Accentuate Writers Forum

Is a Book Publicist Worth the Money?

RobertArend - 6/12/2014 at 02:37 PM

Excerpts from "Beach Plum Island" author Holly Robinson's Huffingtonpost advice:

"Of course, I had no idea how much money a publicist would cost, and I was gobsmacked by their fees. Many outside book publicists require contracts of six months to a year, and their rates are high enough to bring a struggling novelist to her knees. Finally, though, I found a publicist who used to work at a big traditional house and seemed experienced and smart. Even better, she charged by the hour, with only a 10-hour minimum. I decided I could afford those 10 hours and hired her six months ahead of the release time for my new novel, Beach Plum Island. Here's what I've learned in that time:"

1) Be up front with your in-house publicist. If you're an indie author, no worries!

2) The in-house publicist also took on the trade magazines and national media, so my outside publicist and I went to work on local media and Internet radio. Writers of self-published books should split their tasks with publicists the same way.

3) These days, every writer, indie or traditionally-published, should commit to interacting with readers and dedicating a little time each day to social media through blogging, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever else you have fun doing. Don't forget to introduce yourself to every bookseller within driving distance, too.

4) It used to be that publishers launched a book with advertising and an author tour, then moved on to other titles. This is still true, with one big difference: most authors no longer have their tours paid for by their publishers unless they're Stephen King.

5) Sometimes the payoff is down the line, and a lot of what ultimately happens with your book sales will boil down to luck. The important thing is to be in all of the places where luck can strike.

Link to full article:

Michy - 6/16/2014 at 03:25 AM

I've weighed options. If I were traveling around and could hire someone who could get me on talk shows or radio shows I might not be able to get into on my own, then I'd hire a publicist... but unless I were 'big enough' that my advance could pay the publicists' fees, then I don't think I would hire one. I don't see what they charge being worth what they deliver unless you already have a publisher and a good contract with an advance.

nyxwriter - 9/3/2016 at 06:40 AM

There is not right or wrong answer to this question and it will vary depending on who asks it. Publicity is earned (or ‘free’) exposure vs. marketing which is usually exposure like advertising that is paid for by the publisher or author. You need to think about your expectations and if a freelance publicist can help you to better achieve them than you can on your own or with the resources that your publisher is providing.

Knowing your personal goals before answering this question is important.

Father Luke - 9/4/2016 at 03:35 PM

I respectfully disagree with everything being said so far. Here’s why.

Think of click-bait. Sometimes thousands of clicks may be generated by a single well crafted headline, and the ‘time on page’ may be further increased by alluring click-bait titles on the landing page.

This does not make a well read, or even well written piece.

Success isn’t the thing. Stephen King is successful, but the guy can’t write an ending.

Writing is the thing. If you want money? That’s a whole other can of worms.

Publicists, like marketing, are sales people with a product to sell, and success or failure with them only means one thing:

You’re not writing. Which is the thing.

Not to invalidate the op’s (Original Poaster’s) question, but publicity doesn’t exist. The only thing valid is the writer’s love for their own work. Let me pick on Stephen King again. Question: Does he love his work, his writing? My answer? Sometimes he does. It’s those times I enjoy reading him.

Love your own writing. There is nothing else.

Michy - 9/6/2016 at 12:37 AM

Father Luke, you can love your own writing all you want--and I totally agree with you on that premise--but if you are the only one who even knows you're writing it, then that's not going to sell books. I think that a lot of us write for ourselves, sure, but the point of writing can't possibly be for us to be the only reader there is of that writing. We write so others can read it. And many of us hope to make a living at it so we can afford to continue to spend time exploring more writing.

One way to do that is to get our work seen by others, spread it around so others can read it, and hope that they will talk about it and like it too.

It's the 'business' side of writing. No, it's not romantic. No, it's usually not much fun. We writers, generally speaking, aren't that great at it, and we rarely WANT to do it--it's the seedy side of the business to use--so hiring someone, if you can afford to do it, to do that work for you is one option to consider to get your name out there.

So my question to you, Padre, then, is if you don't hire a publicist or someone to market your work--how then do you get your name and work out there for others to read?

Father Luke - 9/6/2016 at 07:07 AM

Quote: Originally posted by Michy  

< snip >

So my question to you, Padre, then, is if you don't hire a publicist or someone to market your work--how then do you get your name and work out there for others to read?

Before I answer you, may I please ask you to direct me to the private part of this forum -- the part where we have our work read by our peers, maybe critiqued?

Thanks in advance. It's good to hide the things we are afraid others might see about us.

To answer your question, I have to ask a different question because your question has intent where it lacks clear writing.

For instance. If I were to answer you directly and clearly from the position of taking you literally I would respond:

"Word of mouth."

Marketing is something I do through writing what I love. Let me think. Is there any precedence for this? Has anyone done this 'writing what you love' jive?

George Lucas, it seems to me, did something along the love your writing deal with his Star Wars thing a ma bob. So I've heard.

So my question to you is, in answer to your posit, is how do you measure success?

Because for me? If I'm selling crap? No matter what I do it won't sell. That's a successful fail.

If I love what I write? I share it with others. For free. And eventually? I don't have to worry about money.

Works every time.

By the way? A piece I've not finished writing is attached if you'd like to take a look. I'm not sure where I'm going with it. I've loved writing it so far.

Attachment: -Reflections in the Rearview Mirror.pdf (30kB)
This file has been downloaded 161 times

Michy - 9/6/2016 at 09:14 PM

Here's the critiques & feedback forum--the password you need is simply: password

But it's behind that password so only members and no google bots can see it.


Michy - 9/6/2016 at 09:24 PM

Okay, so then giving away the books to the book reviewers (which is an important part of marketing for an author) would fall into your wheelhouse of acceptable?

The theory being if the book is really good, people will talk and the word would spread and others will buy the book.....

Do you feel the public is being too bombarded with indie and self-published and trade published and co-op published books and they are having a hard time deciding, judging and caring about books any more because of it?

As for Lucas, I don't discredit anything he's done. I think he's a visionary, indeed. BUT he was from a different time. he came up in the late 60s and 70s with the icons of filmography (not novels), and knocked boots professionally with the likes of francis Ford Coppola....he knew Speilberg before Speilberg WAS Speilberg. It was just a different time.

In fact, a lot of the classic writers, the ones from prior to about 1990-ish give or take are from a different era and platform for publishing completely. The publishing world has changed dramatically and rapidly since then. Making it big isn't the same as it was. Indie authors are getting six figure deals. New authors breaking into publishing are fewer than ever before because publishing houses don't want to take chances on unknowns so they are blanket wrapping the with other writers, like what they're doing with James Patterson (which I think is totally taking advantage of new authors in that situation--and I hate it!)

I don't know... maybe I'm disillusioned about the whole publishing industry.

But I will ALWAYS write.... somehow, someway, for me. But I NEED readers, Padre... I NEED them. I crave them like a sickness.

It's true.

Father Luke - 9/10/2016 at 04:53 AM

In all seriousness, this is my approach, but I want to frame it first.

I'd read, or heard, Ray Bradbury set himself a goal. "I want to be published once a year."

Do-able, I think you'll agree. Yes?

And we'll assume Ray Bradbury (RB) loved writing, and loved what he wrote. Not a big leap of faith; I look at pictures of RB and I see that twinkle in his eye. It's there, that joie de vivre, that exuberant enjoyment of life -- undeniably it's there.

With me?

RB Had that goal: Publish once a year. Eventually that got stale. "Publish once a month," was the new mountain without a top. Then the goal shifted. "Publish once a week."

Finally, "Publish once a day."

Ray Bradbury is published several times a day, in many different countries.

So, that is one of my goals, it's the intent I live with; that's one of my mountains without a top I climb each day.

In practical application, the question, the journey, the path on which I travel along that mountain without a top, becomes 'How may I attract people to my work?'

Note my specific word: attract. Not promote, but attract. Subtle difference. It's a common oversight, like suggestion and recommendation are different concepts, but they are used incorrectly. More and more, I might add, and the world is a little less clear because of it.

Take the words Acceptance and Resignation. Also two very different words. How often is acceptance used when what is meant is a simpering, reluctant acquiescence to something without protest? To accept is to welcome gladly. Much different, indeed.

So. I don't promote. I attract.

And how do I do that?

By being attractive. And since I don't give two shits out of a rat's tiny ass how anyone sees me, being attractive to myself is how I 'attract' promotion.

How am I attractive to myself?

I love my writing.
I LOVE my writing.

Everything else is out of my hands. Everything.

And that's my sincere, honest, and unreserved response.

( :smile: )


Michy - 9/12/2016 at 08:40 PM

Very interesting. I like your take on it!

I have learned that words have power, so using them careful is important.

Michy - 9/12/2016 at 08:40 PM

PS I'm loving that show...

Father Luke - 9/12/2016 at 09:59 PM

Quote: Originally posted by Michy  
PS I'm loving that show...

It's a trip; me too.