Tag: publicity


Publicists: A few things your authors would like you to know

I have been working as a publicist for… well, let’s just say that it turned out to be a rather horrifying number of years when I added it up, but I recently gained a new insight into the author’s experience. I had edited a handful of poetry anthologies for which I handled the publicity myself, but in 2018 my latest – She is Fierce – was published by Macmillan’s Children’s Books. Thanks to their excellent publicity team, especially my publicist Amber Ivatt, it was a brilliant experience being on the other side of the campaign and underlined for me several points that were hugely valuable to me as an author. So, publicists, here are some things your authors would like you to know:

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A publicist’s tips for nurturing contacts

Publicists and marketers are working in a digital and trad media world where contacts are easy to find but perhaps harder to reach. Nurturing and maintaining relationships in this environment is as important as ever but some challenges are presented. How do you keep up with simultaneous communication through email, Twitter, Messenger, Instagram, Facebook and other digital platforms without feeling overwhelmed? How do you ensure that your communication is meaningful, that you present yourself as a valuable contact rather than white noise or even unwanted spam?

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How to start using hashtags effectively right now

In our recent #BookMarketingChat, our guest, the very patient Ben Sailer from CoSchedule (a site I LOVE — their blog is the bomb), reviewed the proper use of hashtags across all social media channels. If you missed our chat, I encourage you to review our Storify summary here.

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5 ways to perfect your pre-launch publicity campaign

Digital reading platform The Pigeonhole have launched a competition with Pan Macmillan, giving 500 winners early access to a serialized exclusive of Ken Follett’s latest blockbusting novel, A Column of Fire (see below for more info). Ahead of this, The Pigeonhole’s Laurence Kilpatrick shares his top tips for pre-launch publicity.

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How to secure publicity for potentially divisive books

January this year saw the launch of our new series of books on gender diversity. From first-person memoirs to children’s storybooks, many of these books are written by trans and non-binary people and consider the particular challenges that this group faces.

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The past, present and future of publicity: Interview with Georgina Moore

Georgina Moore is Communications Director at Headline and Tinder Press, and runs the Press Office. Her recent campaigns include Bryony Gordon’s Mad Girl and Sarah Schmidt’s See What I Have Done and she is currently working on Maggie O’Farrell’s memoir I Am, I Am, I Am. Sam Perkins interviews her here. 

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Tips for running a bookshop event

Sheila O’Reilly is the Events Manager Village Bookshop in Dulwich Village. She is a bookseller with over 18 years’ experience of running bookshops and author event. Passionate about running hugely successful events that customers enjoy she also loves reading well written stories. Here she shares her top tips for running bookshop events. 

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5 tips for getting yourself PR-ready

Congratulations, you’re writing a book. You’re probably thinking, ‘I just need to get this finished and then I’ll begin to think about how to promote it.’ My advice would be, start thinking now. It’s never too early! Here are my top 5 tips to get your book and yourself PR-ready:

1) Book your publicist early

If you’re planning on hiring a professional publicist, bear in mind that they’re likely to want to start thinking about the campaign about 4 months ahead of publication. Good PRs get booked up, so start your research early.

2) Have a clear idea of ‘what’ your book is, and who your target audience is

When the project is close to your heart it can be hard to stand back, be objective, and accept that your book won’t be for everyone and to really pin down who it is you’re trying to reach. Your publicist will read your book, of course, but your help here is invaluable too.

I can’t stress how crucial it is to nail your audience – in order to create a targeted campaign (meaning one that results in book sales) your publicist needs to identify the media consumed by the audience you most want to reach. Are they the well-heeled, middle classes in the Home Counties who might enjoy their subscription to the Times or Telegraph; are they ‘heat seekers’ looking for their next beach reads; are they urban types who want to be ahead of any new trend?

3) What is the USP – what is it that makes the book, or your personal story, original?

Is it a non-fiction book that contains brand new research?  What are the most salient, newsworthy points?

Are you uniquely qualified as an author on this particular subject? For example, bestselling crime writer Kathy Reichs is also a forensic anthropologist, so you always know that the science in her books is going to be spot on. That is her USP.

4) It’s all about the angles…

A publicist will be trying every avenue to get you publicity, so give them as much info as possible.

  • Be honest with yourself, and know what you’re happy to talk about.
  • Do you have an interesting career, or hobbies?
  • Do you live in a particularly stunning house that would lend itself well to photoshoots?
  • Are you well connected? For example, maybe you have a famous brother, and your publicist could pitch you to ‘Relative Values’ in the Sunday Times.
  • Do you have local connections – always handy for regional media.
  • Are you a police officer who could write about all the things that police procedural novels normally get wrong? Are you a Doctor who sees countless mistakes in medical dramas? Your publicist will be able to place a piece on this that will in turn link to your book.

5) Utilise social media platforms and begin to build relationships

Twitter can be a godsend for authors, enabling them to engage with like-minded souls who might be interested in hearing about their book. Don’t be all ‘plug plug plug’ – let your PR do that for you – instead, find people talking about books that you like and join in.

Lots of book bloggers are very active on twitter and engaging with them early can be hugely beneficial when the time comes for your book to be pitched. Everyone remembers the person they had a lovely back and forth with about a shared interest.

Your publicist is there to do everything they can to get your book to the widest audience possible. Have an open discussion at the outset about your hopes for the campaign, and find out what their plans and their vision is, so that everyone is working to the same goal.  Good luck.

Emma Finnigan has been promoting books for almost 20 years, at both the Orion Publishing Group, Penguin Random House and most recently as Director of Emma Finnigan PR Follow her on twitter at @EmmaFinnigan.

The relationship between author and publicist

Carys Bray is the author of a collection of short stories, Sweet Home, and two novels, A Song for Issy Bradley, which was shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, and The Museum of You. Here, she shares her experience about an author’s relationship with a publicist.

When my first book was published I was my own publicist. I managed to arrange a few appearances in bookshops, but if anyone approached me (I couldn’t bring myself to approach them) I found myself saying things like: ‘You can buy one of my books if you like, but you don’t have to – in fact, have you ever read any books by Carol Shields or Anne Tyler or Liz Jensen? They’re brilliant, you should definitely buy their books…’

I was a terrible publicist.

When, having written my second book (my first novel), I was assigned to work with a publicist, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t know that publicists work on several books at once and face both time and budgetary constraints – I’d never really given it any thought. I quickly realised that although some of the trickier jobs (such as sending out review copies, speaking to bookshops and festivals, working with book bloggers, arranging interviews and so on) may no longer be exclusively mine, I needed to remain engaged and think about the best way to showcase my work.

Advice from other, more experienced writers was, and is, helpful. Here are a couple of thoughts from some experienced writers:

‘Publicists are expected to perform magic for every author, every time, and from what I’ve seen they go into it with absolute dedication and determination, but it doesn’t always pay off for reasons that aren’t always within their control.’

‘Writers need to make a leap of understanding – our books are only the single most important thing in our own universes. A book is not a story. Writers need to offer a publicist something – apart from their book – to work with.’

Every book is different and, as another writer friend advised, ‘A standard approach does neither the book nor the writer justice.’ I’ve tried to offer my publicists things to work with (at such times I realise how boring I am and vow to get some interesting hobbies!). It can be tricky to decide which parts of your life you’re willing to share and which are entirely yours and should remain separate from your books and writing life. A good publicist can help you to strike a balance.

There have been times when things haven’t gone quite right. I’ve spoken to rooms of mostly empty chairs and once to a room containing one person – it was actually quite fun in the end! I’ve carried bags of books to events and lugged every single one home with me. I’ve twice been interviewed by journalists who subsequently removed all the questions and chopped up my words to create a decontextualized first person narrative which sounded absolutely nothing like me. But I have had many enjoyable experiences, too.

When The Museum of You was published I spent a day riding around the northwest in an old-fashioned bus. When A Song for Issy Bradley was published a writer at the Guardian conducted a thoughtful interview addressing my feelings about Mormonism. I have given talks in libraries, interviewed writers at literary festivals, been an after dinner speaker and interacted with many generous book bloggers. Publicists have helped me to practice interview questions, smiled at me through the glass while I’ve done live radio interviews, helped me find my way around unfamiliar cities, and even offered consolation following a horrible gaff on social media. I’ve enjoyed working with my publicists and hopefully, between us, we’ve managed to find ways to introduce my books to people who will really enjoy them.

Publicist [JOB POSTING]

Polity, a leading independent publisher, is looking for an experienced publicist to join its friendly marketing team in Oxford.  Excellent communication skills are essential; applicants with a social sciences, humanities or publishing degree would be preferable.

Polity offers a competitive salary, a pension scheme and 25 days annual holiday.

This position is based at our offices in the Oxford Business Park, Cowley, Oxford and reports to the head of marketing.

Please apply in writing with a full CV and the email addresses of two referees to Gill Motley, Polity, 65 Bridge St, Cambridge CB2 1UR.  The closing date for applications is Monday, 31st  October 2016.

Frankfurt book fair

Top PR and marketing tips for an international audience

Kathrin Grün is the PR Manager for the Anglo team at the Frankfurt Book Fair and is in charge of all media relations with the international news outlets. She also coordinates the PR activities for the Frankfurt Book Fair’s offices abroad.

The Frankfurt Book Fair is the international publishing industry’s biggest trade fair, with around 275,000 visitors meeting in Frankfurt over five days. They network, they have meetings, they eat, they drink, they sleep occasionally, and they walk. A lot. In the PR and Marketing team we play our part in organising the 4,000 or so events which take place every October in the Business Club and on the Fair Grounds and, of course, we liaise with the press all year round. During the Fair itself, roughly 10,000 journalists descend on the Halls, so we are always on call.

But it’s not all about what happens during those 5 days in October. The Book Fair team are busy all year round, so it’s important that we keep abreast of what’s happening in the world of books, films and games on a daily basis, and that we keep our PR and Marketing messaging up-to-date.

As our thoughts focus on the London Book Fair, where we will meet up with friends and colleagues from around the world, I thought it might be useful to share some PR and Marketing tips with you, focusing on reaching an international audience.

1) Planning

Planning is crucial. Look at the entire calendar year ahead, so you can dovetail any promotion or announcement into an important/relevant event. Other international book fairs, like London and Bologna, are always good opportunities to unveil new initiatives. But timing is important, so make sure you don’t clash with something else happening at the same time, and spread your announcements out as much as possible.

2) Identifying what is relevant to each market

Do you research before sending out any press release or email blast. What might be relevant in one country may be totally irrelevant in another. Remember, if people can’t see how it affects them, they will bin it. If it’s not relevant, don’t send it.

3) Keeping the messages simple and easy to understand

Don’t get too close to the project or announcement you are working on, and don’t make it too complicated. Simple and concise language is always best. If no one understands your messages, it’s a waste of time and money.

4) Using social media to reach people internationally

Make the most of as many social media channels as possible. It’s the quickest and easiest way of getting to lots of different people around the world, all at once. And it’s free. But do remember about different time zones. It is pointless announcing something huge when half the world is asleep!

5) Trying to keep ahead of the curve

Keeping ahead of the curve is always a challenge, but it’s really important to be up to date with all the latest trends and developments around the globe. Try to build up contacts in as many international markets as you can, so they can keep you up to speed with what is happening where they live. Any press releases or marketing initiatives should reflect the very latest activities in a particular region, and should include the most recent statistics.

Pinterest for publishers

Change is certainly the only thing that is constant among all social media networks. You can’t afford to grow comfortable with the way things are because today’s Facebook may look different next year — or even next month.

The same goes for Pinterest. The founders keep arguing that this website is a search engine, but everyone else keeps calling it a social media network. Whatever you call it, Pinterest has changed as well.

If you haven’t been using Pinterest, this post will help you to get started. If you’ve been on Pinterest for some time, you’ll learn about changes that have recently occurred.

We’re Part of a Visual Social Web

Social media has been trending toward a visual social web for the past several years. Take Instagram for example. It’s entirely visual. Tumblr has transitioned increasingly to a visual media website.

It was rumoured when Facebook purchased Instagram years ago that the move was made to compete with Pinterest. And Twitter recently began accommodating large images in its newsfeed.

What’s happening?

“Researchers found that colored visuals increased people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%.” – James Mawhinney, HubSpot.com

What the above quote and the research Mawhinney refers to tell us is that If you don’t use images in your marketing, you’re making a mistake. Pictures improve engagement with your readers on social media and bring traffic to your website and dedicated readers.

For example, if you write insightful blog posts, but you aren’t incorporating images into the posts, you may be losing valuable readers who, over time, would purchase your books and retain you for any services you offer, such as editing.

In the same blog post, Mawhinney goes on to say this, “Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.”

The importance of images is what makes Pinterest an essential part of your marketing.

A Closer Look at Pinterest

One of the beauties of Pinterest is that you can pin images from your website to a dedicated pinboard, and thus enjoy increased traffic to your blog, website or other landing pages.

Take a look at the people who are using Pinterest. Source: SproutSocial

  • As of February 2015, 71% of Pinterest’s users were women.
  • Men are a growing demographic on Pinterest. One-third of sign-ups is now coming from men. “…more men use the platform in the U.S. every month than read Sports Illustrated, and GQ combined.”
  • Pinterest is increasingly mobile. Seventy-five percent of Pinterest usage occurs on mobile devices. 45% of users are from outside the U.S. (September 2015).
  • Users are avid online shoppers.
  • Millennials are avid users.

Other sources indicate that its consumer base is international (think book sales in India), and that is has a broad consumer base of Millenials (those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s).


Frances-Dixie-8-15-12-1024x682This is a guest post by Frances Caballo. Frances is an author, podcaster and social media strategist and manager for writers. You can read the full post and more on her blog, Social Media Just for Writers.

Publishers & Bloggers: A match made in heaven?

Like many areas of the media world, publishing is becoming ever more reliant on it’s online presence. No book launch goes by without a relevant hashtag or two, book trailers that are worthy of the big screen, and websites created just for one book.

But often, the most vital tool at a publishers disposal is the blogger; ready, willing, and most certainly able, they can garner more buzz for a title than a thousand shop windows could ever manage.

So how to make this most symbiotic relationship work? And how can it fall apart?

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