"Why isn’t my book selling?"
If you’re asking yourself this question, Dani Sanchez can help you find the answer. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Dani, owner of Wildfire Marketing Solutions, who has spent her whole corporate life in public relations and marketing. She works with both self-published and traditionally published authors in a variety of genres.
As an author myself, I was curious to dig deeper into the world of book publicity and learn how a book publicist can help propel an author’s career forward. Dani and I chatted about what a book publicist can help authors with and why it’s important for authors to think strategically when it comes to managing their business.
What is a book publicist?
A book publicist differs from other public relations specialists because the book world doesn’t have a lot of crises to manage. The main task of a book publicist is to help an author heighten their career in addition to promoting their books. They do this in many ways, depending on each author. It can include things like cover reveals, managing ads, and running events.
Why work with a book publicist?
Not every author needs a book publicist. A brand new author need not jump right into working with a publicist. Dani says, “When you’ve released a few books and you see yourself with more than one book release per year and want to do this long term, then you want to start thinking about solidifying your career.” This might include things like growing your readership, earning more money, and making sure you’re seeing growth with each new release.
Dani creates long-term strategies for every author she works with, strategically planning things like cover reveals, release dates, and price-drops to get the most out of each release. “When you just don’t know how to grow anymore, you probably want to bring a publicist in ... It’s more than just the next release.”
How does a book publicist differ from a book blogger?
When you work with a book blogger, they read and review your book. A book publicist will read your book, but they won’t review it because it would be a conflict of interest for the person helping you promote your book to provide a review. A book publicist can help connect book bloggers and authors as part of the author’s promotional plan.
Contact with a book blogger is via email. You may email back and forth a few times, then you submit your book and wait for them to post their review. A book publicist, on the other hand, will have you sign a contract that specifies their terms of service. This document protects both the author and the publicist.
Is working with a book publicist expensive?
The amount authors spend varies depending on how they release their books, but even if an author’s budget is small, they can still enjoy the services of a book publicist. Dani recommends, at a minimum, taking part in a blog tour and purchasing some consultation hours so the publicist can help with things like social media management during your book launch.
For an author publishing three to five books per year, Dani says, “Try to bring on a publicist part time, at least. That way you can look more at strategizing your releases and looking at your ad campaign.”
The next step up is to work with a full-time publicist. “Advertising is a huge part of a release. If you’re releasing more than six times per year, you probably need to bring on a publicist full time.” Once you are working with a publicist at this level, you can look at things like maximizing your back-list and the best ways to encourage readers to purchase your audiobooks.
Authors with a small budget shouldn’t feel like they can’t work with a book publicist. Depending on the author’s focus, most book marketing firms can come up with something that will help them based on their goals.
What results can an author expect to see?
The biggest goal authors have is growth. This can include more books sold and increased revenue. It’s important to see growth overall with each new release. “If my clients are seeing that, then that’s a win.”
Is working with a book publicist appropriate for any stage of an author’s career?
A debut author can work with a publicist, but it’s not the right stage in their career to hire a publicist full time. Things like consultation hours, a release event, and ads are more appropriate for a debut author than full-time services. “A debut author needs to be smarter with their money until they can ramp up better.”
Wildfire Marketing Solutions has a submission process requiring five chapters so the publicist can make sure they genuinely like the book. “It’s harder for someone to push something they aren’t interested in.” Dani likes to read her clients’ whole book because it helps her with pitching and marketing ideas. She even reads books on the back-lists of her new clients.
Book publicists provide much more strategy and analysis than a typical promotion and marketing company. A book publicist will dig deeper into the goals of the author so they can help them get to where they want to be in their career.
Authors don’t always realize that they are the CEO of their own business. It’s important for authors to think about their long-term goals and plan strategically. If you wish you didn’t have to think about all the business-related stuff, there are options available.
Whether you’ve been marketing yourself and hit a slump, or you’ve done no marketing, Dani and her team at Wildfire Marketing Solutions are sure to have a solution that can help you get back on track to meeting your author goals.
A huge thank-you to Dani for taking time out of her busy schedule to chat with me and share this valuable information for authors.