By Hervé St.Louis
May 12, 2006 - 6:45
How does this relate to the average comic book reader?
The publicist is the one who sends news from the company to Web sites such as The Comic Book Bin, magazines and the media in general. He's the one who handles requests for interviews, images and information from the press. Publicists rarely interact with customers, but watch every developments in their customer base and how people perceive their employer.
If people are complaining about a comic book series, it's the publicist who has to be the first aware of the problem and work with the rest of his company to handle customer satisfaction and provide an official response.
Publicists also have to butter up and maintain good relationships with the media, suggest story ideas, interviews, send books for reviews and knowwhat the media says about them. For example, a publicist should know how many review The Comic Book Bin gave to their books this week and whether they were positives or negative. If the reviews were negative, the publicist should watch closely what was said about the book and inform the editor who will share this information with the creators.
Often in the comic book industry, publicists are nothing but dispatchers of press releases and images and forget that part of their job is to carry market intelligence on the media and to try to influence them - yes influence them. The better the relationship with the media, the better the media will cover one's company positively.
However, often, comic book publicists don't have time to develop great relationships with the media because they are too busy dispatching images and writing press releases. Larger companies should have junior assistants to do the manual dispatching job but tenured experts to influence the media positively. Of course, that's a best case scenario and way too expensive for most companies.
The public relations's department at Dark Horse is one of the most professional and well organized. Communication is clear and regular. Let's hope they continue the great work.