Do You Really Need a Book Publicist on Your Team?

By on Apr 11, 2017 in Publishing

Now that self-publishing is a viable – and profitable – option for authors, many individuals are realizing that they don’t really need to do everything by themselves, as they could do the same thing big name publishers do without incurring massive overhead costs. Namely, hiring other people to do tasks that are not directly related to writing the book itself.

However, due to the nature of self-publishing, many authors are deliberating over whether they need specific people on their team. One of the most notable examples is a book publicist: with the Internet and social media allowing authors to promote and market their books on their own, is there still a need for a book publicist on your team?

The Answer: It Depends

It may seem like a cop-out answer, but it really depends upon your needs and capabilities. The biggest deciding factor is this question: do you enjoy doing the work of a publicist on your own or would you rather focus your energies on writing the book itself? If the answer is the latter, then you need a publicist on your team. But what exactly are the duties of a book publicist?

What a Book Publicist Does

The job name is basically self-explanatory. A book publicist “publicizes” your book – she keeps it in the periphery of people and gets them talking about it. If nobody is paying attention or talking about your book, chances are nobody’s going to buy it. A publicist basically drums up attention for your books. There are various things that a book publicist can do for you, besides the basic definition of her position, such as:

1. Finding a Niche Market for Your Book

Unless you’re a really popular celebrity or an extremely gifted author, chances are your first book will only appeal to a specific group of people. A publicist will find out exactly which group of people, or will try to find a way to build one.

2. Helping You Build a Connection with Readers

We’re pretty much done with the days when authors can choose to be a hermit. These days the authors themselves are selling points of a book. You need to connect with your readers. A publicist will help facilitate this, by arranging book signings, to pulling a few strings in order to get your book mentioned in media, and in some rare cases even staging publicity stunts or gimmicks in your book’s name.

3. Helping To Organize Your Book’s Promotional Campaign

In a lot of cases, publicists do work that some people would more closely associate to professional assistants, but publicists only do these tasks because they are directly related to getting a book out in public. This includes getting you in on guest writing gigs on magazines, to mailing out books to be given away, even representing authors when they are too busy to deal directly with requests for interviews.

A publicist has a very flexible job description, owing to the fact that their main responsibility – getting publicity for your books, is related to a broad swathe of activities and tasks. As implied a few paragraphs earlier, there is still room for book publicists on any self-publishing team. Of course, they will be an added expense and the best ones cost a pretty penny, but it’s going to be worth the cost due to the things that they bring to the table. So generally, if your self-publishing business is big enough to afford them, you still need a book publicist.

Editor’s Note: This article was first published on e-Books India (the former name of Writing Tips Oasis) in January 2015.

Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of Writing Tips Oasis.