Publicists

Throughout this book you have learned that when it comes to promoting your nonfiction book, most of the burden is set on the author's shoulders. You will probably have to prepare a press kit; list newspapers and periodicals where reviews and publicity can be sought; arrange book signings; send requests for interviews and appearances to the media; and contact groups to schedule presentations. Although this has nothing to do with making you a better writer, without respectable sales on your current book, you may not have an opportunity to secure a publisher for your next project.

Is a Publicist for You?

Unless you are one of the lucky few with a real commitment from your publisher to promote your book, you must be ready, willing, and able to do what is necessary to promote your book. If not, then you should consider hiring a publicist. Before reaching a final decision however, you need to make one calculation. No matter how gratifying to your ego to have your own publicist and not be troubled with the mundane and sometimes awkward task of promoting your book, you should weigh the financial factors.

Being assigned a publicist by your publisher does not mean you do not need to promote the book yourself or that you will not benefit from retaining your own publicist. Except for the author with a potential blockbuster and substantial sums allocated for publicity, most authors get scant attention from the publicist to whom they have been assigned.

Publicists do not come cheap nor do they work for a percentage of sales. You must pay them and while the rates vary, you will find yourself spending many hundreds and likely thousands of dollars. So the first thing to do is take the royalty you earn per book and determine how many books must be sold before you recoup what you pay the publicist. Then ask yourself if it's worth it.

If you do decide you want a publicist, you should take into account the fee, experience, location, and personality of each person you are considering. However, you also should determine if the publicist has represented authors before or is agreeable to working on a book promotion project. Check out firms that work with authors such as O'Connor Communications (www.oconnorpr.com) and Blackman-Brady Communications (www.blackmanbradycommunications.com).

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