Rebeca Seitz is Founder and
President of Glass
Road Public Relations. A freelance writer for
several years, Rebeca cut her publicity teeth as the first dedicated
publicist for the fiction division of Thomas Nelson Publishers. In
2005, Rebeca resigned from Thomas Nelson and opened the doors of GRPR,
the only publicity firm of its kind in the country dedicated solely to
representing works of entertainment created from a Christian worldview.
In 2007, Rebeca published her first novel, Prints Charming,
Nelson Publishers. 2008 saw the release of her next two novels,
Sisters, Ink and Coming
Unglued, from B&H Publishing Group, the
publishing division of LifeWay. Her next two books, Scrapping
Perfect Piece will
release in 2009 from B&H. Rebeca is also the
founding president of Glass Slipper Productions, an event management
company. Rebeca makes her home at Storybook Farm in southwest Kentucky
with her husband, Charles, their son, Anderson, and their
soon-to-be-born daughter, Ella - where they are significantly
outnumbered by the fish, turtles, barn cats, deer, raccoons, and other
assorted southern wildlife.
A Publicity Phenomenon
It’s a good time to be an optometrist. Sarah Palin’s appearance on the
national political scene has sparked thousands of phone calls to
optometrists by customers wanting to order Sarah’s glasses. As of this
writing, they’re available only by back order.
We publicists sit back and smile at the phenomenon. A month ago,
millions of people walked into their optometrist’s office, spent half
an hour looking at and trying on frames, and then settled on a pair
they probably forgot about ten minutes after leaving the doctor’s
office. Four weeks later, those same individuals couldn’t care less
about the hundred frames available—they only want the style Sarah Palin
wears and that everyone is talking about.
So how can you get the public talking about your
book like they’re talking about Mrs. Palin’s glasses? That’s where a
publicity strategist can be handy to have. In today’s media-saturated
world, the possibilities for getting your book into the public forum
are nearly endless. That vast array of possibilities demands a
purposeful, selective approach to publicity created by an expert
familiar with the media landscape.
For instance, some books can be paired with products that serve the
same target audience. Let’s say you write novels with main characters
who quilt. (Jennifer Chiavarini’s books fit this description.) What a
boon for Jennifer’s sales if everyone who buys a certain type of
quilting thread or a certain brand of quilting fabric also gets—for a
nominal fee—a copy of Jennifer’s book!
Sometimes product pairing isn’t an option. In this case, it’s important
to know the characteristics of your target audience. Are they
stay-at-home moms? Several magazines, Web sites, radio stations, and
television shows speak to that audience. Guys who like to hunt? Women
who like to cook? Women who like to hunt and cook?
Audience Gathering Spots
Where does your target audience gather to learn about their products?
Christian music festivals? Art shows? Rest stops? Conferences?
Conventions? Airport elite centers? Partnerships and product placement
opportunities are available at nearly every venue in which people
Help! Too Much Info!!
At this point, you may be feeling overwhelmed. How can you know the
best place to take your book? All you wanted to do was write a great
story, and you’ve worked very hard to do just
that. Even if you manage
to figure out where your book should be promoted, what
steps do you take to introduce
your book into that field? When do you find time to take action? By the
time you spend hours on your strategy, you could probably have written
another great story! (Or done your grocery shopping, paid the bills,
cleaned the house, gone to your day job, and saved mankind.)
That’s why literary publicists
are ready to help you. We spend all day
every day learning about markets and methods for
Years of trial and error have taught us what works, what’s worth
risking a try, and what would be a waste of time and money.
Lots of Heart, Little
“But, Rebeca,” you say, “I don’t have thousands of dollars for a
publicist. Now what?” Good news—most literary
publicity firms exist because they love authors and are dedicated to
helping them succeed with the tools they have. We recognize
that—especially if you write fiction—both your budget and your
publishing house’s budget are probably one zillionth of 1 percent of
the grocery budget for a family of four.
Perhaps, though, you and your
publishing house could afford to purchase
a plan from a publicity firm. This option allows
you to have an expert read your story, assess its potential in the
marketplace, and develop a targeted course of action that could then be
implemented by you and/or your publishing house.
Or maybe an inhouse publicist
has developed a fabulous plan for your book but simply
doesn't have the time to implement it. How about hiring a
to help? Some firms hire out their PAs for this purpose and will even
throw in consultations throughout the length of the campaign.
Another option for small budgets
is to pick
one method of getting the word out and spend time and money
on only that. Blog tours are a good choice because they cost you only
the postage to mail books (hopefully your publishing house will supply
the books) and the time to package books.
Keep It in Perspective
At the end of the day, the important thing from a publicity perspective
is to make sure news of your book’s release is delivered to the
appropriate audience, in the appropriate way, at the appropriate time.
Choosing the scale at which those tasks are completed depends on the
budget and time of both you and your publishing house. If you’re not
sure what options are open to you, simply contact a publicity firm and
ask. Most of us are very happy to chat with you about your book (We
talk about books all day! That’s why we’re in this gig!) and what can
be done to promote it.
If you’d like to contact Glass
Road, just shoot me an e-mail at
or call (615) 986-9516. I’d love to hear from