Hiring a Freelance vs. an In-House Publicist

May 1998
by Katherine Brandenburg

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Did you just see an author on Oprah discussing a subject that one of your books addresses and does a better job covering? Why was that author chosen and not yours? Chances are that the selected author has a publicist. Publicity is basically free advertising. Freelance publicists base their rates on what the publicity they have obtained for you would have cost if it had been purchased as an advertisement. Therefore, budgeting $30,000 a year for an in-house or freelance publicist is small change if that publicist procures a mention for your book in Better Homes and Gardens, which has a circulation of 7,615,315 and a display ad rate of $138,000. Of course, one would hope that the publicist would get many more interviews and features for that book than just the BHG mention.


When hiring an in-house publicist, look for someone who has previous public relations experience. Writing skills are a must, as a publicist must be able to quickly create press releases, author bios, and sample interview questions. Depending on your geographic location, it may be more difficult to find candidates with established media contacts. One of the main benefits of an in-house publicist is that he/she is physically in your office, under your supervision, 40 hours a week. If you need someone to write catalog copy or call bookstores, the publicist can always fill in. When hiring a freelance publicist, put in the contract how many hours per week he/she will dev…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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