You know the old saying, “Have your people call my people!” Well, that’s who your publicist is. We are your people. We are here to make you look good. When you look good, we look good. And when we’re able to do our work at our own pace, doing our own thing, then we can make you look good and whole lot more. But when clients put unexpected demands on us and make far out requests, that’s when we can’t concentrate on getting your name out there to the people who need to hear about you in order to help your reputation and work grow to its fullest potential.
Don’t get me wrong. We love clients who are driven and have big dreams and visions. And a publicist wants to have successful clients and help them to grow into household names. I still do happy dances around my desk when one of my authors scores a great review or interview! All the successes of my clients are added to my resume. But keep in mind that there are certain phrases that perspective clients/authors have said to me in the past that have changed my mind about working with them. These topics are either too far out or just too outrageous to even consider. Some of them even border on being disrespectful. These five phrases let me know that I’m never going to be able to live up to their expectations:
“I want to be on Oprah!”
No publicist wants this type of pressure. If you believe that any publicist can make one phone call and get you on Oprah, Dr. Oz, Stephen Colbert or the Today Show, you couldn’t be more wrong. Trust me when I say, we would love to be able to book these shows for all our clients, but these types of talk shows have talent coordinators and producers who usually develop ideas for shows and then seek out their guests.
Instead, I suggest to my clients that they build a huge following and great reputation so that these celebrities will notice them and ask them to be on their shows. Stay optimistic, but don’t set yourself up for a big letdown.
“Get me an interview with the folks who interviewed my competition.”
If the L.A. Times, USA Today or even a local radio station just ran an interview with someone who is also an expert in your field of expertise, chances are they won’t be doing a similar interview anytime soon unless the reporter is dedicated to your specific area of interest. Even then, chances are slim.
In the case of finding publications and reporters to interview my clients, I like to take the roads less travelled and search out new and exciting media sources to interview or write about my authors. Be prepared to be a leader, not a follower in your area of expertise.
“Can you get me the contact info for ______?”
We are not secretaries or administrative assistant. We don’t like clients who send us lists of things to do because they don’t have time to do them themselves. Yes, we know we work for you and we’re open to any suggestions you have for people or places to contact.
If you have someone specific in mind that you would like us to contact on your behalf, we’d love to do that for you. But as for finding the contact information for the rich and famous to just hand over to you…you’re on your own. And remember…Google is your friend.
“Send me your list of contacts.”
You would probably have better luck getting a publicist’s social security number out of them before you would have any luck getting their media contact list. It takes years, along with a lot of schmoozing, blood, sweat and tears, to build a good media contact list. These names, numbers and email addresses are our bread and butter.
If we just started sharing them with anyone, it would not only comprise our integrity with our business associates, it would put us out of business. You are more than welcome to build your own list if you wish and we promise to never ask you to share it with us.
“I want my book reviewed by the New York Times!”
Getting your book reviewed by People, Time or the NY Times isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility, but it’s a lot easier if your name is J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Susan Collins or John Grisham. These publications love the big name authors because that’s who their subscribers are wanting to hear about when it comes to their literary selections. Your publicist can pitch your book to any large media periodical in hopes of getting a bite, but don’t set your heart on getting into their pages.
Also, keep in mind that most large publications require an advanced copy of your book 3 months before its publication date if they take unsolicited copies in the first place. Submit an advanced copy if you can but in the meantime concentrate on the smaller publications and work your way up. The joy of getting a good review in any publication can still elicit a happy dance!
We want you to be happy and live out your dreams, because a good publicist dreams big too! The above list of five phrases is not meant to discourage you in any way from getting the time, attention and results that you deserve to get from your PR agent. Instead, this advice is here to help make things run smoother for both you and your publicist. If you ever feel you’re not getting your monies worth from your representative, then you can ask to have them get you more interviews. But if you’re still not satisfied with their work, then by all means, find a new publicist that suits your needs. We want you to be happy, because when you’re happy, we’re happy.