For Industry Insiders week, I wanted to introduce you to Andrea Kiliany Thatcher of Smith Publicity, whom I worked with in the months leading up to the release of my memoir, Girlish: Growing Up in a Lesbian Home.
Andrea Kiliany Thatcher is a Marketing Manager and a Book Publicist at Smith Publicity. Andrea has a long relationship with the independent bookselling community having been a bookseller and social media manager for indies, and she has worked with the New Atlantic Independent Bookseller Association (NAIBA) and American Bookseller Association on social media education for member stores. She also has experience as an in-house marketer at an independent book publisher.
LL: What exactly do you do all day?
AKT: As marketing manager I run the social media for our company, so the first thing I do each day is peruse each of the company’s social media accounts for fires to put out, messages to respond to, and content and media placements to promote. I also contribute to the company blog and manage the podcast and newsletter, so tasks for each of those activities are part of my day. But the bulk of my time is spent strategizing with clients via phone or email, pitching the media about my client’s books or how their expertise fits in to the news of the day, monitoring the news and social media in industries relevant to my clients and brainstorming with the team about potential angles, new media outlets to pitch and what’s working and what’s not. When we’re lucky this brainstorming ends with an adult beverage.
LL: What do you wish people knew about your industry?
AKT: I wish people understood the difference between publicity and advertising – publicity is earned editorial and media placements, advertising is paid media placements. I also wish the publishing industry wasn’t separated into silos of knowledge. I wish booksellers knew more about publishing and authors new more about bookselling and we all collaborated and shared mutually beneficial information more freely and frequently.
LL: Do you have a favorite work story? Either a success or an embarrassing mishap?
AKT: I covered New York Fashion Week for many years as a journalist, and for the fashion imprint of the small independent publisher where I worked. I think sneaking from backstage at Marc by Marc Jacobs where I had press approval for beauty interviews to “front of house” where I had to wait in an unheated warehouse in Brooklyn for hours for the actual show to start was a memorable experience. I was able to get photos and coverage of the show for my media outlet at the time when we had been declined a spot on “the list.”
LL: What is your advice for aspiring writers?
AKT: Start thinking about marketing and publicity early. Start building your author brand before you even have an agent or publishing deal. It will help you achieve those things. And know that the work doesn’t end when the book is published. Yes, that is a major goal accomplished. But if you want to sell that book and have the opportunity to write more, the marketing and publicity work is just beginning. The publicity efforts for your book, especially sending out review copies to key media, should start happening three to six, even nine months in advance. Think about these things early and make a plan.
LL: Talk about one book that made an impact on you.
AKT: I came late to Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. I just listened to the audiobook earlier this year and found it so motivating and inspiring. It made me think about personal and professional goals more specifically and helped me make plans for achieving them. It’s like a little life coach/pep talk at your fingertips.
LL: I must have listen to that book on Audible half a dozen times! Tell us one thing that’s making you happy right now.
Working on projects I enjoy and believe in. Not every client or book I work on is going to be my exact cup of tea, and I’m able to exercise different skills or strategize in new ways with some clients. But whenever I get to work on something that advances messages of diversity and social justice, women’s issues or just plain fun fiction, it makes my job feel less like work.
If you’re sitting there thinking, “If I were a social media person I wouldn’t need a publicist” then you can just call them:
Telephone: 856-229-0807 x 306
Toll Free: 877.585.4050
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