Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Q & A With Niche Press Publicist Kalla Monahan

I am thrilled to introduce MuseInks readers to hardworking, camera-shy Kalla Monahan, a publicist for Sirens Call Publications, a small, niche press specializing in "dark and edgy fiction." 

Kalla is the quiet one at SCP, but don't let that fool you; get her started on one of their projects and she will passionately talk your ear off.  Her literary loves include horror, science fiction and the bizarre. While she does have a weak spot for a good Zombie storyline and will greedily devour anything in the genre, she does get titillated by works in any genre that are well crafted and full of great characters.  

Kalla has graciously agreed to answer a few questions in an effort to pull back the veil and demystify the role of a publicist at a small press. 

Q:  What does a publicist at a small / niche press do? What is a typical day like?

A:  Essentially my job is to act as the intermediary between the media and the author. I do have other duties, but that is my job in a nutshell.

A typical day for me involves going to the day job first and then doing my best to address any critical issues that may have come up in any down moments I can scrounge up. Once home from work, my night is filled with emails, reading, and other additional business that tends to evolve as the day progresses.

Q:  How did you become a publicist? What is the best part of your job? What's the toughest part of your job?

A:  To be honest, I have always loved helping to connect people. As an author myself, I did a lot of the same tasks for myself and enjoyed making the contacts and fostering the relationships that develop along the way.

The best part of my job is getting to work one on one with the authors and developing plans to get the word out about their work. That’s also the toughest part of my job since each book is different and has its own unique learning curve. But I love it and I couldn’t imaging not doing it.

Q:  What can an author expect from a publisher's publicist? What are specific ways an author can help a publicist market a book?

A:  I cannot speak for every publicist out there, only for myself. An author can expect quite a few things from me: my respect (it’s hard to write a book!), my tenacity, and my knowledge of the business from numerous angles. An author can help to market their own book by being persistent but not to the point of annoyance when it comes to publicizing that they have a book to offer.
Photo by jdurham via MorgueFile.com

Q:  What are some common mistakes new authors make with regards to marketing both their books and themselves are writers? What are common mistakes authors make when working with a publicist?

A:  I’m not entirely sure that there are mistakes. When anyone tries something new, they are bound to find out that certain activities work better than others. It is specific to the person and the medium offered as well. Just think of the way that authors pen their works: some prefer to use the computer, others write long-hand; some are planners, while others are pantsers. It’s all about what works for the individual and that’s one of the great things about marketing – different approaches appeal to different groups of people.

Q:  What do you wish every new author knew about marketing?

A: That it is not as easy as telling people you have a book to sell.

Q:  Can you walk us through a typical marketing campaign? When does the marketing for a new title begin? How long does the campaign last?

A: Each campaign is different. The marketing for a new title begins shortly before it’s available. When you’re working in a genre and as the number of books that are published grows each and every day, it can be both good and bad to advertise too far in advance. We live in a world that is centered on the Now and most people want the immediate satisfaction of purchasing a book that they find intriguing. It’s a fine line to walk when it comes to timing.

The publicity for a book never ends. Each day you’ll come across new potential readers so you want to be able to introduce what you have to offer at a moment’s notice.

Q: Describe the most drool-worthy, jump-at-the-chance, ideal book project that you'd love to tackle as a publicist.

A:  Each book that I encounter is one that I would love to work on. I have a passion for the written word that extends through numerous genres. To pick just one would be a disservice to all of the wonderful traditionally and independently published books, at any stage of their existence.

Thanks to Kalla for taking the time from her busy schedule to talk to us. Find out more about Kalla on Facebook or on her blog, The Bizarre Kaleidoscope. She tweets as @KallaMonahan.

Have you worked with a publicist -- either one you've hired or one that worked for your publisher? What did you wish you had known beforehand? What worked best for you? Please comment and let us know.


KellyHitchcock said...

Great post! Thanks for the info.

Kalla Monahan said...

Thank you Ami for allowing me to opportunity to represent what it is that I do. I had a wonderful time answering your questions!

Ami Hendrickson said...

I am so honored to feature you here! Thanks for your generosity.