If you're a self-published author shopping around for book marketing services, you can find various options for hiring a publicist. They range from advisory to hands-on and what's best for you depends on your book and your budget. If you're a first-time author planning to promote your book DIY, it's wise to at least go for a consulting arrangement. Unless you're a trained PR professional of a celebrity with an enormous social media following, hearing some how-to advice before you begin self-promoting is essential. Publicity from traditional media brands can mean a lot, and you need to earn it.
One of the essential ideas for new authors to keep in mind is that successful book marketing is a long-haul endeavor more than a sprint. There is an intense period of appearances around a book's launch, but it's common for campaigns to run actively for three months. Publicity success can be incremental, and appearances in smaller local outlets may be used to gain guest shots with more prominent media. Today, everything is repurposed on the internet if it doesn't start there. As a result, publicity coverage runs for a longer time than ever before. It's wise to understand it and plan accordingly.
If you're self-publishing and your budget doesn't allow for a full-blown campaign, you may opt for a shortened version. Some versions include professional publicist support for the first six weeks with the understanding that you will continue after it ends. In this arrangement, you receive help during the most intense initial days and a plan to follow when you're handling things on your own. But it's impossible to predict when the media will show the most interest, and you may be on your own when it occurs. Whichever approach you choose, the value of a publicist's advice can be significant.
While most industry pros agree social media alone is rarely enough to successfully market a book (unless you are a celebrity with hundreds of thousands of followers), it plays a role. Authors with naturally outgoing personalities and a sense of what to post may do well. But for others hiring a PR pro to handle social media may be a wise investment. It's also crucial to begin early because building a social media following takes time. Have a plan when you launch your book or develop one with a publicist and post in a way that creates interest in your book but never resort to hard-sell tactics or overposting.