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7 things you need to know about working with a book publicist

Authors often ask me, “Should I hire a book publicist?”

My first response is usually, “Can you afford to hire a book publicist?”

Authors are usually shocked when I tell them what an experienced book publicist charges (see below).

They’re surprised again when I tell them that the fees come with no guarantees. And yet, as a former publicist, I’m a big fan of them — the good ones, that is! (And there are lots of good ones out there.) A good book publicist can take you places you’re afraid to go on your own.

Not everyone is clear on what they can and can’t expect from a book publicist, though. Here’s what you need to know about working with a book publicist.

What does a book publicist do?

Smith Publicity president Sandy Smith
Sandra Poirier Smith

Sandra Poirier Smith, president of Smith Publicity, Inc., says a publicist’s job is to help make a book and its author newsworthy.

“To do this, we start with in-depth conversations with the author about their goals, work, and ideal audiences. From here, we are able to create strategies to reach targeted media—magazine, newspaper, television, radio, podcast, digital, and/or blog outlets,” she says.

The end result is typically “book reviews, recommendations and excerpts, feature stories, Q&As, print and broadcast interviews, expert commentary, bylined articles, op-ed pieces, and so on,” she says.

What doesn’t a publicist do?

A publicist’s job is to get news media attention for the book and/or its author.

It’s not a book publicist’s job to:

  • Manage advertising, on Amazon, Facebook, or anywhere else
  • Identify, schedule, and coordinate speaking appearances
  • Contribute to the publication process, whether that’s by finding an agent or publisher, editing the manuscript, or getting the book into distribution

Other types of consultants might provide these types of services, but a book publicist is focused on getting your book in the news.

Working with a book publicist

Now that you understand what a book publicist does and doesn’t do, it’s important to know what to expect before contacting one for help. Here are seven things you will want to know as you consider hiring a publicist for your book.

1. Experienced book publicists charge from $3,000 to $5,000 a month.

They also require at least a three-month commitment so that they can build, and then take advantage of, momentum. Ideally, you’ll begin working together before your book is released.

2. There are no guarantees.

If a publicist offers guarantees, walk away.

Advertising consultants can make promises that publicists can’t. With advertising, you control the message, what it looks like, and when it appears because you’re paying for that.

With publicity — that priceless news media exposure that you can’t buy — you are at the mercy of the media gatekeepers.

“While we wish we were the ones making decisions on which books to feature, that is the job of producers, editors, and reviewers at media outlets,” says Smith.

A good publicist, though, knows how and what to pitch, and how to get results.

3. Many book publicists don’t work with self-published authors.

This is partly because so many self-published books don’t meet traditional publishing standards. It’s the same reason why media outlets say they don’t review self-published books. (For more on that, read “How to get around the ‘we don’t review self-published books’ roadblock.”)

Yeah, yeah, Donny and Marie Osmond sang about how “one bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch, girl,” but with books, it’s often more than one piece of rotten fruit.

4. Publicists do not work on commission.

Nobody who is any good will work for a percentage of sales, so don’t even think about it.

Do the math. How much do you make in royalties on each book sold? How many books do you have to sell to generate $9,000 to $15,000 for three months of work? The royalties are too small to fund a publicist.

In addition, it’s difficult to link book sales to specific tactics. Unless you’re a highly sophisticated marketer, you won’t know if sales were generated by smart email marketing or the article you were interviewed for in USA Today.

5. Publicists typically work within two business models.

There’s the traditional fee-based approach that I favor. The firm tells you what it will do and charges a fee based on the time involved to execute the plan.

The other approach uses a pay-for-performance model. The firm charges a set-up fee to get things rolling, then you pay on a per-placement basis. High-prestige placements like an interview in Parents magazine cost more, for example, than an interview with a radio station in your hometown.

6. Many will collaborate with the author/client to save money by sharing the load.

Let your publicist provide the social media strategy that you execute while she focuses her efforts on getting national media attention.

Or, write the book announcement press release yourself so you aren’t paying him to do it. After all, who knows your book better than you?

7. A local publicist charged with generating just local publicity should cost less.

A lot less, for two reasons.

First, getting local publicity is much easier than getting national exposure. Second, there are fewer media outlets.

A few words on finding and hiring someone you can trust

Just this week, I saw this image shared on social media by a book publicist. This firm was promoting its services alongside it’s client’s book. Unless this firm gave the author a substantial discount for the right to co-promote — which is highly unlikely — this is wrong.

working with a book publicist 2
I’ve done a sloppy job of hiding details that would identify the publicist.

Stay away from companies that are more interested in promoting their businesses than your books.

To learn how to avoid making costly hiring mistakes, read, “How one author got ripped off and how you can avoid it.”

To decide if you should hire a book publicist, read, “Should you hire a book publicist?

Do it yourself

Can’t afford a pro? Learn how to do do it yourself. I offer a very affordable home study course, “Book Marketing 101: How to Build Book Buzz” in two versions — one for fiction authors, the other for nonfiction writers. Each will help you learn how to publicize your book, and much, more more.

As with so much else, knowledge is power. The more you know about how this works, the better able you will be to spend your marketing dollars wisely.

If you’ve hired a publicist, please share your experience here. What worked . . . what didn’t?


(Editor’s note: This article was first published in July 2012. It has been updated and expanded.)


Tip of the Month

children's book tipsI like to share a “Tip of the Month,” a free resource or tool for authors, on the last Wednesday of the month.

This month, it’s the Ultimate Children’s Writing Cheat Sheet from my friends at Children’s Book Insider. You’ll get:

  • Word counts and age groups for every kidlit category
  • FAQs, glossaries, and reading lists
  • Category-specific tips, from picture books through young adult novels
  • Five easy ways to improve your manuscript

We’re all cooped up indefinitely. There’s never been a better time to use free resources like this to learn more about your craft.

Subscribe to the free Build Book Buzz newsletter and get the free special report, “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources,” immediately!

43 Comments

  1. I’ve often thought about hiring a local publicist, but the issue of credibility always holds me back. I realize references can be retrieved, but if you don’t know those folks, where are you really?

    1. Melanie, if I understand you correctly, you’re saying that you’re not sure you can trust a local publicist with good references from people you don’t know, right? I’d ask local reporters and entreprenuers who they would recommend.

      Sandy

  2. Interesting post! I hope you don’t mind a few comments:
    ONE- 1. Experienced book publicists charge from $3,000 to $5,000 a month. They also require at least a three-month commitment so that they can build, and then take advantage of, momentum. ( As an experienced book publicist there are varying rates- and you can budget anywhere from $425.00 a month and up depending on the publicist. Just because they may charge less doesn’t mean they aren’t good)
    However- yes- three months is standard for us to really get a good grip on how the book is going to do

    2. There are no guarantees- Yup, that’s the basis, but a good publicist will do the best job they can to get you what they can. Publicity is 95% research and 5% implementation, and that’s how we get results

    3. Many book publicists don’t work with self-published authors- There are a lot of us freelance publicists out there who work with self-published authors IF the book is of high quality. Indeed some literary agents have switched to work with just indie publishers because they recognize the importance of promoting good work ( we work with both trad and self)

    4. Publicists do not work on commission- that is for sure!!! Don’t even think about offering me a cut in sales. You pay us for our knowledge of the industry and our creativity- time is money or so they say!

    5-Publicists typically work within two business models. – Most of us work on the retainer/monthly package fee, but some of us also work on a per project basis for those that just want to get a good press release distributed or a booking on a specific show. Pay for performance is tough to measure because you don’t always know what kind of media you’ll get- and it could be the kind that isn’t going to help you at all- ask the potential publicist a LOT of questions before signing.

    6- Many will collaborate with the author/client to save money by sharing the load. Collaboration a great way to do business. We know the media but YOU are the expert in your field. The more you offer up to do the easier it is for us to focus on the bookings rather than other areas.

    7. A local publicist charged with generating local publicity should cost less.- Now that I disagree with. Only on the basis that while you might be contacting local media for the client, that media might not necessarily want to talk to or book them. In fact they may be so tired of hearing about your client they go out of their way NOT to have them on their show- so it makes it more difficult for the publicist to book them. I don’t feel there should be a discrepancy between local or national as it often takes the same amount of time to get the booking.

    Thanks so much for posting your blog- these are great for discussions about the business of publicity. Remember, publicists aren’t selling “air” they are selling “air time” ~ Rachel http://www.gal-fridaypublicity.com

  3. Thanks, Rachel! Re. point 7, it should cost less just in terms of volume, if nothing more. A national campaign usually involves more media outlets than a local campaign will. But I know exactly what you mean about the potential for over-exposure locally, and you make a great point on that.

    You’ve showcased a good point — time is time (and time is money!), whether the time is invested in local or national publicity. So…to save time and money, if you want local publicity,hire a local publicist. If you want national publicity, hire a publicist with a good track record with the national media outlets you’re interested in (presuming that your expectations are realistic…).

    I love the comments! Thanks!

    Sandy

  4. Jean, I’ve confused you — sorry about that. I wasn’t saying that a local publicist should charge less per hour. I was pointing out — and not very well — that there are fewer media outlets locally than there are for a national campaign, so based on volume alone, the project fee should be less.

    Sandy

  5. Great article and comments! We know book publicity is necessary to market authors, but it’s expensive! If you can afford it, why not? As for the self-published and low-budget authors, we provide the same resources for all authors to do their own PR for as low as $49 / month. Between this and active pitching, authors are bound to be successful.

  6. Hi Sandy—

    You seem to have attracted more publicists—for free publicity/clients?—than writers.

    As a full-time writer, I want to thank you for providing necessary and important information for the writer.

    I know your own field is publicity, but I wonder if you are able to address a similar field of questions about copy-editing?

    Copy-editing is not my field of activity, but I have used copy-editors. My current copy-editor is Daniel Dean, a real treasure, who—I believe—undercharges me for excellent work. If you can address the question I asked, I will direct him to this blog to read it.

    Beyond that help for him, however, the information about this service will surely be helpful to me and all writers.

    Let me end—I hear those sighs of relief!—by saying, make no mistake about it, you need a copy-editor. Even more if you are a copy-editor yourself. No one is so blind as the person looking at oneself.

    I love you, Sandy. Thank you for everything.

    Larry Winebrenner, Novelist
    http://TheCaseOfTheLockedDrawer.com/reviews

    1. Larry, whether I can address your copy-editing question depends on the question. If I can’t answer it, I’ll tell you. What’s the question?

      Sandy

    2. As an author and a copy editor, I second your comment about all authors need copy editors, including copy editors. I had a quite embarrassing moment after my copy editor returned my “perfect” manuscript.

  7. My darling Sandy—

    You disappoint me. I thought you could read my mind. Now I have to spell it out. You want me to write it, too, and just let you put your name on it? 🙂

    All joking aside, my love, I’m not sure i can spell it out—but I’ll try.

    You know better than I do that you told seven things writers should know before hiring a publicist—my title, not yours—including charges, guarantees, work with self-publishers, commission work, business models, author/client cooperation to lower cost, and local publicist. That may not be a perfect list, but it is good enough for me to make my point.

    Obviously there is not a one-to-one relationship in this list and what a writer would want to know before hiring a copy-writer. There are enough, however, to illustrate my question.

    Prices range all the way from free to $100 per page—maybe more. But does price indicate quality? How does one choose a “normal” price range—or does one?

    While publicists cannot provide guarantees for any number of reasons, it seems to me that a copy-editor might guarantee a modicum of perfection. Absolute perfection is a pipe-dream. On the other hand, “Perfect enough for most editors” might well be expected. But how might this be structured, spelled out?

    This is the sort of document I wondered about, Sandy. Maybe it can’t even be done, but I’ll bet some folk claimed what you did could not be done.

    I had even thought about contacting say 100 copy-editors and asking a question like, “What do you consider the three essential characteristics of copy-editing? And how do you measure them?”

    I probably didn’t even answer your question, but that’s not the first time I’ve been guilty of that crime. Ask any policeman who has ever arrested me.

    But one question I do always answer. Yes, I do truly love you, Sandy.

    Larry Winebrenner, Novelist
    http://TheCaseOfTheLockedDrawer.com/reviews

  8. I have a problem with an industry that rents it’s roladex but keeps it all a secret…as well as being slack in communicating exactly what they have done. Having been in sales for over 25 years, the world of publicists has been an eye opener. The last thing I find an abundance of is accountability. Of course, if you bring this up here comes the “unrealistic expectations” excuse. I have a great publicist. I have had bad ones. The ones that put a bag over year head and just want to be “trusted”, which I find to be completely unprofessional and patronizing, dominate the industry. Be careful about publicists…..lots of breaches of trust in the industry.

    1. Mike, there are good and bad practitioners in all industries. I’m sorry you’ve seen your share of bad publicists. The best ones are honest and transparent — and that honesty includes not making promises they can’t keep.

      Sandy

  9. Good article Sandy – thank you for the advice and insight. I am a traditionally published author and considering a publicist for my next book.

    A few of the subsequent replies were helpful too, and your responses practical and polite.

  10. I hired a firm to help me publicize a children’s illustrated book about cats (second in a series of The Xmas Cats) after they turned me down on promoting my novel in a thriller series. The service mainly consisted of having me send out massive quantities of free books and, since it was a children’s book, I don’t mean e-books. (I was the one doing the sending to supposedly help keep the cost down, and I was happy to be the one in charge of that, since “postage” costs were at my expense and there was no dissembling on that count.) The problem, which I have been told is endemic to the industry, was that the P.R. firm did not contact anyone within 200 miles of where I was doing local appearances! I had radio interviews all over the country, yes, but the ones that would have REALLY done me some good (i.e., in my own hometown) were noticeably absent, and this hurt a great deal.

    At first, I was assigned a bubbly, enthusiastic woman with whom I was working well.

    Then, the “owner” entered the picture and sent me the rudest e-mail I have ever received. I wasn’t ”
    forwarding” the e-mail from a station in Timbuktu the way she wanted (I was generating a new e-mail) and this set her off to the point that I was told I would be “dropped” if I ‘didn’t do it right.’

    I wrote her back and said I would happily take my business elsewhere and, at that point, she completely changed her tune.

    I did finish out the commitment, as to months, but I never received much value for the service. Lesson learned: find out exactly WHERE they are going to get you on the radio or in print. It didn’t do me much good to be on the radio in towns where my book was not for sale. In my mind, a good publicist would have aided me in getting the book into a bookstore in that town before booking me to do a radio interview with some small station far, far away.

    I did make efforts, on my own, to get my book into any kind of bookstore in these small places and learned that some of the towns legitimately did not HAVE a bookstore, if they were in places with names like Plentywood, Montana. In other words, my radio “presence” didn’t do me much good, and the radio expert who told me to give my cell phone number as a number for people to call while you were on the air must not be living in my world.

    All in all, it was a rather unsuccessful experiment, but at least it did NOT cost $3,000 to $5,000 a month. This place had a sliding scale based on how much of the “work” you were willing to do, and I was willing to write my own press release, mail it myself, and answer all inquiries. I also did all mailings of books to those who wanted to review them.

    I also learned that there are certain KINDS of books that a publicist will happily try to promote (the children’s book or other nonfiction areas in which you are an acknowledged expert) and others (thriller/fiction) which they abhor.

    Going to be releasing a thriller (3rd in a series) soon, and not sure WHAT to do about that!

    Sincerely,

    Connie (Corcoran) Wilson, M.S.
    http://www.ConnieCWilson.com
    Quad Cities Learning, inc
    http://www.quadcitieslearning.com
    Author of THE COLOR OF EVIl series and THE XMAS CATS series.

    1. Connie, there’s a lot here to respond to, so I’ll pull out just a few points:

      — It doesn’t sound like there was enough communication between you and the agency about what they would do for you and where. If you wanted them to focus on local media, you needed to tell them that.
      — The best resource for local publicity is a local publicist, not a book publicist who works nationally or internationally. Local publicists know the local media better than “outsiders.”
      — Radio interviews in markets where the book wasn’t in stores isn’t a major problem unless you’re talking about maybe 10 years ago before people were using Amazon for book purchases. With fewer and fewer bookstores, people have no choice but to order online. I’m sure your book was available from online retailers (right?).
      — Sending massive quantities of free books is GOOD.
      — Not every publicist “abhors” promoting fiction. It’s harder to do, though, so fewer publicists will take on novels. But many do promote fiction.

      As for what to do about your thriller, why not learn how to do it yourself?

      Sandy

  11. Dear Sandra:
    It has been 5 months since I wrote you the letter you answered (thank you) and I just now realized that this response was posted. I feel I need to respond, so you know that, oh, YES, I DID make the P.R. group aware that I wanted them to concentrate on the LOCAL radio stations (and received a rather rude comment back about how their lists were “proprietary”). Then, the closest they came to having an interview on a radio station that could be considered “close” was one in Dubuque, IA, 60 miles away.
    Second, there really ARE no “book publicists” in the IA/IL Quad Cities. There was one individual who claimed to be one, but that did not go well, and I soon learned that, no, there IS no “local book publicist” so, yes, I’ve been trying to learn to “do it myself” for 11 years now.
    Third, sending massive quantities of FREE books (the book retailed for $14.95) was NOT good, for me, a struggling independent, incorporated author. Even with the considerable author discounts, the radio stations this “service” contacted asked for as many as 12 copies or up to “give away on the air.” I also got stiffed on the postage. What was the end result of this, in terms of sales? Not a single paperback OR e-book copy sold on Amazon. Zero. Did I lose my shirt, then? Well, no, because I hustled myself around our 350,000 population area with a costumed cat and a camera and knocked myself out to recoup the cost of the Texas-based “service,” which was a true and total bust.
    And, yes, I’m trying to learn to do it myself, but I have about 15 books that I must finance publicity for, and things do get pricey fast. Next “XmasCats” book is due out November 1st (www.TheXmasCats.com) and I won’t be bothering with the radio or the P.R. service in Texas. That much is for sure.
    Sincerely,

    Connie (Corcoran) Wilson, M.S.

    1. Thanks for the update, Connie.

      It’s worth noting that I said hire a “local publicist” not a “local book publicist.” It’s hard to find a book publicist in most mid-sized or smaller cities.

      One of the lessons here is to know as much about how to do this yourself as possible so that you can better monitor the outside services you hire.

      Another lesson is to be careful about who you spend your money with — and I’m not saying you weren’t. But lots of authors spend money on pricey promotion packages offered by vanity presses and get next to nothing for the thousands they spend. It’s sad.

      I’m sorry you had such a bad experience. I can assure you that many authors have had great experiences working with book publicists, though.

      Sandy

  12. Sanda, well done as always. Having worked with a publicist, I agree with about 99%. I have three cavaets: (1) “Identify, schedule, and coordinate speaking appearances” — my publicist included this in her proposal and procured book signings in prestigious stores that I would not have been able to get on my own; (2) write your own press release — yes, but . . . it’s a bit like the copy editing question above. If authors have no experience at writing press releases, the result is generally rather lame. I am an experience journalist and worked in PR, but after wrote a draft, my publicist rewrote it, in particular aimed broadcast media, and made it so much better; (3) one sheet — if an author wants to get into broadcast outlets, a “one sheet” is pretty much a requirement. Perhaps you could address that as well?

    1. Thanks, Larry. Here are my responses:

      1. Speaking appearances and book signings aren’t the same thing. I’m talking about speaking at the Rotary luncheon or a professional conference, whether paid or unpaid. Sandy Smith said the same thing in our conversation about this. Did your publicist seek out and snag appearances before large audiences that weren’t book signings? It’s a time-consuming process, for sure. And with publicists, time is money.

      2. Using my e-book on how to write a press release (see #6), which is FAR less expensive than a publicist’s time for this task ($9 PDF; $5.99 Kindle version), anybody who can write a decent book can write an excellent press release IF they follow the detailed, step-by-step instructions. Authors have sent me their before and afters and the transformations after following my instructions are remarkable.

      In addition, publicists aren’t always good writers. When I was a corporate product publicity manager, I hired a wide range of PR firms and with the exception of one, none of the staffers assigned to my projects could write a decent press release. That means that I always wrote the press releases they used. Also, for my third book, we had to toss out the book announcement press release written by the in-house publicist. I wrote the replacement and always encourage authors to at least write the first draft. This will save the publicist time, and you, money.

      3. This article is about what you need to know about working with a publicist, not the tools you need to get broadcast media interviews. You’ll find more about how to get radio interviews by using the search box on this site on the right side, or in my Book Marketing 101 courses, which provide far more detail on how to do it and the tools you need.

      Thanks!

      Sandy

  13. Sandra,

    Love your articles, as always. I just wanted to mention, “One Bad Apple Don’t Spoil the Whole Bunch, Girl” was sung by the Jackson Five, with a very young Michael Jackson singing lead.
    I did have a “highly-touted” online publicist do the bag-over-the-head trick with me. I don’t know WHAT she did, only what she could do. I saw a list of her connections (both online and otherwise), and even blogging contacts, etc. But I never heard which ones she planned to contact, or how many times, or WHAT she sent them. And I never learned what kind of responses she got. Maybe some would have helped me improve my presentation.
    Basically, I got nothing. And no book sales, either. Fortunately, the entire fiasco cost me very little–a few hundred. Good to know there are some legitimate ones out there, but I have a LOT to learn before I can distinguish them from the inept, the uneducated, and the predators.
    Thanks again for your straightforward teachings. You are the best.

    1. Thanks, A.M.! Important things first: Here’s the Osmond’s version of that song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4CcgblWC8k ; – )

      I’m wondering who would highly tout a publicist who only charges a few hundred dollars. The fee alone is a warning sign, but I realize you wouldn’t know that. Did you read this article I linked to in the post? It could help you and others going forward: https://buildbookbuzz.com/how-one-author-got-ripped-off/

      For what it’s worth, and I’m not trying to sell you anything, many authors take my Book Marketing 101 course specifically to get smart about all of this before hiring outside support. They want to know what they can expect, what’s realistic, how to monitor the vendor’s performance, etc. They want to know how to do it themselves so they know if the firm or person they’re hiring is doing things properly. (Many PUBLICISTS take my course, too.)

      I can’t underestimate the importance of knowledge when it comes to paying for outside support. I learned this concept the hard way. Years and years ago, I had a part-time, in-person assistant. I bought new software for a particular task; her job was to learn how to use it — and then use it to do her job. I noticed that much of what she was doing was repetitive — mostly just keyboard entry, and I thought that was odd. I asked her, “Isn’t there a way to set things up so you aren’t doing this repetitive work?” She said there wasn’t. And she was smart…so I trusted her. When she left my biz to take a FT job, I had to do this piece myself. In less than five minutes, I discovered that I was right and she was wrong — although, what I think actually happened was that she did this on purpose to pad her hours with easy work. LESSON LEARNED.

      I’m sorry things didn’t work out for you, and I wish this wasn’t the first time I heard this. You have my sympathy, believe me. It can be quite discouraging.

      Sandy

  14. I tried to hire Smith Publicity for a novel I just wrote wherein there are three narrators one black, one white, and one of Latin decent. The girl on the Zoom call told us that the company she worked for was not interested in working with us due to fact that I was not black. It was interesting to us all that she never asked if I was Latin or not. In my next book, the sequel, there will be female characters narrating. (The first book took place in prison hence only male narrators.) I’ll bet a dollar Smith doesn’t have a problem with a male author using female characters to narrate a multi-narrator fictional novel.

    I find it most unfortunate that Smith has taken it upon themselves to be the knight in not-so-shiny armor, there to save the day that never needed saving.

    To be fair the girl on the Zoom call was, due to Covid working from her home. Maybe her words were not in alignment with the company’s policy. Either way, I believe in the empowerment of all human beings. Reverse racism by separation is just another way to bring this world down.

    1. Based on my past experience as a publicist and my knowledge of this firm’s work, I think it’s possible that what you heard isn’t what the young woman meant. I think it’s likely that because of the circumstances, she felt that the firm wouldn’t be successful promoting your book. That’s not a judgment of you, the agency, or your work. It’s the current reality. (Are you familiar with the controversy surrounding American Dirt? Or the drama in Romance Writers of America over how Asians in a 1999 novel were portrayed?)

      Book publicists want to do a good job for their author clients. When they spot an obstacle that they can’t get around, they have no choice but to decline the project.

      One thing that concerns me about your comment is that you refer to the person you spoke to as a “girl” — twice. I’m presuming that you meant “young woman” because of course the agency doesn’t have potential clients meeting with teenagers. Reading between the lines, I wonder if you thought she was too inexperienced to be in a position to make a decision about your book’s publicity potential. If that’s the case, you might want to contact the president for a second opinion.

      Sandy

  15. What will a book publicist do for mt first book? If my first book is going to be a series should I have the book publicist help me with the other book(s) as well? And how do I know if I need one?

  16. I am a longtime book publicist and a former full-time journalist. The first thing I tell authors is that publicity does not sell books – it raises awareness of books. The second thing I share is that this is not a customer is always right venture; you are hiring a publicist because he or she has the expertise and contacts you don’t. You are begging for earned media placements and that comes with time, patience and, most important, giving the media what they want when they want it.
    I also would never hand over my media list to a client. I don’t even share it with others in my field, and they know how to manage book campaigns.

  17. I’ve had little luck hiring a publicist for my book “Girlz ‘N the Hood: A Memoir of Mama in South Central Los Angeles.” by Mary Hill Wagner. I have an idea for a campaign during black history month or even a tie in to Critical Race Theory but seems my topic is too hot to handle.

    1. What have publicists offered as the reasons they won’t take you on as a client? Publicists love controversy because it’s a great publicity generator, so I’d be surprised if it’s because they think your topic is too hot to handle.

      Sandy

  18. My problem is knowing if a publicist would even want us as a client. My wife and I went viral in 2017 with our story and it has been seen close to 700M times worldwide across all platforms. We were approached by a book publisher and we signed a book deal and right after we signed a Hollywood movie deal. I have dealt with the media myself for every talk show, media appearance, speaking engagements, ect, for when we went viral. Our book will be released this year and with our connections to Good Morning America, CNN, Fox, CBS, and tons and tons others from relationships we built back in 2017, we have wondered if a publicist would laugh at us for wanting one since we are just two nobody’s who happened to go viral and they are only for celebrities.

    1. Steve, publicists love working with authors who understand the media process and have media experience. They also love working with authors who can afford them. I’m confused about why you think publicists are only for celebrities, though. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

      What went viral and what’s your book about?

      Sandy

      1. Probably from just assuming the only people who need them are famous people. Haha My wife used a custom baseball card to tell me she was a match and saving my life donating her kidney to me. The book is the story of our journey meeting, dating, getting married, and her ultimately saving my life. When we were just dating, she told me she used to pray for her future husband and one evening she felt as if God was saying her future husband was dying. She prayed to take away the pain and she got this excruciating pain in her abdomen. She said it was around Christmas 2003. I then told her for the first time I had kidney failure and when I had a biopsy they nicked an artery and I had a severe internal bleed. Once I came to after an emergency operation the doctor told me I was a lucky man. He said it was a terrible bleed and before he could get to it, it just stopped. That was in my abdomen on December 19th, 2003. We have a ton of stories like that as we fell more in love, became foster parents, and ultimately my wife went on to save my life. This is a link to our story.

        https://youtu.be/mTq5lH0W0Bo

        1. Thanks, Steve. Such a fascinating story! FYI, the people who need a publicist the most are people who AREN’T famous! I highly recommend researching what a publicist does before you think about whether you should hire one. This article will help, but it’s only a starting point: https://buildbookbuzz.com/7-things-you-need-to-know-about-working-with-a-book-publicist/

          Also, before you invest in a publicist, find out what your publisher is going to do to promote your book if you don’t know yet. The in-house publicist might have big plans…or none at all.

          Sandy

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