Q&A With Lis Malone
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Q&A With Lis Malone
This week publicist Lis Malone has connected me to Matt Scott and plans to connect me to more New York Times Bestselling authors to do Q&A’s with in the future. I am very grateful about that! I also think it’s fascinating what agents, publicists, editors and others in the publishing industry do to help our authors put our favorite stories out into the world.
Q: Lis when did you know you wanted to pursue being a publicist? What would you be doing if you weren’t a publicist?
A: Thank you, Bianca for inviting me to participate! Truth be told, I never actively pursued publicity as a career. I lived in New York City and enjoyed a twenty-five-year media and marketing career working for leading radio, print, digital, and media research analytics organizations. A major life change brought me to North Carolina, and with that, the opportunity to pursue a new path. While on a visit back up north to my hometown in New Jersey, I had a chance encounter with NY Times bestselling author, Steven Hartov, which resulted with him hiring me to be his publicist & marketing rep.
My background in media and marketing outside of the book publishing industry serves me well for what I do now while also enabling me to offer more services to my clients beyond traditional publicity. In many ways I consider myself to be more of a hybrid “marketing publicist”. So, you could say that publicity is my “second act” and getting here has been a rewarding and unexpected journey.
Q: I’ve done Q&A’s with a few other publicists, a literary agent and the editorial director at Simon & Schuster. I understand publicists work with authors to garner media coverage for their books. How does it feel helping authors get their work out into the world?
A: It is extremely gratifying to be such an integral part of an author’s team. Agents and Editors have much higher profile roles, and of course spearhead the efforts of bringing a book to market. Once the book is near ready, the publicists and marketers take over. Publicists need to be okay existing behind the public curtain by helping to facilitate media opportunities and directing the spotlights to shine upon the author and their work. But yes, seeing the fruit of your labor by garnering exposure for a client never gets old!
Q: What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue being a publicist as a career?
A: I would say that first and foremost you should have a great appreciation for media in all its forms. If you have an aversion to the media landscape in general, publicity may not be for you. Many skillsets translate well for publicity (ex. writing, pitching, researching, and networking), so if you’ve already started down a different path but possess applicable core skills and drive, it’s never too late to jump in. I encourage doing internships and keeping an open mind by exploring learning opportunities. And don’t be shy about asking questions, networking, and learning all you can about a publicist’s role.
Q: If you ever became an author would you be your own publicist or hire someone else?
A: I love this question because I do have a WIP and I have wondered about what I would do when, and if, I finish my project. Writing is not my priority—my clients are–but I try to sneak in a couple writing minutes here and there to keep a bit of writing forward momentum.
As hard as it might be for a publicist to hand off the PR reigns to someone else, I think it would be important to consider allowing a fellow publicist I trusted who understood my story and shared in my vision to be my publicist. Writers can get stuck in their own stories and characters, and it can take an outside voice to bring greater perspective to a media campaign’s direction.
Q: I know you represent author Matt Scott. Would you like to tell the readers of my blog and I who else you represent as their publicist?
A: With pleasure!
Jerome Preisler: Latest release NET FORCE: MOVING TARGET (pub. 2023 Hanover Square Press) Jerome is a multiple New York Times bestseller and has written over forty books of fiction and nonfiction. He has written the entire chart-topping Tom Clancy’s Power Plays series, and his most recent series, Net Force, co-created by Tom Clancy and Steven Pieczenik.
Steven Hartov: Latest release THE LAST OF THE SEVEN (pub. 2022 Hanover Square Press) Steven is a former US Merchant Marine, Israeli Defense Forces paratrooper and Special Ops, New York Guard commander, and military journalist. His works include both fiction and nonfiction, and he debuted on the New York Times bestseller list with In the Company of Heroes.
Miranda Armstadt: Debut novel CUT BACK TO LIFE (pub. 2019 Independent) Miranda is a former actress, singer, and news anchor turned novelist with her debut romantic suspense release. She is currently working on a Cold War era espionage thriller based upon her own family’s history.
Melody Kelly: Debut book TEACHING FROM THE HEART: Second Edition (pub. 2022 Independent) Melody is a former grade-school teacher now pursuing her passion for children’s literature with her first book Lulu at the Louvre due out later this year.
In addition to the above-mentioned authors, I also work with writers on a consultancy basis, as well as provide marketing solutions for non-profits and small businesses.
Q: A publicist who I did a Q&A with told me that once an author has their work finished, that is when they hire a publicist. Is that true?
A: This is a question that I have been asked by writers who have reached out to me. When do I hire a publicist?
Generally, a writer will hire a publicist after they have written their book, however the timing of when you hire a publicist may vary based upon how you are publishing. Here are a few possible scenarios to consider:
1) You may have finished your book but now you’re pitching agents to find a publisher which would likely extend the publishing timeline.
2) You may be considering self-publishing a fully edited and formatted manuscript which could cut that time down to next to nothing, and so forth.
3) You’re writing a nonfiction book proposal which includes a marketing plan. You may want to engage a publicist early to partner with you to strategize a game plan and work with you to help elevate your public profile.
Every writer’s book is on its own timeline and publishing track. The timing of when you bring on your publicist may vary based upon the route you’re pursuing.
Traditional publishers will have in-house publicists who will be assigned to work with you in publicizing your book, but as companies face budget constraints and in-house publicists may find themselves with growing rosters to manage, authors may opt for an outside publicist to help in their efforts.
In my case, the fact that I’m a hybrid “marketing publicist”, I work with writers much earlier on in their process–as early as having a book proposal outline or still writing their book. Several of my author relationships have grown to become ongoing partnerships which keeps me engaged in the author’s book marketing cycle from start to finish for subsequent books.
I will always want as much lead time as possible when marketing and publicizing an author and their book. Authors are rarely publicity-ready from the start and media lead-time is still a reality in this age of content immediacy, so if you’re writing a book, it’s not a bad idea to do some publicity homework to be ready to take the next step once your manuscript is completed.
Lis Malone LLC