I've decided to work with Smith Publicity to help me promote my debut novel Stuck for my September launch. In order to prepare, I have to answer a 15-page questionnaire about me, which is turning out to be harder than writing the actual book in the first place.
Hiring a PR company was a no-brainer. Firstly, I'm new to book publishing and I don't have the media contacts, so it would have been a lot of work for me to do all that research and calling on my own. Secondly, I am self-published, which means that I have two full-time jobs: writer and independent publisher. I just don't have the time to promote the book, other than through social media (which I actually quite enjoy).
It's been several weeks now and I'm still struggling to fill out the questionnaire. It's not that the questions are hard, but rather that they are really, really important and I want to make sure I answer them just right. Here are some of the questions that are giving me night sweats:
1. What five things do you want media to know about you?
(Answer: Can I hire a lookalike to meet the press while I stay home and write?)
2. What are the five key messages about your book?
(Answer: It. Is. Good. Buy. It.)
3. What 8 questions do you want to be asked during an interview?
(Answer: How are you? Nice weather? Tea or coffee? Milk or cream? Sugar? Refill? Hungry?)
4. Please write a short biography and professional credentials?
5. Please write a book synopsis.
(Answer: YES, I can do this. Odette Leblanc is promoted to night-shift supervisor at the local convenience store...)
The lesson here: If you're going to spend the time to attract media attention to your book, you'd better be prepared to talk about it. Know how to confidently handle an interview and know in advance what it is you want to say to readers and fans. You only get one chance to make a great first impression!
Stacey D. Atkinson is the author of the novel Stuck, published via the independent Mirror Image Publishing.