Wednesday, January 28, 2015

When to Seek Professional Help (with Marketing)

Writing is a solitary profession. With the exception of a few remarkable people who work in writing teams, few people can conceive of an idea, draft it, and then edit and revise to create a finished project. This much is obvious.

But what about when that initial stage is over and your book is out there in the world? For those of us who are self-published especially, once you click “publish,” approaching a writing career as a solitary endeavor might not be the best plan of action. Only one person can bring a book into the world, but sometimes it takes a little help to get it to soar.

This is where publicists and author assistants come in mighty handy. You hear about a lot of the big names having assistants, but the truth is, even someone who is just starting out or who is building an indie career can use the professional help of someone whose job it is to build up the work you’ve already done.

Working with a publicist has been one of the best professional decisions I’ve ever made. My publicist, Anne Chaconas at Badass Marketing, is a fountain of knowledge and skill about the promotional end of the business. She, like other assistants and publicists out there, sets up blog appearances for me, organizes ARC readers, puts together my newsletter, make graphics for my social media sites and swag, and generally keeps me pumped about things when the going gets hard. The fact that she does all of these things for me means that I can do more of what I’m actually good at: writing books.

We authors can spend a lot of time buried under the nitty-gritty of all things publishing that are not writing. If you find yourself lamenting that hours of your precious time are sucked away looking for reviewers, interacting on social media, or generally selling your work instead of creating it, it may be time to call in the big guns. I’m not gonna lie, it can be a big expense, but in the long run it will pay off. The returns I’ve seen since hiring Anne had increased at a rate that I don’t think I would have seen otherwise. Plus, with Badass Marketing, at least, you can hire help for a particular project or on a more ongoing basis.

The world of publishing has grown more competitive than ever. You want to make sure that you’re using all of the tools you can to put yourself in a place you need to be. If you don’t have the time or money to do it all yourself, the time has come to seek help.

So where do you go to find an assistant or a publicist? Lots of places. But I would start by checking out Author’s Atlas, a site that has been compared to Craig’s List for freelance resources for authors.

Merry Farmer is a history nerd, a hopeless romantic, and an award-winning author of thirteen novels. She is passionate about blogging and knitting, and lives in suburban Philadelphia with her two cats, Butterfly and Torpedo. Connect with Merry at her Facebook Author Page and Twitter.


  1. I could definitely use the services of publicist elves. I can do everything on my own - for free - except figure out the alchemy of marketing beyond Social Media.

  2. My wife has been trying to get me to seek professional help for years ... and I could probably use some help with marketing too.

  3. Absolutely! Marketing is by far my weakest link -- and the one that keeps me from getting my books to their intended audience. Thank you, Merry, for this great post. I'm going to check out your publicist right now.

  4. I like doing it myself, though it is time consuming. However, I do cheat with Twitter by using Round Team.


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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