Meet Publicist Josh Williams!
Publisher: Independent Publishers Group is my employer but the publishers I work with the most are Chicago Review Press and Triumph Books.
Web site: http://www.ipgbook.com
IPG Twitter: @IPGBookNews
I was born and raised in Madison, WI and after spending two years at the University of Arizona, returned to Madison and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2006, with degrees in journalism and African American Studies. After moving to Chicago in October 2007, I started working for Triumph Books in the publicity department. When Triumph formed a partnership with Independent Publishers group in September 2011, I transitioned over to the publicity department at IPG, where I find myself today. I live in Lakeview in Chicago with my fiancée Kristen and our two insane but great cats, Smash and Bucky.
Q: What role do you play in helping get the word out about a book?
A: I begin my work with the author up to six months before the book’s release date, breaking down the publicity process and gathering their input on the project. From there I put together several media and mailing lists – depending on the project – that usually target all forms of popular media: newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs, social media, radio and TV. The advanced release focus is on garnering reviews and mentions of the book through the aforementioned outlets and helping raise awareness in preparation of the release. Once the book is out I’ll generally pursue interview opportunities on TV and radio. Throughout the process I also assist the author in their outreach efforts and try to provide them with as many resources as possible to make the project successful.
Q: Describe a typical work day or work week for you as a publicist.
A: We work in two seasons a year, spring and fall. During the downtime, when we’re well ahead of release dates, much of my time is spent creating media lists, writing press releases and generally organizing for the season ahead. Once the release dates near the daily interaction and coordination with producers, journalists and authors increase significantly. This is when I’m actively pitching books for reviews and authors for interviews. Part of this equation also depends on the timeframe of the respective publisher we’re working with. Some provide galleys or advanced copies and expect campaigns to begin several months prior to a book’s release date, while others are much more short-tier oriented and the publicity push only lasts 1-2 months.
Q: Share a highlight of your career.
A: A recent highlight was working with Curtis Granderson, a baseball player for the New York Yankees and high-profile name within the sports world. Curtis released a children’s title with Triumph Books in the fall of 2011 and because of his hectic schedule, our window for publicity was very brief and provided to us with minimal advanced notice. Largely due to Curtis’ good-nature and flexibility we were able to secure some great publicity for the book, including “The Early Show” on CBS and “The Dan Patrick Show,” as well as a couple of very successful book signing events.
Q: What advice can you give to authors on how to help their book get off the shelf and into the hands of readers?
A: Devote as much time and energy as possible – particularly in the six months or so of a book’s initial shelf-life – into promoting yourself and the book. After putting so much time and effort into the creation of the book, it’s easy to sit back and think your job is done. To truly have an impact in sales though you need to see the project through to the end and involve yourself as much as possible in the promotion of the book. With online resources and social media, this is easier than ever, though admittedly the competition for readers’ attention is also at an all-time high. Don’t be afraid to create a website, a Facebook page or a Twitter profile, and promote your personality, which in turn will help promote the book. If you’re working with a publicist don’t hesitate to offer up ideas and suggestions, as you’re more aware of the book’s subject matter and audience than anyone. Most importantly, enjoy the publicity process and you’ll only be encouraged to keep writing new books, learning from each experience and hopefully seeing better results as you go.