The Increasing Value of Publicity for Books and Authors

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.

Spurred by the exponential growth of self-publishing, the number of books and authors grows by thousands each week. Given the intense competition, an outstanding book publicist's importance is clear to most authors and publishers. Recently, some online articles have questioned the value of book publicity versus its cost, but seasoned (and successful) writers and industry professionals understand its importance. As much as the internet helps with book marketing, the value of media such as TV and newspapers continues to be significant – and media coverage is repurposed heavily online.

Excellent advice for authors is to trust personal instincts when hiring a book PR firm. The key is to have a natural rapport and easy understanding with its publicists and proposed approach. It's a situation driven by good communications and relationships. Because publicists cultivate opportunities for authors, like-mindedness means a lot. Also, agreeing in advance on the goals for a book marketing campaign is crucial. Planning is the first step toward a successful campaign, and an author's involvement and buy-in are vital. Open communication helps as well because publicists have experience with what works – or not.

The most prolific and successful book PR firms have long track records of success. It's wise to evaluate them to some extent upon their past work. Some specialize in specific genres (they tend to be smaller firms), while larger agencies have staff members with expertise in many categories. Testimonials from past clients give a clear view into how an agency works and its success in the past. Authors willing to provide testimonials have had favorable experiences and can explain how and why. Reading their words and understanding what has worked can be helpful as you make a decision.

It's also a wise idea to consider the size of a book marketing firm. While someone- or two-person agencies may be successful, everything depends on one person. In a more prominent agency, multiple staff members can work on a project – each bringing unique expertise and the ability to work collaboratively so that someone is always available. With a one-person operation, not much happens when other client projects take precedence, or someone is out sick for the day. These might sound like minor details at first, but they can be significant considerations. Always do what is best for you and your book. 

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