I’m pleased to have public relations expert Pam Perry with me today.
The Detroit Free Press recently called her “a marketing whiz on an almost immortal mission.” Known as the “connector and PR coach,” Pam knows how to pull the right people together for the right project at the right time to garner the right publicity. Her public relations and advertising career spans over two decades. Pam is a ministry marketing pioneer and expert in the African American Christian market. She spent the first ten years working in ad agencies and secular media. She has dedicated the past ten years to ministry marketing. Her company has a roster of some of the most well known Christian publishers and African American Christian authors in the industry.
When I first started writing, my biggest concern was learning the craft of writing. It still is, come to think of it. But, now as I get closer to being “publisher ready,” I’m learning how important it is to have a brand and/or a platform. Has this always been true in publishing or is this a new phenomenon?
Yes, it’s always been this way. I always say, “If you don’t have readers, you’re simply journaling.”
How does a writer build a brand or an audience following?
A good way to build a brand is by giving out free information and positioning yourself as an expert. Speaking engagements where you’re able to showcase your knowledge also helps a great deal. The key is to build a writer’s resume. The more articles and clips you have, the better.
How do you as a PR person work with the author to build a following?
I work with authors in a number of different ways. Some writers will choose to hire my company, Ministry Marketing Solutions, to do a full campaign, which is a three month minimum commitment. Others prefer to be coached and they enroll in our online “PR Boot Camp” for group coaching. And some authors hire us as a “Pay per Placement” agent. My book, Synergy Energy, explains all three methods, and the book is available at http://www.ministrymarketingsolutions.com/ or Amazon.
If a writer chooses to work with a PR company what can they hope to gain that they couldn’t accomplish on their own?
This is what a publicist does for authors:
• Prepare promotional material such as press kits and press releases
• Submit news releases and E-Blasts to media outlets (MMS has lists of them)
• Schedule radio and/or TV interviews and deal with the media
• Schedule local and national appearances and/or book signings
• Maintain a plethora of resources, contacts, and connections in the industry
• Finally, a publicist will help an author think of creative ways to market their book, keeping the target audience in mind. Plus a publicist will help with speaking engagements to sell the author’s books.
What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the publishing industry since the advent of ebooks and products like Amazon’s Kindle and the Sony Reader?
Ninety percent of all books are now purchased online. So if that’s where the readers/buyers are, then the authors should be there as well. Unfortunately, authors are not keeping up as they should.
What would you say is the biggest misconception about what it takes to be a bestselling author?
I’d say the biggest misconception is the belief that all an author needs to be a bestseller is successful book signings. I have a list on my blog with 10 tips of what makes a bestseller.
What advice would you give to writers who are considering self-publishing?
Write your marketing plan first! If you don’t, you will not know what to do to move your books! There are 11 self –assessment questions on my second website http://pamperryprcoach.com/ that will help an author determine if they have what it takes to self-publish. If an author completes the assessment and has all 11 ingredients, then it’s a green light to self-publish. If, however, an author doesn’t have all 11 ingredients, then they’ll know they have some more work to do and that’s something that we can help with.
Before you go, Pam, I have one more question for you. Being that this is a humorous storytelling blog, we like to have a good time. What is or was your favorite TV sitcom?
I love Seinfeld. I know…I’m old, but it’s a classic.