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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Is hiring a book publicist the latest trend? – Beware of who you hire!

[Please accept my apologies that I have been absent for the blogosphere for such a long time. I was working on a book. It will be released next weekend.]

Indie authors know that in their industry new trends come and go very quickly. This can probably be explained with the popularity of indie author blogs. Once a blog hits a nerve of an influencer or sounds “just right,” it gets shared hundreds if not thousands of times.

Over the years, I have seen trends come and go good concepts and also hyped ideas.  In December 2016, for the first time, I noticed that, apparently, indie authors hire publicists to get book reviews. Since hiring a publicist is substantially more expensive than the usual indie author marketing methods, this development surprised me.

Traditionally, authors hire publicists to help them get media coverage, on TV or in print magazines, but these publicists asked me to review their clients’ books on Amazon.

That seemed kind of strange.

Is it a new trend?

Of course, one possibility is that publicists offer “getting Amazon reviews” as an additional service or a bonus service for their clients. Then again, can publicists who can’t even write a decent review request get the attention of a top-notch media personality?

Here are all three request emails so you can judge for yourself.


Hey there,
[ ... That’s the best greeting you could come up with when trying to get me to do something for you and your client?...]
I’m reaching out because I saw that you reviewed ... (title of book) .... I’m working with ...(name)..., the author of ...(book)...  to help get it into the hands of readers who will love it. We thought you might enjoy it and wanted to offer you a free copy.
(A 54-word blurb that consisted mostly of bragging but contained no useful, understandable information about the book’s content)
I’d be happy to send you a complimentary copy in PDF or MOBI format if you’re interested.
[...Keep reaching out... preferably with a better email. A me-mail (I am... I saw... I thought... ) isn’t going to do it. To succeed, you need to tell reviewers why they would want to read this book. (knowledge, entertainment, suspense, etc.)]
All the best,

(name, publicist, company)

* * * * *


Dear Reviewer,
[This greeting indicates that this is a mass email. No need to read on. You are shooting spray.]
“... ( title of book)...” resulted from ... (description of the author’s career)...

I’m looking for reviews on digital platforms so that I can get some feedback from readers, people just like you!
[Keep looking! This text is tailored from the most popular review request template on the Internet... I already have four dozen emails like this one in my Inbox...]
I would greatly appreciate it if you would check out my book and leave me a review.

I would like to send you my book as a gift; you don’t have to purchase it in exchange for a review!
[Another  me-mail.... “I’m looking for... I would appreciate... I would like...
Also, allow me to bring to your attention: People have to work and people have to pay taxes but nobody has to purchase your book...]
Your opinion of my work is important and I value your opinion.  (title of book) is available for order on Barnes and Noble, Amazon and many more platforms.

Here are a few requirements (authors are poor and need amazing people like you!)...
1. Click on the link to download your FREE book here.
2. Read the book before February 24th.
3. Post your review on a digital platform by February 24th and send me the link to the review.
[Please move on to the real world. Reviewers are experts in knowing where to find free books. We don’t need to fulfill your requirements to get one.]
Again, I really appreciate you taking the time to read my book and giving me some feedback!
[What makes you think that I will read your book? I don’t read books from authors who have requirements that I have to fulfill to give them what they need.]
Thanks and regards,
(name of author) &
(name of publicist)
[Wait a minute... Name of publicist? ... This email was not written by an author but by a publicist?... who apparently does not know how the reviewing process works]

* * * * *


Hey Gisela,
[A personal greeting! Kind of nice!]
I’m reaching out because I saw that you reviewed ...(title of book).... I’m working with (name), the author of (title of book), to help get it in the hands of readers who will love it. We thought you might enjoy it and wanted to offer you a copy.
[Hmm... Doesn’t this text sound familiar? Apparently, there is a new template featured somewhere on the Internet. Hint: This paragraph was also used in the first email; however this publicist kept his email much shorter...]
Would you like to receive a free digital copy of (author’s name)’s  book? I’ll be happy to send it to you as a .pdf, .epub, or .mobi.
[No, thank you... you did not even tell me the genre of this book, let alone what it is about...]
(name, publicist)

* * * * *

As an email evangelist, I keep pointing out that tailoring templates is one of the worst mistakes a writer can make.

The reasons are obvious.
  • Shouldn’t a writer use their own words?
  • While the sender cannot know if the recipient has already received similar emails tailored from the same template, the recipient knows and will spot templates immediately.
  • Tailoring a template indicates, “I am too lazy to write a personal message”, “I don’t know what to say”, or “I don’t really care.”

All three of the emails I received were tailored from a template or used a part of a template.

Do you think that publicists who put forth this kind of effort can sway, for instance, the producer of ‘Good Morning America’ to put their client on this show?

Summing it up:

Indie authors: You are authors! You know how to write! Don’t pay somebody to tailor a template!

If you feel you must hire a publicist, investigate with hard-boiled detectives’ skills before you hire one, even if you are a truly romantic person who writes historical romance novels.  


Have you considered hiring a publicist? 

~ ~ ~*~ ~ ~

Gisela Hausmann is an mass media expert; her work has been featured in the SUCCESS magazine, in Entrepreneur and on Bloomberg (podcast) 

She is the author of

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© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann 

1 comment:

  1. The experiences listed here are very similar to some of the childish pitches that I have received. It seems that publicist is a profession that is drawing many people with minimal ability.