How to hire a book marketing intern

book marketing to-do list

Does your book marketing to-do list seem to get longer and longer every day, while the days seem to get shorter and shorter? Are you starting to feel overwhelmed by the whole “now that I’ve written it, I have to promote it” process?

Consider hiring an intern.

College students and others looking for experience to add to their resumes can relieve you of the more administrative tasks, freeing you up to focus on those that make the best use of your time and talent.

How do you find and hire one? Here are a few things to consider.

1. Decide if you want to pay your intern and if yes, how much.

This is an important first step because it has an impact on what – and how much – you’ll assign to your intern. I have always paid my interns because I’m more comfortable paying than not. Plus, I believe that I’ll get a better work product if I pay for it.

If you want to pay, you need to decide what’s appropriate. That often depends on what you can afford, the skill level of your tasks, and what’s typical for your region. Talk to a local college placement office to get a sense of what might be expected.

2. Be clear on what you want an intern to do.

Make a list of the tasks you’d like to outsource. You need this for a job description, but it will also help you focus your thoughts and plan your time (and timing). Tasks that are appropriate for an intern include developing media lists, identifying blogs for virtual book tours, sending out review copies, scheduling appearances, pitching radio stations, and finding places for you to speak. The task list will help you identify the skills and personality needed for the internship.

book marketing intern3. Determine who will be a good fit.

Take into account any past work or classroom experience, availability, personality type, and access to necessary technology and a work space. For example, if you need your intern to spend time on the phone, the individual needs to be able to make those calls during appropriate hours and should be comfortable calling strangers.

4. Get the word out.

Ask friends and colleagues (especially those with college-age kids) if they know someone who would be good. Put a message on your Facebook timeline and ask friends to share it.

Contact local colleges and universities, particularly those with communications, journalism, public relations, advertising, or marketing programs. Contact the career development department, the job placement office, the internship coordinator, or the administrative assistant for the department that houses the communications, journalism, etc. courses. Your starting point could vary from school to school, but there’s usually a system you can plug into.

You can also post jobs on sites like Craigslist , Enternships,  and Urbaninterns.

5. Set parameters.

Can the intern telecommute or do you need the individual on-site? The answer to that might depend on how much supervision is needed.

How many hours a week do you need?

What’s the timeframe for the internship?

6. Be realistic.

While outsourcing tasks requiring less skill to an intern can relieve some of your “how will I get all of this done?” stress, you will still have to spend time guiding your intern, editing any writing, brainstorming solutions to problems, and so on. We sometimes forget that we can’t just say, “Do this and call me when it’s done.” Interns are on the job to learn – they don’t usually walk into the situation with all of the necessary know-how.

I have always been pleased with my intern experiences. One of my favorites was a student in a public relation class I taught as an adjunct. She was a “two-fer” – she also babysat for my children occasionally, too! I hope that you will also have positive experiences with any interns you bring to your book publicity plan.

What’s your best tip for hiring a book marketing intern?

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Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Three groups have recognized her site as an outstanding resource for authors, so you know her advice is author-tested.

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3 Responses to How to hire a book marketing intern
  1. Angela Artemis|Powered by Intuition
    May 25, 2013 | 12:17 pm

    What a great idea!
    I am at my wits end as to how to do everything I need to do publicize my books. I work a full time job in the financial industry as well as write books and for my blog.
    Thank you – I’m going to do this. I can feel the relief already.
    Angela Artemis

    • Sandra Beckwith
      May 25, 2013 | 2:48 pm

      I’m so glad it was helpful, Angela! There are so many tasks you can easily outsource to a smart student. Good luck!


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