If you are being publisheg by a house, then you should get with your in house publicist and speak to them about what they would be willing to do and what they wouldn't be. I don't think authors should invest in an outside publicist, especially if you write fiction. In fact most authors like me, who know the industry, know that publicists are more of an expensive risk than a help to the author. They cannot help books sell anymore than what you could do for yourself. They don't get your books noticed and they cost TONS of money. If you have that type of money I think you'd be better off doing your own promotion and using the money if need be. But the best promotion on the author's part most times is free. No matter how much money you spend or who you get to promote your book with you, there are no guarantees. I've seen more authors burned by publicists than having one that helped them. Most think it's a big waste of money.
So, the best bet is to work with your inhouse publicist. Let them know what you're willing to do and ask them what they will do. Discuss your plans and if you have something in mind, ask your publisher if they will be willing to do it for you. Most pubs like an author who takes an active road in promotion and that might make them help you more. Be aware that they might say no to somethings. Times have changed and most books don't get a lot of promotion but maybe you can work with the in house publicist to see what you can get out the deal. It never hurts. Also, this is something your agent can help you with too. You can always let your agent know what you would like and they will discuss it with the inhouse publicist.
Once again, I'd rethink hiring an outside publicist or book promotion firm. Most are not worth the money they charge because books cannot be promoted the same as music and movies. Most publicists send out press releases and call a few magazines and radio stations (if that). That's stuff an author can do themselves and can save the money. Unless it's a publicist with super contacts, many aren't worth it. And the publicists that are, you can't afford them unless you're rich.
There are no guarantees you'll get on television, radio or in a magazine just because you get an outside publicist. In fact your best chance is working with your in-house publicist. Most publishers frown upon their authors getting outside publicists because outside publicists usually conflict with the pub's marketing ideas and methods.
Another thing Melinda beware of scammers and "publicity firms" that target you on message boards. I know many including some that have frequented this very board. Most of these people are scammers are inexperienced and have no decent contacts. A reputable publicist or firm doesn't have to advertise their services to authors. Usually authors approach them. So that's another thing to look at. If you still wanna pay someone to help promote your book, that's your right of course but be careful. Some firms wear the publicist hat but don't know what they are doing anymore than the author. If you consider going with someone, always be smart and question them to see who they have worked with and what they've done.
But I still say there are way better things you can do with your money than throw it on a publicist.
This is quite simple really, all you need to do is ask questions. You can ask people who are published writers and they are sure to tell you all you need to know.
One of the most important things about promoting your book, no matter how you went about having it published, is to always have a few copies on hand. Keep a few in your car when out running errands or traveling. And be sure that in case you run out of on hand copies, that you have a way for people to order your books. Having your book listed on Amazon is really the easiest way to ensure that there are always copies available. Most people who use the internet are at least a little familiar with Amazon and will be able to get your book delivered to them quickly. Also, if you have a website dedicated to the book, and ordering available on the website, this is a great way to promote your book.
Book signings are another great way to promote your new book. But try to think outside the box. Book signings don't have to be in a bookstore. Depending on what your book is about, try a specialty store. An example would be if you wrote a book on healthy cooking, try a book signing at a health food store. To arrange a book signing, try speaking with the manager of the place you want to sign at. In addition to having books to sign and sell, have a little write up on you and your book along with how people can go about ordering it.
Radio and newspaper interviews can also help promote your book. There are always empty spots on radio and in newspapers that need to be filled, so why not speak with your local radio station or newspaper to see if you can help them out. Also, try local fairs in your area like health fairs, job fairs, etc. that focus on the theme of your book.
You are most welcome Melinda and I'm more than happy to be of help to you! I wish you all the best as you embark in this wonderful journey.
Keep your mind open to countless options and never be afraid to ask questions. Remember to make an informed decision base on actual facts and not on fancy promises. It it best to check the track record of any publicist you may consider hiring.
You're welcome! I am glad it helps! I thought I'd give you insight being an author who has been published by one of the big five. So I am glad I helped, LOL. Don't be afraid to speak with your publicist. A lot of writers think they can't do that, but you can! It's your right. Also, they love seeing that you're so interested in promotion that you wanna work with them.