Your Publicist: A Refresher Course for the Veteran Author

You’ve published so many books that Nora Roberts is looking over her shoulder with worry. You don’t need a publicist; you need a personal assistant, right? Here are a few things that you might have forgotten because you’ve done this so many times, you are doing it in your sleep.

  • Author photos, like passports, should be updated at least every ten years (well, five, really). I don’t care how great your senior portrait was, you want your readers to recognize you when you give readings.

  • Keep in mind it’s difficult to shape a new story around an author who publishes with Joyce Carol Oates-like frequency. (Well, she does all right, but the rest of you are in trouble.) Craft personal essays about the writing of each new book. Also, write a new Q&A. If possible, try to tie it to a current event. (Don’t go too far—Bush vacationing in Texas again and the fact that your book is sold in Texas does not a riveting article make.)

  • Keep collecting email addresses and snail mail addresses. Periodically send your readers a little note, telling them where you are in the writing process or letting them know about upcoming publication dates and appearances.

  • Keep your website current and make it interactive. You might consider creating a forum so your readers can chat with each other.

  • Find out your publicist’s favorite brand of vodka and treat her now and again. I happen to like Stoli.

  • Keep going to Thrillerfest and Bouchercon and other festivals and conferences. Meet your readers and your colleagues. Get everyone’s email address…

What am I forgetting? Well, you’ve done it a hundred times. You tell me. Discuss amongst yourselves.

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