The Small Publishers of North America has some excellent information on reviews and marketing books. The following is another partial extract from their fine site http://www.spannet.org/reviews.htm#Publicist :
A Publicist is a person who represents your book to the media. This can be very helpful to small publishers. Having a professional publicist makes the media take you more seriously than if you were representing yourself. Most publicists insist on a 6 month commitment for a set fee. Mailings, long distance and many other charges are billed separately. There are some publicists who charge a per-hour fee. They are hard to find.
There are many publicists and range of costs. The following John Kremer link contains a comprehensive list of publicists and PR companies: http://www.bookmarket.com/101pr.htm
The Midwest Book Review site also is chock full of book marketing and media publicity info: http://www.midwestbookreview.com/bookbiz/pub_mkt.htm
A publicist can be costly, but can more than cover their fee PLUS make you thousands more if you get a good one. I will be researching publicists more for the next post. Do they have a professional organization/s ? Do they have a code of ethics ? And more on publicists’ costs and contracts…Stay tuned.