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Sunday, 07 April 2013 20:36

Does PR Work?

By Sandra Rea.
Authors complain about spending money on PR as a part of marketing their books. It’s a legitimate complaint. By the time a Full Circle representative speaks with an author about his/her PR needs, it’s often too late. The author spent a whole lot of money on traditional PR (a frequently quoted price seems to be $20K from all the authors I’ve spoken with about this) for limited or zero results, and the author is extremely upset. In most cases there’s a lot more the author could have done with the money with greater results.

Are you an author who spent money on traditional PR without getting the results for which you’d hoped? If so, keep reading.

Traditional PR goes something like this…

    • A professional press release is written and approved by the client
    • The PR rep sends the release out through a wire service with no tracking or with limited tracking
    • Good PR reps send the release out to specific and targeted editors and interested others
    • Even better PR reps provide tracking – whether the editor responded, when and what was said
    • The book is mentioned in the new books section of different publications (both online and in print); the best of all worlds is when the book is reviewed in publications!
    • REPEAT process (good PR is an ongoing effort – for new books, there is a “shelf life” to the initial PR and then the PR rep needs to get creative and explore new options)

Of course there is more to PR than that, but that’s a quick peek at the essentials.

A large PR firm can charge around $20,000 for services in just a short window of a few months. For authors on a budget that means hiring a smaller firm or a one-person show, a PR rep who signs on to provide a certain number of hours per month at an agreed-upon fee. Most individual PR reps will charges anywhere between $80 and $120 an hour, and that’s conservative. Rates are dependent upon experience and ability. (In our troubled economic times, you may be able to find a PR rep who would be open to working for $50 an hour, but you need to check credentials and experience before hiring. Try for a month-to-month contract, too.)

A large PR firm will typically lock you into a contract for a set number of months or even a year. Regardless of performance, you will be paying that contracted monthly fee until the end of the contract. Period. That’s another reason to consider a smaller firm or individual PR rep, preferably one that doesn’t lock you in. Month-to-month contracts are becoming more popular. No one likes to be locked into a contract. You can specify a trial period of three months, at which time you can walk or the rep can walk. Ask for options.

Typically a PR representative will not give you her contacts. Those are hers. She gathered them; you have no right to them, so don’t expect that she will send you a list of her contacts. In many cases, the rep paid for the contacts or developed her relationships with editors over the years. Again, you have no right to these relationships. Think about it… Would YOU give anyone your contacts in the publishing world? Probably not.

In short, you are paying for the PR rep’s ability to communicate your needs to the editors and book reviewers of the world. If your book has a farther reach, the PR rep may be able to land you guest spots on TV and radio talk shows. That said, radio will not sell many books. There is a reason for that, but you’ll have to read the article on that topic to learn more.

Have questions about PR? Give us a call: 949.613.2099.

Published in FCM Blog Articles

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