The Book Publicity Blog

News, Tips, Trends and Miscellany for Book Publicists

Hiring and pitching

My colleague and I recently interviewed for a new assistant and it occurred to me that in some ways the interviewing process is similar to when we pitch our authors to the media.

For example, one candidate called asking if we had made a decision.  We pretty much had, but not officially, so I wasn’t prepared to engage in this conversation and consequently mumbled something about not having yet made a decision.  (This is why HR makes those calls.)  In that one call, she went from probably not to definitely not.  In book publishing, the publicists act as the HR people, i.e., the liaisons, between the authors and the media and that’s why it’s usually not a good idea for authors to contact the media directly.  (Exceptions exist, of course, like if the author knows the reporter / editor / producer.)

Several other candidates followed up by email, writing short notes or including additional writing samples.  I appreciated this since this is a friendly and unobtrusive way of indicating interest and although obviously not everyone was hired, I was impressed enough to forward on their resumes with my recommendation to others I know hiring for the same position.  Similarly, it can be a good idea for authors (who have the time on their hands) to mail personal notes to media people with whom they have worked / know of — worst-case scenario, the mail is ignored, but the host / producer / writer / editor isn’t put on the spot and perhaps they will read the letter and respond favorably.  It can also be beneficial for publicists to continue to follow up with media contacts as long as they are providing new and pertinent information (and as long as the media contact hasn’t issued a cease and desist).  Although media folk can’t always respond to our pleas — and let’s face it, mostly they don’t — many do file email messages for reference.  (On more than one occasion I’ve had someone respond to a message months after the fact.)

Maybe you won’t be “hired,” but perhaps at least your author will be passed on to the next person.


May 15, 2008 - Posted by | Pitching Tips |

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