Blogging 101: Working with PR agencies: How to and Are you Selling your Soul to the Devil?

Hi Dear friends,

 

When I began blogging I was lost and confused by many things. I had to learn the bloggers lingo and learn the ropes. What was a meme? A tag? A blog tour? A guest post? A dreamcast? What was Canva? And Picmonkey? A pingbacks? etc.

Now that I am slightly more enlightened I’d like to help some other newbies to find their way in the blogosphere.

Today is a post that I hope will be helpful for many newbies or seasoned bloggers wanting to work with PR agencies.

Let’s put some structure in this post, shall we?

 

1)First of all what is a PR agency in the publishing world?

A PR Agency is a team helping to promote authors and their work in creating events around their books.

They can offer authors various services like promotional events (release and launch of new books mainly), marketing (from author’s social media management to newsletter) to designs (teasers, covers and website design).

Authors can sign for the whole deal or some services only.

A PR Agency usually has a “CEO”, one or more “Publicity directors”, VP communications etc. It differs from agency to agency. Most of the time if they work for indie authors they are a relatively small unit.

If we speak about traditionally published authors and “the big guns” like big editing houses of course you have bigger teams or they are organized in several small units, each managing one or several segments of the market (sometimes they work by countries, sometimes by “genre” sometimes …).

 

2)What does it have to do with you as a blogger?

As PR agencies help authors promote their work (basically they are their marketing companies) they often rely on a net of bloggers to spread the word.

Of course they could buy billboards, organize signing events etc and the big ones do that but let’s face it: indie authors often have a second “real” job as they don’t earn enough money on their book sales only. It can happen after some time but …

That’s where the blogosphere comes in handy!

PR agencies have their net or lists of blogger who are willing to help them promote the books.

The biggest their blogs net the more an author gets exposure and has his/her new book known in the literary world.

This is like mathematics.

Say that a PR agency works usually with 1000 bloggers and each blogger has around 1000 followers on all media you have potentially 1 Million people seing that a new book has been launched! Of course it depends on the media (Facebook do tend to hide promo posts since January), if you don’t have “cross” followers etc.

 

3) Now why would you be interested in promoting books and working with PR agencies? What’s in it for you?

First most PR agencies offer ARC (Advanced Reading Copies) of the books they ask you to promote. It means a free book for you. Good for your wallet.

Know that you are never obliged to request the ARC and could only sign for an excerpt, a cover reveal etc.

Second even if you don’t read or request the ARC they will send you “premade” posts (with html and graphics included). It’s an easy job for you if you want to post often on your blog but don’t always have the time to write big interesting posts.

Advice: don’t overdo these promo posts. I notice that I personally do prefer blogs with “a little of everything”. Too much promo posts and I feel there is no original content, no real soul to the blog. So mix up with reviews, memes or discussion posts. Except if it does not bother you of course as it is YOUR blog.

Third being part of these PR net you get to meet other bloggers doing the promotion for the same authors. You create your own web and ties.

Fourth the PR agencies will usually retweet your promo posts or if you tag the author he or she will notice you and maybe follow you. You get a greater visibility in the book blogging world. Greater traffic to your blog too.

 

4) Do you “owe” PR Agencies? What about freedom, ethics etc?

What if you requested an ARC and don’t like it? DNF? Or give a low rating? Are you still “allowed” to be honest in your reviews? Or do you have to lie? *gasp*!

When I began my blog and reviewing in general I made a promise to be ALWAYS honest in my reviews. ARC or no ARC. And I’ve never ever broken that promise.

Yet I work with PR agencies.

What I do if I don’t like the book is contact the PR agency and tell them that it was not my cup of tea.

Worst case scenario so far: they ask me to postpone the publication of my review, wait a few days after the release of the book and on the release day they send me either an excerpt or guest post or ….

Best case scenario (and it happened several times) they tell me they totally understand, that the book can’t be everyone’s cup of tea and that they certainly won’t stop me to publish my review “bad” rating and all on the launch day.

Say that a PR agency becomes angry with you… That’s easy: cut ties. Thank you very much ma’am.

So far the ones I’ve worked with have great ethics and I have no complaint!

See you won’t sell your soul to the devil LOL.

The same can be said if you get direct ARCs from authors. The ones I work with are real sweeties and understanding. But everything is not rainbow and unicorns as I’ve heard authors getting angry and bashing bloggers or reviewers for reviews lower than four stars. Luckily it never happend to me but here again my advice would be cut ties!

 

5) Now that everything has been explained: where do you find PR agencies and how do you enter their inner circle?

Well that one is easy!

Most of the time when you spot a promo post on another blogger’s feed they have the PR agency logo or at least name, sometimes url attached to the post. Look them up on Google (they all have a site) and follow the instructions to apply.

They will often offer to be part of their “master” list. They also usually have a FB page and FB groups you can be part of.

They will send you mails with open tours, promo posts etc. that you can subscribe to filling in Google docs with your name, blog name, address etc.

Just know that ARCs can be limited and books by “big” authors could not be sent to you right away if you are a smaller blog or just beginning on their lists.

 

That’s it! I hope I’ve covered most if not all your questions but if you do have other questions please leave them in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Sophie

 

 

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17 Replies to “Blogging 101: Working with PR agencies: How to and Are you Selling your Soul to the Devil?”

  1. Wonderful post! I’ve made some really wonderful connections with with not only PR companies but also with other bloggers and authors those PR companies pull together.

  2. When I started book blogging, I had no idea how to approach PR or Sales Marketing reps. I just sent an email introducing me and my blog plus my stats. The first tries where a fail but after a few mishaps I had my first email from a publisher and that’s how my journey with the best PR people started. ♥️

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Yes this is al trial and error Nicka! Congrats you made it 😉

  3. What a helpful post, Sophie! I enjoy being a part of blog tours but as you pointed out, it’s a bit of a risk since you don’t know if you’d like a book or not!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Thank you Cam! And yes it’s a bit tricky. You have to choose wisely LOL

  4. Thanks for this informative post, Sophie!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      You are most welcome Raven ;-)))

  5. An informative post! Thank you so much for putting this together. I have always been wary of working with these agencies as I am very much a mood reader. If I force myself to read a particular book, I know I would end up feeling badly about it. But, I think I should give them a try. Who doesn’t love ARC’s anyway

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      You are welcome! If I can help someone I am happy 😉

  6. I have had mixed experiences with working with PR people. Most of it great, just the odd one here and there that just was like here read the book, zero communication, no replies to anything I did. Was like ok well f you too.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Most are really great Laura but yes you stumble upon the ‘odd’ one from time to time.

  7. I still work with some tours, but not as much with Tasty Tours gone, but occasionally if there is a book I really want to read and help promote then I will. But I do think its so important for blogs to NOT overrun their site with tours, because I stay away from them for the most part because its not personal or original in any way.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Exactly! I agree wholeheartedly

  8. I don’t accept many books directly from authors, publishers, etc, but the ones i did mostly turned out to be pretty good
    Due to not having much time it’s not something I’m planning to do often, but when i do accept a book i always do review, as those are my fave types of posts to read too.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Hahaha Norrie now that I’ve read your recap I see that maybe you don’t work with PR agencies but you requested so much ARCs that it was like being bound to Netgalley LOL

  9. There really is a lot to take in when you first start bookblogging… heck, even after a while there is still so much to learn. I haven’t started trying to approach any big houses as yet. I’m happy working with indies right now ☺️
    Very informative post!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Thank you so much Nina!!!

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