How to hire a book marketing intern

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?

Is what you want to do to promote your book starting to weigh you down?

Get a book marketing intern

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. And with most just finishing the spring semester and looking for summer employment, now’s the time to connect with them.

With the right person on board, you might actually feel like you’re getting your life back.

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 so, 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 and appropriate.

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

book marketing intern 2
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

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 a book marketing 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.

3. Determine who will be a good fit.

Take into account any past work or classroom experience, availability, personality type, and access to a work space that provides privacy, if necessary.

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. They should be comfortable calling strangers, too.

4. Tell people you’re looking for a book marketing intern.

Ask friends and colleagues (especially those with college-age kids) if they know someone who would be good. Put a message on Facebook using the “public” privacy setting and ask friends to share it.

Contact local colleges and universities, particularly those with communications, journalism, public relations, advertising, or marketing programs. Starting points are the career development department, job placement office, internship coordinator, or administrative assistant for the department that houses the communications, journalism, marketing, 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 CraigslistEnternships,  LinkedIn, and

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 invest time in your intern, especially in the beginning. You’ll need to educate and guide upfront, then edit any writing, brainstorm solutions to problems, and so on.

Whether it’s an intern or a permanent staff member, we can’t just say, “Do this and call me when it’s done.” What’s more, interns are on the job to learn – they don’t usually walk into the situation with all of the necessary know-how.

What’s stopping you?

I have always been pleased with my intern experiences. One of my favorites was a student I met when I taught a public relation class as an adjunct professor. She turned out to be a “two-fer” – she also babysat for my children occasionally, too!

Here’s hoping you also have positive experiences with any interns you bring to your book marketing activity.

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

(Editor’s note: This article was first published in May 2013. It has been updated and expanded.)

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  1. 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

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


  2. It is important to know state laws for interns and employment. In most cases, the only way to not pay an intern is by providing a structured learning environment which you could not replicate w a paid employee. But, you can pay them with a scholarship, which does not require the tax and employment set up. You must pay scholarships directly to the school, housing or book selling organizations, in order for the student to not have to pay pay taxes on it.

    1. Thank you for stating this Lois! Very important both legally and imho energetically. I have worked with interns by paying them a stipend – not an hourly wage but a somewhat modest sum to help cover their travel expenses, lunch and a wee bit of pocket change.

    2. Thanks, Lois! This is really helpful. I’ve always paid an hourly wage while also providing that learning environment.

      When one of my daughters interned, she got college credit for one internship but no payment and no structured learning environment at either one of them. BUT, she got fantastic experience. The other daughter also got neither at her internships (these were in different states), but definitely got valuable experience that helped when she started job hunting.


  3. Sandy, I can’t tell you how useful this will be for me in the coming year, for myself and for a couple of clients. (Would you believe, I never thought of the concept of a book marketing intern!) Excellent info–thanks!

    1. I’m so glad it’s helpful, Mary! There’s so much they can do that can make a difference, from posting on social media to researching blogs for guest posts or identifying potential speaking opportunities. And, as Lois Melbourne points out in her comment, be sure to check state laws on hiring interns.


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