What’s a publicist and do you need one?


“A lot of artists feel it’s not worth it to sign with a major label, because if you don’t have a giganto hit, then you’re not going to get a video made. You’re not going to probably get much tour support. You’re not going to get promotion. You’re certainly not going to get a publicist who’s going to pay much attention to you.”
— Ann Powers

Sound familiar to any of you self publishing authors, indie/small press authors out there?

What should a publicist do for you?

At the minimum, your publicist should contact venues on your behalf to set up signings, presentations, appearances that incorporate your strengths and interests with the interests of your readers. Read about the importance of finding your tangent audience here.

Your publicist should contact local media – newspapers, community calendars, television stations, radio stations, related businesses and social organizations in the area where you will be doing a book signing, etc. **This doesn’t mean that your information will be posted at every business in town and appear on the front page of the newspaper, but your publicist should contact people and businesses that are connected with you and your topic **

Some publicists will give you a detailed list of what to expect at each venue.

For example, if you (the author) are expected to give a 10 minute presentation about writing a murder mystery, your publicist should tell you that BEFORE you leave for the book signing.

It is helpful if your publicist handles details for you that allow you to focus on putting your “best foot forward” and not worrying about whether or not you have enough pens or who is going to take photos for your blog/newsletter. If you don’t have an assistant, you may want to find a publicist who will do double duty for you in this area or a publicist who will recommend an assistant for you.

A publicist should talk to you about ways to polish your appearance and your people skills – let’s face it, we all could use some polishing! A publicist will talk to you about your image and how to best present yourself.

A publicist should create a marketing campaign around your new releases (and incorporate your backlist as well!) – a blog tour, a book signing tour, presentations at events relevant to your topic. A publicist should have a list of contacts to email, phone, or send a newsletter to when announcing your events, book releases, etc.

A publicist will help you manage your online image, and if necessary help with damage control (let’s hope you don’t need that!).


You have to have it. You have to trust your publicist to be on your team, working on your behalf to help you reach your full potential.

You may not be at a point where you need or can afford a full time publicist, but there are freelance publicists you can explore as an option.

If you are not going to use a publicist, be sure to incorporate the roles of a publicist into your own efforts as a writer – it isn’t just the creative side that moves you forward. It is a business too.

What are your expectations for a publicist?



September 14, 2013 · 1:32 pm

Finding readers through a tangent audience

Where are your readers?

Where are your readers?

photo credit: fdecomite via photopin cc

[ tánjənt ]

  1. line or surface that touches another: a line, curve, or surface that touches another curve or surface but does not cross or intersect it

Who wants your work?

Is it the people rushing into the local bookstore to find a book they heard about on the radio or from a friend or from a suggestion online? Probably not, unless your book is the one that they are looking for.

Is it the people meandering around the local library, looking at the bestseller list or asking the librarian for suggestions? Nope, again, not unless you are already on the bestseller list or you happen to be friends with the librarian.

Who wants to read your book?

The million dollar question.

Start with the tangent audience, the one off. Make the connections, find the readers.

A tangent audience for a murder mystery that takes place at a vineyard? Wine enthusiasts – try to find a local winery that would let you set up a signing or better yet a reading and a meet and mingle wine tasting.

A tangent audience for a romance with a hero who is an avid bowler? Start at bowl.com and find conferences or events where you can set up a book signing or advertise your book in a bowling magazine.

A tangent audience for a medical drama? Try a medical expo.

Civil War Historical Fiction? Try a Civil War museum.

We all think the best way to find readers is to go where the readers go (bookstores and libraries), but go where the people who are interested in your topic go and then you’ll find the best kinds of readers – ones who are interested in what your book is about.

What is your book about? Tell us in the comments and maybe we can help brainstorm on your tangent audience! I’d love to hear from you.


Filed under I'm wearing my editor hat, The creative process

“There are plenty of bad editors …

“There are plenty of bad editors who try to impose their own vision on a book.”

Terri Windling

Taking someone else’s story and keeping their ideas, their vision, their voice alive, but cutting away the parts that sneak in to hide the truth in the story – it’s hard work.

It’s rewarding work.

Seeing a story brought out to its fullness – amazing to be a part of that process.

Working on edits and revisions of Melinda McGuire‘s Josephine, and it is an incredible journey.

It does make it easier when there is such a strong foundation to work with, but cutting and re-arranging and adding to and taking away and doing it all in close proximity with the author, discussing each step, playing out the repercussions of the decisions, it is a challenging, rewarding wonderful process.

I don’t have to impose my vision on the book. My role in the process is to help Melinda bring out the vision she has for the characters, for the plot, the setting, the story. So the requirement for me? I have to believe in the author’s vision.

It is an exciting process and one I thoroughly enjoy!


August 27, 2013 · 3:53 pm

5 Reasons to Use Writing Prompts

Do you need prompting?

Do you need prompting?

photo credit: tonyhall via photopin cc
  1. Get Your Creative Mojo Going – nothing makes the muse show up like doing the work. No trick to it, just put your rear in the chair, open a blank document or grab a blank sheet of paper and follow where your creativity meets with the prompt.
  2. Annihilate Writer’s Block – writing prompts seem to give us permission to write crappy, don’t they? There’s no pressure. We may not know anything about the topic in the prompt. It may be completely out of your comfort zone. But if you follow where it leads, magic happens – it’s called giving yourself permission to experiment. This is full of warm, gooey writing goodness.
  3. A Habit you don’t want to kick – make a date with yourself. Not for a manicure or a matinee or lunch. Make a regular date for yourself to write. Your date – a new writing prompt. Permission granted to start a hot steamy relationship with your prompts.
  4. Expand your vision – broaden your horizons – a close cousin to #2. If your prompt is about something you don’t know – excellent! Dust off those research skills. Talk to some people who know about that topic. Read some articles. Watch some movies. That pain you feel – that’s your brain expanding. Again, a good thing.
  5. Gold mine for story nuggets – keep your writing exercises. Keep all of them. Then, after a good long while – six months of writing exercises – go through them. You will be amazed what jumps out at you. You’ll find these little story nuggets – your mining efforts will pay off. There will be foundations for you to build story houses upon. You’ll find strands of your writing that show your unique voice, your turn of a phrase that is so good even you must admit it. You’ll read things that make you stop and think, engage you. You’ll pleasantly surprise yourself. And, then what? KEEP WRITING – of course.


How often do you use writing prompts?

Where do you find your favorite writing prompts?

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Filed under The creative process

Where is your third place?

How important is your third place to your creative endeavors?

How important is your third place to your creative endeavors?

  photo credit: Ben Sutherland via photopin cc

Home, office and ?

Where is your third place?

We have home where we spend time. We have work where we spend time.

And, for most of us, we have our third place – our free space. Our “home away from home” except no dirty dishes or laundry or stacks of paper work or deadlines.

Think of the bar on “Cheers” – a recreational third place.

Think of the Louvre – an inspiring third place.

Libraries, coffee shops, bookstores (my dear friend and colleague, Melinda McGuire says that Good Books in the Woods is the most amazing third place she’s seen in a long while!)

A porch swing with a laptop, a balcony, a basement, a loft, an attic

Do you have to have a third place in order to exercise your creative muscles?

If you don’t have one, do you wish you did?

What would it look like?

Also, all you writerly types out there, be thinking about writing prompts for next time … do you use them? Why? How?

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Filed under The creative process

A word for those who are writing


photo credit: Tim McFarlane via photopin cc

Prompts, journals, and writing partners

How goes it with you, writers?

Do you use prompts?

Do you journal?

Do you have writing partners?

If you use prompts, do you try to make those connect into something bigger once you reflect on the writing exercise? Or, do the prompts act as a springboard for you – getting your writing muscles stretched and flexible?

If you journal, does that act as your brainstorming session? Or is it more of a diary?

Writing partners – what do you expect from them? What do they expect from you? How do you know you’ve found a “good” one? How do you know you are being helpful?

Also, how do you put aside your own writing endeavors to help others who are writing – and should you?

Sitting here with my editor glasses on, reading through an amazing manuscript, wondering about the writing process for those of you who are actually in the act of opening your veins.

Love to hear from you,

Ann Marie Abelard

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Filed under I'm wearing my editor hat

What is the need for another Southern Publishing House?

What is the need for another Southern Publishing House? photo credit: arbyreed via photopin cc

Or, why we started Pecan Tree Publishing…

Faulkner, Welty, O’Connor, Walker Percy, Hurston, Harper Lee, Corman McCarthy, Twain –
do you get a little light headed, feel a little faint looking at those names?

Do brilliant, wonderful stories jump into your head at the mention of these Southern authors?
I love these writers, their stories, their voice, their style.
I love Southern literature.
I love Southern fiction too, but that’s a different category. (Gone With the Wind is fiction, not literature. I love it, I do, but it’s not literature.)
My heart and my passion lies with Southern literature.
Southern stories that grab your brain and your soul and engage you. Southern stories that take you to places where you don’t necessarily want to go and don’t want to stay, but man oh man, you don’t want to miss the trip.
Gritty stories, dark stories, humorous and witty but not fluff, never fluff. Substance.
These aren’t the stories of Hallmark channel. These aren’t Lifetime movies.
These are meaty.
This is the whiskey, neat.
This is the dark corner of a smoky bar.
This is the twisting dirt road.
This is cold spring rain falling in a clay dirt field during a thunderstorm.

So, an independent publishing house that focuses on Southern Literature?
How could we do anything else?

Our mission – find the next Faulkner, the next Twain, the next O’Connor and work with them to produce great works of Southern literature.

Coming soon – get to know our featured authors – Melinda McGuire, M.A. Ross, and Jack Roberts

— Ann Marie Abelard

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August 9, 2013 · 2:25 pm