Sunday, November 9, 2008

RichWriters Interview with Harper Collins Advertising & Promotions Exect, Paola Soto

Jeff Rivera:     Hello and welcome to the show.  My name is Jeff Rivera, author of the novel 'Forever My Lady' by Warner books and I am pleased to present to you Paola Soto of the Extreme Publishing Consultant and with an expertise in book publicity.  So welcome to the show, Paola.


Paola Soto:      Thank you so much, Jeff.  Hi!  How are you?


Jeff Rivera:     Great.  It is really thrill to be able to talk to you because you really know what you are talking about.  For everyone to know, Paola is a book publicist, has a background in book publicity and she has helped authors such as [031] and many other authors become really well known.  She has placed them in such publication as New York Post, Publisher Weekly, Cosmopolitan,[ph] which in the magazine, I mean the list go on with 700 club so we really have the privilege to be able to talk to with her today and to really listen and learn a lot from her about what we can do as authors to generate publicity whether you have a publicist or not, what you can do specifically to get your name out there in the world and really book publicity is the number one way of getting word out there besides word of mouth of course.  So, welcome once again to the show, Paola.


Paola Soto:      Thank you.


Jeff Rivera:     So, for those who do not really know, what is it that a book publicist does?  What are the typical day in a life, I know you said you had kind of a very crazy, hectic day, what is that day like?


Paola Soto:      Basically, the day consists of you are basically the number one cheerleader and fan of the author and the book that you are working on where your everyday consists of whether you are working on one book or several just basically looking through it, getting the press releases together, getting the press kits together and the press materials that you are going to send out to the different contacts.  You are reaching out and calling new people and trying to see if they are interested in reviewing the book and in a list book and then you will be doing a piece on the author.  You are also reaching out the people who you have already sent the materials to and you are just checking back on and saying like, "Have you received it?  I really think that this author is perfect for your show or your publication and you know, what do you think with their space, with their time?" and so forth.  So, you basically just spend your entire day on the phone and on the computer emailing and constantly reaching out and constantly looking for new publications and just new mediums where you can spread the word about this book and about the author as well.  So, it just really I would have to say, you have to be an extremely outgoing and social person to be a publicist because basically all you are doing all day is contacting new people and trying to find new and creative ways to get the message out there and the message about your book and the author.


Jeff Rivera:     And you start your day of like is it 6 in the morning I mean when do you start your day ?


Paola Soto:      Well, I would say that publicity is one of those things where you could be on call 24 hours a day just in the sense of you are always in your mind thinking of new ways in which you can promote the book, new ways that you can get the idea of the book and the story out there.  You are watching television and you are kind of like, "Okay.  Maybe I should try something that is going to appeal more to a wider audience or more to a male audience as oppose to a female audience," and you are also on fighting home and  you are just thinking about like what other new websites are there out there, what websites are out there already that I can connect with and maybe try to get a good promotion going on with this book or a new publication that is now interviewing or looking for people to interview, can I get the author on there and you are also looking for new shows and maybe this show need some time to sell so and they focused more on women so maybe I can get my author on that show and just different kind of things like that where you are just constantly on a regular basis going, just constantly on a regular basis just thinking of new ways and if you are not thinking, you just actually acting out trying to re contact  these people and see if you can make something happen.  So I really do think it is something where you are constantly just, your brain is constantly in that thought of life, what is the new idea, what is the new way to get the word out there.  So I feel that it is something that you can spend your whole day and you really are thinking of your authors and the book and the storyline and the mediums that are out there now and new ones that are popping up everyday.  So, it is something that can take your whole 24 hours of your day.


Jeff Rivera:     Now, I want people to understand that you actually have worked with some of the biggest publishing houses in the world really I mean you are one of the best I mean you have worked with Penguin books and you are currently working with Harper Collins with the course is one of the top 5 publishing houses so I think it is really important for people to really listen carefully to what you have to say.  Now, it is possible of course to successfully pitch yourself where you do not necessarily need a publicist?


Paola Soto:      I do not know.  I do not think you necessarily do but I do think that everyone should know their limitations in the sense of if you know that especially when speaking of yourself and your work, if you know that you are not going to have an open mind or even that you are just going to get nervous having some perfect stranger on the phone and you are not sure what to say, I would say that sometimes no, you should definitely know your own limitations and know that I need to get a professional to do this I mean in the sense of when I first started in book publicity, when I first started pitching books and ideas,  books and authors to publications and to television shows, I was very nervous because that was the first time that I was doing it so being in the phone with a perfect stranger can be a daunting experience.  So it is something that I had to get used to and get over so know I can get on the phone with anybody and just have an easy going conservation in the sense of but I am still pitching this author or the book.  So it is not me pushing them and it is not me trying to get them to do something that they do not want to do or that they cannot do.  A lot of times, it is that they really like the book, they really love the author but they have a certain number of pages or a certain theme that they are going for so it does not exactly fit in and they want to work with you but at the end of the day, they have a boss too that they must answer to and if the boss says, "No," they cannot go against their boss.  So, just things like that where I do feel that having that detachment where it is not, yes I am working with the author and yes I am a fan of the author or I am the cheerleader but at the same time, it is not my work so I can kind of detach myself from it in the sense of if the person says, "Oh no, it actually not going to work out," I am not completely heartbroken although yes, I am disappointed and upset by it but at the same time I am not devastated so that I can be like, "Oh, alright.  Thank you for time," and then pick up the phone again five minutes later and get to pitching and not let it hinder the process and stop me because I am so attached to the work.


Jeff Rivera:     Just it is really, really best if they can afford it to really get an expert like you, you are a publishing consultant, you have expertise in advertising and publicity, so is that a possible but if they can afford or if they have a limited funds, can they have a friend who is really outgoing work on it?  I mean, instead of…


Paola Soto:      Definitely, especially now where I see that so many authors are so hands on and they come up with their own great ideas as far as promotions are concerned and they definitely are constantly thinking of new ways to put their book out there because it is ultimately their baby, it is their work so of course they want to see it succeed.  I think that there is definitely a lot of things the authors can do by themselves as far as gathering information and just having a really nice outgoing friend who is maybe looking for something new to try and who does not mind getting on the phone and just getting people on the phone and telling them about the book and see if they would be interested of receiving a copy, they can do that and if they are the kind of author who is not shy at all and who can sound very business like and represent themselves without giving their hands away then I definitely I mean try it out.  I just think that major publications specially publications like The New York Times, many shows like Oprah which a lot of authors definitely want to get on, a lot of these shows are really used to dealing with people who are specifically publicists so it is a different relationship and a lot of times, you should go out and get yourself one or really work with the one that your publishing house has given, has assigned to you but if you are self publishing I think that there is a lot of things you can do as far as setting up a website, as far as reaching out to people who review books online and reaching out to smaller publications on your own through writing where you can get the same results without necessarily having to get on the phone or necessarily having to pitch your self and still get the word out there about the book and still be able to get a lot of different eyes to look at it.


Jeff Rivera:     Can we talk a little bit about pitching yourself when you are approaching for example maybe a newspaper or magazine, who is it at the newspaper or magazine you should approach?  I mean should you approach the reporter, should you approach the editor?  I mean if so, what kind of editor?  I mean, who do you approach exactly?


Paola Soto:      Yes, well in general, when it is a newspaper, they usually have an art and entertainment page and usually or something like The New York Times, of course The Los Angeles Times, the bigger ones have their own book sections so all you have to do is find the book editor and you can send a copy of your book or a galley or not the manuscript but the pages to the book editor.  With magazines, they gets a little bit more tricky because a lot of them especially those that are gear towards pop culture and so forth that those cannot have book sections so those end up being just it is easier to get to an art and entertainment editor and that person usually the person that gets the book and assigns them to writers whether freelance or ones who are on staff and they are the ones who basically do the review and that is more difficult because usually they only run a review if there is a limited amount of space, do you like one page or half a page or even just a box in the corner and usually the book is something that they somehow the magazine feels really wants the back and really like because something like Cosmopolitan, they do not tend to review romance novels and that is for a specific reason.  They tend to do books that they can attach an actual article too.  So, it ends up filling up much more of the page and then at the same time, they are able to mention the book in the article or write a little copy in a box about it.


Jeff Rivera:     So, it really means, what I found and I do not found the same things I mean reviews are great I mean they really helped, they can help but I do not know as a consumer, I do not really read book reviews and when I just do not. I mean I based my opinion on maybe a great article I might have read about somebody about an author or of course, or even if a perfect stranger come up to me  and say "oh my God it is a great looking [12:28].  How can a bookstore and I am sorry to say, but I see a great cover and then I flip it open I mean so, if someone wants to get maybe like an article done they should really approach the arts and entertainment, editor and then from that point on, they will assign it to like maybe a freelance reporter or a staff reporter?


Paola Soto:      Exactly I mean I think if what you want is an article with this kind of a different, just completely different from a book review, that tends to be a little bit a more involved in the sense of a needs to be a bigger, it needs to be depending on the size of the publication, it just needs to be bigger than just about the book, they need to be able to write something more about your career and your life as a whole as opposed to just about the book and then you will find that sometimes something as simple as having the book at Amazon, have the people review it in Amazon, there are people who find that to be more hopeful than to read the review in the book in The New York Times book review . The thinks like that which people in the past have felt like, "Oh, that doesn't really do anything," is actually as being a lot more helpful as far as sales are concerned and getting people to buy the book than something like The New York Times because as you say, people in general do not really read book reviews and even if they do does not mean that that they necessarily  going to go out and buy the book.


Jeff Rivera:     Right and maybe depending on the audience for example if you are writing literary fiction and it is very, for a certain educated caliber of a consumer who really does read in The New York Times and really does base at this, did not helped by any case of maybe a romance novel or something else, some other type of novel maybe getting a review or article geared toward that ions [ph] might be more effective Wouldn't you say.


Paola Soto:      Exactly. Exactly. I would say that people should not be afraid of really just trying to find the publications that are geared towards the readership that they want to reach.  In the sense of you are willing to take a good long look at your book and realize who the audience is for it.  Now, who is the audience that you want to be?  A lot of times, people get lucky and it is a lot bigger than they thought but if it a romance novel then try to reach out to publications and to the websites that focused on romance.  If it is a bi- literary nature, there is a lot of different publications out there who best focus specifically on that niche and only produce their magazine maybe once or twice or three times a year as opposed to monthly or published their newspaper just on a different by weekly as opposed to everyday.  So, things like that I really think that you should keep an eye out for as an author and realize who your audience is so that you will not waste time reaching out to people that in the end is just going to be end of being a waste of time and money for yourself.  For example, if you are a first time author and you have written a novel, I understand everyone really want to be on Oprah, I understand what she, the opportunity that she offer but you must be realistic and realize that, "I am a first time novelist.  I am writing fiction.  Oprah does not have…just not have people who write fiction for the most part."  I cannot remember the last time she had an author in her show that actually writes fiction and as far as the book club, that is a completely different process of trying to get your book in there and the kind of book that she actually accepts for her club are also very different.  So, I just think of the matter of being extremely realistic with your self and about who is the audience for the book and who are people who are actually going to pick it up and read it and recommend it to others and I do not think there is anything wrong with that.  I think you can actually end up just saving a lot of time and money and actually getting the word out there a lot faster and a lot of better ways.


Jeff Rivera:     So if you really figured out who your specific audience is, I know everyone wants to believe that everyone is going to read it and one day, they will but for now really focusing on who your audience is and then finding out what magazines or TV shows or radio show that that specific audience reads or watches and then in a case of a newspaper or magazine, try to go to arts and entertainment section but what if it is a television show for example, maybe we really think that you are doing a book about a gardener and we really think that HT TV would be a great avenue.  Who do we approach on HT TV, show on HT TV to maybe do a little bite on our book or subject matter?


Paola Soto:      In that, when in comes to television shows, you definitely want to get in touch with the producers because they are the ones who decide what segments are going to be one and whether or not a segment will actually get produced.  So, they are the ones who come up with the ideas and who basically figure out, "Okay, this show is going to focus on Christmas and this show is going to focus on Thanksgiving and this show is going to focus on mothers and so forth," so when it comes to television, that is the people that you want to get in touch with.  If you are a first time author or an author who is not really national, I suggest that contacting your local television station because a lot of times you will find that they maybe more willing to give you more airtime because you are a local author so that means in the end more ratings, more people that you know that live in the area and so forth.  It is, of course, the bigger authors should contact more national, morning shows are a little bit more difficult, they are the ones that a lot of authors wants to get on but in general, for the bigger shows, it tends to be more of a nonfiction plot that they want because they want to be able to kind of build an entire segment around it.  For radio stations, the people that you should be trying to contact are the program directors because once again, they are the ones that are in charge of programming and decide which guest gets come on the air and which guest do not.  [Cross Talking]  Sorry.  Sometimes for television shows, depending on what kind of show it is like if it is more of a daily show or a show with the host and they have different talents on it like let us say, David Letterman then you will once again talk with the talent coordinator because they are the ones who will receive the materials from your press kit and will be able to pass it along to the producer.


Jeff Rivera:     So, you said something interesting before primarily if an author is going to be on a show, it is going to be a nonfiction book which is understandable maybe they have a section about how to get traffic tickets for example and that is a subject that their audience might be interested in but what if I'm writing a fictional story and the story is about a gardener who falls in love with, I do not know, a Mexican girl, something like that, how would I take that story, if that was your assignment, Paola, and you are given this book and it is called 'The Gardener's Life' and 'The Gardener's Life' is about a gardener who falls in love with a  Mexican woman.  How would you go about tying a book that new fresh author on let us say the Jay Leno Show, like what would be your approach?


Paola Soto:      Well, to be quite honest with you, I would definitely say that I would give it a shot that I would take the press materials and I would send it to the talent coordinator at the Jay Leno Show but ultimately what I would definitely try to do is just figure out a way to get across to the author that, "I'm on your side so I'm going to send to all of the places that you want me to send to because I will take your word for it but ultimately if you want me to do my job and to do it well and if you trust me to do my job, then you should trust when I say that I know that there are certain shows that do not take, that just do not have certain talent on.  It is just; we have no control of it.  I'm only the publicist.  I'm not in charge of programming.  If it was up to me, Oprah would have whoever she wants on but unfortunately, we work with what we have," and so I would say, "I'm going to send it and I'm going to get on the phone and I'm going to pitch it but if you want me to be completely honest, I can spend my time getting you more publications.  I can spend my time getting you a more websites access,  I can spend my time or getting you even more radio and maybe even on your local television but this is the kind of situation where I think at that point, we really need to be realistic," because there is unless it is Nicole Richie, unless you are Paris Hilton writing the next novel, the next novella, unless you are Paris Hilton writing 'The Gardener', it is going to be kind of hard to get you on Jay Leno, to be completely honest, just to let you know but it is the kind of thing as the publicist, if your author asked you, "Please send a copy and include this and include that…" and it is like, "Okay, I'm basically your cheerleader.  I'm here to back you.  I will do that without a problem," but I think anyone who is not completely honest and who just let people like, "Oh yes, I'm going to check Oprah and I completely think that you can get Oprah, I'm so going to get her right now because I know she has a reason to love The Gardener and she is going to fall in love with him and this going to be the best story ever," and I think anyone who tells you that with a straight face and I think that they are kind of either diluting themselves or they are lying to you because it is just what it is.  I definitely think as a publicist, you should take the book, send it, take the press material, send it, get on the phone, send the emails, do what you have to do but at the end of the day, I think you need to be honest with both with yourself and your author.  I mean you really do not want to spend your time, you can spend a hundred dollars sending all of your materials to Oprah and David Letterman and Jay Leno and not get any of them or you could spend your hundred dollars sending all the materials to your local publications and your local media and get maybe 10, 20, 25 hits and I think that is actually as being better in the end than trying to get Oprah from the beginning.


Jeff Rivera:     So, it really goes back to you picking your niche market and picking the right publications or the right media for your audience and maybe it is not the best fit to have a book about a gardener who falls in love with a Mexican woman on the Jay Leno Show unless you are Paris Hilton or Nicole Richie writing the book.


Paola Soto:      Exactly.  Not to and I know that this sound, I sound jaded, I sound like the people that have told me that when I first started and I know it sounds kind of messed up and I am not trying to be jaded and I am really not trying to stamp on anyone's dream.  Like I said, I would still send it just because one never does, now, but at the same time, I feel like it is realistic and unfortunately it is what it is and until, I guess, until our media stops being so obsessed with this idea of celebrity and actually start to appreciate talent and art for what it is, I do not think that is really going to change and I think that is part of the problem and as a publicist, it is just a matter of seeing the problem for what it is and trying to work your self around it but at the same time like I said, I really think that you should be realistic about the amount of resources and amount of time that you have and what you can do with that resources and what you can do with that time.


Jeff Rivera:     So, let us take that back.  Let us say that we have rewritten this book about the gardener who falls in love with Mexican woman and we decided that gardening magazine might be a great fit.  What will we say to the art and entertainment section editor act in the gardener magazine in order to get them interested in a novel like what was something that we would or how would  we approach them?


Paola Soto:      I would definitely just try to approach it in the sense of you understand who the audience is and you understand that this may not be something that is common for this magazine to cover but it is something that you think will stand out and will appeal to that audience and the reason why.  What is different from this?  What is different about this book?  What will make it stand out?  Because at the end of the day, a lot of people say this that every story has been told and publicity is not about what story you are telling but how you are telling it.  It is about being prepared.  Do you have all of the press materials all ready to go?  Have you already sent it?  Are you just calling up without already having send them press materials or at least an email?  Or is this the first time that you are calling?  It is kind of, it is really is sort of like fishing in a way because you are just kind of throwing the line out there and you just kind of biting your time and just waiting and it really that is what it is.  I think that the best way to get the attention is to just is to really be patient, to really understand that a lot of these people are dealing with a lot of different things so you just really want to be straight to the point and try to just get in a really straight manner as much of the story and the point across like do not give an entire summary, just focus on the main points.  If it is something about a gardener that started to have an affair with a Mexican girl, does the story focus on something more that is like housewife from ABC because maybe you can give it that kind of plan.  If it is something that is more of a story that is more radical or it is even based on a true story then try to give it that, try to focus on that point.  It really depends on the title like I would say; it really depends on the book.  It depends on what publication you are gearing it towards.  If it is something like garden magazine and the book does focus on gardening, if the book, maybe have gardening tips or things like that, I would pull that out of the book and put it on the press release and send it along with a copy of the book and with the author bio and so forth so that they would see that they can actually pull out things that they can use in the magazine like you want to make the editors and the writers life as easy as possible.  For example, if you are interested in a publication doing an article about you, I suggest you sit down and you write a list of questions and then answer it and include that in the press materials because now they have a list of questions that they can just pull from and use and maybe they will not even interview you but they would still run it because they already have the questions and the answers and they can just easily retype it and put it into one of their pages.  Just simple things like that where I really think that you need to just think as an author and maybe not just an author but kind of put another hat and think as this editor or this writer that you know that is trying to do a monthly magazine or even a daily newspaper which is even worst that is worth time its concerns like how can I make their life easier?  What information can I give them where it will really help them and really want them to kind of read more because at the end of the day, they are receiving a hundred and sometimes, even thousand of these.  So, what is going to make yours stands out?  Is it the cover?  Is it what actually in the book?  Is it one of the characters?  Is it my story as the author?  Is it all of those things, a combination of those things?  I think, to sit down and think about that before even sending it out there.


Jeff Rivera:     What is the best way to approach them initially?  I mean, should you send an email?  Should you pick up the phone and call them?  Should you send them a snail mail letter?  Should you fax them?  I mean should you do all of the above?  I mean what is the best…?


Paola Soto:      I think definitely, all of the above.  I think when let us say if your novel or not your novel but let us say you wrote a book about technology, about all the different gadgets that are out now and how to use them, the first thing you should do is get in touch with Wired magazine like that is, it is just that in that sense, I would just send an email to all the editors at all these technology magazines and then I would follow up with a call and make sure that they got it, see if they are interested.  Sometimes they would just email you so you do not have to even give them a call.  If it is something that is not as.. how can I explain it, with the link maybe not be as solid or maybe the editor will not see it as easily as you do, I think you should actually send the package.


Jeff Rivera:     Okay and…


Paola Soto:      So, I think, with something like even with something where it is a romance novel and it is romantic times, just send the package like that one is kind of self explanatory, publishes quickly, do not even bother, just send the package but it is actual magazine and publications and websites that focus fully on that genre or that type of work, just send the package because they are used to getting all this and it is the kind of situation where you are going to spend more time trying to get somebody on the internet or trying to get somebody on the phone then actually send in the  package and they will get it and you actually have a quicker chance of getting reviewed.


Jeff Rivera:     And what about you mentioned following up like supposed I have send an email or I placed a phone call and I have not heard anything and it has been a day or it has been a week or it has been several weeks, what point should I pick up the phone or email them again?


Paola Soto:      I think that if it has been a couple of days, if you have send the package and it is the kind of thing where you send it with a delivery confirmation when you know they received it and it has been a couple of  days since they received it and you have not heard anything, I think you should contact them and actually, if it is a book editor, contact their assistant and make sure that they have gotten it and see if it is their desk or if they assigned it to somebody.  I think the best thing to do when you just want to check whether or not somebody has received it or to see if they are interested, is to actually contact the assistant because usually the person that you are sending it that is the contact for all of the books so they get everything for they are just too busy doing the 10 million other things they need to do and it is just easier to kind of get on the phone if you have their number, call them up.  If you do not, just get in touch with the general number and then ask for so, "the book editor's assistant, please," and just ask, "You know, I just want to see if they received the book, have they got the chance to look at it, if it is just there at their desk, will they by a chance have assigned it to somebody…" just have a nice a conversation, "Hi!  How are you?  Okay, you know, I'm just calling because I sent my book out, the name is so and so, the author's name is so and so and I just wanted to see whether or not they have received it.  Oh, okay.  They have.  Alright, would they by a chance have assigned this to anybody?  Oh, okay.  Great, would it be okay if I call back in a couple of weeks or a couple of days to see what is going on what the status is?"  So, just be really polite and really respectful about it because they are a business too and they are trying to just run a regular daily business and then kind of receiving calls just to double check on whether or not books have been received for sometime.  They considered it to be annoying even though it is part of their job unfortunately.


Jeff Rivera:     But kind of be brief to the point but not too pushy?


Paola Soto:      Yes, not too pushy.  Not too light.  Well, I really think that at the end of the day, most likely, nine times out of ten if you get somebody, it is going to be somebody's assistant.  If you actually get the person, it is even more important to be respectful with the fact that, "You know, I'm sorry to have bothered you.  Do you have a minute to speak?" and if they say, "Yes." then just try to be brief and to the point but at the same time respectful and not pushy and I will say like, "Look, you have to have my book? And I know it is right and I saw this other book on it that was pretty much just the same and you published it and this is…"  just do not.. really try not to be pushy because at the end of the day, they are just regular human beings.  If there is something as simple as that is like, "Oh, I may have thought about it if have seen the book but now I am definitely not, you know?"


Jeff Rivera:     Right and we talked about standing out.  We know… of course the probably receive hundreds or thousands every week of books and [34:12] what can you do to really stand out?


Paola Soto:      I would say the number one thing, it would be, it is just to make so that there is always a contact information right in the front of the book or as soon as you open it so that if they actually do, or come across, for me, I come across it they will know exactly who to contact if they are interested in it.  That would be number thing.  Of course, the cover always work because at the end of the day, editors are all human beings and we all kind of work the same in the sense of you will see a book and they will be, "Oh…" it is a regular book but you do not even want to open it but all of a sudden you see one with a cover that you are attracted to it and it is like at least you would open it to the first couple of pages or at least turn it to back and see what the back of the book says.  A press release is also always helpful because it gives all of the information of the author and the book right there and they do not actually have to buy and read the book, they can just read the press release and either, "Okay, I'm interested," or "I'm not interested."  So I would say that those are really just the main things that I think are extremely important and if there is anything in the book that you feel is extraordinary and that you want to stand out and make sure that they see this, pull maybe that paragraph out or that passage or that page and just put it on some nice paper, put in the press release so that it is all there and they can just kind of the sense of the story and the book just from reading the press release.


Jeff Rivera:     So, can we talk a little bit briefly about press release and what basically needs to be in it, a bad press release compared to one that is actually going to grab their attention?


Paola Soto:      Yes, I would say the most important thing or actually what every press release they have of course is for immediate release.  They need to have contacts information on them.  If you are doing it but you have a publicist and you want to include your publicist's information that is fine.  If it is your own and you are doing this on your own then include your contact information, include a phone that you have, that only, I supposed your limited number of people have access to that or where people can leave messages for you and the title of the book of course and the author of course.  You also want to have all the publishing information and that includes the ISBN, it includes the date of the release, when the book goes on sale and it includes the price of the book.  You want to have a summary of the story without giving it away and basically the summary is in publishing the summary ends up being the same description that your editor will write about the book so it kind of gives you a little bit, just enough that it kind of real do you and you like, "Oh, do I want it?  Maybe I should read more because I really want to know what ends up happening with Ms. X and Mr. Y…" and so forth.  So, that definitely needs to be in it and you also need the auhor's bio that is very important.  A lot of times, publications would just seriously like just run something because the author is from the same city as the paper is and once again the publishing info and the contact information.  Those are the major things and the contacts information and the publishing information is always repeated twice in the press release as repeated in the front and it is also repeated in the back.  You want to make the press release book eligible and nice.  It can be single spaced, usually it is better to do one and a half to two spacing just because it is just easier on the eyes especially if somebody is constantly reading letters and constantly reading copies, it is kind of hard to always read copy and always read letter and then read a press release where everything is single spaced.  So, you want to make sure that it is that it is eligible; you want to make sure that is neat.  You also want to make sure that actual title of the book stands out from the rest of the press release.  I would say that is one of the most important thing because I have seen press releases where everything is in the same font and everything is set up the same way and a lot of times, that ends up taken away because it looks, it may even look legible but it is not eye catching like you want the press release to be like the cover of the book, eye catching.


Jeff Rivera:     Right.


Paola Soto:      But basically eye catching with words and the way that it is set up and the page as opposed to the cover which is of course visual.


Jeff Rivera:     And with the press kit package, obviously the press release is going to need to be in there and what else should be in it?


Paola Soto:      In the press kit are usually done just for authors who have more than one title just because usually you want to include the press kit the press clipping from the previous title so basically a press release, it is the author bio.  If you want to include a Q&A with the author, I always suggest that like I really find that to be extremely helpful and it also includes the press clipping from the previous book that the author did or from any other attention that the author has got in and that can be connected to the book.  For example and this usually only works with nonfiction, if the author, is an expert in the field of like child raising and they have had all of these clips that has been on The New York Times and so on and so forth, you of course wants to include that in the press kit.  Besides that, you of course want to include a business card and a copy of the book.  If you cannot include a copy of the book, I suggest that you get copies of the cover of the book and either and include it in within the folder, within the press kit if you don not include the actual book or you can kind of paste it or glue it unto the front of the folder because I think that that looks kind of presentable and nice if you do not end up having, if you do…a lot of times when you do professional press kits, they will have special folders made with the author's name and sometimes  a picture of the author and so forth and of course, an author photo, you would always want to include that in the press kit as well.


Jeff Rivera:     What about angles like should a lift, maybe a list of different angles, story angles that might be good?


Paola Soto:      That I have not actually have seen done in the sense of, that kind of what the Q&A with the author serve that and sounds like hear thing that if you are looking for questions to ask the author or questions to print these, you can use these and it kind of gives you an idea of the author and the book and the story as well without actually, without to be in the press release or having to read the press release or without having to read the book.  So, usually as far as story angle, that is usually included in the letter that the publicist sends along with the press kit and a copy of the book.


Jeff Rivera:     Okay, I have a few more questions I wanted to ask you, Paola.  Supposed you think this is just way too daunting and you will say like, "Oh, okay.  Aiya yay!" and I'm going to hire a publicist.  What are the publicist like a book publicist typically charge for their services?


Paola Soto:      It really depends I mean there are many different levels.  There are many different levels.  There is publicist all over the country.  There is publicist that you can use that an actual consultant and can take you to the whole thing, I know that there are agencies now who have actual like marketing department, like within their agency, literary agency so that basically they handle that aspect and help as well.  So, there really is, It is an insanely huge range of what a publicist charges.  So, absolutely that is something that the author should definitely ..if you are self published then you can go on the internet and just research different publicity firms or different independent publicists who have their own businesses and see how much they charge or if you are already a published author with an agent, you can always speak to your agent because I am sure your agent has more than enough contacts of people that they can send you to.  So, it really is, there are a lot so it is really not hard, it is really not hard to find them at all.


Jeff Rivera:     a good publicist.  Now, what if they want to do these themselves, where can they find out the names of the art and entertainment editor, the name of the producer?  I mean is there other publications or specific websites that they can go to?


Paola Soto:      Well, if you want to do it yourself, you are definitely going to become something of a PI because this is going to become the kind of situation where you are going to..if have the access to the internet, go on to the websites and every website has a Contact Us or a Contact tab that you can go or webpage that you go to where you can see a listing of the different positions to art and entertainment editor, the publisher, so on and so forth.  So, there would be..,these would be the places.  You basically want to go to, you want to go to then you want to go the New Orleans Picayune or your local sun times, whichever your local publication is as well as the national publications, it is pretty much going to be the same process, you go into their website, if they do not have a way to contact them, you can always get their telephone number and call them up and ask, "Can I please be put in touch with your art and entertainment editor or your book editor or you know…"


Jeff Rivera:     So, it is like a beacons directory or are there any publications like that?


Paola Soto:      Beacons directory, I have remember I think is the beacons directory actually costs money but I don not think a lot of people realize that like that is something, it is a professional kind of business to business reference tool and that is something that people have to pay for.  I am not exactly sure how much, maybe you can go on and I doubt it though, I mean I really cannot even begin to imagine how one would go about getting it besides through beacons themselves but I think that it is a membership or either a monthly or annual fee that you have to pay and you end up getting all the huge dictionary looking reference books which list all the media, every media, you can possibly think of newspaper, magazines, internet site, televisions, radio shows and so forth.  So, they give you that and then they also have an internet site but I think you have to pay to get access to the internet site as well so…


Jeff Rivera:     I see.  Well, thank you very much for your time.  You know, for anybody who wants maybe more advised or would like to hire you as their consultant or that sort of thing, can they do that?  And if so, how would they get a hold of you?


Paola Soto:      Definitely, anyone who wants any advice or anyone who wishes to contact me, you can do so at and yes and just contact me and that is something that we can take of and discuss in a individual book-to-book, author-to-author basis.


Jeff Rivera:     Right and you are also Latina, so you are bilingual and so anyone…


Paola Soto:      Yes, I am bilingual and I have worked on both English language and Spanish language titles already.


Jeff Rivera:     So, that is a great advantage for anybody out there who is thinking of doing something exclusively in Spanish or bilingual or wants to enter that sort of market, Paola is really great resource for that so thank you so much for your time.  I really appreciate it.


Paola Soto:      Thank you, Jeff.


Jeff Rivera:     Your wealth of knowledge, it is a real privilege so thank you very much for joining us and for those of you once again I am Jeff Rivera, I'm author of the book Forever My Lady of Warner books and thank you for doing this, Paola.


Paola Soto:      Thank you.


Jeff Rivera:     Okay, bye.


Paola Soto:      Bye.