Do I Need a Book Publicist?

graphic depicting a book publicist multi-tasking

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Book promotion is a crucial aspect of an author’s journey, especially self-published authors. Although one of the benefits of self-publishing is that authors have total control over their work, one of the downsides is that the onus of marketing and promoting their books falls squarely on them. Unless, of course, they want to hire professionals to help them. This is where a book publicist comes in.

What is a book publicist?

A book publicist is a professional who specializes in promoting and generating PR for books. A good book publicist possesses a deep understanding of the publishing industry and media landscape and has experience with a variety of book marketing strategies. A skilled book publicist can help authors gain visibility, build their author brand, and connect with their target audience.

Pros and cons of hiring a book publicist

As an independent author, you’ve already invested money to get your book published, which included professional editing, cover design, formatting, and printing. So, the question is: Is it worth paying more money to hire a book publicist? Well, that depends. Here are some of the pros and cons.

They have the right connections

A book publicist has an extensive network of media contacts, including journalists, bloggers, influencers, and book reviewers. They know how to pitch your book to the right people and increase the chances of getting media coverage. A good publicist can make one phone call that could change your writing career.

They can get you noticed

Publicists have the expertise to craft effective press releases, coordinate book tours, arrange author interviews, and secure book reviews. For example, imagine you’ve written a captivating children’s book. A book publicist with experience in promoting children’s literature can help you target relevant media outlets, parenting blogs, and educational platforms, increasing your book’s visibility among your target audience in ways you might not have thought of or had the resources to achieve.

Additional costs to factor into your budget

Of course, hiring a book publicist requires another financial investment. Professional book publicists typically charge a flat campaign or monthly fee or work on a commission basis. To make the decision if working with a publicist is right for you, you need to evaluate your budget and assess the potential return on investment (ROI).

They may not understand your specific needs

Not all book publicists will understand your specific needs as an author. Some may have expertise in specific genres or niches, while others may have a broader range of experience. Do thorough research to find a book publicist who aligns with your goals and understands your target audience.

There’s no guarantee of success

A good publicist will act as a matchmaker between you and the media. But there is no guarantee that the media outlet will deliver the kind of story you want or that you’ll get any press at all. You need to have a compelling story, but beyond that, your story has to be one that the various media outlets need at that moment. Just as lawyers can’t guarantee wins in court, publicists can’t guarantee media placement.

Do I need to hire a book publicist?

Determining whether you need a book publicist requires that you assess your promotional needs and evaluate your goals, budget, and expectations.

  • Evaluate your goals. What do you hope to achieve with your book promotion efforts? Are you looking for media coverage, book reviews, or increased book sales? Clearly defining your goals will help you determine if hiring a book publicist aligns with your objectives.
  • Assess your budget. Hiring a book publicist comes with costs. Evaluate your budget and determine if allocating funds for professional book promotion services aligns with your goals.
  • Set (and manage) your expectations. While a book publicist can provide valuable assistance, you have to have realistic expectations. Book promotion is a multifaceted process, and success is influenced by various factors. Collaborating with a book publicist is not a guarantee of fame or success. Success is a product of consistent effort, collaboration, adaptability, timing, and luck.

Book marketing best practices for indie authors

Free guide offer for Promote Then PublishThe question isn’t if your book needs publicity (because, yes, it does), it’s if you think you can do it yourself or if hiring a pro will get you to where you want to be. If you decide not to hire a book publicist, here are some book marketing and publicity practices you can implement.

  • Develop a comprehensive marketing plan. Outline your marketing strategies, target audience, and intended promotional activities. This plan should include online and offline efforts, such as social media marketing, author website development, email marketing, book signings, and collaborations with book bloggers or influencers.
  • Engage with your readers. Building a strong connection with your readers is vital for long-term success. Engage with your audience through social media platforms, author newsletters, and interactive events. Encourage reviews, organize giveaways, and provide interesting content related to your book’s genre or topic.
  • Leverage online platforms and communities. Use platforms such as Goodreads, Amazon Author Central, and book-specific forums to connect with readers and fellow authors. Participate in discussions, share insights, and contribute to the literary community. Building a strong online presence can enhance your book’s discoverability.

BookBaby supports your book marketing efforts

The decision to hire a book publicist depends on your specific needs, goals, and budget. While a book publicist can provide valuable expertise and connections, indie authors can also implement effective book marketing strategies independently. Every author’s journey is unique, and finding the right balance between self-promotion and professional assistance is part of the discovery of achieving your publishing goals.

BookBaby is an invaluable resource for indie authors looking to amplify their book marketing efforts. As a leading self-publishing platform, BookBaby provides a range of services, including professional editing, cover design, eBook conversion, and worldwide distribution. Additionally, BookBaby offers marketing services, such as Amazon optimization, social media advertising and promotion, and a book marketing planner, all designed to increase your book’s visibility and reach.

Book Publishing Plan guide



  1. Like Jerry, I would like to know how to find good publicists who fit my book subject, genre. Can you point us to a directory or other resources?

  2. Dear Philip , Thank you for a most informative article . I’m about to submit a historical novel to kdpamazon it’s set in WW1 and based partly on the life and army service of a maternal uncle who was in an Irish regiment in the British Army . Ireland as a whole was part of the U.K at the outset of the Great War it was enroute to self government as the Irish Home Rule Bill became law in July 1914 . Then with the of hostilities the implementation of the legislation was suspended because of the war effort . As Canada was also in this war and in many cases fought alongside Irish regiments there may be some interest in my novel in my adopted country. I do have a platform for a book launch at my alma mater Concordia University Montreal . I’m hoping to get the novel to two respected journalists in my native Ireland and that perhaps a reviewer at the Toronto Globe and Mail might review it . I read the online edition of Book Baby frequently . I’ll try and submit details to them. I’ve invested a lot of money to date in my novel and will have to decide later . Thank’s again for a very informative article . Anthony Kirby Montreal, Canada


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