It seems there are a lot of players in the publication and dispersal of a book. Before you can get anywhere, you need to have a literary agent take interest in you and you need a publisher to get the book published. All that takes money and, when it comes to the sales of a book, everyone gets a cut, even you.
So should you give another slice of the pie to a publicist? This is a question you might want to ask your agent before making a decision. A publicist is a person or company that takes on the task of getting your book (and you) noticed. They can arrange speaking tours or signing tours for you. They can get your book on social media on the Internet. They can arrange for radio spots or magazines to interview you so that people can hear about your book.
Not All Book Publicists Are Created Equally
There are internet publicists that will send off sample chapters of your book to interested parties who, in turn, may be interested in purchasing the whole thing. You have to pay these people to do this job for you and that’s money out of your pocket. Now, if they have a good following and books are sold from that type of site, then it is worth the outlay of cash.
You need to find out from the agent just how much publicizing they or the publishing company will do. Sometimes they help you out with publicizing your book because of course, if they sell more books, then everyone gets paid.
You can also act as your own publicist if you choose. You can arrange for interviews with newspapers and magazines; you can talk to your local public radio and get on for an interview. You can do signing tours you schedule on your own and you can do public speaking engagements that you set up on your own. All of this, however, is a lot of work and you have to have the time to make the engagements and set up the tours.
If you find that the publisher and agent aren’t all that interested in doing the nitty gritty of the publicist’s job, you may decide to go ahead and work with a publicist. Get one that is referred to you by your new agent and meet with him or her. Find out what they are willing to do and what their terms are. They may charge a fee that is dependent on how much they do or they may charge a flat fee. If this is a book with great potential, the publicist might agree to a percentage of sales. Exactly whose percentage the publicist’s percentage is taken out of needs to be negotiated. In many cases, it comes from your take of the money used to hire the publicist.
Book Publicists to Get the Literary Ball Rolling
In many cases, you don’t need to hire a publicist for the rest of your life. The publicist’s job is to get the ball rolling and to get people interested in the book. Once the book becomes a hit and people know about it through word of mouth and media outlets, the publicist is no longer needed and can continue to get a cut of the sales without really having to do anything. This is why some authors hire a publicist for the start of the publicity and to help make the book a solid hit and then use the publicist on an as-needed basis for the rest of the life of the book.
Self-Publishing and Book Publicists
If you’ve chosen to self-publish your book, the need for a publicist is a bit greater. When you self publish a book, the publisher usually just publishes the book and sends you a box of them for you to sell. You need to pound the pavement to get a self-published book out there, and hiring a publicist to do that kind of work might be time, and cost, effective. The publicist should have connections to radio stations, magazines, and newspapers and will have Internet connections so that you can be seen both off and on the net. You’ll still have some work to do as your publicist can’t do public appearances for you but most of the front-end work will be done already by your trusty publicist. If you can find a good one that believes in you and your work, it’s as good as winning the lottery….almost.