How to Hire the Best Publicist for Your Book

Founded in 1997, Smith Publicity has evolved from a one-person operation run in a bedroom office to one of the leading book publicity agencies in the world.


Each year, the number of books published increases, and along with it comes competition for readers' attention that becomes even fiercer. It's why authors and publishers hire book publicists to promote a new book during its launch period. Handling book promotion DIY might sound like an option at first to some self-published authors, but the reality is professional marketing support may be required. Media coverage to augment (or inspire) what happens on the internet can make an enormous difference if it confers stature on you as an author. Visibility in front of the right audience is always desirable.

But how do you choose the right publicist for your book? In the opinion of experts, it's vital to interview several firms, ask the right questions, listen to the answers, and ultimately trust your instincts. The intangible aspects of the author-publicist relationship have a lot to do with its future success. When a book is launched and promoted, authors are actively involved, which means working closely with publicity people. When there is easy rapport and agreement on the objectives, the marketing and PR process runs much more smoothly. It's a time authors can find stressful, and a publicist can be helpful.

When considering a book marketing firm to handle your book, also look closely at their track record. Has the firm successfully handled other books like yours, and are they familiar with your genre? Larger firms cover most subjects, but smaller ones may not. Finding an agency in business for at least several years can be important because it takes time to develop a strong list of media contacts. You may also want to look for reviews from past clients, especially authors whose books or situations may be similar to yours. Their thoughts and words of wisdom can guide you as you're deciding.

Cost and budget naturally come into play for most books in need of promotion. While it's great to get a low price, it might be wise to be suspicious about the results that the firm will produce. You might be better off in the long run with a firm that charges more and delivers the results you need. There is no reason to overpay for services, but you need a firm that meets certain quality levels to be effective. Publicists working solo might sound interesting, and some are excellent, but your project will revolve around one person, and if they are ill or unavailable, things come to a standstill. You may want to hire a firm instead.