12 Feb Is a Book Publicist Worth the Money?
You’ve poured your heart and soul into writing your book – the years of brainstorming, outlining, drafting and editing have come to fruition. You proudly hold your book in your hand and want to share this monumental achievement. But how do you connect a wide audience to your book?
This is where a book publicist comes into play. A book publicist gives your book its best shot at finding its widest audience.
Now I know you’re wondering: is a book publicist worth the money?
The answer is that it depends.
To determine if a book publicist is right for your circumstances, let’s look at what a publicist does and how to get the most out of a publicist.
What a Book Publicist Does
A publicist identifies the storylines and themes in your book that are of interest to specific markets of readers. A book with self-care themes, for example, would have a wide cross-section of readers in the wellness, healthcare and beauty markets, to name a few.
The publicist then pitches the book to media contacts in relevant markets, highlighting the book’s tie-ins to that media outlet’s audience. To achieve this, she will create a targeted list of podcasts, television programs, radio shows, magazines, newspapers, blogs and social media connections. She will follow up with the media contacts by phone and email, send out press kits and press releases, and schedule interviews. The aim, of course, is to get the author on as many media channels as possible.
Besides working her media contacts, a publicist may organize book tours and advise the author on festivals, keynotes, and other publicity opportunities.
In sum, a good book publicist:
- Hones in on the book’s marketable storylines and themes
- Creates publicity materials like press kits and press releases
- Uses her media contacts to secure media appearances for the author
- Tracks the campaign and offers guidance on other publicity opportunities
How to Get the Most Out of a Publicist
Here are two things to keep in mind about book publicity: there are no guarantees for your return on investment (ROI), and your ROI is measured by the quality and quantity of media interviews booked, not the number of books sold. That said, by choosing a publicist with a great eye for book angles and a long list of media contacts, you are improving your chances of increased book publicity and sales.
To get the most out of your investment in a publicist, consider yourself a strategic partner in the marketing relationship. Work synergistically with your publicist. Your publicist should focus on certain aspects of the publicity – usually the media contacts and book tours. Alternatively, you should work on marketing tasks you are familiar with, or can do on your own. This might include:
- Using email lists to engage your contacts
- Posting on social media to expand your audience
- Contacting bookstores about book signings and readings
- Reaching out to libraries about readings and other events
Be sure to update your publicist – as well as your publisher, distributor, agent, editor, and other marketing team members – with your publicity endeavors.
Also, since you will be working with your publicist, be sure to choose someone you like. Look for a publicist who is approachable, easy to talk to and celebrates your accomplishments as a published author. It will make the book publicity experience far more enjoyable.
So Is a Publicist Worth the Money for Me?
When weighing the costs and benefits of a book publicist, ask yourself if you have the time and ability to:
- Identify appropriate media contacts
- Pitch the book to media contacts
- Create publicity collateral
- Track the campaign and follow up with leads
- Identify other publicity events
If the answer to most of these questions is no, then consider hiring a publicist with a track record of increasing the visibility of her clients’ books. With some patience and resourcefulness, you’ll find a publicist worthy of promoting that book you’ve worked so hard to write.