Hiring a publicist or a publicity agent depends on your wallet, of course. Your options are to hire one for a certain length of time or per project. John Kremer (1001 Ways to Market Your Book) who also teaches at IBPA Unniversity - excellent workshops, by the way - has an A to Z Listing of Book Publicists on his website ... http://www.bookmarket.com/101pr.htm , making it easier for you to find a publicist.
However, if your wallet is empty, you can still benefit from publicity you can create. It's imperative you contribute to making yourself and your book known to the public, for no matter how clever and or how good your book is, if you don't make a personal effort to spread the word, too, the book sales will be scant. And if the book doesn't sell or the numbers are low, the next time you write one and seek a publisher ... well ... one of the first things an editor/publisher does is check out your Internet presence and check the numbers on sales of your previous books through distributors. Need I say more?
So, FIRST, after you create your website and join Facebook and Twitter, create a MEDIA KIT to add to your website. The Media Kit page will have links to:
1. press releases
2. high resolution (dpi) author photos - color and black & white
3. your bio
4. samples of your writing
5. Q & A list for author
6. list of author's articles
7. appearance schedule
SECOND create your own Media List - newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, etc (be creative). This will begin with media contacts in your town, then your county, then into further regions. Other towns you've lived in. Friends and relatives' towns. Again, be creative. And remember this is part of an all out effort to build your base. Subcribe to Internet media list sources ... they are more up to date than books that have been published with sources. Be sure you have the contact person's company name, his name and title, address, email address, and phone number.
THIRD send out a press release to those on your list. A PRESS RELEASE should be informative, but at the same time attention grabbing enough to get a response. This may be your only contact with that person, however it would be in your best interest to follow up with a phone call a couple days after you send the PR.
Format for a press release:
1. one page
2. no letterhead or graphics
3. upper left corner write FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
4. first line, upper right FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT under which you will give your name, phone number, email address. All upper right.
5. start the body of the release with a catchy headline ... just like the first line of your book it's designed to make the reader keep reading. If the headline doesn't grab your readers attention, he won't keep reading.
In Frishman & Spizman's AUTHOR 101 Bestselling book Publicity they suggest grabbing the media's attention by linking your headlines to: MONEY, SEX, HEALTH, CONTROVERSY. The four subjects that are guaranteed to grab a reporter's interest. Right?
They also agree that you write your release in 3 parts:
1. introduce your book
2. give your credentials
3. make your request
Okay ... so that's the beginning of starting your own publicity campaign.
Create your author's website
Join Facebook and Twitter
Create a Media Kit page on your website
Create a Media List
Send out Press Releases