If you have the money to pay for Public Relations/Marketing, do your research. What organizations are they affiliated with? What writer’s conferences or book festivals? How popular are these events? How many events do they organize and how often? What radio, magazines or podcasts do they work with?
I went with a boutique PR firm, Black Chateau. The owner and I got along like a house afire. Their services included radio interviews, magazine mentions, book festivals and readings with other author clients. It was a good experience and I learned a lot.
At the time, Black Chateau didn’t represent many mystery writers and at first I thought that wasn’t a good thing, but after attending events with a group of authors they did represent, I realized that if the audience was interested in mysteries, mine was the book to buy.
Remember, PR firms will plug you and your book into their existing events. Black Chateau hosts a lot of events such as readings, book festivals, radio interviews, write ups and book reviews. I participated in all of the events I could and, as a result, had a lot of exposure.
You can, and should, contact blogs and podcasts that focus on your book’s genre and request an interview directly. If you hire a PR firm, run the pitch by your PR person to make sure it hits all the right notes. Producers are looking for content. Pitch yourself as a good interview with a book their audience would be interested in. And, don’t be hard on yourself. Nobody knows how to answer questions and tell antidotes without practice. You’ll get better at it the more you put yourself out there.