In-house vs. freelance book publicists
A self-published author recently wrote in asking about how to pitch a certain radio show and I thought this would be a good time to make it clear that while I offer general book publicity tips, I wouldn’t be able to offer suggestions for how to pitch specific shows / writers for the same reason that a doctor might suggest that you eat well and exercise but wouldn’t walk you through how to remove your appendix. In other words, publicity is something that is learned, over time, and I can’t dash off in one email (or blog post) how to promote a book.
There are, however, freelance book publicists and publicity firms that can be hired to promote books. Which brings me to another, related question an author recently asked about, which is how do book publicists at publishing houses feel about freelance publicists? Several of my authors have asked this question over the years (as do many others, I’m sure) so I’ve put together a few considerations that authors might find helpful (and which publicists can forward to inquiring authors).
Basic Tips For Hiring Freelance Book Publicists
— This may vary depending on the size of the publishing house, but most publishing houses have at least one person on staff dedicated to marketing and promoting their titles (so yes, we will do everything we can to promote your book), but if you are thinking of hiring a freelance publicist any way (perhaps to continue promoting a book a year after it goes on sale and we’ve moved on to other titles), it goes without saying you should inform the in-house publicist (preferably before doing so).
— In-house book publicists don’t dislike freelance book publicists — after all, it does mean someone else is helping out — but we do need to know what everyone is doing so we don’t end up wasting time by doing the same thing (and annoying journalists in the process).
— There are a few common strategies for dividing up work between in-house / freelance book publicists. Please keep in mind that the following are examples and ultimately, whatever combination works for the individual publicists should take precedence over any suggestions here.
1) By medium: one person handles print and broadcast media, the other online. (Or whatever other combination works.)
2) By market: one person handles national media, one local. Or one person handles certain markets, the other person all others, etc.
3) By project: one person handles tour media publicity (or press materials or whatever other project might be in the works), one handles all other publicity.
4) By timing: one person handles all publicity before and for the month or two after the book’s publication, the other all publicity after that point.
— Specific terms (and prices) will vary from one freelancer to another. All reputable firms will post terms on their websites / provide details if you ask. A small — and admittedly incomplete — list of some freelance book publicity firms can be found on The Book Publicity Blog’s blog roll. (On the right side of the page, scroll down to Marketing / PR Blogs.) The firms listed have their own blogs (hence their appearance on a blog roll); there are many excellent book PR firms that do not maintain their own blogs.
— If you are seriously considering a particular freelance publicist, make sure they have read your book so they have a sense of how (and to whom) to pitch it as well as how to best work with the in-house publicist. Before signing a contract, make sure they have provided a publicity plan / proposal that works for you and the in-house publicist. (And if you have asked a freelancer to read your book, make sure to get back to them regardless of whether or not you end up hiring them.)
Authors and in-house publicists — let me know if I’ve missed any basic and important details. (I will update the post.)
Freelance book publicists — if you would like to submit your contact information, you can either email me at bookpublicityblog[at]gmail[dot]com or you can simply submit a comment. If anyone asks for a freelancer, I will provide your name (although not a recommendation unless I’ve worked with you). I am planning to post a list of freelance book publicists (hopefully, at any rate — I’ve been meaning to post about publishing house blogs for about five months now), so please submit the following information by Wednesday, February 11:
1. Name (first and last) or company name — mandatory
2. Website (or blog / LinkedIn profile / etc.) — mandatory so I have something to which to link
3. Specialty(s) if any — can be by genre, medium (broadcast / online / etc.), location or anything else that makes sense for you
4. Up to three books / authors with whom you have worked
(I’m not asking you for an email address lest spammers take the information from this site. I’m assuming anyone with a half-way decent website will have contact information prominently posted.)
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Fall 2012: I’ve really enjoyed writing about book publicity and meeting (0nline and in person) writers, publicists, editors, agents and others in the publishing industry, but I’ve — reluctantly — come to the conclusion that I just don’t have the time to maintain this blog.
I imagine there is some information that will remain the same and that will remain useful, but there is much more that is or will become out of date, so please keep that in mind if you find yourself perusing my posts.
For some time now, I’ve closely followed a lot of very informative sites about media and about the publishing industry. Since I find myself quite voluble at times about issues that pertain to my job in the publicity department at a large publishing house, I thought I’d set up a book publicity blog. The purpose of this blog is provide tips, primarily, but also information about publishing / marketing trends that will help book publicists — and hopefully others in media and publishing — do our jobs with greater ease and efficiency. Please note that the opinions expressed on this blog are my own, not those of my company.
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