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View Full Version : Is a publicist necessary?



barbarairvin
09-26-2018, 06:50 PM
A friend spent a lot of money to get a publicist to look at a book she has not been able to sell herself. She tried going through Amazon and was disappointed with the end result. This was before the publicist. Now, my friend says I should spend all of my money when I have a finished book. Frankly, I do not like that idea. What are your thoughts on paying a lot of money for a publicist?

Barbara

Polenth
09-27-2018, 09:01 AM
I'm assuming this is as a self-publisher given the Amazon comment. If the money you would spend is all the money you have, don't do it. Don't quit your job. Don't mortgage your house. Don't use up your life savings. Most self-publishers won't make it back, so make sure you'll be fine if you never see that money again.

If you do have some money to spend on self-publishing, the first thing is to make sure the product is good. Being able to hire editors, get proper cover art done... those are all useful things. There's no point in promoting a product that isn't ready.

Publicists are something I'm rather dubious about though. It'd be rare to find a good publicist who is open to self-published clients. Those that are will be selective. Which means what is usually happening is people offering services to self-publishers aren't really that good. They're either doing nothing much or doing things the author could have done. I'd be very careful about this.

Which isn't to say that it's bad to spend money on promotion if you have the money to spend, but you might find you get more for the money by running adverts, putting review copies on NetGalley, etc.

Old Hack
09-27-2018, 10:37 AM
In my experience, publicists work best for books which are trade published. If your book isn't solidly on bookshop shelves, with a large sales and marketing team behind it, a publicist isn't going to be able to do much for you.

barbarairvin
09-27-2018, 07:32 PM
Thanks for the advice.

C Alberts
09-27-2018, 10:27 PM
I'd like to second what Old Hack says, and suggest that if you want your book to be on shelves at a meaningful number of bookstores you should trade publish. If you do self-publish and decide to hire a publicist, please be very wary of anyone who claims that they can get your book into bricks-and-mortar stores. I can elaborate on this if you'd like but otherwise I'll spare everyone the full-fledged rant.

Old Hack
09-27-2018, 10:40 PM
If you do self-publish and decide to hire a publicist, please be very wary of anyone who claims that they can get your book into bricks-and-mortar stores.

I am amazed that any publicist would claim to be able to do this. It is not the job of a publicist. How very odd.

barbarairvin
09-27-2018, 11:33 PM
Yes, I agree. That is why I asked.

cool pop
09-27-2018, 11:45 PM
No a publicist isn't necessary but promotion is if you expect anyone to find your books.

C Alberts
09-28-2018, 01:22 AM
I am amazed that any publicist would claim to be able to do this. It is not the job of a publicist. How very odd.

Yeah, I was amazed the first few times I got emails from them asking me to carry someone's books. Now I'm just disgusted and running out of the willpower to remain professional when I reply.

Polenth
09-28-2018, 02:58 AM
Yeah, I was amazed the first few times I got emails from them asking me to carry someone's books. Now I'm just disgusted and running out of the willpower to remain professional when I reply.

I see this on the other side as a self-published author, as I'm often being followed by people who claim this sort of service. They don't all use the term publicist, but it's based on the idea that a self-published author might be desperate enough to throw a bunch of money at someone hoping they can fix everything.

It does help to have some money for promotion. I'm starting to see a difference this year, now that I have a small budget for that. But it'd be throwing that money away to give it to most people offering these services.

Harlequin
10-01-2018, 12:29 AM
The big self pubbers do use these (eg Izzy Snows) but you're talking about people who make mid-range 6 figures (300k pa upwards) so they can afford to splash 20k a year or whatever on someone to handle all their marketing.

barbarairvin
10-03-2018, 02:49 PM
If I chose to self publish, I would want to handle the marketing myself. When an author self publishes, he or she is taking on every responsibility.

Barbara

Harlequin
10-03-2018, 03:03 PM
you might feel differently with a back catalogue of hundreds of books ;-)

BenPanced
10-04-2018, 04:45 AM
If I chose to self publish, I would want to handle the marketing myself. When an author self publishes, he or she is taking on every responsibility.

Barbara


you might feel differently with a back catalogue of hundreds of books ;-)

See also: Amanda Hocking.

Fuchsia Groan
10-04-2018, 05:35 AM
The big self pubbers do use these (eg Izzy Snows) but you're talking about people who make mid-range 6 figures (300k pa upwards) so they can afford to splash 20k a year or whatever on someone to handle all their marketing.

I wonder if there's a resource where self-publishers can find the names of reputable/effective publicists like this. I know they exist, but it seems like there are also plenty who are just trying to make a quick buck by spamming every publication in existence with press releases. I know because I get several of these per day and insta-delete them. (I'm at the point where I ignore a book release unless the subject line says "local author" or the name of an author I'm familiar with.) So I would beware of publicists who come without references from successful authors, whether trade or self-pubbed.

As for trade-published books, I've heard different things. One YA author wrote a blog post where he detailed everything his (reputable, expensive) publicist did for him, but he wasn't sure how much difference it made in the end. How much a publicist can do for you seems to depend on many factors. I opted not to shell out $9000 or so and find out what one could do for me, but there are certainly other (cheaper) promotional options out there.

Harlequin
10-04-2018, 08:04 AM
They are tightly guarded secrets, and jealously protected. From what I've seen, anyway. A good publicist/marketing manager is hot stuff for indies (obvious reasons).