By Kristin Clifford, Media Connect SVP
I recently lost a close friend. Family really. Taken from us suddenly and far too soon. He was only in his 30s. This wrenching loss has made me take a closer look at my own life and how I live each day. It has made me want to do two things in particular: embrace life and be kind. To me these are keys to living a life of which I can be proud.
What does this have to do with achieving professional success? Absolutely everything. We are publicists. For us, it is not just about bringing attention to a new book. If we are to succeed we must feel passionate about our clients and their books. We must also embrace the passion each author has for their subject matter and understand that this book represents time, energy, and drive. No one publishes a book because they think it will make them rich. They write, publish and publicize because of a strong desire to educate, build a business or perhaps simply entertain.
As an author, when searching for a publicist, you should be inquiring not only about their successes but also their passions. Have they read your book? Do they share your enthusiasm for it? Does the publicist’s energy level match yours? Will they embrace your book the way you feel it should be embraced? Most of us are publicists because we love what we do. Find someone who will love working with you and your book – someone who is embracing their profession and their life.
You also want someone who is personable.
Today we are hyper-reliant on our access to an online world and we accomplish great feats of publicity online. It has given us the ability to streamline communications, converse with people across the globe and can sometimes get us immediate answers to our queries. That said, it has also created a vacuum that has created a “mannerless void.” Since we rely mostly on our email to communicate, wouldn’t it make sense to inject manners, courtesy and humanity into our emails? There are many excuses, “I’m just being efficient,” or “I didn’t want to waste your time” but they are just that – excuses.
The time you take to type something as simple as “good morning” or “thanks for taking the time” is a small price to pay for the relationships you’re likely to develop. It’s a kindness that adds a personal element to the working relationship. Something that can make you more vested in a project because you are connecting with someone. We all know that the book industry is built on personal relationships, such as the relationship an author has with their literary agent, literary agent with an editor, an editor and author with a publicist, and the publicist with the media. By adding in personal touches into your emails, you are developing a bond with the no-longer anonymous person on the other end of the email. Added bonus – you’ll likely see the same connections in return and your day may get a little brighter.
To me these are all stepping stones that will help each book find its audience but they are also tools that showcase both our longstanding success and our humanity. The two go hand in hand.
My sister says two things to her children as she puts them to bed each night: Be kind and dream big. These are words we should all live by… every day, all day.