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Now More Than Ever, Authors Need a Book Publicist. Here Are 4 Big Reasons Why

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In an article “The 10 Awful Truths About Book Publishing,” Steve Piersanti, president and publisher at Berrett-Koehler Publishers, spells out some sobering realities to authors.

The number of new books published each year in the U.S. has exploded to well over 1 million annually. At the same time, more than 13 million previously published books are still available through many sources. The marketplace, thus hugely over-saturated, simply can’t absorb all these books. Consequently, average book sales, says Piersanti, are “shockingly small — and falling fast.” The average nonfiction book, for instance, is currently selling less than 250 copies per year.

To boot, in order to cut costs and stay afloat, publishers are shifting more and more marketing responsibility to authors. Not to mention self-published authors, who today release more than 700,000 books a year. That means every author, with little to no exception, needs a robust marketing platform, including a potent publicity plan.

Enter the book publicist. Now more than ever, achieving your publicity goals is all-but-impossible without one, especially a seasoned publicist with a successful track record in your field. Not convinced? Here are four big reasons why.

  1. A book publicist provides campaign strategy.

It’s said that many a race is won at the starting gate. Similarly, a winning publicity campaign begins with a smart, specific strategy. A book publicist knows exactly how to emerge from the noise — developing your unique big idea, critical angles and news hooks, an expansive tailor-made media list, and much more. She also takes the big picture into account, focusing not only on your book but also your business and brand.

  1. A book publicist provides content,content, content.

The realtor’s mantra “location, location, location” lends itself to the now essential nature of publicity content. If you’re hoping to get any sort of major media attention, you’ll need first-class content designed to persuade today’s hard-to-please contacts. A book publicist creates a press kit, personalized media pitches, bylined articles, blog posts, and social-media teasers. And that’s just for starters.

  1. A book publicist provides connections.

A book publicist spends her career fostering relationships with key decision makers at newspapers, magazines, blogs, radio and television shows, and podcasts. These are hard-earned connections — ones that distinctively qualify a publicist to act as a proven middleman between you and thousands of media influencers. Such relationships can also lead to you becoming a regular contributor, columnist, or blogger at both digital and print outlets — all coveted opportunities for any author.

  1. A book publicist provides “perfect timing.”

Timing may not be everything, but it’s still incredibly important in the new, highly competitive media world. A book publicist keeps her finger on the proverbial pulse, constantly watching the ever-changing headlines and monitoring current issues and events. This way, she can develop topical, attention-grabbing ideas and — with perfect timing — pitch them to the precisely right media contacts.

Finally, if you think you can’t afford to hire a seasoned pro, think again. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and any book publicist worth her salt can offer you flexible, customizable options. In other words, at least investigate what’s available to you. Now more than ever, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Cathy S. Lewis is president of CS Lewis & Co. Publicists, a boutique publicity firm that's been turning authors into newsmakers and generating book sales since 1994. Learn more at www.cslewispublicity.com.

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