As a marketer, I network with other people who work in the marketing industry, including people who specialize in promoting the works of published authors. You see, there comes a point in a writer’s career where the public relations and marketing tasks become so overwhelming it’s a choice between hiring someone to do the work for you and sacrificing future writing projects to save on expenses. For some of us, that choice comes earlier than we can afford.
I have a friend who works in a large, diverse niche market. The book he has published can meet a variety of needs and can attract large and small audiences, but those audiences are very specific. The best way to sell this book is to raise awareness among groups of people about what the book has to offer. Considering his skills, his expertise, and his target audience, the best way to reach those people is to talk with them, in person, as a group. For him the problem with public speaking isn’t fear, it’s that arranging these events is time-consuming. He’s had to develop public relations skills to get as far as he’s come, but now those tasks are eating into his subsequent projects—far more than was anticipated.
Now, he’s looking at how much time he’s spending doing these activities and how much time it’s taking from his other projects. He’s frustrated and looking for help. I recommended a service that I’ve investigated, but it’s on the expensive side and may not be the right fit for his niche.
When choosing a service, there are some things you need to keep in mind:
- What kind of service do you know you need and what kind of person/team can provide that service cost-effectively?
- Do you want someone who can help you select strategies and avenues that you haven’t thought to pursue? In other words, will there be a consulting aspect?
- Do you really need someone with specialized skills or do you need someone with more general capabilities? For example, you may not need a publicist; you may simply need a personal assistant.
- What can you afford? What can you not afford to afford? In other words, you have to consider your budget, but you also have to consider what you’ll lose if you don’t agree to necessary expenses.
- What will you reasonably gain if you take the risk? How long will it take for that gain to be tangible?
The more I think of these questions and the services he needs, the more I think that a happy medium—a personal assistant, for example—would be a better choice. After all, I’m happy to consult with him without charge, he already has an extensive array of contacts, and the biggest challenge seems to be keeping the balls in the air.
What range of services do you need or think you might need in the future? Have you begun doing your research or are you waiting for the need to become suffocating?