The Company History of Smith Publicity

It started with one book, one client, in a cramped, tiny bedroom office.

Dan Smith launched Smith Publicity from scratch in 1997, and unlike the vast majority of book PR firms and solo publicists, he came in with no previous experience in the book publishing and book marketing fields. He had previously worked as a university administrator, a direct mail company manager, and started his post-college career repossessing cars in Harrisburg, PA.  Consequently, he looked at everything with new, fresh, clear eyes, unencumbered by preconceived notions of “how things had always been done.” Working 20 hour days and unleashing creativity, imagination, and new, sometimes unorthodox strategies, he shook up the book publicity field. No one like Dan had ever ventured into book publicity.

While attending his first industry trade show soon after starting, Dan met the owner of what was then the largest and most widely known book PR agency, and a well-known name among all major publishers. After listening to Dan’s thoughts on book marketing and his plans for developing new types of campaigns, the gentleman laughed and said, “You’re out of your league, and you won’t last more than six months.”

Well, that didn’t happen .. 

Smith Publicity grew … rapidly. Within two days of launching the very first Smith Publicity book marketing campaign, one of Dan’s clients was on national television. As a result, it didn’t take long for word of the new book publicity agency on the block to spread.

The founding of Smith Publicity as reported in a newspaper article.

In the beginning … 1999 newspaper article about Dan Smith, in his bedroom office with daughter Robin.

Now, 23 years later with 4,000 books promoted, we stand as the premier book marketing agency in the world. Dan’s complete dedication  to do “whatever it takes” to make good things happen for authors, as well as his willingness to explore and try things that have never been done before, continue to separate Smith Publicity from competitors.

We employ the most talented book publicists in the industry. Most of our team has been with the Company for over ten years. 

Since the beginning, Smith Publicity has been a trailblazer in the book publicity field. A few examples:

  • The first agency to have a self-published, print-on-demand novelist featured in The New York Times
  • Developed the now popular “book as a business card” marketing philosophy
  • Produced one of the first video book trailers
  • Helped gain credibility for self-publishing revolution by pitching and securing a front-page, above-the-fold article in The New York TimesThe personal story of the founding and evolution of Smith Publicity – click here to listen to Dan Smith and Sandy Smith interviewed on “The Premise” podcast.

Dan Smith with clients and Smith Publicity team members, 2002.

View the Video Business Cards of Our Senior Executives

Dan Smith, Mike Onorato, Corinne Moulder, Sandy Poirier Smith.

While some of our founding strategies and techniques remain a staple of our work, we consistently develop new book marketing methods and stay ahead of the curve in the dynamic, ever-evolving publishing industry. A true equal-opportunity book publicity and author promotion firm, Smith Publicity is one of the only companies to effectively market both traditional and self-published books. We believe the manner in which a book comes into existence isn’t important; a quality book is a quality book regardless of how it was published.

Smith Publicity is a one-of-a-kind marketer in the publishing industry, with a promotional philosophy, unique company culture, and a personality, unlike any other book marketing agency. We’re different by design, with a simple company mission statement: Do everything possible to make good things happen for our clients.