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Secrets of the Book Publicist Trade

From the Society of Midland Authors Newsletter: publicity tips from Tom Ciesielka:

It’s true that interacting with the media takes organization, skill and innovation. Training, research methods, and pitching techniques also help. However, what you rarely hear from publicists is that at heart, PR is a lot simpler than you might think. It is basically the art of building relationships to spread ideas.
Although simple, these relational rules are key in connecting with the media and building the relationships to help you get the coverage you deserve.

Say “Please” and “Thank You.”
Like most people, media contacts don’t like rudeness. While it’s important to be direct, take a friendly tone and make sure to let them know you appreciate their time and attention.
Ask First, Make Pitches Later. Show consideration by asking your contact what he or she is looking for at the time. Instead of just throwing your thoughts at the media, listen and offer your book or your ideas as a helpful resource.
Keep in Touch. Polite persistence is crucial in building a rewarding relationship with the media. Drop regular notes when you see information they might be interested in or to ask what they are working on. This keeps you “top of mind” when they need a comment on your area of expertise.

More advice here.

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