With social media and other new ways of connecting with media people, reviewers and readers, are book publicists overrated or obsolete? Would you work with a publicist or do you prefer the DIY route? Please share your thoughts. Thanks!
Thanks, Kate. A lot of reviewers and media people do prefer to work with publicists rather than the author directly. Thanks for pointing that out.
With the release of my first novel, without an agent, I was at a loss as to how to get a "buzz" going. I happily hired a publicist. No she is not providing me the moon and the stars and that didn't mean that I could just go back to writing full time. I had to do my part too. So far I am very happy with my publicist. I wont know if she is doing me any good though until the end of the quarter when my royalty statement comes in. However I also have to say, its not all about the bottom line either. It's about building fans and getting your name out there to be recognized.
Obsolete? No. Not in my opinion anyway.
Thanks for your response, Courtney.
I'm glad to hear that you're happy with your publicist. Tell me, what were your expectations going in? Did you discuss them with your publicist?
One thing I'd like to point out: don't be disappointed if your royalty statements come in and you've made little money. As you probably know, it does take time for sales to be realized as a result of publicity efforts. Think about your own buying habits - do you typically buy a product the first time you hear about it? Probably not. The same applies to books.
Good luck with your campaign.
Hope you sell lots of books!
Marcia: Thank you! Very much. I guess my expectations going in were to really just get my name out there at to my fan base. I didn't expect more than that. I also dont expect a huge royalty statement. Oh yes it would be lovely, but I sadly live in the real world. Bummer.
That's a very realistic approach, Courtney. That is what should happen - build name recognition and expand your fan base then convert that base to buyers. That involves a longer process. Good luck!
Does anyone have a publicist that they'd recommend? Are they typically paid hourly? Or a set fee?
It depends on the publicist but most of my colleagues work on a set fee. Best way to find one is to ask other authors for recommendation. Get at least 3 names and interview them. Know what you expect from the relationship before you go in. Know what you can afford or are willing to pay and let that known. Some publicists will work with your budget by perhaps showing you things you can do on your own.
I have worked as a publicist in the past and have always done a lot of the work to promote my own books. With my first books (published in the late 90s, early 00s) I had a fair amount of promotional support from the publishers. I just had to coordinate with them and they lined up many interviews for me. Now I find that the in-house publicists don't do as much. My current, very small publisher, has so many books out and has only a part time publicist. What I find as an author promoting my own books, however, is that there is a sense that you are more of an amateur than when someone else is representing you. Even though I know what to do, how to pitch, what types of angles to take and people to contact, I do not have the resources I had when I was working as a professional publicist-- the media database and contacts. So I do value what a publicist can do, not the least of which is being someone else on your side. Unfortunately, I can't afford their services. It's not a matter of it being worthwhile or not, just a matter of my poverty and the amount of money books tend to bring in.
I really feel that social media is overrated when it comes to promotions. It's good to have a presence, but there is too much hype about using social media to market.