AW Amazon Store

If this site is helpful to you,
Please consider a voluntary subscription to defray ongoing expenses.


 

Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: Smith Publicity

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin C.J.Ellisson's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Northern VA
    Posts
    15

    Question Smith Publicity

    I've used the various search features on multiple threads on AW and haven't been able to find anything on Smith Publicity.

    I'm exhausted from recent marketing efforts and would like to hire a firm to take over the brunt of the work so I can get back to what really draws in readers -- writing my next book.

    I've been in contact with two firms already, here are my findings:

    <snipped>

    Smith Publicity: http://www.smithpublicity.com/

    Website and client list looks impressive. Big price tag for their services, but I've heard from my agent that some publicity firms can be much higher. Their service runs 4 to 6 weeks and I'd get weekly updates on what they are doing on my behalf, plus at the end they'd hand off all of the connections they initiated for me on my behalf.

    My initial call with their rep, Dina, left me with a shaky opinion of them. She pitched her company and their services hard, without giving me any concrete details. There was no personal connection made between us, no real interest in my book or my goals, and I debated on just ending the call.

    At the conclusion of our conversation, I tried to make a personal connection so she'd stop pitching so hard and we ended things on a better note with her promising to review my website and get back in touch with me early the following week with a game plan.

    Well, it's been a week and I haven't heard from her. I waited to send my books to the first publicist because I needed the next shipment of the second editions to come in. I'm not in any real rush to choose and do plan on interviewing some other firms as well.

    I was looking for opinions on either one, if you have one.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 02-11-2012 at 12:55 AM. Reason: one company per thread, thanks.

  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Coastal Desert
    Posts
    13,108
    One entity per thread, please. I'll copy your post to make the other one.
    ICAO
    ---------

    Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. -- Henry Steele Commager
    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin C.J.Ellisson's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Northern VA
    Posts
    15
    So sorry -- thanks for your help!

  4. #4
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    In chaos
    Posts
    21,575
    For the record, I have nothing to do with this outfit. Ha!

  5. #5
    Still working on that second novel
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    201
    I used Smith Publicity back in 2005 when my novel was published. They were a smaller company back then, with a "buffet menu" style of services at reasonable prices. They didn't give me a hard sell like they did to you. Mostly I dealt directly with the founder, Dan Smith. He did a great job helping to launch my book. Because it was seven years ago and the company has grown this might not be of much help to you, but I can tell you that they lived up to their promises and my expectations. When we parted ways after a few months, I promptly received all of the contact information they established for me, so that at least I can vouch for. Dan was throughly professional in every way, including returning my phone calls and emails in a timely fashion. I would like to think that Dan still maintains those standards for his company, but if they're not getting back to you that's obviously not a good sign. You could try contacting Dan directly and see if you get a better result. My guess is that you will.
    An Audience for Einstein website:
    http://anaudienceforeinstein.weebly.com/

    The Huffington Post book reviewers really like my book:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/0...n_Audience_For

  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin C.J.Ellisson's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Northern VA
    Posts
    15
    Thanks, Mark. I missed your reply earlier and apologizing for not getting back here sooner.

    I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experiences with me. And nope, I still haven't heard back from the woman I spoke to. Too bad I didn't get Dan or someone more senior. I wound up hiring another firm.

  7. #7
    Still working on that second novel
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    201
    If you don't mind saying, who did you hire?
    An Audience for Einstein website:
    http://anaudienceforeinstein.weebly.com/

    The Huffington Post book reviewers really like my book:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/0...n_Audience_For

  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin C.J.Ellisson's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Northern VA
    Posts
    15
    No, I don't mind! I hired Ascot Media out of Texas.

    http://www.ascotmedia.com/

    They had some great references from fiction authors. Their packages were priced between the first company I researched, Paula Margulies, and Smith Publicity.

    They got back to me in a timely fashion, they offered month to month options with no six-month agreement and they've been professional with every interaction and question I've had so far.

    Time will tell and I'd be happy to pop back back and tell you what my experience was like after we get rolling.

  9. #9
    Still working on that second novel
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    201
    Thank you C.J.!
    An Audience for Einstein website:
    http://anaudienceforeinstein.weebly.com/

    The Huffington Post book reviewers really like my book:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/0...n_Audience_For

  10. #10
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Far from the madding crowd
    Posts
    6,670
    One of the questions with publicists isn't just whether they can get you interviews, etc., but how that correlates with sales. A bunch of interviews on Internet radio, or mentions in obscure regional media, may not add up to much of a sales push.

    I'd suggest checking the rankings of some of the testimonial books on Amazon. That should give you at least a ballpark idea of how well the books are doing.

    Another issue: not all TV interviews, radio interviews, or media placements are equal. Does this company have the chops to get you on national shows, and in national media? If not, the exposure you achieve by using the company may not be optimal.

    A publicist may do everything it promises and more, and still not get you the exposure or sales you want. So it's important to evaluate what kind of publicity you'll get through the company, as well as whether it's honest and diligent.

    - Victoria

  11. #11
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin C.J.Ellisson's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Northern VA
    Posts
    15
    Thanks for your opinion, Victoria. I agree, publicity doesn't always lead to sales. I'll have to take it one step at a time and see how it goes.

  12. #12
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    In chaos
    Posts
    21,575
    This evening I've seen a literary agent asking on Twitter how to fully unsubscribe to updates and emails from Smith Publicity. It seems that she's unsubscribed to the emails which come from SP directly, but that the individual authors are then sending her follow-up emails, which I can see would be infuriating.

    Also, spammy.

    This does not look good, and would certainly put me off using their services.

  13. #13
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin C.J.Ellisson's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Northern VA
    Posts
    15

    Update

    I've had a lot of people message me privately either on here, on FB, or through my website about my experience with Ascot, so I thought I'd come back and respond on this original thread to make things easier.

    Ascot was extremely professional, a joy to work with, and very well connected in the industry. They got me radio interviews, dozens of requests to read the series, and a television spot. If I had the money and need, I'd hire them again in a heartbeat.

    Result: I found that all of those review requests lead to very few people who actually reviewed the book, many people who never bothered to return Ascot's emails during follow up, and quite an embarrassing number of signed copies of my unread book offered up for sale on eBay.

    Bottom line, no matter how good of a job the publicist does, it won't guarantee sales. After spending 7k on Ascot I changed my mindset. I went directly to the readers and spent money on a street team (a grass roots type of campaign made up of readers who spread the word about your book to other readers), oodles of promotional material, and contests. I invested more money and time in my Facebook Author Page, and learned how to market my book through effective online advertising on blogs, Goodreads, and Facebook.

    My next book came out in January 2013 in a completely different genre and it was the first book I'd published traditionally to date. Building a solid reader base with my indie titles combined with the publisher's marketing efforts helped the new title hit the NYT extended eBook fiction list and the USA Today bestseller's list.

    Do I regret hiring Ascot? No, I don't. If I hadn't tried every avenue that I did, I don't think I would have learned what worked and what didn't.

    Will I ever hire a publicist again? Yes. When I make enough money to warrant such a cost then I will gladly hire someone to do all the hard work. I've literally spent 50-60 hours a week working to succeed, and most of that time is not spent writing. To have someone else take over the tedious parts would be heaven!

  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW Tom Johnson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Seymour, Texas
    Posts
    745
    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    One of the questions with publicists isn't just whether they can get you interviews, etc., but how that correlates with sales. A bunch of interviews on Internet radio, or mentions in obscure regional media, may not add up to much of a sales push.

    I'd suggest checking the rankings of some of the testimonial books on Amazon. That should give you at least a ballpark idea of how well the books are doing.

    Another issue: not all TV interviews, radio interviews, or media placements are equal. Does this company have the chops to get you on national shows, and in national media? If not, the exposure you achieve by using the company may not be optimal.

    A publicist may do everything it promises and more, and still not get you the exposure or sales you want. So it's important to evaluate what kind of publicity you'll get through the company, as well as whether it's honest and diligent.

    - Victoria
    Thanks Victoria, very good information.

  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    1

    Thumbs down Smith Publicity

    Unfortunately there are a great many scam artists in the book trade. Having been in PR for over thirty years in Hollywood, I thought I knew all the tricks. But Smith Publicity takes the cake. I recently considered engaging them in the promotion of my new book and sent them a precis and six chapters to read. When I was connected to Corinne Liccketto, who heads up sales, I first asked if she would be the "go-to" person in all my future dealing. She told me NO, that after she analyzed my needs, they would ASSIGN me someone from their staff.

    This was their first mistake, as I had spent months trying to find the right person to work with, and I didn't want to be passed along and have to start my conversation all over again. Besides, a working colaboration with someone you find who is intuned to your work, has a certainly of purpose. Plus her answer was a coded reference that I would undoubtably be passed along to a subcontracting independent promoter who may not have been in the same state and city, let alone the same office. Secondly, Corinne had not read one sentence of my manuscript and had no idea what I needed or any game plan based on my book and the audience they would be trying to reach.

    Then I asked about their services. I was told that I would have to sign an agreement of a four month contract at $3200.00 a month (which is exceedingly steep in comparison to the major show business PR firms that I have worked with for over 35 years) and it had to be paid up front. I was also told that they would need 75 books for reviewing purposes, to send out before the book was released. So I asked for a list of some of the reviewers they had submitted to in the past. 60 names showed up on a nebulous Emailed proposal of their operation's procedures, including 30 publications I knew would have no interest in even opening my books, let alone review it. My fictiontome has nothing to do with Business Week, The Economist, Home and Garden, Sports, Auto Repair, Car and Driver, Parent Magazine, Epicurious.com, Reuters.com or a foreign, eastern radio and television station.

    Additionally, they wanted me to fill out a personal questionaire and give them composed press releases for their early campaign!!

    Why was I going to pay them their steep fee and then also have to do their work. When you hire PR, it is THEY who are supposed to generate such copy, not the author.

    Thereafter, I was told that they would also require an additional 100 books for continuing reviews after publication, to be sent to their New Jersey outlet, plus $1000.00 to pay for them being shipped to the reviews. (There was already the cost of shipping the books to New Jersey from the publishing company who would print them.) When I suggested that we comprimise and cut the list of who they sent thing out to back, and only target publications that had a connecting interst in what I was writing, she grew insolent and termagant. I asked to speak with the owner, Dan Smith, but was flatly denighed. He was too busy to discuss anything and took no interest.

    The short of it is, they are miles away from being professional, and do they care about the qulatiy of the work they represent. When a company claims they are very selective in the material they publicize and yet haven't read anything of it, they are only interested in finding someone with enough money they can extort. Not only would I never recommend Smith Publicity, I would tell everyone TO DEFINITELY LOOK FOR A MORE REPUTABLE COMPANY WHO IS HONEST AND DOESN'T HAVE SECOND AGENDAS.

  16. #16
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    2
    It seems to me that reviews of my company should actually be reviews of our actual service. There are many factual inaccuracies in this post, but the bigger issues is that this person never used our services. It's akin to writing a review of a restaurant having never eaten there. To be called "scam artists" when we never actually took any money from you is ridiculous and legally defamatory.

    I don't mind fair criticism, but Absolute Write should really consider removing this post.

  17. #17
    Grr. Argh. Thedrellum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    786
    Mr. Smith, welcome to AW!

    Helpful advice: I'm pretty sure Absolute Write is not going to remove this post, especially not at the vague and bullying threat of legal action on your part.

    How about instead of just calling out everything as lies, you address what was said if you wish to counter what you see as factual inaccuracies with actual facts?

  18. #18
    Born at sea Clairels's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    The 7th parallel
    Posts
    357
    I think it's more the equivalent of someone going into a restaurant, ordering a steak, then being told that it would cost $350 and he would have to cook it himself.

    Even if he walked out, he still has the right to let other people know what's going on in there.

    The Blue Line, short story published in Oakwood 2017
    Read it free!

    Princess of Pirates: How I Ran Away to Sea: A Memoir,
    represented by Olswanger Literary

    Twitter

    Instagram

  19. #19
    Shakespearean Fool DreamWeaver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    2,912
    Quote Originally Posted by Clairels View Post
    I think it's more the equivalent of someone going into a restaurant, ordering a steak, then being told that it would cost $350 and he would have to cook it himself.

    Even if he walked out, he still has the right to let other people know what's going on in there.
    This. Plus, the reviewer discussed what happened during a conversation between herself and a representative of your company--a conversation that she took part in. I would say that is personal experience and she has every right to review her personal experience with your company.

    Since personal experiences vary, it would help if you would address the specifics of your disagreements with what she reported.
    Why doesn't George R. R. Martin use Twitter? He already killed off all 140 characters.

  20. #20
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    2

    Specifics

    Quote Originally Posted by DreamWeaver View Post
    This. Plus, the reviewer discussed what happened during a conversation between herself and a representative of your company--a conversation that she took part in. I would say that is personal experience and she has every right to review her personal experience with your company.


    Since personal experiences vary, it would help if you would address the specifics of your disagreements with what she reported.

    I was asked to provide specifics, so here they are. My intent was not bully anyone; when my company -- which has a terrific reputation in the publishing industry -- is called scam artists and extortionists, it is very upsetting. Again, if someone wants to comment on our book marketing services and how effective we were at promoting a book -- I welcome it. When someone who never even hired us writes a review like this, personally, I think it's ridiculous. Specifics are below. Thank you.

    "Unfortunately there are a great many scam artists in the book trade. Having been in PR for over thirty years in Hollywood, I thought I knew all the tricks. But Smith Publicity takes the cake. I recently considered engaging them in the promotion of my new book and sent them a precis and six chapters to read."

    There are real scam artists in the book publicity business, and I’ve helped expose one in particular who was literally ripping authors off for big money. He was a total fraud. To put my company in this category is absurd.

    When I was connected to Corinne Liccketto, who heads up sales, I first asked if she would be the "go-to" person in all my future dealing. She told me NO, that after she analyzed my needs, they would ASSIGN me someone from their staff.
    I’m not sure what is wrong with this. Would you prefer she lie to you?

    This was their first mistake, as I had spent months trying to find the right person to work with, and I didn't want to be passed along and have to start my conversation all over again.

    Besides, a working colaboration with someone you find who is intuned to your work, has a certainly of purpose. Plus her answer was a coded reference that I would undoubtably be passed along to a subcontracting independent promoter who may not have been in the same state and city, let alone the same office.
    A “coded reference?” How could this person know the internal operations of a company with whom she has never done business?

    Secondly, Corinne had not read one sentence of my manuscript and had no idea what I needed or any game plan based on my book and the audience they would be trying to reach.
    How could you know that Corinne had no idea of your book’s topic and audience?


    Then I asked about their services. I was told that I would have to sign an agreement of a four month contract at $3200.00 a month (which is exceedingly steep in comparison to the major show business PR firms that I have worked with for over 35 years) and it had to be paid up front.
    Yes, we do in fact charge for our services. Again, am I missing something here? If we are too expensive for a particular person, that’s understood.

    I was also told that they would need 75 books for reviewing purposes, to send out before the book was released. So I asked for a list of some of the reviewers they had submitted to in the past. 60 names showed up on a nebulous Emailed proposal of their operation's procedures, including 30 publications I knew would have no interest in even opening my books, let alone review it. My fictiontome has nothing to do with Business Week, The Economist, Home and Garden, Sports, Auto Repair, Car and Driver, Parent Magazine, Epicurious.com, Reuters.com or a foreign, eastern radio and television station.
    What you were sent was a sample of what we use review copies for, and why we request them. A detailed list customized for a particular book is prepared only when we prepare a proposal.

    Additionally, they wanted me to fill out a personal questionaire and give them composed press releases for their early campaign!!
    We do use an Author Questionnaire, one which clients routinely compliment. The press releases …we rarely use client-provided press releases in an active media outreach campaign, and moreover, we never ask for them, so this is just flat-out wrong.

    Why was I going to pay them their steep fee and then also have to do their work. When you hire PR, it is THEY who are supposed to generate such copy, not the author.
    Again, the only time we ask authors to write anything is during byline article pitching. Does anyone on this forum actually think we would have authors pay us and then make them do the work?

    Thereafter, I was told that they would also require an additional 100 books for continuing reviews after publication, to be sent to their New Jersey outlet, plus $1000.00 to pay for them being shipped to the reviews. (There was already the cost of shipping the books to New Jersey from the publishing company who would print them.)
    Yes, we need books in a book marketing campaign; it’s one of the essentials. I have no idea what “$1,000 to pay them for being shipped” means.

    When I suggested that we comprimise and cut the list of who they sent thing out to back, and only target publications that had a connecting interst in what I was writing, she grew insolent and termagant. I asked to speak with the owner, Dan Smith, but was flatly denighed. He was too busy to discuss anything and took no interest.
    Corinne is quite good at her job, and I’ve never known her to be “insolent and termagant” when dealing with prospective clients. There’s simply no reason to. Either the prospective client chooses to use our services, or doesn’t – why would Corinne get angry?

    Did I tell you I was too busy to discuss anything with you? How do you know whatever level of interest I took in your book? How is that possible for you to know? Again, simply not true.

    The short of it is, they are miles away from being professional, and do they care about the qulatiy of the work they represent. When a company claims they are very selective in the material they publicize and yet haven't read anything of it, they are only interested in finding someone with enough money they can extort. Not only would I never recommend Smith Publicity, I would tell everyone TO DEFINITELY LOOK FOR A MORE REPUTABLE COMPANY WHO IS HONEST AND DOESN'T HAVE SECOND AGENDAS.
    I’m not even sure what this paragraph means. We “extort” people? Seriously? We’ve been in business for 18 years and have promoted over 2500 books. In an industry in which a company survives and thrives based on reputation, if we “extorted” people we wouldn't be around.

    What is our second agenda? We only have one agenda – provide quality service to authors.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search