Monday, May 15, 2017

7 Questions For: Public Relations Expert Rebecca Grose

Rebecca Grose has been a freelance publicist since she started her own literary p.r. firm, SoCal Public Relations in San Diego in 2003. Prior to that, Rebecca worked in New York at several major publishing houses—Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, HarperCollins Children’s Books, DK Publishing—and with many distinguished authors including Alice Walker, Patricia and Fredrick McKissack, E.L. Konigsburg, Walter Dean Myers, and more. She began her career with Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in San Diego.

Specializing in Children’s and Young Adult books, she’s launched successful media campaigns with author/illustrator appearances on national and local television/radio, interviews and features in national magazines/major newspapers across the country, and blog/online media coverage.

She also schedules author tours, trade show/festival appearances, and local bookstore events. Rebecca works closely with each author or illustrator to create and strategize an effective, personalized publicity campaign.

Rebecca’s motto: Success Is Built on Relationships!

And now Rebecca Grose faces the 7 Questions:

Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?

The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Question Six: Could you give us your take on a strategy to market one of your three favorite books if it were being published this year?

Since I specialize in children’s and young adult books, I’d like to try my hand at promoting The Mouse and the Motorcycle by sending Ralph (the main character) on a blog tour (humorous interview responses and other interesting comments provided by myself, the publisher, with approval from Beverly Cleary, of course). He could offer amusing anecdotes about the life of a mouse who travels by motorcycle, share his insights about being created by this legendary author, etc. We could also set up a traveling cutout of Ralph (in the vein of Flat Stanley) to send all over the world to visit classrooms, bookstores, libraries, playgrounds, anywhere that kids and grown-ups might want to take their picture with him to share on social media. 

Question Five: What are the typical services you provide and what results can an author reasonably expect?

I offer basically two levels of service: Consultation, where I work with the author to answer their questions, brainstorm ideas, give feedback re their press materials/website/social media, offer advice re target markets, etc. Or Full Service, with me handling everything – creating the press materials; pitching media for reviews, interviews, and features; scheduling author appearances; working with the publisher to coordinate our outreach; pitching for speaking/signing opportunities at trade shows/festivals, and much more.

Results can depend on many factors including what else is going on in the news at that time, the author’s availability/involvement, how much support we receive from the publisher, and other variables. That said, an author can expect that we’ll be able to schedule interviews and reviews (which they will need to be diligent about sharing on their social media+website, to extend the impact and reach). If the author is available for appearances, we will also work together to organize an amazing Book Launch Party (which kicks off the book’s release in a major way) along with other select events (libraries, trade shows/festivals, other bookstores). 

Question Four: What sort of author and/or project(s) would you most like to work with?

I love working with an author who is very self-motivated and already has a strong understanding of what it takes to promote themselves and their books. I was lucky enough to have this opportunity once before with a wonderful YA author who was great at connecting with fans through social media, plus, very savvy about what worked and what didn’t in spreading the word re his/her books. We were able to accomplish so much more because we were both working toward the same goals, and we divided up our tasks which resulted in a lot of media coverage, appearances, and book sales! I hope to have this happen again soon.

Question Three: What is your favorite thing about what you do? What is your least favorite thing?

One of my favorite things about being a freelance publicist is when I have the opportunity to work with an author again and again, which allows us to build a strong rapport, as we understand each other so well. I’ve been lucky to have this happen with several clients, some hiring me 3, 4, or more times. Of course, when I worked at Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, etc., there were a number of authors I worked with repeatedly, which was very rewarding.

My least favorite thing is the lack of response sometimes from media (or when scheduling appearances), even though you know this book would be a perfect fit for them, and you approach them from every angle…repeatedly, but they just don’t respond. It can be very frustrating. At a certain point, I have to move on, and focus on the successes for that project and continue to build on those.

Question Two: What one bit of wisdom would you impart to a writer marketing their book? (feel free to include as many other bits of wisdom as you like)

Be prepared to do what it takes—you need to swallow your pride, lose your shyness, and get ready to sell yourself and your book. During my career, I’ve probably worked with 150+ authors, and have found that most aren’t very comfortable with all the promotion they need to do for their books, and tell me that they didn’t get into this industry to give speeches or interviews, make presentations, etc. They just want to spend their time writing, creating. They don’t want to do simple things like asking friends, family, and other contacts for their help in spreading the word about their new book, but that’s what you have to do – and much more. One of the services I offer my clients is Author Coaching (for media/appearances) and that can help with their nervousness or not knowing what to say, but ultimately, the author has to find their own comfort level for making presentations, giving interviews, or whatever else is necessary.

A second suggestion would be to start your own mailing list (database) of contacts right away (with your first book, if possible), and keep up with it as you continue your career. It’s extremely important to maintain the connections you make along the way with media, booksellers, librarians/educators, conference or trade show organizers, etc. These are contacts who’ve covered your book or you, and so they would be more likely to do so again for your next. You can continue to use this list in a variety of ways: keep them informed of your successes/appearances, alert them when you have a new book releasing, contact them about scheduling new appearances or interviews/features/reviews.

Question One: If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

I would love to sit down with Beverly Cleary – she recently turned 101 years old!! – and spend an hour or two (or more!) listening to her stories, her inspirations for some of her books (especially The Mouse and the Motorcycle!), and her tips for how she was able to stay relevant and current in her work for so long. I just know it would be fascinating and inspiring!

Connect with Rebecca Grose:


Tel: 619.334.7164


  1. Great interview, enjoyed reading Rebecca's responses. I've had the pleasure of working with her for a blog review.

  2. So generous of Rebecca to share all of this info!


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