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Do You Need a Publicist? 8 Questions to Guide an Author’s Decision

As an author, your book is your baby, and you want it to reach as many readers as possible. This is where a publicist can be an invaluable resource. A publicist has the expertise and connections to get your book in front of the right people, improve your media presence and interview skills, and increase the overall visibility of both you and your book. 

Beyond securing media opportunities and interviews, publicists can also help you navigate the complex world of book reviews, bestseller lists, and personal brand development and can help you develop a long-term strategy for success. When it comes to promoting a new book, these are the elements that boost your book’s visibility and help get your content into the hands of people who need it. 

That said, it’s crucial to remember that not all publicists are created equal, and someone with decades of experience still might not be equipped to help you reach your desired audience. And, depending on your skill set and interest level, you might not need to invest in a publicist at all.

To decide if hiring a publicist is the most strategic move for you, you’ll need to do your research and seek out someone who understands your vision, your content, and your goals. 

Before taking the leap,  ask yourself a few questions to ensure you’re making the right decision.

8 Questions to Ask Yourself

What do I hope to achieve with my book?

Before you sign an agreement, you need to be clear on what you hope to achieve with your book. Do you want to get it in front of as many people as possible? If so, hiring a publicist is likely the best move. You’ll need to find someone who can secure numerous and wide-ranging media opportunities—from interviews on growing podcasts to features in leading or national publications. 

Are you interested in becoming a bestseller or selling a certain number of copies? In that case, you’ll be best served to partner with someone experienced in facilitating speaking opportunities and putting together a strategic book launch campaign. 

Either way, knowing what you want to achieve will help you ask the right questions when interviewing potential publicity partners or help you decide if it’s the right path for you at all. 

Do I have the time to promote my book effectively?

Promoting a book takes time and effort, so it’s important to understand just how much time you can devote to that work. If you don’t have a list of influential and relevant contacts handy, you’ll need to brainstorm who best to present your book to, secure their contact information, make the connection, and manage any necessary follow-up and resulting conversations. 

If you’re busy with other projects or your business, it may be difficult to carve out the time you need to do this successfully.

Am I familiar with the media landscape and how to pitch to journalists?

If you’re not closely following what journalists are regularly writing or inquiring about, it can be difficult to break through and capture the attention you want and need from media. Or worse: if you’re not paying attention, you might miss the ideal opportunity to promote your book.

A publicist can help you navigate this terrain and get your book in front of the right people at the right time and in the right way.

Do I have a pre-existing network of media contacts?

If you already have a network of media contacts and are comfortable leveraging them, it may not be necessary to hire a publicist. However, if you’re starting from scratch or need separation, a publicist can help you build your network and take the lead in communication.

Am I comfortable with public speaking and being interviewed?

Promoting a book often involves public speaking and being interviewed by journalists. If you’re not comfortable with these activities, a publicist might not be the best fit for you. Instead, you may want to focus on other book promotion opportunities like social media or digital advertising.

However, if you’re willing to learn or eager to get in conversation with a member of the media, a publicist will both help you prepare for these types of engagements and make sure you’re interview ready.

Do I know the right questions to ask once I’ve secured a media opportunity?

Securing a media opportunity is just the first step. Once you’ve landed an interview or speaking engagement, it’s important to know the right questions to ask to make the most of the opportunity. A publicist can help you prepare for these situations and make sure you’re ready to capitalize on them.

Do I know the dos and don’ts of this type of work?

Promoting a book can be tricky, and there are certain dos and don’ts to keep in mind. For example, try not to pitch multiple journalists at the same publication on the same beat, endeavor to pitch your book during normal business hours for the best results, and stick with email unless the journalist requests a call. 

If you have an eye for determining unspoken rules, you might not need a publicist to navigate these waters, but if you need some assistance learning the ins and outs of the industry, a publicist will make sure you’re represented professionally and always putting your best foot forward.

Can I afford to invest in a publicist’s services?

Finally, it’s important to ask yourself if you can afford to secure a publicist’s services. Publicists are an investment, and though typically worthwhile,  it’s important to weigh the cost against the potential benefits before making a decision.

Is a Publicist Right for You?

In the end, hiring a publicist is usually a smart choice for authors looking to boost their book’s promotion and media presence, but it’s crucial to approach this decision with careful consideration and strategy. The questions outlined in this post can help you identify your goals, determine if a publicist is right for you, and find the partner who brings what you need to the table.
If you’re interested in future guidance and support during your publishing journey, don’t hesitate to contact us today. At Amplify Publishing Group, we specialize in helping authors like you achieve success through expert book marketing and publicity services.

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