by Tracy-Jane Newton.
Job Title: PR Professional
Company Name: Literary Lifestyle
Based in: Miami, FL
TJN: For those of us who do not know you, please can you provide a small bio containing and explain what your job entails, as a publicist?
BW: Well, I’m not just a publicist – I’m a PR professional. That means that I do more than just publicize people’s works. I do editing, proofreading, consultations, brand imaging, typing services, and of course, promoting the works of authors, companies and entertainers. Most “publicists” do just that – publicize, but I go a step further. I do full campaigns. I help design ads, creative input, the works. It’s a very time-consuming and demanding job. Luckily, I love what I do and give it my full dedication.
TJN: Do you work full or part-time?
BW: Full-time; this is what I do.
TJN: Why does an author need a publicist?
BW: It’s important to have the media and everyday readers KNOW who you are, what you’re doing and your contribution to the literary industry. There are a lot of authors out there who self-publish. They don’t really know what to do, and end up getting ripped off. Even folks who get contracts with major houses don’t get publicized, and all they have to show for it is a book that never got the attention it deserved. One thing that’s important to know is how they will market your book. I’m a mainstream publicist, and market my clients everywhere, but you have to make sure that’s what you’re getting. You don’t want to find your book being marketing to one specific ethnicity or genre. You want your stuff to be seen everywhere.
TJN: What is a typical working day for you?
BW: LOL – Let’s just say, I don’t get much sleep. I do a LOT for my clients – extra things that you might not get from a typical publicist, but again, I’m a PR firm, not just a “publicist.”
TJN: How did you get into this line of work?
BW: I’m a writer and have been writing for years. Initially, I wanted to be an attorney, but once I got into school and took some speech communication classes, one of my instructors suggested that I look into Public Relations. He also said that it would help me even if I decided to go ahead and pursue becoming an attorney, so, that’s what I did, LOL. I’ve been blessed to find my niche in life. I truly, truly love what I do. I’m a creative person of sorts, and I enjoy creating and developing the campaigns, tag lines, logos and strategies to take it to the next level.
TJN: What qualities should a publicist possess?
BW: Creativity, drive, compassion and understanding. I’m finding that those qualities aren’t central in this industry; well, maybe not too common in any industry. I’m also an author, so I know what it feels like for someone to not take your work seriously. That’s important. You want to work with someone who will feel your drive, your goals, and your intent. Beyond anything else, we’re all human. You have to be 100% dedicated to your clients, and professional. They need to know you’re serious. I have a great working relationship with all my clients. We’re like a family, striving to get to the top.
TJN: If you could choose ANYONE to publicise, who would be? Please explain your choice.
BW: Well, that’s a two-fold question. On the author side, it would have to be John Grisham. Why? Because he’s my favorite novelist, has been and will continue to be. I really get into the books I represent. It’s not just a job for me. LOL – John doesn’t need any publicizing though. On the entertainment side, it would have to be the group New Edition.
TJN: Do you read all the books you personally publicise?
BW: Yes. I have to read them first, as a matter of fact. I’ve had to turn people away because of too many grammatical mistakes, books needing editing, and so forth. This is a professional firm, and I have to keep it professional. If I recommend that you need to get your book edited and you don’t, well, Literary Lifestyle can’t represent you.
TJN: In your professional opinion, how useful do you find written reviews are for you?
BW: Well, I’m a reviewer. It does help. People read Publisher’s Weekly, or visit popular websites and value the opinion of others.
TJN: OK, here’s a chance for free publicity! Name two of your current clients and their books! Why do we want to read these titles in particular?
BW: Pretty Evil by Lexi Davis – this book drops on October 12! It’s a great novel based on a supernatural vixen who turns the tables on three guys that unknowingly took her mansion away from her.
The Tribe by Gregory Townes – this writer is AWESOME! He has written a novel that crosses genres. I don’t know how to classify it. Sci-Fi/Mystery/Horror/Romance? This guy is good. Folks don’t need to sleep on him. His next novel is even better than this one, and it’s not out yet, but I want to let the readers know – keep looking for Gregory Townes!!!!
TJN: Do you have any tips for someone starting out in a career as a publicist?
BW: Be dedicated, and know your stuff. Do the research, get the training. It’s not as easy as people think. There are a lot of folks who wake up one morning and proclaim to be a “publicist.” Do your homework.
TJN: Outside work, what do you do to unwind? Have you any favourite hobbies?
BW: I read and write. I love to roller-skate and go to the movies. LOL – when I find the time to do it.
TJN: Do you have any personal pet hates?
BW: Um, I don’t do animals; maybe cats. I don’t have time to feed myself, LOL – how am I going to feed an animal?
TJN: If you are an author yourself, please give details etc.
BW: I have a book that I’m currently shopping. I’ll keep you posted on how that pans out. It’s a love story that doesn’t end up the way you think it will – and of course, with a dramatic twist!
TJN: Thank you for your time, Belinda. Yes, please do come back and tell us how you’re getting on with your new book! I’m intrigued.
I have enjoyed this interview and wish you every success in your writing and PR career! If an author is interested in contacting you, regarding your services, how may they do this?
BW: Thank you for having me Tracy-Jane. Everyone can visit my website at www.literarylifestyle.com, and it shows my services. I don’t have my bio up there, but it does come in the packet that’s sent out if requested. Authors should also know that I have packages of services – every campaign is tailored to fit the author’s individual needs. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and the office number is 305-394-6184.
Interview by: Tracy-Jane Newton