Sassy's Fangirl Authors - A Day in the Life of A Jolly Fish Publicist - Swimming Along with Mikayla Rivera

Welcome to Sassy's Fangirl Authors, a feature event where I introduce you to upcoming books as well as already published books! Make sure to add this unique retelling to your TBR list, because you definitely don't want to miss out on this one! 

This week of Sassy’s Fangirl Authors, we are doing something extremely new! Today, you get the chance to get a sneak peek into the life of a publicist! Today, I am inviting the wonderful Mikayla Rivera, the lead publicist over at Jolly Fish Press! So, if you're like me and dream to work in the publishing industry, pop a squat and scroll down to see what exactly a publicist does in her everyday life!

Publisher: Jolly Fish Press
Age Range: Young Adult & Middle Grade
Publisher: Chrisopher Loke
We are Jolly Fish Press, a publishing house based in Provo, Utah, which publishes trade fiction and select non-fiction books in the national and international market. We excel in exceptional cover design, worldwide online and brick-and-mortar distribution, expansive publicity and marketing campaigns, subsidiary rights representation, and most of all, our drive and ability to find exceptional, yet undiscovered authors, jumpstarting their careers with maximum exposure, sales, mentoring, and higher than industry average royalty rates.

What You Should Know about a Book Publicist:

We’re not money-sucking demons. Crazy, I know. But we publicists in the publishing industry weren’t sleazy car salesmen in a past life; in fact, most of us are extroverted introverts—people who love to use their extroverted sides to create campaigns and get people excited about things, then slip away at night time with a good book by a favorite author. In fact, when we’re curled up after a long day of emailing booktubers about promotion possibilities or calling our authors from another time zone to discuss their website brand, we’re likely to pop open one of our own authors’ books so we can brag to our friends about the amazing story we get to promote. As publicists, our job is to be excited and organized. We’re professional, shameless fangirls. We make things happen. We’re action people—who really, really, really love books.

Oh, what a dream job it is to become a professional fangirl that makes things happen, right? As someone who loves connecting with other readers and bloggers, as well as working with publicists and other people in the industry, I can definitely say it's one of my favorite things to do. I mean come on, a professional fangirl?! SIGN. ME. UP!

What a Book Publicist Does All Day:

So, what do shameless fangirls do all day? Well, it doesn’t look like a huge nerd screaming to her friends about how amazing the book she read is, and do you want to come see the author with her because she’s going to be holding a contest at her first book reading, and can you believe you could possibly get to meet an author with a book that good?—from the outside. That’s pretty much how it is on the inside, but from the outside observer, it looks a lot like a book publicist just has a very committed relationship with his or her computer. So what does a book publicist do all day? 

#1 Thing Emails: “My life,” I whispered to my roommates, “it’s made of emails.” And it’s certainly true; emailing is the number one way I do my job, especially since I work remotely. Even if I went to the office every day, though, it wouldn’t likely cut down on the amount of emails I send. I have authors in Arizona, California, Utah, New York, and New Jersey, just to name a few. They’re all over the country, and the one thing that brings us together (besides their books) is the need for communication. I do make my own fair amount of calls, and sometimes a quick call to the author is just what I need to understand what they’re thinking on a future project, but emails are more universally accessible. It’s not just for authors, either, though that’s a large portion of my inbox. I email bookstores, book bloggers (like the lovely Talina, for instance), booktubers, professional review outlets, our distributor IPG, Amazon representatives, freelance publicists, and other key people in the company. Emails become my way of initiating relationships with others, learning about what certain reviewers do and don’t like, setting up blog tours or giveaways promotions, mapping out physical book tours, and organizing my conference calendar as well as my authors’ appearances—both online and in physical locations.

Let’s just say there’s nothing quite like logging into your work email, waiting for the little loading swirl to chase its tail, and discover what’s waiting for you. There’s a 20% chance it’s bad news, and there’s a sudden wild fire I’ll have to put out. Madness explodes in the publishing industry in random and unpredictable places. What do you mean they can’t schedule for us that day? Who promised the author that? Why didn’t I know about it? Wait, the confirmation email I sent never showed up? Ah! But then again, there’s about an 80% chance I’m going to see a message from an inquiring reviewer, and author responding to my questions, an author asking questions, or good news from contacts I’ve reached out to in hopes of a partnership. 

Of course, no one likes bad news, but honestly it does my heart good to handle both kinds of news—typing out an email solving a problem or celebrating an exciting endorsement is what my job is all about. Basically, I get to be a shameless fangirl by day who, when donning her email cape, transforms into the protective warrior goddess known as Lead Publicist! Basically, I eat, breathe, and drink emails. And they taste pretty good for being electronic, you know. Of course, emailing isn’t everything I do, though most everything feeds through that channel first. I also go to conferences and meet reviewers, authors, other publicists, marketers, and podcasters. I love those moments because publicists are excitable creatures, and I love meeting people who do neat things. It’s the reason I was so excited when Talina asked me to do this article in the first place; here’s a person I respect who wants to keep in contact. I love keeping in contact with people!

I'll be honest, I squealed a bit in my seat as I read this part of your post, Kayla. Why? Because everything that is required from a book publicist, is exactly what I want to do. Having the oppurtunity to talk about the thing I love most (books) is one heck of a dream job! Geez! I get almost ten e-mails a day, but I can't imagine how crazy it is for a publicist, especially a lead publicist like yourself, Kayla. But you know what? I wouldn't mind it at all! :)

How to Feed and Care for Your Publicist 

Talk to her. Talk to him. Keep her or him in the loop, ask them about their day, and discuss what you’re hoping for in your book’s marketing plans. Every exciting idea you get, shoot it over to them. Interact with your publicist on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, wherever—just so long as you’re talking. Publicists are people, and more than that, they’re generally people-people. They like people. That’s why they make a living out of getting other people excited about the things they love. Of course, this is coming from the perspective of a Lead Publicist of a small press, so some things may alter from publishers to publisher, from Entangled to Random House. 

I don’t know how much all publicists welcome interaction with their author, since I’m not every publicist in the USA, but I will say this—the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Now, make sure you’re not a shrieking, rusty wheel that makes everyone wince and scream too. That will probably back fire. But the more you invite and include your publicist into your ideas and marketing plans for the book, the more they will explore options and run to make you and your book a success. Publicists are people who like to get excited. They’re people who love to organize, make things happen, and most of all, create contacts. They like making friends. It’s the simplest, most My Little Pony message ever, but honestly, friendship is magic. You don’t have to be BFFs with your publicist, but having a friendly working relationship will do wonders for your books, your career, and let’s even daresay your outlook on life.

I 100000% agree with this part, Kayla! Publicist are people like us. One thing I've learned is that there is no need to be shy when talking to them. They are fangirls/fanboys just like us and big chances are, they'd love for you to reach out to them! Also, like Kayla said, communicate with them, ask them about their day, ask about what titles they're excited about - you can talk about all sorts of things, just talk to them. Because trust me, bookworms always love talking to other bookworms! 

Kayla the Rivera is a biracial baby raised in Tennessee with two sisters, no cats (unfortunately), and an unnecessary love for stuffed orcas. The publishing industry has always been her true mistress, so after interning with Shadow Mountain Publishing (where she was selected as editor-in-chief for a team of eighteen interns), she moved on to studying editing and publicity techniques with Jolly Fish Press. Here she's more than delighted to use her social media addiction to her advantage, and champion authors with clever campaigns, excitement for their novels, and a sharp editorial eye.


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Happy reading!

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