Lauren pointed me to this excellent post about dos and don’ts for publicists from blogger Lindsay Robertson. The don’ts should be obvious, but sadly, it seems that they aren’t. What I found more interesting, and possibly surprising, were the dos. The rule that really caught my attention was “Pick Eight Blogs.” She suggests that publicists pick eight blogs to publicize to. Yep, just eight. By targeting the most appropriate outlets and building relationships with them, the contention is that coverage will be both better and wider. But how is that possible if you’re only pitching eight blogs? Because the bigger internet sites scan the smaller sites to find their content. And by not throwing things at everyone in sight, you can get higher-quality coverage that people actually pay attention to. Very savvy, very practical, and much more fulfilling for the publicist, I think.
It strikes me that there are lessons here for authors. By being smart and focused about submissions, whether when looking for an agent or promoting one’s own work, authors increase the likelihood of a hit. In a world where it’s easy to communicate broadly, who doesn’t appreciate a tailored message? I know that I more carefully consider the queries that are specifically tailored to me. By doing the research and narrowing the list, an author with an attractive project is more likely to find an agent.
The same is true when author goes to promote her own book. By selecting a limited number of bloggers to approach and tailoring the pitch to each blogger’s interests, an author is more likely to get serious attention. It likely takes the same amount of time as blindly contacting hundreds of people, but the quality of the hits you get will certainly make up for anything lost in numbers.
I know this is something I’ll have in mind when talking to authors and book publicists in the future, and I’m sure this concept can be applied to other aspects of book publishing and beyond.