Every successful writer has a publicist. Book publicists navigate the media and work on the branding aspect of a book, so authors can focus on what they do best.
Without a publicist, many writers find themselves distracted from their craft to write press releases, hassle the media, and find opportunities for publicity on their own.
Naturally, many begin to look for quick, cheap fixes to remedy their situation. But there is no such thing – not without sacrificing the quality of your book and its chance in the market.
When it comes to public relations, you must be willing to spend at least one of two things: time or money. If you have more time than money, here’s how you can get professional PR assistance for your brand.
Invest in Social Media
Creating a social media account on any platform is free. Because of this, many indie authors think of social media as the free publicity option for their books. We encourage them to think of it only as the cheaper option.
Anyone who is serious about their brand should be using social media to run paid promotions or ads. Tweeting and posting on Facebook is not enough to carve your niche out of the market.
However, even without paid promotions, just having an online presence is a good start. These days, when people want information, or want to look up new books to read, we go online. No one goes to a library to flip through a catalogue anymore.
Because of this, no online presence means missing out on falling into a readers’ search. If you want to reach readers, then go where your readers are. Increasingly, that means going online.
Hire a Publicist
Having a public relations firm behind you provides great credibility to your books and your cause. But if hiring a firm is outside of your budget, then hiring a freelance publicist isn’t a bad idea.
Finding someone to fill the role should be fairly easy. Great candidates include college students and graduates with majors in business, English, journalism, mass communications, and even psychology.
Since PR is half knowledge and half talent or skill, there might even be someone outside academia who fits the bill: someone who is at least a decent writer and editor, creative, good with social media, and has great organizational skills.
The main downside of working with a freelance publicist with no organization behind them is that they may not be legit. We’ve heard many horror stories from clients who came running to us, directly after a bad experience hiring freelancers. Keep your eyes peeled, and choose wisely!
Hire a Small PR Agency
The main benefit of a big PR agency is falling under the umbrella of their brand. When you rub shoulders with the elite, people take you more seriously. However, a big PR firm is usually outside the budget range of indie authors – with hourly rates as high as $900+, and more commonly, around $500.
With a smaller PR agency, indie authors can reap similar benefits of having the weight of a PR firm behind them, without the hefty bill. How? Because PR is not like other areas of business. Size does not decide success.
Success is decided by clients’ ability to pay for the time that goes into building their brand. Smaller agencies also better understand the limitations of an indie budget, and are better equipped to work around it.
Another benefit of working with smaller agencies is that they aren’t juggling as many clients as larger firms. This gives them the opportunity to zero in on your projects and provide the kind of dedication and attention to detail that successful projects need.
At a first glance, professional PR and marketing may seem far too expensive to consider for your book, but this isn’t always the case. While it does take money to make any book a resounding success, it need not be enough money to break the bank.
At black CATastrophy, we keep our hourly rates between $30 and $80 for independent authors. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can provide professional PR services within your indie budget, then shoot us an email.
About the Author
Shadow the PR Cat is the Goodwill Ambassador at Alexis Chateau PR, and head of the firm’s indie author division. His job includes tweeting, taking selfies, rolling in catnip, and advocating for animal rights and social equality. Follow his kitty adventures on Twitter as @ShadowThePRcat.
About Alexis Chateau PR
Alexis Chateau PR is an independent public relations agency with a special interest in lifestyle brands. From education to entertainment to travel, we’ve worked with clients in all areas of the lifestyle industry since 2006.