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What makes the ideal author from a publicist’s point of view?

In broad terms, a publicist wants to know why you are interesting. For authors – who usually want to be appreciated for their work, not their personalities – this can be a difficult thing to deal with.

For a recent seminar organised by the Society of Authors, Tony Mulliken of Midas PR, a company that specialises in working within the publishing industry, helped me with the following list of ten vulgar questions to which a publicist would like to know the answer:

  1. What do you look like? Would a photograph of you make journalists sit up and take notice?
  2. Are you married/having a relationship at the moment, and with whom? Have you had a relationship in the past that would be of interest to other people?
  3. Can you talk as well as write? Would you interview well?
  4. What useful contacts do you have?
  5. What’s dramatic about you? What have you done in the past that could be turned into a useful story?
  6. What hobbies, or better still obsessions, do you have that could be made to sound interesting?
  7. Who are your enemies? (Controversy can be wonderful for getting publicity.) What kind of trouble have you run into in the past?
  8. Would you be willing to write articles for no money?
  9. Where do you live and what do your neighbours think of you? Are you willing to open your house up to the media?
  10. What is your relationship like with your family? Famous parents can be very useful, as can ‘black sheep relations’ happy to bring a private dispute into the public domain.

What is the most difficult type of author to promote from a publicist’s point of view?

Someone who:

  1. Sees their book as their final statement and won’t add anything to it
  2. Clams up when confronted by the media
  3. Complains constantly about what has not been achieved rather than acknowledging the effort that has gone into the process; never says thank you for what has been achieved
  4. Is immensely suspicious
  5. Has no sense of humour
  6. Doesn’t respond to media interest immediately – if you delay, they will be onto the next story.

If you found this article useful, you might want to take a look at:

Authors v Publishers

Things publishers dislike about authors

Author etiquette