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23 Confessions From A Book Publicist

No, we haven't read your book.

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1. We will agree with you when you say your book is "groundbreaking," but we really don't mean it.

20th Century Fox

Yes, we understand you put a ton of time into your book. But if we had a dime for every time someone told us their book is "revolutionary" or "groundbreaking," we'd be rich.

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3. We'll tell you over and over again that we've read your book, but we haven't.

Universal Pictures

Our ~knowledge~ of your book comes from the copious amount of documents you're required to fill out before your book even gets to us. By the time we've scanned said documents, we know enough to get going.

4. It only takes looking at a few pages of your book to know if it's going to get any media attention.

Buena Vista Pictures

We've worked with literally hundreds of books, and we can spot an unpromising book a mile away.

7. Getting a national hit is not easy.

CBS

Securing a hit in The Washington Post, USA Today or Cosmopolitan can take weeks, or even months, to happen. Most magazines work with long leads, so it's likely your story won't be published for months to come.

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9. If you're rude to us, we will go out of our way to not get coverage for you.

Pop TV

Most of the time, you go into this knowing nothing is guaranteed. So when you complain when your book isn't sparking media attention, we so badly want to say you had it coming.

11. When you complain to us about not getting your money's worth, it goes in one ear and out the other.

New Line Cinema

We get that this means a lot to you, but hey, we're trying to help. Be nice!

12. We'll tell you our pitches are unique, but 85% of them contain the same jargon as the last one.

Channel 4

Most of the time, we're replacing one author's name with another. The same goes for the title of your book and almost all emails end with "Are you interested in a review copy?"

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13. Paid book reviews will get you absolutely nowhere.

The WB

Paid book reviews do not promise a good review — if someone is going to review your book, it's best if it's something that happens organically.

14. Conducting media outreach yourself while we're doing the exact same thing defeats the whole purpose of our job.

The Orchard Films

Please, please, PLEASE do not reach out to any media outlets while we're working with you — especially the same media. It only confuses the reporter and makes us both look bad. Don't do it.

15. If your book is going to be about a historical event, it's best to consult an expert on the topic or at least have your facts straight.

VH1

Be prepared to lose all credibility if you have as little as one historical fact incorrect.

16. A ton of behind the scenes planning goes on that you don't see.

Sharpie

Once we have the necessary information about your book, we can't just begin media outreach right away. We need to build media lists, develop strategic documents like press releases, media alerts, and much, more more.

17. A lot of what we're doing for you can be done entirely by you.

Vectary

Most newspapers, news websites, and bloggers have their contact information listed somewhere online, for free.

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18. HIRE AN EDITOR.

Bravo

Most, if not all, self-published authors don't have an editor because it usually doesn't come with the services they're purchasing. Take this key point of advice: GET ONE. A book full of typos and grammar errors will not sell.

22. When you have an open mind it makes our jobs SO much easier.

ABC

We usually have your best interest at heart and wouldn't steer you in the wrong direction. After all, this is our area of expertise — trust us!

23. Though our job is tough at times, we like helping people raise awareness about their books and it's incredibly satisfying when an author walks away happy.

TLC

Even if we only get one hit for an author, chances are it's the first time their name has been mentioned in the media. Seeing them get so happy over this can make our day.

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