Many authors often believe that hiring book publicists is essential. They assume it will lead them to the ultimate success. The reality is that if you hire a book publicist, you may have some benefits. However, it may not be a necessity for most authors. Not only are book publicists expensive, but the publicity they generate might not boost book sales which can be a way to make money writing a book.
To truly benefit from publicity, you should know how to leverage it to achieve your goals. Merely seeking promotion for the sake of your ego is not a worthwhile pursuit. In fact, as a nonfiction author, you can reach your objectives without investing in an expensive PR firm.
Today, we will help you determine whether you require publicity services. We will explain the role of book publicists as well as what it isn’t. In addition, we will guide you on how to select and collaborate with one.
What is a Book Publicist?
Book publicists are skilled PR professionals who you can find working in-house at a top self-publishing company or within agencies. You can also see them as an independent consultant. They have their connections and relationships. They leverage them to secure publicity for your book, mainly promotions that may be tough for you to do alone.
One of the primary benefits of hiring a book publicist is their ability to provide an extra set of hands during the hectic period around your book launch. It is precious if you consider the multitude of tasks you will have on your plate during that time.
Book publicists can alleviate some of the public relations workload. For example, they can:
- Reach out to your email list.
- Manage social media.
- Create your Amazon Author page.
- Help you sell an eBook on Amazon.
- Contact media outlets and bloggers.
- Craft a book press release.
However, you should know that book publicists do not identify your target audience or develop strategies to reach them. You should have already determined your target audience and book positioning before you engage their book marketing services.
Furthermore, it’s advisable not to hire a publicist unless you have a well-defined book marketing plan in place. Having a clear vision of what you expect from them will enhance the effectiveness of their efforts on your behalf.
What Does a Publicist Do?
In the past, book publicists for hire were primarily responsible for organizing book signings and public events. Now it has become less relevant in the modern landscape.
With the shift towards online marketing, book publicity now focuses heavily on digital marketing and media. The primary emphasis is on reaching out to social media platforms, email lists, and digital media outlets.
Book publicists can still assist and coordinate book tours and provide info to booksellers to aid in their purchasing decisions. However, the majority of their work revolves around media placement. They help:
- Secure media coverage in both print and online publications.
- Arrange podcast interviews.
- Facilitate appearances on local radio or TV shows.
These efforts will work if you have an already established audience. Book publicists cannot just amplify your following out of the ordinary if you don’t already have one.
If your goal is to grow your audience, you can do it. Working with book publicists can help generate initial interest and gradually transition into larger-scale events. In spite of that, you have to maintain a realistic perspective and manage expectations keeping that in mind.
Does Hiring a Publicist for Book Works?
The role of book publicists in helping you plan your strategy depends on the time you engage with them. Suppose you hire a PR firm before you begin writing your book and work with them on book positioning and overall strategy. In that case, they can certainly assist you and develop a marketing plan.
However, approach them after your book is completed without a clear strategy. They will likely be unable to help. Book publicists typically rely on the direction and goals you provide to them. Ultimately, book publicists help you obtain the results you request based on the path you provide.
Do You Need a Book Publicist?
The decision of whether to hire book publicists depends on the specific goals you have for your book. For many authors, mainly those writing nonfiction, a book serves as a tool to support their broader business objectives. It allows them to establish their expertise and make a mark in their industry. In such cases, it is often wise to start with small-scale marketing efforts and gradually expand them.
If you have a limited budget, you should maximize your existing efforts and target your niche audience. Let your book gain momentum through word-of-mouth.
When you consider hiring a book publicist, there are two key factors to consider:
1- The Level of the Cost
If you want to hire a professional literary publicist, it comes at a cost. So you should assess your budget and determine how much you are willing to pay for their help.
2- The Extent of the Help
Book publicists have valuable connections and expertise. They can help you secure media coverage. So, suppose you believe you need support in this area. In that case, they can help facilitate media outreach and increase your chances of gaining exposure.
How Much Does a Book Publicist Cost?
The costs associated with hiring a book publicist depend on the scope and scale of the media campaign. Typically, at a PR firm, you may find a publicist for authors starting around $5,000 for a month or possibly even lower. However, you should keep in mind that publicity costs usually involve four-figure monthly expenses at the very least.
Some publicity firms specialize in marketing books and operate on a standard agency model. It means they need to work on a larger scale to maintain profitability. As a result, publicists for authors at such firms may have a high volume of clients. It can sometimes lead to a perceived gap between the strategy discussed and the execution of the work. This is not due to publicists being ineffective at their jobs but rather a way of how the industry works.
So, when you look for a book publicist, consider more than just the budget. It may lead to nothing if you overly focus on cost and try to cut corners with your publicity expenses. Instead, look at the overall track record of the agency and the publicist history you will be working with. Ensure that you know the cost-to-benefit ratio and whether the investment is worthwhile for your specific goals and needs.
How to Find Book Publicists?
Clarify your goals and budget before you engage an author publicist. Find someone who knows your vision and can assist you in marketing a book to your target audience. Let’s look at how you can find a book publicist:
You can conduct an online search for book publicists. Then, look for professionals or agencies that you think specialize in book publicity or have experience working with authors in your genre.
Ask for Recommendations
You can also reach out to other authors, writers, or literary firms and ask them to recommend someone. They may be able to provide you with contacts or suggest reputable publicists they have worked with.
Check Book Acknowledgments
Look at the acknowledgments sections in books that are similar to yours or in the same genre. Authors often thank their book publicists in these sections. So it can help you identify potential candidates.
Utilize Social Media
Engage with the writing and publishing community on social media platforms. Also, participate in relevant groups or forums where they discuss their work. You can ask for advice or inquire about book publicists.
Consult Industry Directories
If you want to find book publicists, it would be a great idea to consult industry directories like:
- Literary Market Place
- Writer’s Market
They provide wide listings of publishing experts and service providers. It also includes book publicists.
Contact Literary Agencies
Reach out to literary agencies that represent authors in your genre. While they mainly provide a literary agent, they often have links with book publicists or may be able to recommend someone.
Research Book Campaigns
When you come across books in your genre that have had successful publicity campaigns, find out which publicists were involved. You can often find this info through interviews, blog posts, or a book press release.
How to Hire a Book Publicist?
Step 1. Identify the Target Audience
You must have identified your target audience before you write a book. Your audience consists of a specific group of people who have a problem that your book can solve. The more particular your audience is, the better. If you are marketing children’s books, then your audience is the children or their guardians.
For instance, suppose you write a book about the benefits of professional book cover design for authors. In that case, you will face less competition and have a higher likelihood of truly helping the people who read it.
Nonfiction books are typically read because readers expect to gain something from them. So, it is crucial to determine what your book provides and whom it is intended for. Before you engage in publicity activities like podcasts, writing articles, or TV appearances, you should know the audience you want to reach.
Step 2. Determine the Results You Want to Gain
When you hire a publicist, you will have two sets of objectives in mind. The first set revolves around the desired outcomes of your publicity efforts.
- What are your goals?
- Do you aim to attract more clients or generate revenue?
- What would be considered a remarkable success?
You should emphasize the need for realistic goals. Discuss realistic objectives before you begin writing a book. Ask yourself basic questions like:
- How do you want your book to benefit your readers?
- What value will they gain from it?
- What accomplishments has the book helped you achieve, making the effort worthwhile?
- Which is the one event that will occur as a result of your book that was worth it?
If your expectations are reasonable, your answers won’t revolve around how to sell your book in million copies or topping a national bestseller list. Instead, you might focus on tangible and achievable goals, such as:
- Acquire a specific number of new clients.
- Secure a certain number of paid speaking engagements.
- Gain coverage in a publication relevant to your industry.
While it’s essential to be ambitious, it is also crucial to maintain honesty in setting your goals.
Step 3. Define What You Expect From Book Publicists
Once you have established your personal goals, it’s time to determine the second set of plans. They focus on the actions you want your publicist or agency to take to promote a book effectively.
Consider the specific goals you have for the publicist. Do you want to start a podcast, feature in print media, obtain book reviews, or appear in any publications? Identify the types of media coverage that will help you reach your personal goals.
In contrast to common belief, if you seek coverage from big-name media outlets, it may not always be the most promising approach. Just because your book receives attention from the big guys, it doesn’t guarantee success.
It is essential to identify the media outlets that will be most beneficial to you. For example, suppose your aim is to attract new clients in a specific geographic region. In that case, national media coverage might not be the most effective strategy. Similarly, if your goal is to establish yourself as an expert in your industry, speaking to a broad audience may not be the most helpful.
Examine similar authors if you’re unsure how to set realistic publicity goals. Perhaps those with similar books in other industries or authors with a similar platform. Look at the media coverage they have received as a reference point for achievable aspirations.
It is advisable to start this process as soon as you finish your rough draft. It is because it requires considerable time and effort. In addition, if you contemplate these steps during the revision process can be helpful.
Step 4. Assess Your Options
After going through the initial steps, you should analyze if you truly need a publicist. You may discover that you can do your book publicity on your own.
However, if you decide to proceed with a publicist, now you know why you need one. It’s worth it to give publicity a try on your own initially. If you find it tough, you can always seek the help of a publicist at a later stage. Keep in mind that the publicity for your book begins before you even finish the book.
Ideally, you should explore options and reach out to potential publicists when your first draft is completed. Consider the possible time required for revisions. There can be a major gap between your search for publicists and actually moving forward with one.
Take ample time to evaluate your options. But ensure you decide and engage a publicist before your book is ready for launch.
Step 5. Select the Publicist
When you consider book publicists, it’s crucial to conduct a thorough evaluation. Set up a meeting where you can gather answers to key questions. Here are some vital inquiries to include:
- What is their philosophy?
Learn their approach and values when it comes to publicity and book promotion.
- How do they work?
Gain insights into their strategy, method, and process on how they secure media coverage.
- Who have they worked with before?
Ask about their past clients to gauge their experience and industry connections.
- What is their track record with media coverage?
Assess their success in which they obtain media placements for their clients.
- Do they have specific knowledge about the publishing industry?
Determine their familiarity and expertise when they navigate the publishing landscape.
- What contacts do they have for the specific media outlets you want to target?
Evaluate their network and relations with relevant media channels.
- What placements do they expect to secure for your book?
Seek specific expectations and outcomes they believe they can achieve.
Conduct the remaining careful and persistent work or effort. Reach out to earlier clients and listen to their encounters with the publicist. Look for results that showcase their ability to secure the media placement for your book. Ensure they have relationships with the media outlets that are essential for your goals.
Before you decide to hire, ensure that the publicist knows your book and objectives very well. Provide clear direction on where you want the publicity of your book to go. Ensure that the publicist can steer in the right direction.
How to Work with a Book Publicist?
Let’s guide you on working with a publicist when you find a suitable one.
1- Keep a Plan
First and foremost, you should have a plan that outlines the strategies your publicist will employ. This includes details such as:
- Publications that will be targeted.
- The number of press releases to be sent.
- The initial contacts to approach.
2- Communicate with the Publicist
Regular communication is vital. So expect weekly updates from your publicist. These updates should include info on the contacts made, responses received, and the outcomes achieved. It is key to trust their expertise. But it is also reasonable to check in if updates are not provided consistently.
3- Ensure Your Publicist Has What They Need
To support the efforts of your publicist, ensure you have all the necessary materials ready. These commonly include:
- Your book cover image
- Book description
- Author bio
- A PDF of the book
If you have other assets like video book trailers, provide those as well. Prepare them well in advance. It allows for marketing pre-sales and secure media coverage before the book launch.
4- Be Active and Do What You Need to Do
Take your part role and promote your book by practicing talking about it. Develop a compelling elevator pitch. Highlight key arguments and interesting anecdotes from your book. Familiarize yourself with your website and contact info, especially if your book is tied to your business. If you consider potential interview questions and formulate concise talking points, you can ensure that you are well-prepared and can deliver engaging interviews.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Book Publicist?
Book publicists typically charge between $3,000 and $5,000 per month for their services. They usually request a minimum commitment of three months. So that they can establish and capitalize on the promotion. It is advisable to start working with a publicist prior to the release of the book to maximize the benefits.
What Do Book Publicists Do?
Publicists play a vital role in book promotion. They organize book tours and convince influential members of the media to showcase the author.
Is Hiring a Book Publicist Worth it?
You can justify hiring a book publicist if you have a strong desire for extensive media coverage. Since the process of reaching out to media outlets can consume so much time and effort. In addition, the cost you spend will be of use if the book publicists can open doors to media platforms that align with your goals and can help you achieve them.
What is the Difference Between a Book Publicist and a Literary Agent?
A literary agent earns their income by selling your written work to publishers. As a result, they receive a percentage of the deal they negotiate on your behalf. On the other hand, a publicist is a professional promoter who is hired either by you or by the publisher. They promote you or your work, and you pay them for their services.
Book publicists come in handy for authors looking to maximize the reach and impact of their work. It is true that not all authors may need a publicist. Especially those with well-established platforms or publishing houses that provide robust marketing support. However, many authors can greatly benefit from the expertise and links that a skilled publicist brings to the table.
As an author, you need to assess your needs before you decide to hire a book publicist. You should consider factors such as budget, time constraints, and marketing goals. Authors should also carefully research book publicists. Seek out experts with a proven track record and a deep understanding of the publishing industry. Contact Authors Breeze today, and get your book the media coverage and attention it deserves with our book marketing services.