Reviewer Dr. Wesley Britton: Dr. Britton is the author of four non-fiction books on espionage in literature and the media. Starting in fall 2015, his new six-book science fiction series, The Beta-Earth Chronicles, debuted via BearManor Media. For seven years, he was co-host of online radio’s Dave White Presents where he contributed interviews with a host of entertainment insiders. Before his retirement in 2016, Dr. Britton taught English at Harrisburg Area Community College. Learn more about Dr. Britton at his WEBSITE
Author: Sherri Rosen
It's clear Sherri Rosen had two purposes for her Publicity from the Trenches. First, she seeks to convince book authors they really need to hire the services of a professional publicist to be successful. Second, she wants authors to know what Sherri Rosen herself offers as just such a publicist. In a sense, Rosen has packaged an elaborate sales brochure which she wants readers to pay for to read.
At the beginning of this short book—the page count is very misleading—Rosen admits the collection was built from a series of blog entries. So the structure is fragmented and often repetitious. Depending on an author's own background in book writing, there are numerous nuggets of useful advice. For example, she opens with a good list of questions potential clients should ask potential publicists. She has sections on how an author can build a brand for themselves, how to use, and not use, social networking, and why writers should not dismiss the opportunities of traditional print media. She describes why many media outlets will take press releases from publicists much more seriously than those from individual writers and the dangers of going overboard with hard sales.
In terms of what she does in her own company, Rosen tells us she provides "Inspirational publicity" for books she feels are positive and contribute to uplifting readers. She writes with a very warm tone and continually advises authors to look for attributes like honesty, communicability, and trust in their publicists. But I have to admit, one nagging thought stuck with me as I went through the book.
There's an old adage: "If you have to ask what it costs, you probably can't afford it." Well, there are numerous mentions throughout the book that authors should plan on "investing" in a PR specialist, might consider saving up in advance for this, or asking publicists if they can spread around payments rather than taking one lump sum. But nowhere will readers see any ballpark figures or ranges of what authors might be expected to pay. Of course, that's an old sales ploy. Convince you that you need something and then drop the bomb.
I read Publicity from the Trenches precisely because I have a series of books coming out this fall and really wanted to learn what a publicist might offer. Again, I found nuggets, but the lack of any details about potential costs alarmed me. Well, I obviously have much more to learn, perhaps in a Publicity 102. I feel certain a publicist can indeed bump up my book sales, but who gets to benefit from the royalties?