Meet Publicist Rebecca T. Crowley

- by BlogMistress

Rebecca Crowley started her career at Penguin Group, USA, specifically in the Berkley/NAL imprints. In July 2004, Rebecca founded RTC Publicity, a boutique PR and marketing firm located in the heart of NYC. Energetic and ambitious, Rebecca does not believe any idea is too far off from execution. With a decade of experience in Public Relations with a specialization in books, Rebecca has had an eclectic client base, allowing her to pull from many different areas of her vast history in the industry. She believes passion for the story and “the business” keeps her ideas fresh. Often, Rebecca is called upon to manage traditional marketing and social marketing campaigns.

Ms. Crowley graduated from Trinity College, Hartford, in 1999 with a degree in Spanish and Italian, thus proving that communication is a fundamental part of her life. Rebecca has a fascination with technology, a strong love of baseball and spends time with her 4 nieces and nephews in her hometown of Chicago every chance she gets.

What all Authors Truly Need in 2010 and Beyond

by Rebecca Crowley

I am an author advocate to the bone.

In my days at Penguin, I became close with my authors, always looking for more and innovative ways to get their names out there. It was at the expense of working beyond normal hours and when it was time to move onto the next book, I simply could not let go.

In the corporate world, that is considered a fault. I wanted to see a project from start to completion. In order to do that and follow my passion, I founded my own company, RTC Publicity. Having both in-house and out-of-house experience AND having worked with countless authors over the course of my 10-year career, one thing is clear: authors need to seek support from as many places as possible. PR and marketing resources, paid or freebies, are invaluable as the book world grows more competitive than ever. A lot of really good books get published but so do some bad ones. And there are a lot of “good ones” that simply haven’t gotten the attention they deserve. Increasingly self-published authors are becoming a threat and being taken more seriously than in past years when no one gave them a second thought. Though it may not be a “fair” system, each author does have the ability to create his or her own destiny.

The meteoric rise of the eBook makes it even more important that authors obtain the proper support to keep up with the times. The more accessible eBooks become, they will increasingly provide a more rapid delivery system from author to reader, which should translate into increased income for the author. Currently, publishers are generally taking greater sales percentages from authors with eBooks then with printed books, but the percentage differences will likely be re-structured as the popularity of the eBook grows. Advances are being offered and with the rise of the eBook, no one knows how big those advances will be—they could be larger with more popularity. In knowing this, think about your career in the long run versus the short run. Publishers, large and small, are inundated with manuscripts. Having an agent is key and there are plenty of ways to find one—you just need someone in your corner to help navigate the often rocky (and long) road from manuscript to promotion.

The latter years have seen the rise of the Indie Press. Look around. They’re everywhere and they are publishing QUALITY books. You don’t have to go to a “big house” to get your name recognized—to have that someone in your corner. As a publicist, I often step beyond my “PR boundaries” to help an author out. If that means setting someone up with a “book doctor” before they hit the houses to shop their manuscript, by all means, I have the resources. If it means getting books to an event on time, I play sales force. This is especially important to authors who have spent valuable time and money to travel to a booksigning where none of their books were available. In this economy, and in the rapidly changing climate of book publishing in 2010, it is necessary to have people in your life that can wear many hats, play many roles, and support the overall effort.

One thing that has not changed is that promotion, promotion, promotion is essential. Ask any agent, sales person, editor or publisher and they will surely tell you that without promotion, a book has little success. This takes more serious and intensive planning than it may seem. Most of the time, when an author is pitching a book for the first time, an in-house publicist, often the Director, is sitting in on those meetings. Why? If they can’t find a peg for the book in the current (or projected) media environment, it’s simply not marketable. Not seeing the inkling of promotion from the very beginning from the point of view of a publisher or editor, can stop a manuscript dead in its tracks.

In-house publicists used to rule the promotion world. Now they are handling more books with fewer resources. They may be very good, but it’s not their fault if they have too many books to handle in this ever changing landscape. It never hurts to consult a quality publicist or someone with an expertise in marketing from the get-go. Having such a person on your team makes it increasingly possible that your manuscript will get to the next level. It gives you credibility and numerous other “intangible” benefits. The good news is that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Of course this means that you may be promoting one book while working on your next manuscript, which can be a bit crazy-making. But is decidedly less so with the proper support. That’s what it takes and it’s all worth it.

Authors are busy people. Few are lucky enough to write full-time, indeed, many work multiple jobs to support their writing. However, those that are serious about being published and turning their passion into a full time career must invest in PR and marketing. By making an investment in a person that will be in your corner, that will wear many hats, and will do whatever is necessary to make your book – and you – a success, you are making an investment in your future.

Thanks to Donna Fletcher for inviting Rebecca to blog for us.

7 comments

  1. Thanks for this post, Rebecca. It’s pretty daunting to face the publicity grind after all the hard work of writing, revising etc. And a lot of authors (myself included) are just not that great at pushing themselves.

    Much appreciation for taking the time to share here!

  2. Thanks, Rebecca, and best wishes with RTC Publicity. It sounds like you’ve got all the angles covered! HIGH 5s!!

    I can’t agree with you more that writers have to make the commitment to not only write, but take control of the destiny of those books through every marketing channel they can find, or even better .. create!

    By the way … love your website … http://www.rtcpublicity.com
    Best wishes~
    Nancy

  3. Hi Susanne and Nancy,

    I am so glad you agree–it’s getting more competitive out there, as I wrote. More authors are seeing the need, even if it’s outside their comfort zone. And YES YES it is exhausting promoting, when you are what you thought, done with the book and about to start your next one!

    Rebecca

  4. If an author, as you say, has limited hours for the p r side of things, but not the budget for specialist help – yet – can you give us an idea of where the time is best spent? website, blogging, social sites like facebook? Forgive me if I am asking you to give away trade secrets, but if you had to pick one, what would it be?

  5. Rebecca, sorry, I meant to also say, thank you for the great article and information but got carried away on the captcha thingy. So Thank you so much
    Ann

  6. Hi Ann,

    Actually all three are important–that “web presence.” Stay tuned. I will be blogging more in depth about social marketing. A good website says volumes about an author and blogging, given time, can create a huge following.

    -R

  7. Great blog, Rebecca! All of us need to be reminded of the help that is out there, and seriously consider taking advantage of it. I’ve been getting the Novelists Inc. newsletter for years and it amazes me that so many of the members seem to have about ten times the energy I do. (The number of hours in a day is the same for all of us, isn’t it?) A writer having someone on his/her side to advise and help with getting the word out can ease the craziness.