Rarely does a book make a splash without weeks, if not months, of publicity behind it. In today’s ever-changing world of publishing, many mid-list writers have to outsource marketing and PR because the efforts of their publisher are minimal at best. This shift has left many writers floundering.
Writers are increasingly being asked to develop and pay for swag, come up with clever contests, and even cover their costs to conferences.
So why hire a publicist when writers are already shelling out hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, in marketing costs?
Because a publicist and marketer can do this better and more cost effectively. They have contacts writers don’t and can help a book jump to the front of a reviewer’s TBR pile. They are able to look at a cover, compare how it performs against similar titles, and make suggestions. They can assist in getting books into indie bookstores and secure quality advertising.
A good publicist is a writer’s right hand man.
So what should a writer expect from a publicist?
First, there needs to be good communication and expectation setting. Not every book will crack Amazon’s top 1000, and that’s okay – especially if there’s a backlist to push as well. That expectation, however, needs to be set up front. Having realistic goals and communicating them to the publicist will save a lot of heartache and frustration later. It’s also important that a publicist check in on a regular basis with results and efforts. A Friday round-up of work accomplished isn’t abnormal.
Second, a publicist should give honest feedback about what did and didn’t work on a campaign and why. Did it miss the target audience? Does it need tweaking to see better results? Did the team do everything right and receive an uptick in sales? A good publicist will be able to analyze the data and figure out a campaign’s strengths and weaknesses.
Third, a good publicist will keep everything organized. For example, if a book is a debut, then a publicist may have the writer focus on building a newsletter contact list while they reach out to reviewers and organizing blog tours.
Whether a writer is traditionally or indie published, working with a publicist should free up time for the writer to do what they do best…write.