When you self-publish a book, one of the most difficult roles to fill is the role of the publicist. Unlike proofreading or design, which you can often find affordable freelancers for, doing your own publicity is nigh impossible. Authors who really want their books to take off will often choose to hire a publicist to lead the charge in helping them get as much press coverage as possible.
So how does working with a publicist work? Should you hire one for your book? Here’s what you need to know.
==> How Much Does a Publicist Cost?
Rates for publicists can vary widely. It depends on how experienced your publicist is. It depends on what kind of results they typically get for their clients. It depends on how big of a project you’re asking them to take on and what kind of media appearances you’re aiming for.
A publicist that’s trying to get you on Oprah and The Morning Show is going to cost you a lot more than someone who’s working on getting you a few print reviews.
Most publicists work on a four to six month contract basis. You can expect to pay between $2,000 to $8,000 for most publicists. This fee doesn’t include added expenses, such as direct mail costs.
==> “Can They Get Me TV Appearances?”
One of the most common misconceptions with publicists is that they’ll get you on big TV shows. While in some cases that can happen, the vast majority of the time that’s not what a publicist does.
Instead, your publicist should help you explore all kinds of different media. They’ll help you get on radio. They’ll help you get reviewed or mentioned in print. They’ll help you connect with bloggers and social media personalities. And yes, if you have the right message, you could also get on TV.
==> They Aren’t the Be-All and End-All
Your publicist can help you open doors. Your publicist should have contacts in many important publications. They can make introductions and even do a small pitch for you. But at the end of the day, you still have to carry a lot of the weight.
You have to convincingly pitch TV producers on your showtime potential. You have to buy a quality mic and practice sounding good on radio. You have to maintain relationships with bloggers and other influencers to help you continually get the word out, even after your publicist has moved on.
Your publicist can help get the ball rolling, but can’t do the whole job for you. If you think your book has press potential, hiring a publicist may be a great investment. Just make sure you’re willing to do what it takes to go full speed with a concerted press effort.