Writers today have many options and choices – self publish or traditional publish; e-book only or printed book only -- or both; what should be available for free and how much should you charge for your content?  As authors, you then must decide how you will promote, market and advertise your book.  What is your budget, in time and money?  Who will you hire, to do what?  What will you do on your own?

We’re becoming a do-it-yourself society, whether by choice, necessity, or circumstance.  You buy your airline ticket online, you check yourself in, and print your own boarding pass.  You go to the supermarket, scan your own stuff and check yourself out.  You go to the bank and use the ATM rather than a teller.  Every day, in so many ways, we have the liberty and burden of doing everything ourselves.

But when it comes to promoting a book, many would benefit from using a public relations firm.  Sure it costs money -- thousands of dollars- - and it’s an investment that one makes in the way a writer invests his time and energy into writing a book.  You do so with the belief of gaining a greater payoff.

Authors who seek to promote themselves miss out on the following:

·        Professional guidance from experienced publicists who know what works and what doesn't.

·        Access to media contacts and key relationships.

·        An outsider who can provide critical advice and feedback to you..

Authors will spend too much time promoting themselves and not enough time writing their next book, and doing things that make money, such as consulting.

Being interviewed by the media is fun and rewarding; getting rejected 90% of the time and chasing the media is not.

Don’t assume you know it all or think you can blog your way to a best-seller list. It takes a lot more than posting a YouTube video to sell books, build your brand, and project a strong positive and useful message to the masses.

PR firms think like the media.  They know how to transform a writer into an expert or authority.  They know how to get results.  Their reputation depends on it.

Of course, there are mediocre to lousy publicists out there.  Hire a trusted leader in the field with a solid track record.  You need a PR firm with depth, not a one-person publicity outfit who is too busy seeking out clients than to service them.

A good publicity firm:

-         Sets realistic goals and sets expectations.

-         Targets its outreach and follows up.

-         Communicates often with you.

-         Helps present you in an innovative way.

-         Understands your message and spreads the word.

-         Builds your platform and takes you to the next level.

-         Provides a bigger picture for the long-term.

Authors who don’t use a publicity firm may find:

-         Their press releases lack punch.

-         They lack time to properly contact all of the media.

-         They don’t understand what appeals to the media and fail to connect what they have to what the media wants.

-         They overestimated how easy it would be to get media coverage.

-         They didn’t follow  a preferred timeline or protocol for contacting the media, leading to fewer successful results.

-         They are too close to their own work, lacking the distance needed to promote their book.

-         The media hasn’t responded to calls and emails from individuals or unknown entities.

-         They need to be media-trained in order to convert an interview opportunity into a book sale.

-         There were many things they were not aware of or didn’t fully know how to execute until it was too late.

There are many misconceptions about what an author can/should do on their own and what needs to be done by a trained PR professional.  Certainly, it’s a collaborative effort.

Some things an author can and should do; other things are best left to others.  Together, a savvy publicity firm and an assertive author can make great things happen.