Interview with Marika Flatt
Marika Flatt is the founder of the Austin boutique publicity firm, PR by the Book, specializing in literary media relations campaigns, publishing consultation, small business publicity, and publicity tours for authors and experts. PR by the Book is a sponsor for The 2012 Writers’ League of Texas Agents Conference. Also, WLT could not be more excited to have Marika’s expertise as part of the conference faculty. Here is a brief Q&A with Marika. Don’t miss any panel she is a part of! See you at the Conference.
Writers’ League of Texas – Tell our Scribe readers about PR by the Book, what does PR by the Book offer authors?
Marika Flatt – We’re a boutique publicity firm; we develop and orchestrate literary media campaigns, offering creative strategy, consulting, and customized campaigns: from the publicity tour to a full-range campaign. We offer authors a collaborative relationship and one where our door is always open to them. We work with many publishing houses on an ongoing basis but are also hired directly by authors (both those with a traditional publisher and self-published.)
WLT – What is the best advice you can offer to a writer looking to be published, or looking to promote their first novel?
- Start thinking about publicity WHILE you’re in the early stages of writing and editing your book. The ideal book campaign starts 2-4 months before its pub date, as most high-caliber outlets won’t even think of covering a book if it’s already been published.
- Collaborate with the publicity firm to get expert opinions on your book cover, as a cover can make or break a book’s success. (that includes the art, layout and copy)
- Establish yourself on the Internet. Set up a website or blog, and post every few days. Get on Facebook and Twitter (or have someone show you how) and start engaging with like-minded groups and individuals. For instance, is your book all about balance in the business and parenting worlds? “Like” a wide variety of big and small business pages, mommy blog pages, and parenting pages.
WLT – Can you tell WLT Scribe readers of a recent PR by the Book success story?
MF – Dr. Tracey Marks, author of “Master Your Sleep” hired us in November 2010 for a six-month full scale publicity campaign. She is an Atlanta-based psychiatrist who specializes in better sleep. She is proof that publicity really is all about planting seeds! She has maintained a campaign with us for over a year (when her six months was up, she moved to our Constant Connections maintenance campaign) and the caliber of the outlets continues to rise. She was recently featured in USA Today and SheKnows, and has an amazing gig as a contributing blogger on Huffington Post! That exposure (to over 24 million) has led to even more bookings. We’ve landed her in multiple national women’s magazines throughout the past year.
WLT – If an author is self-published, does this effect their press?
MF – It can, but really only if the pub date has passed already, as it can be considered ‘old news’ to media outlets and reviewers, no matter how good the book is! It’s our job to know who to will accept a self-published book and who won’t. For instance, daily newspapers will rarely review a self-published book but there are other ways to get ink in a daily, such as by pitching a feature on a trend that includes you as a source. We simply encourage our self-published authors to be realistic about the types of media we’re pitching so that they understand from the beginning of the campaign.
WLT – How has press for writers changed in the electronic age, via blogs/twitter/facebook? How does PR by the Book use the online medium to the press advantage?
MF – It’s definitely more competitive now that everyone can basically publish whatever they want. In this regard, PR by the Book has really excelled at creative strategies and providing ‘out of the box’ methods of getting an author’s foot in the door in terms of publicity. Most first-time authors would be surprised to learn that the bulk of publicity for a book especially fiction, is NOT through reviews, but rather, contributed articles and interviews where the author lends his or her expertise. This question is exactly what I’ll be covering at the Agents Conference in June!
WLT – What are you most looking forward to with being part of the faculty at the 2012 Agents Conference?
MF – I always enjoy being a part of this conference. I speak at writers conferences throughout the year on topics related to book publicity. But, it’s nice being in my hometown at a conference that brings in such high-caliber agents and editors within the book industry! We are lucky to have a conference right here in Austin that has such a great reputation. There’s so much to learn!
A big thank you to Marika Flatt for taking the time for our Q&A. As most of our readers are in the stages of finishing a first book (or fourth or firth) this advice could not be any more pertinent! See you all in June at The Agents Conference.