Literary Publicist: Job Description, Duties and Salary

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a literary publicist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and salary expectations to find out if this is the career for you.

Literary publicists create marketing campaigns to promote authors and their books. They require skills in marketing, communications and creative flair and need to have a network of connections in the industry. These positions have a median salary around $57,000 per year.

Essential Information

Literary publicists are public relations specialists who create and maintain a public image for authors and their books. These professionals use many types of communication tools to develop and execute public relations campaigns in hopes of creating positive buzz about their clients. Literary publicists work for publishers, public relations agencies or on their own. They generally need at least a bachelor's degree in public relations or a related field.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in public relations, English, business or another relevant field
Projected Job Growth 6% for all public relations specialists (2014-2024)*
Median Salary $56,770 for all public relations specialists (2015)*

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Job Description for a Literary Publicist

Literary publicists may work for public relations firms, for book publishers, or independently. They formulate and execute targeted marketing campaigns for authors and their books, sometimes working in conjunction with creative teams to deliver materials. Drafting press releases, distributing promotional content, providing public appearance coaching, and acting as an in-house contact for media responses are all part of the job. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it is important for public relations specialists to have top-notch communication skills, creative flair, sound judgment, and a motivational personality (www.bls.gov).

Literary Publicist Duties

In addition to conceptualizing, creating, and distributing promotional materials, literary publicists might arrange for public appearances, such as book signings or tours, and set up speaking engagements for their clients. Networking and maintaining solid industry connections are invaluable in the career of a literary publicist, as is staying on top of current technology, including breakthroughs in social media. Literary publicists may have set work hours, but they often are expected to be flexible and available on call.

Literary Publicist Salary and Employment Outlook

As of May 2015, the BLS reported a median annual wage of $56,770 for public relations specialists, with the lower ten percent bringing home approximately $31,690 or less and the top ten percent making $110,080 or more a year.

This career field was projected to grow 6% from 2014-2024, about as fast as the average expected growth rate for most industries. Prospective literary publicists should expect stiff competition for jobs, especially on the ground level of the public relations field. Garnering publicity experience through internships and earning an advanced degree in communications, English, marketing, advertising, or a related field could help mitigate the competition and create more opportunities.

Literary publicists usually require a bachelor's degree in a relevant field. They may work independently or work for publishers or public relations firms. The job growth outlook is about average for public relations specialists.


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