Working With a Publicist

Marketing Image courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.netOver the next few months, I’m planning on sharing some of the things I’ve learned about marketing since publishing my first book in 2011. To be honest, I’ve found marketing the hardest part of publishing a book. You work your guts out to get this product ready and then you have to work even harder to let the world know about it.

Last month, I chatted about the usefulness of cover reveals, this month I want to talk about collaborating with a publicist.

When I first started out in this business I thought if I saved my pennies and spent as little as possible, I’d make more money. It took me way too long to figure out that this is indeed not true. Money needs to be spent in order to be recouperated. I’m not saying be frivolous; wisdom and care is still needed in choosing what you pour your money into, but if you want to look at making a bigger impact in the market, then money does have to be invested to some degree.

So, I chose to bite the bullet and start working with a publicist. I was nervous. I had never shelled out a monthly payment for anything before and I was worried that I might not make it back. Thankfully, I was proven wrong.

I really love my publicist – Mark My Words Book Publicity – they do so much to help me and my last three book launches have been streaks ahead of all my previous ones.

So, what do they do for me that I couldn’t do on my own?

Well, to be honest, most of the things they do, I could probably do on my own, but it would take me hours…hours that I could spend writing. They also have a far greater reach than I do, working with numerous bloggers that potentially wouldn’t respond to me if I approached them. Plus, they are constantly looking out for new ways to improve book marketing. Part of their job is to know the trends in the market and this is really helpful for me.

The company I hire has various plans and I pay them on a month-to-month basis. Basically I pay for the plan that focusses on book launches. They have a nine-week build-up plan before a book is released and in that time they work on finding bloggers to review my book, organizing cover reveals and a release day blitz. For Fever they managed to secure me over 100 blogger spots so on release day, I felt like news of my book was everywhere. They helped me put together a good marketing campaign, organizing teaser posts, setting up interviews and author highlights on various blogs. This month I have also upped my plan to include help with getting my Street Team up and running properly.

Since starting to work with a publicist I have noticed a marked increase in sales for the release of my last three books. Fever in particular did really well. Now sometimes I work outside the publicist and hire other tour companies as well, just to really extend my reach, but I didn’t with Fever and had my best results so far. Don’t get me wrong, I still put in my own marketing hours. I feel like I work with my publicist to get the best results I can and so far, I haven’t found any cons. I make back what I pay them every month and more. For me, it is money well invested.

One word of caution: If you do decide that working with a publicist is something that you’d like to do, make sure you do your research. I jumped in with a PA/Publicist late last year. No contract was signed, we just e-mailed back and forth and I felt like I knew her well enough to work together. I was paying her a healthy amount and things were going great, until she bailed on me. I then had to scramble to try and catch up on a huge workload and it was an extremely stressful time. My current publicist is top-notch. We have a contract to protect us both and she has a team of reliable people working with her. We have Skyped a few times and she knows exactly what my publishing goals are for the next twelve months…and she’s determined to help me get there.

Have you ever worked with a publicist? What’s been your best financial investment so far in your writing career?

Author: Melissa Pearl

Melissa Pearl is a Contributing Author for Indies Unlimited and author of multiple novels spanning a variety of genres, from YA fantasy and paranormal to romantic suspense, including award-winning novel, BETWIXT. For more on Melissa, visit her blog or her Amazon author page.

19 thoughts on “Working With a Publicist”

  1. Marketing, especially when it involves a lot of computer work, stresses me out so much that I do far less than is good for my books. Since I have only my trilogy so far, do you think this would pay for itself?

    1. I didn’t hire a publicist until I had about 9 book under my belt and it was just getting too hard to manage everything. My publicist helps me with each new release I have coming up. And since I have 14 planned over the next 18 months, it was perfect timing for me 🙂

  2. Thanks for this, Melissa. I’ve never used a publicist, but the more books I write, the more work (and time) marketing involves. I can envision a time in the not-too-distant future when I may need to check into this, and now I have a place to start. 🙂

  3. Melissa, since you use your publicist for book releases, is it too late to use her if the books have been out a while? I see that if I am not CONSTANTLY running promotions, sales drop off. I just don’t have the bandwidth to manage that for 20+ titles. Is this an effective use for a publicist, or do you recommend them mostly for launches?

    1. I’ve hired my publicist for releases only, but she offers up multiple packages. I know some of the authors that work with her have a full package that includes new releases, street teams, working with past titles…the whole spectrum. So I guess it all depends on what you want and how much you’re willing to pay. The publicist is working for YOU and I know many of them are flexible depending on the services you are wanting.

  4. Excellent post, Melissa, and something I have thought about on occasion; that side of the business can be a full time occupation. I think that in the very near future I’ll be looking for the services of publicist; perhaps you could suggest a good one.

    1. My publicist works with a lot of YA and NA authors, so she understands that market really well. My suggestion would be to find authors who write similar work to yours and ask who they work with. Someone’s bound to have a publicist that will be able to market your work the best possible way 🙂

  5. I’m happy to see that you’ve had a positive experience with your publicist. Nine books? What a great accomplishment and with that hard work it is time to have someone helping you.
    Marketing and promotion are time consuming, and as you say, crucial to success. I have noticed when I’m not promoting I don’t sell. There are so many good books out there, and we need to stay vigilant.

    1. I pay on a month-by-month basis and I always earn more than what I have to pay the publicist. Some months (release months), I tend to make a lot more and so therefore the price of the publicist is well covered.

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