Posts Tagged ‘publicity’


Just like the name implies a publicist’s sole responsibility is to publicize your work or build your brand. They are the reason celebrities become famous. They are the behind the scenes workers getting interviews, spreading buzz worthy tales and making sure the people who moves and shakes have you in their direct line of vision. How does this relate to an author? Very simple without a great product, a marketing plan and enough buzz created around your book it will become a pretty little wall flower on a wall filled with wall flowers. An added benefit is that most book publicist will read your book and if they are sold on it they are adamant about pushing your success. What can a publicist do for you that you can’t do for yourself? Well unless you have a long list of contacts and industry insiders you can call in favors on than they can do a great deal. I hope to give you five reasons why you need a book publicist and in true Urban Fiction News style I will provide you with a list of publicist that are specific to the urban fiction genre.

Reason #1 You Need a Book Publicist to take you From Unknown to Known

Self published authors have the disadvantage of not having a large big named publisher to fall back on. It’s easier to gain the attention of industry insiders when you have a large traditional publisher backing you. However, a disadvantage can also be an advantage because once you show the big boys you know how to sell your book the potential to be picked up by the big boys is much greater. That could mean higher advance checks and companies fighting for Your attention. The publicist will put you or your work in front of the world giving you more exposure. The great news is their job is to make you known/famous.

Reason #2 A Book Publicist has Connections

We have all heard that it’s not what you know but who you know. Well if that’s true many of us wouldn’t go far on our own. The most valuable aspect of a publicist’ job is networking and building relationships with media outlets. The author doesn’t have to know anyone personally as their representative puts them in front of their long list of contacts. That alone is valuable. How many authors are interested in hunting down folks to talk about their book? I know I am not (but I will) With a publicist you won’t have to. They get you interviews threw newspaper, magazine and radio or TV. They also create campaigns that will generate a buzz around you the author and the book.

Reason #3 A Book Publicist Help with Reviews

As I’ve said before book reviews are the literary gold of the book world. Having quality book reviews on retail sites can make or break your book. Word of mouth marketing can make your book a top seller. A publicist is able to get your book in the hands of reviewers by sending out review copies.They locate popular bloggers in your genre, from media resources and get your book in their hands. One great review can take you from an unknown to a known.

Reason # 4 Book Publicist Create Detailed Ad Campaigns

Many self-published authors may find it overwhelming to market their own work. When you employ the services of a book publicist they not only locate the best ad campaigns but do the ad placements for you. Many will tell you that not only is important to increase your books’ visibility through interviews etc… but also to have your book displayed prominently throughout the places readers of your genre are located. Your book cover should be placed on multiple sites for maximum exposure.

Reason #5 Social Media Should Be a Book Publicist’s Specialty

The world of marketing has changed so greatly that having an online presence is vital to your book’s success. You must know how to work the social media platform to get ahead. Many publicist are well versed on social media marketing and will use it to their advantage. They create enough buzz that gets Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin etc… discussing your book which ultimately means more book sales.

Below is a list of book publicist that cater to African-American Authors and also to the Self-Published author enjoy!!!

Dawn Michelle Hardy

Gwen Richardson

Heather M. Palmore ESq.

V. Michelle Stephenson

Makeda Smith or

Publicist for the Indie Author

Smith Publicity

Kelley & Hall

Novel Publicity

This is a small amount of publicist resources but if you enjoyed the post don’t forget to like and share with the links provided below.

Remember to Follow for more Urban Fiction News, Reviews and Resources!!!




Many traditional publishers offer their authors book tours to help promote, market and introduce the world to a new title. However, self-published authors don’t have the luxury of this type of literary pampering. Book tours are costly events that usually include multiple stops for book signings, radio interviews and or television interviews as well. For writers doing it on their own a book tour is not something that is economically feasible. I was recently introduced to a great alternative. Below is a break down of a Virtual Book Tour

Virtual Book Tour Concept

Virtual book tours are done primarily online. It provides authors with an opportunity to interview with top bloggers in their genre. Generally the blog host has a wide readership so the interview has the potential to be read by thousands. I’ve found that most virtual tour packages provide multiple blog stops over the course of a month or more. (according to your package selection) The concept is basically the same as a traditional book tour but without the jet lag and extended time away from  your family.

Virtual Book Tour Features

I found myself most excited about the features of the virtual book tour. Different companies may provide different features so you must select what’s most important to you. The features that top my list is Facebook and Twitter book parties, Submission to hundreds of book clubs in your genre, book reviews and your book’s title submitted to thousands of newsletters. That is all in addition to your blog stops. The great news is that most of the world’s readers are avid Internet users so your reach is now on a global scale. Another cool features are online radio interviews .

Virtual Book Tour Benefits

There are lots of great benefits to doing a virtual book tour starting with affordability. You’re looking at a price range of $150-$400 for a multi-stop book tour compared to traditional tours that include airfare, food, hotel stays, car rentals in multiple states and a large volume of books that must be ordered to fill demand. Another benefit is the amount of services you receive under that low price. Saving is important to self-published writers who don’t have a large marketing budget. You reach a broader audience as well. Many readers don’t physically go to bookstores for their reads so they may not attend a traditional book signing.

Virtual radio interviews are also great because it allows you to display your interview link on your webpage. This is especially important for potential listeners who may have missed it. You are also being heard by YOUR GENRE’s target audience. Having your book reach its target audience has huge sales potential. The listening audience is already interested in what you write about and they are looking to buy something new. Virtual book tours can also be done from your own home; around your schedule so no running around like a chicken without its head.

If you are an up and coming urban fiction or fiction writer who is looking for maximum exposure without a huge budget consider virtual blog tours. Who can beat a low-cost way to Spread the Word?

Self publishing has changed the game taking ‘unknown’ writers straight to the top of the New York Times best sellers list. Most of the stigma that was associated with self-publishing no longer exists and many traditional publishers are finding their world threatened with this growing industry. Writers have decided to take their fate into their own hands and are yielding much success. With all good things comes both the pros and the cons and I came up with a bit of information on them both. Neither traditional or self publishing is a cake walk and one requires more work but yields more financially. Taking the “I have good news and bad news” approach I’ve decided to start with the Cons.

  • More Work: Real self publishing means you must do all of your own leg work. Before you are able to start the actual printing process you have to first copyright your work. Next you must apply for your ISBN number and bar codes. This is a bit tricky simply because each book may require more than one ISBN depending on your options. Hardcover, softcover and ebooks all require their own ISBN #. You will also need to apply for a Library of Congress number if you want your book to be cataloged by libraries. All of these steps must be done before your book is actually ready to go to a printer. Next you are required to create your own book covers. I primary work on urban fiction so any of the book cover designers I provided in my previous blog would be great. However, if you are writing in a different genre you may have to do a little research because your book cover sells books. Many writers aren’t aware of typesetting for their work. Typesetting is needed if you want your book to be perfectly aligned and to flow naturally. It makes sure you use the correct fonts throughout your story and that chapters are all done perfectly it may also provide your chapters and headings with a little personality.
  • Upfront Cost: If you are self-publishing you will be responsible for all of the upfront cost of publishing. This is generally handled by a traditional publisher. Though you may be excited about publishing please take into account the actual cost of publishing and marketing of your work. Being unprepared will cause your project to stall and may cause lots of wasted expenses. With today’s economy no one has money to just throw into the trash(If you do please let me know where you keep your trash)
  • Extended Timeframes: Authors who are published traditionally don’t see how much work actually goes into creating their work. Self publishing may take a bit more time to complete because of the learning curve. My personal opinion is to begin working on your self publishing project as you are writing your story. This is the best method because you will have most of your project complete when you are done. The only thing you will need to wait on will be the copyright because you have to submit your finished work to the U.S Copyright Office.
  • Editing: Many writers are not the best English students. Editing is the most important part of your story. It can prevent people from reading your work or getting to the good part of your plot. When I finished my first book the first thing I did was hire a professional editing services. It cost a few hundred dollars but was priceless. Self publishing has already gotten a bad rep primarily because it’s authors do not take this necessary step. traditional publishers generally edit their writers work for them but self publishing means you are your own publisher love your craft enough not to disrespect it with a poorly done finished product.

The Good News: Self Publishing Pros

  • More Control: Where there is control there is power. When you self publish you own the rights to your content. This means if you want to sell your story to Hollywood to create a movie you can. No asking your publisher for permission because you are your own publisher. You also have the ability to brand your story by adding character related products to sell. Your book can turn into a profitable business. You can control the price of your book, which means it won’t be overpriced, which generally turns away buyers who can buy well-known titles for much less. You can also control what your cover looks like. This step will determine if your book will actually sell so its important and only you know how you want your book to look.
  • Higher Earnings: Self publishers make more money in the long run. They don’t have to share their profits with a publisher and an agent. After the cost of printing is subtracted per book traditional publishers take their cut. Then the cut of the agent is subtracted leaving the writer with change per book sold. Self publishers are able to keep more of their profits. More profits means more time for the things you want to do,

like vacationing on a sunny beach. Or sipping margaritas with friends and family all from your creativity. what could be better than that? Self publishing is definitely not for the faint of heart but it can yield substantial income if done correctly. I don’t know about you but I’m ready to make it big!!

Writing an urban fiction is the easy part getting it published is the real challenge. The genre is relatively new and many street-lit authors are finding much better success self-publishing their work. This being said, the work that needs to go into self-publishing is what will make or break a title. The wrong book cover can cause an author, any author to lose a potential buyer. To avoid this from happening the book cover MUST! catch your reader’s eye. Doing your own publishing means you can either trust the creativity of a vanity press (who is not versed) on urban fiction to design your book cover. This option is highly frowned upon, simply because they will only give you a few revisions and then you are literally stuck with the finished product whether you like it or not. Another reason you shouldn’t leave your book cover up to the vanity press is because they really don’t sell books. They get paid from you the author to publish and print your work and also when you sell it. Another option is to hire your own urban book cover designer who understands the genre and can deliver hot covers each time. I have done a bit of research (hours, days, weeks and months) to come up with a list of urban fiction book cover designers who are at the top of the game. Some of them are even very affordable.

Davida Baldwin

Davida Baldwin is both the designer and Ceo of Oddball Dsgn. She has designed covers for urban fiction publishers like Life Changing Books, The Cartel Publications and her work has even appeared in top magazines including Essence magazine, Don Diva magazine and Vibe. When going through her website you get a real sense of a true urban fiction professional. The covers scream for attention and literally jump at you with vivid colors and lots of glitz and glam. Her book cover design price starts at $450.00 but she also provides a discount if you plan on doing multiple covers. This is the best option if you’re planning on a sequel or trilogy. Other services include poster design, fliers and postcards as well as website design. Prices are listed on her services page, which can be downloaded also.

Keith Saunders

Keith Saunders is the founder of Marion Designs and has been creating book covers that has also made it to the top of the Essence best sellers list. His covers have also received recognition from Black Expression book club and traditional publishers like Simon & Schuster. What I liked most is that the designer continues to work with its clients until satisfaction is obtained. This is important for authors because your ability to sell depends on their finished product. The website doesn’t list any prices so you must use the contact pages to request a quote. It is important that you be specific about your product so they can give you accurate pricing information. For more information visit their website

Patti Hultstrand

Patti Hultstrand is one of the Publisher and Ceo for A publisher of fiction and increasingly urban fiction novels. Patti Hultstrand designs covers for urban fiction writers for a fraction of the cost. For $250.00 you can get your cover designed for print and ebook publication. This is extremely affordable and can mean publishing possibilities for new up and coming writers. Her work has won her awards in urban fiction cover design. On a professional side note some of her covers need to be polished if it wants to compete with the above mention cover designers. Good bargain for the money but need additional work to get it to a competitive urban fiction edge. Pricing information can be found here

Hot Book Covers

I was unable to find any one person’s name to list as a contact for the website. However, their work looks fantastic. They have designed for urban fiction greats like Wahida Clark, Triple Crown Publications and G Street Chronicles. All major players in the urban fiction game. Authors are able to get a book cover design starting at $250.00 with options to add bookmarks, posters and fliers as well. They also provide book trailers(which are great advertising tools) To check out their work visit them at

How important is a book cover when shopping around for your next read?

Ideally a traditional publisher is the way to go when considering upfront cost. Most traditional publishers pay advances on possible sales of  your titles however, they don’t pay royalties on the back-end until refunded. However, if you are like the other self-publishers tired of waiting for your talent to be “discovered” then you can join the rest of us paving our own path. During your search you will be faced with lots of decisions so here is a bit of help. I have a list of the most expensive self-publishing companies in the business. Prices are based on maximum services including “free” author copies.

Xlibris $15,249

Xlibris offers the platinum package which they nicknamed the Rolls-Royce of publishing. Authors get paperback, hardback and ebook formatting. Unlimited changes to the front cover design, 2 leather-bound copies, 120 paperback copies and 45 hardback. One of the big benefits of this package is they have a 100% royalty program (sounds good except your book may have to be listed at a higher than competitive price) The marketing campaign offers a few nice goodies like press release distribution to 1000 publications, personalized web design and a book trailer with audio. Pretty impressive services not to mention the book posters, fliers, postcards, bookmarks and business cards but is it all really worth it? Well, that’s for you to decide

Trafford Publishing $10,999

Welcome to the big boys! If you are looking for every service rolled into one expensive bundle you’ve found it. Trafford offers its writers an all-inclusive package that will provide you with not only your ISBN# but copyright registration, Library of Congress # also. You also get an option of both paperback and hardback printing and copyediting services. With a price tag like that you will see some other luxury services that include 75 paperback copies of your book, 35 hardback copies and over 110  book stubs. Worldwide book distribution is included as well as a stand alone book trailer and a hollywood audition. Some unnecessary services are unlimited data entry services and an author learning center. Trafford should be selected for authors who have already gone through the publishing process and are looking to go big or go home the second time around.

Authorhouse $11,298

Authorhouse is the creme de la creme of self-publishing. They provide you with a variety of services including registering your copyright, obtaining your ISBN and the library of congress number. However, that hefty price tag includes a full color cover design, back cover sales copy, online distribution and also 20 paperback copies, 5 hardcover and 30 book stubs. The package also includes unnecessary services like professional marketing consultation. Generally speaking this is a one hour telephone conference telling you of different marketing methods. For authors looking to get an edge on the competition there is the ability to get an infomercial with book trailer with an incredible price tag of $8,999. For unknown authors just starting out this is a big waste of money.

The upside is that you get quality, professional looking books that can compete against the traditional publishing houses. Authorhouse book covers are colorful and look amazing.

Many of these self-publishing packages are filled with tons of services that can be done by YOU the self-publisher for much LESS. By doing it yourself it will save you tons of money and the most expensive thing you will invest is your time.