Should I Hire a Book Publicist?

By Jason Boog Comment

Yesterday on the Morning Media Menu, independent publicist Lauren Cerand helped new authors answer a tough question: Should I hire a book publicist?

Cerand has worked with a variety of clients, including authors, booksellers, rock bands and publishing companies.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview: “I think there is less of a need to have a publicist on retainer who can broker high level major relationships for you … There are all these great places you can go online with a budget and you can say, ‘I want to learn one skill … Then you can decide, ‘Do I want to do a tour? Is there something I want to do that would make sense to have a publicist?”

Cerand continued: “Then you want to find a publicist in your price range by asking around. People can always contact me and I would be happy to point them in the right direction. You have to remember it is a custom project. Too often I see people with books about a subject that they are the absolute dead experts on and no one can touch their authority–because they have researched it all their lives. And they expect this junior publicist that’s in charge of their book to know better than they do about where they need to go to reach their readers. I think that’s a fallacy.”

She added: “You want a publicist who has a sense of what’s best for you strategically what’s important for you and who are going to open doors that you can’t. In the age of the Internet, we’ve largely democratized the process. For authors, I always say: It’s really about learning as many of these skills as you can. That’s what’s going to serve you best in your career, not keeping somebody on retainer indefinitely.”

Cerand concluded: “I’m really inspired by the flourishing of counterculture and independent publishing that happened in the 1920s, in New York especially. One of the things that has always interested me is that throughout time, artists have really done it for themselves. You can look at so many examples: Shipping heiress Nancy Cunard starting her own magazine to bring attention to social justice principles or people around the world who thought, ‘Perhaps I’ll go to Paris and see what else people are writing about’ in the time between the wars. Or the people who have sent a letter to someone who inspires them. We have to use our time on this planet to its greatest advantage, for human beings that always happens when we connect with someone else who shares some aspect of our own experience or who can teach us something we want to know.”

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