In an Uncharted Country came out in 2009, I got a late start with book promotion and then discovered that I didn't know what I was doing. I participated in a seminar on book promotion given by Bella Stander, Book Promotion 101, and that was excellent. I highly recommend this for anyone who is going to do book promotion on his or her own, as I planned to do. I feel that I learned a lot of what I needed to know--from setting up a website to arranging a book tour. Very helpful.
But I still felt a little overwhelmed by all the work it was going to take to get the word out about the book, and so I looked into hiring a publicist. To my regret, I started that process too late, when the book was already out. That made it difficult to schedule appearances, reviews, and interviews. And while the publicist did what she could, I'm afraid we didn't have the impact we could have had.
Which is why I'm starting earlier this time. My new book, a novel in stories called What the Zhang Boys Know, is due out next September from Press 53, and once again the bulk of the publicity responsibility will fall to me. Although I have learned a lot since the first book came out, and I've got a longer lead time, I'm still thinking of hiring a publicist for this book in order to extend its reach. Which is why I found this article in GalleyCat very interesting: Should I Hire a Book Publicist? I love the fact that Lauren Cerand's answer isn't an automatic Yes. Different authors have different skills, and there's a lot that we can do on our own. And maybe we can engage a publicist to help with the parts that are beyond us.
So that's what I'm thinking. I might still hire someone to help, even though I have a lot of my own ideas for how this is going to work.