Off to work we dodo: The Publicist

By Ellie Cheele

Posted on July 7, 2014 in Books with tags Life in Publishing, Off To Work We Dodo

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we… dodo!

We’re taking you on a behind-the-scenes tour of Hodderscape HQ – every fortnight a member of the team is giving you an insight into what they do on a daily basis. This week: publicity.

I think the best words to describe what it’s like to work in the publicity department of a book publisher would be BUSY, VARIED and EXCITING!

The job begins almost as soon as a new book is acquired on to the list, at which point it is allocated to a specific publicist. I personally work on all the Hodderscape titles (obviously) but also a few others that include crime, historical fiction, women’s fiction, self-help etc. – this is where the varied nature of the job comes in to play.

Once I have been allocated a specific book, I like to have a peruse around the internet to see what I can find out about the author and the themes of the book. The editorial department ask every author to fill out a questionnaire which is also very useful for me to have a look at. I find it really useful to meet the author face to face, although this isn’t always possible with authors who live abroad, in which case I’ll send over an email or give them a call to introduce myself. Listening to an author talk so passionately about the book they have spent such a long time perfecting really makes me even more determined to get the book as much media coverage as possible! Chatting to the author either in person, on the phone or via email is also important to discuss feature ideas, event possibilities, review coverage and anything else that might drive publicity for their book.

Before a book is published I send out proof copies or review copies to a whole host of people: literary editors at the national newspapers, weekly and monthly magazines, bloggers and so on. I send the review copy with a press release which I have written giving some (hopefully) enticing information about the book, when it publishes, in what format, at what price and a little biography about the author. After this comes the fun part… the chasing! Essentially, I follow up either by email or phone to make sure people received the book and see whether they are planning on running a review. This is also when I’ll discuss placing features and interviews.

When it comes to Hodderscape titles, my main targets are often the SFF magazines and websites and, of course, the all-important bloggers who are keen shouters about the books they love.

Publicity is not just based in print and online but is also about trying to place authors on to television and radio programmes to further promote their books, and arranging events and appearances at literary festivals.

In short, publicity is about getting as much media coverage as possible for a book. Basically, it’s shouting about books far and wide and as loudly as possible to anyone who will listen – which is something I personally love doing!


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