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Does a Writer Need a Publicist? (Part 2 of 2)

A downside to a publicity service is that you may not be able to recoup your investment. The upside is that if you are seriously treating your writing as a career and business, good publicity will help create reader awareness and help put your book in the frontlines. If you are willing to spend on a good editor and cover designer, why not a publicist? If you have invested a considerable amount of time writing your book, a publicist that will help you sell it may lessen the impact of your frustration over not selling anything at all.

But do not jump into hiring a publicist and then expect wonders. Publicists are not miracle workers. There are things that they will and will not do for you, and they will make it clear the first time they sit down to talk with you. For authors, a publicist requires a copy of your book. They will read it and find strong selling points or themes that relate to you and the readers and use it for the campaign. They will write a press release and other forms of publicity that will go into the press kit, then send it to the necessary media channels. They have connections in TV and radio networks as well as print, and they use this to leverage their clients. This is another reason why you may want to hire a publicist. Moreover, they understand story angles and how to approach a client’s target market in a way that puts your book in the best light. You would sometimes be surprised at the type of angle they would come up with that may even make you say, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

If you find the price of a publicity service to be prohibitive, you can always go on it alone. Modern-day technology and the proliferation of social media work to your advantage if you are unknown. But that boils down to the exhausting tasks of self-promotion that you are not receptive to, and if you are a novice, you will likely encounter pitfalls that you will not experience with a good publicist taking care of you. 

So, you’ve written a great book. It has been properly edited, and the cover design is attention-grabbing. Should you decide to hire a publicist, take your time. Do your research and find one that will offer you the best deal and exposure. The most important factor to consider is to make sure that your publicist has a genuine love for your work. This love manifests in the strategy they would employ to represent your best interests. Most publicists are companies, but there are also independent practitioners.

Even if a publicist is a paid professional, the service he will render can be reassuring--like a big brother or sister watching your back. The possibilities of the relationship can be surprising. You may never know if your book gets selected for Oprah’s Book Club.

Finally, do not hire a publicist who takes too much time assessing your work. Just like when searching for a good literary agent, if a publicist (especially the independent ones) is too busy to read your book, chances are they would be too busy to formulate an effective campaign for you. 

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Vincent Dublado