10 Tips to Keep in Mind When Hiring a Book Publicist

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Writing a book is an impressive feat. You have a significant amount of work behind you, but don’t relax quite yet—there’s still a lot of work ahead. Just because your book is great, that doesn’t mean it’ll automatically become a bestseller. You have to publicize it, and if you don’t have marketing experience, that can be a challenging endeavor. Luckily, you can hire a professional book publicist to handle it for you.

Finding the right publicist for your book can be difficult, so we’ve compiled a list below of some things to keep in mind as you search.

1. It’s not cheap—but it’s worth it.

Hiring a book publicist is an investment. If you can get your name out there, your book may sell big, and now that people know you, getting your second book published and on the bestseller list will be much easier. For book publicists in the United States, you’re looking at rates of around $100 per hour, so it may not take long for the cost of your marketing campaign to reach thousands of dollars. It’s a high price, but it can pay off significantly in the long run.

2. You can reduce costs by doing your own market research.

Two things that are vital for your book publicist to know are your target audience and your competitors. You can’t design a publicity campaign if you don’t know who you’re tailoring the campaign to, so being familiar with the current landscape of the market is essential. Figure out how other authors in your genre are marketing their books and attracting readers. If you pass all this information on to your book publicist, you’ll reduce their workload and thereby your fees.

3. Start looking well in advance.

Book publicists who are available at the last minute may not be the best in the industry. The top publicists typically have clients booked for months, so you have to start looking far before your book is scheduled to release. Consider reaching out to potential publicists about three or four months prior to your book hitting the shelves. This will give the publicist ample time to design and run a campaign.

4. Your publicist shouldn’t try to flatter you.

No one likes to hear criticism, but sometimes it’s necessary. A good book publicist will do what’s best for the book, not your ego. That means they may tell you some harsh truths you really need to hear, so make sure your skin is thick enough to handle criticism before you dive in with your publicist. If you follow their advice, your book will be better off.

5. No one has control over world events.

Careful timing is part and parcel of publicizing a book, but no matter how meticulous you and your book publicist are, some things just can’t be predicted. A good publicist will take into consideration holidays, public events, elections, and other things that tend to monopolize the press, but unforeseeable events such as natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and celebrity deaths will happen, and they will dominate the headlines. Before you hire a book publicist, accept that nothing is guaranteed.

6. Good publicists are creative.

There are many authors, many books, and many book publicists out there, and you’re just one person in this overwhelming sea. Journalists are busy people who receive more pitches than anyone would be willing to count, so yours has to have a special spark to really get noticed. A skilled book publicist knows how to craft pitches to precisely appeal to busy journalists, following up with extra tidbits about relevance or demographics to help bring the pitch to life.

7. Get a publicist who takes multiple approaches to publicizing.

Your target audience can likely be broken down further into smaller target demographics, all of which are targeted by different media outlets. That means your book publicist will have to tackle the campaign from various angles to best incorporate each segment of your audience. Having multiple approaches can also be useful if one doesn’t seem to be working. Don’t go with a one-dimensional book publicist.

8. Don’t hire a publicist who sends out generic pitches.

Generic pitches do nothing to grab a journalist’s attention. Go with a book publicist who puts proper thought and consideration into every pitch and tailors it to each journalist and their target demographic. This way, you can best entice the audience your book will really appeal to.

9. Make sure your publicist is strategic with the order of their pitches.

The whole idea is to get maximum exposure for your book, so major outlets are naturally the top goal. However, these huge companies tend to want exclusive articles, so if your book publicist has already pitched the piece to smaller outlets, the bigger ones won’t be interested. To get the most out of the content, a skillful book publicist will carefully consider the order in which they approach media outlets.

10. Work with your publicist.

You can’t just hire a book publicist and expect your work to be done. It’s a partnership. You’ll be required to provide information, write articles, meet deadlines, show up to interviews, and more, so be ready to cooperate in various ways.

Like everything else in the book publishing world, publicizing a book is no simple task. It takes time, dedication, and money, and it’s not a task you want to hand off to a lackluster publicist. Make the most of your publicity campaign by hiring professional book publicists with years of experience and track records of success.

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