What do publicists do for authors anyway?

This week I met with my publicist, Alice Lewinsky.

A few weeks earlier she’d sent me four pages of questions: about me, my career, my writing experience, and about the background to my book. She also wanted to know about the likely readership, my marketing and promotional ideas, and the names of people who might provide praise quotes about the book. Answering it all was fun, and a little bit daunting.

So I asked Alice if we could meet, mainly so I could pick her brains about how it was all going to work.

It’s hard to convey how very welcome the team at Text Publishing make me feel, each time I visit. Everyone seems to know my name, know what I’ve written about, know why I’m there that day. My meeting with Alice was no different and she even greeted me with a thoughtful gift – a copy of the latest Brenda Niall biography, Can You Hear the Sea, hot off the press.

Alice, friendly, competent and professional, walked me through all the different kinds of publicity Text would try to arrange for me. In fact, more than six months out from publication (in early April, 2018) they’ve already started pitching me to writers’ festivals. All righty then.

Radio, print, online and maybe even TV – Alice and her colleagues have it all mapped out and, importantly, already have working relationships with many of the key editors and producers. We discussed whether or not I’m comfortable with public speaking (yes, I am); whether I’d be happy to write pieces related to my book (yes, I am); and whether I’d be happy to speak to small groups (yes, I am). I wondered who payed for any travel and the answer is usually the relevant festival, or Text.

Apparently the first month after the book is launched is the busiest, although the next two months are likely to be fairly busy too. Then, as the festivals roll steadily out, the publicity work continues in dribs and drabs. If, for example, I take a trip to Canberra for my day job, I’m to let Alice know so she can try and line up some publicity opportunities while I’m there.

Text will also enter my book for prizes. They have, Alice said, a pretty comprehensive list of all the prizes on offer but if I knew of any obscure ones, she was more than happy to hear about them. And the same for any specialist magazines, journals or websites that might be interested in reviewing or profiling my book.*

In short, what does a publicist do for her authors? Pretty damn near everything, as far as I can tell. I’m feeling pretty lucky.


* And if you know of any obscure magazines, journals or websites that might be interested in reviewing or profiling my book please feel free to let me know!

2018-03-22T01:59:21+00:00 September 29th, 2017|Work in Progress, Writing|6 Comments


  1. Lisa Hill September 29, 2017 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    I think you know of one that might be willing…

  2. Michelle Scott Tucker September 29, 2017 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    Aren’t you lovely! But I’m afraid ANZLitlovers hardly qualifies as ‘obscure’…

  3. wadholloway September 30, 2017 at 8:52 am - Reply

    The (few) publicists who contact me have done a good job by definition really just to ferret me out and are always pleasant to deal with and enthusiastic for their authors. Hope Text pay you to speak in Perth, I’ll think up a difficult question for you which will highlight my erudition.

    • Michelle Scott Tucker September 30, 2017 at 9:22 am - Reply

      Better give me a heads-up beforehand, in case my reply highlights my lack of erudition!

  4. whisperinggums September 30, 2017 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    I’m enjoying your posts on the process Michelle. And of course I recognise Alice Lewinsky’s name from the regular emails listing their new releases and the associated publicist. Text does come across as a warm but professional company so I think you have done very well to have been chosen by them.

    BTW, I wish I felt comfortable about public speaking! I am much happier with pen in hand than microphone.

    Oh, and BTW2, What is your definition of obscure?

    • Michelle Scott Tucker September 30, 2017 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      Obscure is anything I haven’t heard of – which leaves the field wide open! Probably a better definition is anything Alice hasn’t heard of…

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