Saturday, January 16, 2010

ADVICE TO AUTHORS - Part 1 - Article by Milton Kahn

Unique among book publicists, Milton Kahn brings to the table his years of experience as one of the entertainment industry's premiere public relations specialists. The creator of countless ingenious blockbuster campaigns for major Hollywood films, including Fried Green Tomatoes, Watership Down, Ron Howard's directorial debut Grand Theft Auto, and the Oscar winning Fellini's Amarcord.

Mr. Kahn, president of Milton Kahn Associates, Inc. is now helping publishing houses and authors achieve greater success with their projects. The Kahn organization continues to also serve as a public relations consultant to major corporations. - From Mr. Kahn's website.

By Milton Kahn

In today's highly competitive literary marketplace publishers and authors are finding that it takes more than reviews and book signings to make a book successful. The reality of publishing today, even among the mainstream, big-name houses, is that unless you are one of their heavy-hitters you are going to have to promote your book largely on your own time and with your own money. While hiring an experienced, knowledgeable publicist does not guarantee success, it can go a long way toward separating your book from the rest of the pack. A successful public relations and promotions campaign does more than simply sell books for an author; in addition to increasing sales, a well executed campaign can also serve to institutionalize the author's name, which leads to bigger and better publishing deals.

To give you an idea of how the publishing industry has grown, in 1975 there were 3,000 publishers in the United States. Today there are over 200,000 publishers made up of large, medium, small, as well as print on demand companies who put out 560,000 books a year of which approximately 295,000 are self-published..

Though publishers and authors can certainly contact the media on their own, including sending galleys to publications such as Publishers Weekly for reviews – and even mount aggressive book-signing campaigns, there is a very limited amount of meaningful exposure that an individual writer can secure without the resources and contacts of an established publicist. A solid national public relations campaign targeting all of the key media in television, cable, radio, newspapers, magazines and wire services is the most important factor in determining the success of a novel.

“It is vitally important for any author to have an outstanding website as this will prove to be an extremely important element for the success of your book. Regarding what kind of a website you want to have created I suggest you Google well known authors who publish in your specific venue and get an idea of what their websites look like.”

Once you have decided to engage a professional publicist, the next step is finding one who is right for you. Beware of any publicist who offers guarantees. Ask for references and contact authors they have represented. A good publicist will work with you to find issues in both your book and your personal life that will make you a saleable interview to the media. Interesting background elements about the author are often what open the door to interviews.

Milton Kahn, President and CEO of Milton Kahn Associates, which is based in Santa Barbara CA is considered to be one of the premiere book publicists in America. Among the honors that Kahn has received number Publicist of the Year by the Book Publicists of Southern California.

Check back with us on Monday, January 18th, for Part 2 of this article.

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