Once your book is picked up by a publisher, you must be prepared to sell your own novel. While publishers would love to go full out on every one of their books, the simple truth is that there are just too many books and not enough money for every single one to get the attention that it deserves. Marketing departments are constantly stretched to their limits, and first-time authors are generally assigned to junior publicists with minimal experience. The burnout rate is astronomical, and you may find yourself assigned two or three different publicists throughout your book campaign, which results in little to no continuity or personal interest in the results.
You must use all resources at your disposal to ensure a successful book launch. Expect to use some if not all of your advance to help promote your book. You might even consider hiring an outside publicist of your own. While expensive (the good ones cost several thousand dollars a month or more), they work specifically for you, unlike your publisher's in-house publicist, who may be juggling several different book campaigns simultaneously.
Your publisher assigns your in-house publicist; you don't get to pick and choose. If you hire your own, however, you can interview and research several different options. I suggest you find a publicist who has handled your genre in the past. If you aren't sure where to begin, ask your editor or in-house publicist if they have any recommendations. They won't be offended.
If you have the money to spend on a publicist, I highly recommend it. Your campaign will be stronger, interest in your book will be greater, and, inevitably, your book will find its way into the hands of more readers.
Stacey Glick chats about publicity (and the lack thereof) [Dystel & Goderich Literary Management]
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