It’s good to talk: How networking saved my book bacon
Some might say I was a late bloomer when it comes to the publishing industry. At the tender age of 24, my eyes were opened to the world of book PR via a small pub event. As I began to mingle, I realised how much I enjoyed talking to everyone about things that I really cared about-rather than just smiling and nodding. At the time I was doing work experience in events and paying the rent by working in a dog grooming salon. Nevertheless, I thought that I could reignite my childhood passion for reading (I was a proper bookworm) and combine it with talking a lot, meeting people and chin-wagging over a glass or two of vino. Subsequently, I decided to hound a Publicity Director I’d met-and three weeks later started working for her and never looked back.
That was just over two years ago, and now I am fortunate to have a job I love, great colleagues and friends I have made in my short career, alongside a swift education in social media. I get to meet amazing authors, journalists and fellow publishing folk, and despite the taboo subject of pay (publishing is notorious for this), I wouldn’t swap it for anything. Admittedly no expert on employment and a relative newcomer myself, here are my personal top tips for getting into book PR.
As with dating, you’re never going to find Prince Charming by sitting at home on the sofa. Be proactive-get out to events and engage with people online. Get yourself noticed and call, write and email about work experience opportunities. DON’T GIVE UP!
Read the papers
Grandma, eggs-yes…but it makes life so much easier and improves your confidence when you actually meet journalists if you know their work and what you’re talking about.
I was dragged rather than gently nudged into the world of social media-and now I’m quite addicted. More of a Twitter fan, it’s a great way to keep up-to-date with industry news and events, as well as meeting new people and being able to have direct contact with those usually a bit more out of reach. But use it wisely-limit drunken tweets!!! and create your own account as well as a work one, or be sure that if you do tweet about work from your account that you get to take it with you when you move jobs (talking from experience).
Never be too busy to be polite-one blunt email or phone call might not be easily forgotten-and you never know who you might end up working with. Fortunately, 99% of the people I’ve met in publishing are lovely. And book pimping never hurts.
And finally; never be afraid to ask questions.