Now that I have completed my novel, the hard work begins. I now have to promote it.
Is this going to be easy.
Don’t bet on it.
Promotion is all about encouraging the sale and acceptance of a product, especially through advertising or other publicity. If it is to be done well, we writers should consider hiring a publicist. Retaining a publicist to work on our behalf frees us up to do what we do best – write. But if you’re an unknown writer like me, you don’t have the funds to pay for these services.
Yes, we could visit a financial institution to request a home equity or business loan to finance our dreams, but the risk is often too great. Most of us have full-time jobs that have nothing to do with writing. Consequently, the money we make from these jobs is tied to the fortunes of our wives and children. And to them, writing is more hobby than business because we don’t generate enough income from it to pay the bills.
Like you, I spent over a year writing and rewriting my first novel, Adinkrahene: Fear of a Black Planet (Amazon Createspace; $7.99). I wrote it believing there are readers interested in seeing the world through the eyes of powerful, altruistic African Americans. But I also did it out of a love for writing. Because the muse is always with me, it is something I would do for free.
One of the first things I did after completing my novel was determine the going rate for publicists. Based on my research, you can expect to pay between $15-20,000 a year. Pretty steep, huh? I thought so. But I then thought about what I would be asking this publicist to do for me.
I would want her to promote my platform, which , first and foremost, has everything to do with improving outcomes for African-American children, youths and adults. Besides writing novels, screenplays and articles, I am a social worker with varied experiences in the public and private sectors. These experiences have shaped my worldview, and I am accustomed to sharing this worldview through both my written and spoken words.
I will undoubtedly hire a publicist to help me promote my platform. But first I need to determine if it’s an investment worth making. In the coming weeks, I will reach out to 10 individuals to see if they would be interested in serving as reviewers. Upon receiving their positive responses, I will send each of them the PDF versions of my novel, which they will be able to read on their tablets or computers. My hope is their reviews will be positive, because I will want them to share their thoughts on my Amazon sites. A book’s success is dependent upon the number of reviews it receives.
So, should I hire a publicist? I won’t know the answer to this question until the reviews come in.
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