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:
- What do you look like? Would a photograph of you make
journalists sit up and take notice?
- 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
- Can you talk as well as write? Would you interview well?
- What useful contacts do you have?
- What’s dramatic about you? What have you done in the past that
could be turned into a useful story?
- What hobbies, or better still obsessions, do you have that could
be made to sound interesting?
- Who are your enemies? (Controversy can be wonderful for getting
publicity.) What kind of trouble have you run into in the past?
- Would you be willing to write articles for no money?
- Where do you live and what do your neighbours think of you? Are
you willing to open your house up to the media?
- 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
What is the most difficult type of author to
promote from a publicist’s point of view?
- Sees their book as
their final statement and won’t add anything to it
- Clams up when
confronted by the media
- 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
- Is immensely
- Has no sense of humour
- 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