How to Find a Publicist for Independent Artists

Don’t worry, this is a quick post. I’m sure you’d much rather be heading off to pre-order my new book at this awesome site. Or maybe taking advantage of the deal (that ends today) on the first book in the series.

I had an interesting experience recently concerning publicists for indie authors. Like any self-published author, I’m constantly looking for new ways to push my books out there into other people’s hands. And I had this “brilliant” idea that if I could find a publicist, they could help get my name out there. Put me in some papers. Get me on a few talk shows. And if I contacted my (much more successful) friends in the self-publishing industry, they’d obviously be able to refer me to THEIR publicists, who might be out of my price range, but who could no doubt recommend someone else that would be both GOOD and CHEAP (the two most important corners of the production triangle to me right now).

A maxim in all business, and so pretty, too

Anyway, so I sent out emails to everyone who I’ve managed to develop some degree of personal contact with. Luminaries who received my emails included CJ Lyons, Evo Terra and Joanna Penn, as well as other names who won’t make you go “ooh!” quite so loudly.

None of them were willing to refer me, for a very specific reason. And their answers were far more illuminating and, in a way, helpful, than the names of the publicists THEY used.

Anyone want to take a guess?

THEY DON’T USE PUBLICISTS

That’s right. All three of them said the exact same thing, almost as if they were writing off of the same goddamned script. (If such a script exists, it’s no doubt entitled “How to Knock Sense Into a Noob.”)

“No, I’ve never used a publicist. And truth be told, I highly doubt that any of them are even the least bit effective for indie authors. All data seems to point to the contrary.”

That was basically what each one of them said.

Okay, CJ Lyons is probably a freaking millionaire and is definitely an internationally acclaimed author of some of the best thrillers in the world. Joanna Penn is a marketing guru and career change specialist who also writes bestselling religious-themed thrillers. And Evo Terra looks somewhat like a Hobbit and is overly fond of his hipster beers. (Oh, and is a great author who, according to secretive reports I’ve been allowed to read, has sold approximately a gajillion books).

And none of them have ever used a publicist. Mark that. They didn’t say, “I used one and I wasn’t happy with the results.” They’ve. Never. Used. One. EVER.

Two lessons I learned. Actually, the same lesson in two levels of severity:

  1. Publicists probably aren’t a good choice for an indie author, even (and maybe especially) if you can find a “bargain basement” publicist.
  2. If the above three people can “make it,” (and by the standards of anybody I know, they have) without a publicist, then I probably can, too.

So there you go, guys. Anyone who was going out there looking for a publicist, before you go through the exact same sequence of events that I went through, feel free to take this lesson away from my story.

If you rabidly disagree with these three people [i.e., you are wrong] let me know in the comments—but please be sure to give a good reason why not, and a story to illustrate your point, if possible.

Garrett Robinson

Over 100,000 readers have read and loved Garrett's books, like the fantasy hits Nightblade and Midrealm. He's also a film festival favorite with movies like Unsaid, and a tech guru who posts lots of helpful how-tos for writers and filmmakers over at garrettbrobinson.com.

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