Publicist Brian Feinblum Explains The ARC Process

Julia's Child is 61 days from publication. (But who's counting?) I've come to the conclusion that this is the most confusing part of the publicity process for authors, because things are starting to happen, but the author may not always be able to see or understand them. Independent publicist Brian Feinblum of Planned Television Arts in New York stops by Blurb is a Verb to help us sort out just what happens during this part of the process.

Brian Feinblum: When you are 90-100 days away from publication you send out advance review copies (called ARCs or galleys) to dozens of key book reviewers at targeted magazines, book trades (such as Publishers Weekly or Library Journal) and daily newspapers, assuming you are seeking reviews for your book.  you will already have created your press kit materials, your web site, and your pitch letters.

Sarah: But… wait! ARCs are scarce, and I thought newspapers didn’t need quite as much time.

Brian Feinblum: Here’s the key with print media: there are actually two types of outreach to be done. To get book reviews, authors must send their advance review copy (not the finished book) at least three months before publication, whether it is mags, newspapers or publishing trades.  To garner non-book review coverage, such as an interview with a features editor, authors should begin to contact print media beginning 30-40 days prior to the book’s publication, to discern interest in receiving a copy of the finished book. You can also contact newspapers, newswires and niche publications within the first few months of the book’s publication.

Sarah: Okay, that’s very helpful. What comes next?

Brian Feinblum: When you are 60 days away you are looking to build relationships and connections that you hope to exploit once the book is out. For instance, you should research bloggers that you hope to query about reviewing your book. You should put media lists together and begin contacting the news media, such as radio shows, seeking to schedule interviews for the first month of publication.

On the social media front, you should blog more often, tweet more often, and seek out connections on Facebook or Google + or Linked In. you should work on your book trailer or video for You Tube – but only if it’s exceptionally good or catchy. You should look to guest-blog at other people’s sites.

If you are in need of a PR firm, you should make a decision prior to launching your book, so you can  begin to strategize and plan ahead.

Sarah: Thank you, Brian!

Brian Feinblum has been in publishing and PR for twenty years. He is Chief Marketing Officer at Planned Television Arts. You can follow him @theprexpert and find him on his blog.         


  1. This is a really interesting post, but I don't quite agree on the blogger front. Many of us have pretty long lead times these days; for example, it is November 30th, and I'm mostly booked at least through the end of February already. If people whose books come out at the end of January are just now beginning to research bloggers, and get around to pitching in another 2-4 weeks, they'll be getting a 'no' from me.

    You don't necessarily need to be sending bloggers books 90-100 days out (although it doesn't hurt), but you should be making your pitch list and getting started working your way down it.

  2. Thanks, Jen! That's good advice.

  3. You already know though, Sarah! You were on top of things.

  4. Thanks Sarah for following up on my ARC question! And thanks Brian -- v. interesting info. (If not a bit daunting!) How much of this does a traditional publisher take care of? And who usually approaches the bloggers and writes the pitch letter?
    Thanks again!!

  5. I agree with Jen on the blogger front. I'm also booked until mid-February as well.

    I didn't realize that newspapers had such a long lead time for reviews! Very surprising!