role in the post publication process
Curious, though, as to the amount of help she expects from her clients? Are they supposed to be out hustling? Taking care of local outlets, doing PR, Does she orchestrate this - or work out a plan with the author and/or publisher?
Miss Snark's idea of post publication involves a lawn chaise, a pool and well oiled cabana boy. Sadly, she has been unable to work that into any publishing contracts even under cover of darkness using invisible ink.
Publishers are well intentioned about publicity..mostly. Individual publicists are too. The problem is they've got a lot of work, and most of them are based in NYC. Their knowledge of pr in ..to put it kindly..."outlying areas" verges on nil. It doesn't make them bad, lazy or stupid. There's just a limit to how many regions you can know much about if you're a 25 year old publicist in NYC. (Publicists' average age skew young..it's an entry level job).
So yes, my authors are out hustling, you bet. They're showing up at places like Bouchercon, and RWA and other fan sites. They're booking readings and appearances. They're blogging. They're writing book reviews for the local paper and other places.
Publishers can usually be counted on for getting books out to the trade journals and hitting some highlights. For deep market penetration, like a 25 city tour of California, the author is usually on his/her own.
Laurie King, quoted on Sarah's required reading blog says PR is like raising kids. Mostly it's about being there, showing up. I agree. Nothing beats knowing the manager of the Borders in Fargo North Dakota because you've been in his/her store and said "howdy". The big tour stores like Powells, Eliot Bay, Tattered Cover, and Book Passage are all nice places to know too, but they see a lot of authors..hundreds a year. The indie book store in Burns Oregon doesn't see quite so many...and they sell a chunk of books for the people who make the trek.
Do I orchestrate all this? No. I tell clients what they need to do and help them be realistic about what they can expect from the publisher. I offer information on how to be effective doing pr and marketing, but my job now is to make deals for them, not be their pr babe.