Many new authors today are looking for ways to market their books, dissatisfied with the service and results their publishing companies provide. As publishing companies are trying to save money, they have shrunk their own in-house publicity departments and end up focusing primarily on the famous authors in their “stable” of writers.
But that doesn’t mean you should give up on the goal of getting visibility for you and your book. One of the best and most cost-effective ways to succeed in boosting your book sales is to hire a professional publicist.
A publicist with experience in working with authors will be helpful in getting you and your book in the spotlight.
One way they can assist a writer is to arrange for book signings in your local market or nationally if you want to take your tour on the road. Local bookstores like Books & Books, Barnes & Noble, Borders provide great opportunities for author events and talks. Some high-profile venues like the 92nd Street Y or colleges are other valuable places to reach your target audience.
A publicist also works hard to arrange for in-person interviews with reporters who write reviews and profiles on writers. It is a very time-intensive job that truly becomes a labor of love. The publicist reaches out to many reporters, editors and producers to get interest in their clients and garnering results is always a challenge. They work very hard and are available to help you prepare for interviews and counsel you every step of the way. They also try to get reporters to keep you in mind as a resource when they write stories that fit with your expertise and serve as a quasi-matchmaker between you and the reporter.
If your book is non-fiction and it deals with a timely issue you have more opportunities to get in front of your niche audience at business conferences, networking events or via webinars and seminars. There are also book fairs and special industry events where you may be an ideal keynote speaker.
Using social media is another way to get the book “out there” by responding to discussions on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook and providing helpful tips and information from your book on the site without being too self-promotional.
CHOOSING A PUBLICIST
In choosing a publicist make sure you feel comfortable with your candidate and see if he or she would provide you with references of other clients who have used their services – especially authors.
Try and interview the publicist before hiring and signing a contract to see if you feel that he or she seems really interested and connected to you and your book.
Recognize that hiring a publicist is much like hiring a lawyer. Their time is valuable and they must be paid fairly and in advance for their work. When you realize how much money you’re saving on advertising by hiring a publicist, you will feel that you made a good investment.
Paying for advertising is very expensive and you will usually get more recognition and attention from an article written by a third party than from an ad where you compose all of the copy about the book. Consumers and book buyers are more and more discerning about the products they purchase and trust impartial articles or interviews more than any ad.
DON’T GIVE UP!
In the end, the publicist you hire has to become an integral partner of yours who has your best interest in mind. A good publicist is always involved in finding new and creative solutions to promote your book and should be seen as a team player in your quest for fame.
Charlotte Tomic is a veteran publicist and marketing expert who moved from New York four years ago to start her own public relations agency in Miami. In New York, she served as Media Relations Manager for GolinHarris working with national and international accounts. She is a past-President of New York Women in Communications and taught public relations at St. John’s University where she served as their AVP Communications for more than 20 years. She represents authors – fiction & non-fiction – using creative strategies to get their name in the spotlight and improve book sales. Authors include food & wine experts, physicians, fiction and science fiction writers, self-help authors and business experts. For more information, please go to www.tomiccommunications.com.