Friday, August 10, 2012

What Genre Is Your Book Publicist?

Too many authors make the mistake of hiring a publicist with the expectation of a miracle and with no realistic idea about the buying market in their genre. I'm not saying it's a mistake to hire a publicist, but what I am saying, is that you need to do your homework about the publicist and their area of expertise. Also, you need to do some research on what to expect for your book genre for a first-time author versus a well-established author and start pulling together some ideas and goals.

You really shouldn't hire a publicist until you know what you want and what to expect. Otherwise, you're just leaving yourself wide open for a sales pitch. Publicists know their business and many of them are good at what they do, therefore, they can make it sound like a wonderful package. It's just like any other business. There are legit publicists who will do a great job and give you your money's worth. Some are not so legit, will promise the stars and the moon and you will end up disappointed. Others who mean well and will do their best for you, but their contacts and networks aren't in the realm where you need to take your next book.

It's no different in shopping for a car. You wouldn't plunk down several thousand dollars on a vehicle without doing some research and going for a few test drives, would you? Why should investing in your book or writing career be any different?

Even though you hire a publicist, that doesn't mean they will be able to handle everything and you can go back to researching and writing the next book. They need bios, book covers, endorsements, and answers to interview questions from you. They may need to clear some time on both yours and their schedule to plan and discuss things. They may need you to meet people for live interviews, to be available for podcasts and other media recordings, and give feedback on mockup designs.

Will you have time for these things? If not, you may need a different publicist or package. Most authors work WITH a publicist. Each author is different. Their work habits and styles are varied and just as some agents work for some authors, other agents don't work as well. It's the same with publicists. Are you the type of author who really needs to develop a relationship with your publicist so that you will feel you can trust their judgment? Are you the type of author who doesn't need that tight connection and you can go anywhere as long as they give you a good price and provide quality work?

Are you an author who may want to work on one core area of your platform at a time? For instance, with your first book you just need to establish a platform, but for your second book you might need to build on that platform and make your foundation more solid. By the third book you might want to focus more on increasing your Social Media, or your public speaking engagements, or revamp your online presence to target your market and establish your message more accurately to reflect what you write.

Not all publicists offer the same services, but many offer multiple services. In spite of the wide range of services they may offer, keep in mind that they will have strengths in core areas of the business. This is important as you determine what your needs are and you narrow down your selection. As your writing career advances to various levels and you begin to concentrate on specific areas of your platform, you may find that working with more than one publicist for specific needs off and on at various times will work best for you. It will also open your platform and writing to more networks than what one publicist has established.

Know your needs. Know your expectations. Do your research. Then make a selection.

Post your questions and concerns, and I will do my best to answer. 



Heather Day Gilbert said...

Hi there Jennifer, just wondering--if you get a contract with a publisher, do they provide the publicist automatically? Or does an author cover that expense by him/herself?

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...


It depends on the publisher. Most small publishers do not have the marketing budget to hire publicists for their authors or to have one on staff. Those who do have a publicist on staff or hires them for authors tend to reserve them for their bigger name authors.

Sometimes for special book launches they will hire an outside publicist to do more. For instance, Abingdon has hired a publicist to help launch the new Quilts of Love series, but for my single titles through them, I have had to provide my own book tours and video book trailers.

When Highland Blessings won the Holt Medallion award their publicist wrote a press release and sent it out. I hope this give you an idea. Great question.

sally apokedak said...

Excellent post. I'd rather not have to research this stuff. I'd rather just write. But I know this is important. I hope to be published someday and if I go to the trouble of writing, and publishing, I might as well give my book the best chance I can, to find a wide audience.