The Book Publicity Blog

News, Tips, Trends and Miscellany for Book Publicists

How to save time in book publicity

I’ve posted a lot about what drives me crazy (what can I say — I can be a complainer) but I thought it would also be useful to post about a couple life savers from these past few crazy weeks.

Microsoft Outlook’s Calendar Function

When interview requests for authors are flying fast and furious, it can get really tricky figuring out when an author is available and, once an interview has been confirmed, getting him / her the correct booking information.  Sometimes, this all must be done in a few hours, so anything that saves time and trouble — sending information directly to a calendar program, for example — can be more efficient than trading information in an email message or in Word, which subsequently must often be entered into a calendar program).

(Downside: I haven’t found a way to share an Outlook calendar I’ve created with colleagues — although I do know how to share my own Outlook calendar.  Anyone know how to do this?  Do tell.)

Google Docs

If you can’t / don’t want to use a calendar program and need to record the information in Word, Google Docs allows more than one publicist to access (and change) the document at one time.  This means you’re not left frantically trading email messages: “Let me know when you’re out of the schedule ASAP so I can change something!” 

(Downside: it’s harder to format text in Google Docs than in Word and it’s also a bit slower.)


I know we’re all busy in the fall.  What saves you time?


November 9, 2009 - Posted by | Miscellaneous | , ,


  1. I use Google Calendar, which is particularly nice because it can import others, like my family and my day job, along with my writing schedule.

    Google also has a very nice spreadsheet tool that you can use online for collaboration. Here are a few other nice collaboration tools I utilize with authors and geeks: nice, simple, free, virtual white board free mind mapping software (collab being added) real time discussion (an email replacement)

    Comment by Wulf | November 9, 2009 | Reply

    • Ooh — thanks for this. Will have to try out some of these applications. (Am particularly intrigued by Google Wave — sounds like it can save the headaches associated with a bazillion people weighing in in an email discussion.)

      Comment by Yen | November 9, 2009 | Reply

  2. Great topic!

    Our company uses Google Docs to share all types of information internally and with authors and vendors. Keeping track of media opportunities is just one use.

    The person who creates the document (Word, Excel, Calendar, etc.) controls who can change or just view the document. From an agency management, it is essential to have everyone accessing the most up to date training manual, final press material for all clients, book covers, author photos, client contact info, etc.

    We work with many publishers and Google Docs allows both the publisher and Smith Publicity publicists/ administration to manage the flow of information.

    So much better than tracking hundreds of emails!

    Comment by Sandy Diaz | November 9, 2009 | Reply

    • Good to know. Thanks for your feedback, Sandy.

      Comment by Yen | November 9, 2009 | Reply

  3. I find both Google Calendar and Google docs to be lifesavers and have been using Google calendar to update my assistant (and colleagues) with my tour schedules/bound book dates/when mailings need to go out, etc and just started using Google Docs for working with authors. Since I work remotely, Google Docs is also much easier/quicker for me to use than the shared drive when working with colleagues on the same schedule, and I also like that it allows more than one person to update information at a time. I also like that authors can view it whenever they want, allowing them to see the flow of information change as it happens, if they want to.

    Comment by Holly Watson | November 9, 2009 | Reply

    • I’m trying to move away from using a plain vanilla Word document for author schedules. My goal is to either work directly in whatever program the author uses — Outlook, Google Calendar, etc. — or to at least post the schedule in a Word document on Google Docs so that, like you say, the schedule can be viewed (and changed) in real time by the author and multiple publicists. I think we’ve all got enough going on — both authors and publicists — that we should make use of any and all shortcuts at our disposal!

      Comment by Yen | November 9, 2009 | Reply

  4. For document-sharing (so long as you’re not having multiple users edit the document simultaneously) I’ve found DropBox ( to be helpful. Many people can access the docs, and they’re in whatever file type you want, retaining formatting.

    Comment by morgan dempsey | November 9, 2009 | Reply

  5. Digitial DropBox is amazing! Total lifesaver!

    Comment by utcsequoyareview | November 9, 2009 | Reply

  6. […] How to save time in book publicity « The Book Publicity Blog “I’ve posted a lot about what drives me crazy (what can I say — I can be a complainer) but I thought it would also be useful to post about a couple life savers from these past few crazy weeks.” […]

    Pingback by APFOL: November 8-14 « Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog | November 15, 2009 | Reply

  7. It says you like to use Outlook. Why not put each of your authors on your calendar (that you can share) and color code them so that each author has a color code (category). You’d have a color for you and then a different color for all of your authors. Just one suggestion.

    Additionally, Google calendar allows you to create multiple calendars that show in the same space. I believe you can export this to outlook as well.

    Comment by Tamaryn | November 23, 2009 | Reply

  8. You can sync Google Calendar with Outlook, and your iPhone, using Google Calendar Sync. 🙂

    Comment by Tahnee McCrossin | January 19, 2010 | Reply

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