Welcome to wwwblogs and our discussion today. This one came from another author who asked me if hiring a book publicist was worth the money. My one and only experience in that area left a very bad impression and I’m afraid I was rather abrupt in my response.
First, let’s take a look at my experience with a book publicist.
~ The individual concerned was an author (a single story published in a little known anthology). She edited for an online publishing company that closed its doors in less than a year. To be honest, I should have questioned her credentials as an editor, since I did most of the editing myself while she marked exactly one paragraph to be rewritten in a 193 page book and added a couple of that’s. But I was still very green and hadn’t had much experience with book editors up to that point. Live and learn.
Once that publisher closed, she came to me a month later, with a proposition to be my publicist. I’d recently taken a writing related day job and was a bit overwhelmed with getting my social media promoting done while also planning book release promotions. Sure sounded like a good deal to me. Her price was $140 a month. It seemed a little steep, especially since it was a little over half of what I was making, but I again pushed off my concerns and went ahead. Five months, two book releases with minimal results and her reviewing my second book, where an individual used parts of her review to slam the book, and I was steaming. Her daily promotional efforts of a couple of tweets had faded to maybe once a week. Month five comes along and there’s only one tweet and she’s impossible to contact—no response whatsoever to PMs on Facebook, DMs on Twitter, or emails. At this point, I’m diving into scheduling appearances, desperately working to regain the social media presence I had when I hired her, and figuring out how to tell her that I would not approve her PayPal invoice the next month, because I was firing her. She finally responded to one of my many messages, saying she understood and could I pay her for just one more month, as she needed the money. My response was curt and immediate—she’d done nothing to improve my social media standing, had in fact caused it to fall so much I despaired of ever regaining what I once had, and I’d already told PayPal that her invoice was not to be forwarded to me, as I’d ended my working relationship with her. Her response was to tag me in very ugly posts and I learned the hard way to do some very deep research into a person’s background before I consented to them having that type of job with me again. That was nearly four years ago. I do my own promotion now and am still very much against hiring a publicist.
However, I was asked a question and decided to do a bit of research on the subject. Turns out there are some very good publicists available for the author, although it’ll take some time to earn enough to hire them. That’s time I’m willing to wait, because if I’m ever in a position to need a publicist again, I will look for one with great credentials.
First of all, turns out that $140 I was paying a month was nowhere close to what a true publicist is paid. In fact, it’s far too low to consider the person experienced. Remember this lesson well—if you want experience, you have to pay a premium price.
What does an experienced publicist make? On the high end, they can run from $1500 to $5000 a month, for a three to nine month term. On the low end, they will run about $50 an hour.
What should you expect from your publicist?
Before I answer that, I would like to shout out to Literary Publicist Stephanie Barko. It’s thanks to her very informative blog that I have this information. With this data in mind, you can ask sensible questions of a prospective publicist and know if they can help you get your book noticed.
Here is what Ms. Barko says a literary publicist should do:
~ Devise and execute a book platform.
~ Acquire endorsements.
~ Overseee editing of the book’s back cover text.
~ Edit author’s bio and the book’s synopsis.
~ Create a strategy for the author’s book blog.
~ Initialize the author’s social media networking platforms.
~ Request book reviews.
~ Assemble a media kit and disseminate its elements.
~ Pitch interviews and features.
~ Plan book launch event and book talk.
~ Schedule, host, and promote the book’s virtual tour.
~ Encourage nomination of the title for book awards.
~ Position the title for addition to book lists.
~ Formulate the author’s talking points.
~ Syndicate the author’s talking points.
~ Recommend venues with high traffic author reach.
~ Leverage interest of special audiences and book groups.
Once I’d read through Ms. Barko’s blog post and seen all this information, I realized I hadn’t done my homework all those years ago. I trusted someone I’d known only on social media and only for a few months with the most important part of getting my books out to the public. After going through many professional publicists’ websites, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a great asset for an author but not until you have the money to pay their rates.
As with everything else in life, be aware of those who claim to be good and have an amazingly low price. You will always get what you pay for.
Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.
She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Those who know her best will tell you that nothing is safe or sacred when she is observing real life. In fact, she considers any situation she witnesses as fair game when plotting a new story.