Q&A With Falon Kirby

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Q&A With Falon Kirby

Today’s Q&A is with Falon Kirby who is a publicist at Simon & Schuster. I was introduced to Falon when Tim O Connell connected me to her to do a Q&A with Tim’s wife Jessa Maxwell.


Q: So Falon can you explain to the readers of my blog and myself what publicists at publishing companies do? 

A: As a publicist with a major publishing company, I work closely with authors over 6-12 months to curate a well-thought out media campaign that consists of broadcast, print, online, and radio/podcast coverage. This can include working with the national book clubs (Good Morning America, Reese’s Book Club, etc.) and working with bloggers like yourself! All of this helps spread the word about our amazing authors and their books. 


Q: How long have you been a publicist at Simon & Schuster? 

A: I joined the Simon & Schuster/Atria Books team in January 2021, but I started my career as an intern with Macmillan/Flatiron Books and as an assistant/associate publicist with Harper Books/HarperCollins! 


Q: When in your life did you realize you wanted to be a publicist for a major publishing company?

A: I would be lying if I said I always knew I wanted to do PR for a major publishing company. As a junior in college, I was lucky enough to have an incredible professor and mentor, Paul Levitz. Paul was the Publisher and President of DC Comics, and he saw something in me that signaled to him that a career in publishing was for me. With Paul’s encouragement, I began applying for publishing internships and for my MS in Publishing. Not long after, I enrolled with Pace University and joined the Flatiron Books team in 2017. 

Q: Other than Jessa Maxwell can you tell us other authors you represent as their publicist?

A: I have gotten the opportunity to work with/for an amazing roster – Christine Pride, Jo Piazza, Rebecca Serle, Mary Laura Philpott, Laura Cathcart Robbins, Jena Friedman, Leon Ford, Ruth Glenn… just to name a few. I might be biased, but I work with the best authors, hands down! 


Q: What is your favorite and least favorite part of being a publicist?

A: My favorite part of my job is accompanying my authors to broadcast interviews – it’s always so much fun to hang out in the green room and watch the taping/live piece for behind the camera crew. I wouldn’t say I have a least favorite part of being a publicist, but my least favorite task would probably be figuring out timezones while authors are on tour. I wish the whole world operated on EST! 


Q: What is your advice to anyone wanting to become a publicist at a major publishing house?

A: Take whatever opportunity allows you to get your foot in the door – you can always bounce around departments after the fact. And always take the leap and reach out to people via LinkedIn or by email to see if someone would be open to doing an informational interview with you. I know I do them often and I love seeing the bright and creative minds that come my way – and I’ll often go on to refer them for future opportunities, too. 


Q: For any aspiring authors out there, what is your advice to them on how to get you or anyone as a publicist?

A: In most cases, the publishing house you sign with will come with a full editorial, marketing, and publicity team! 


Q: If you ever wanted to be an author, would you be your own publicist or would you get someone else to be your publicist?

A: I think there are incredible publicists out there and I’d love to work with (and learn from) them during the process of my own hypothetical publication!