Thanks to everyone who played in last week's contest. The winner is TESS!!!!
Tess, please email me offline to schedule your free consultation and choose your book. :) Congrads!
Today we have Hayley Gonnason, a publicist from Tricycle Press.
Hi Hayley! Thanks for joining us today. I am sure everyone is excited to hear from a publishing publicist. But first, tell me a little about yourself, your background/experience, and your role as a publicist.
I got my start as a publicity and sales associate at a small publishing house called Northland Publishing/Rising Moon/Luna Rising, which has since closed. I’ve been a publicist for Tricycle Press, the children’s book imprint of Ten Speed Press, for just over three years.
First let me ask, do you see a difference in publicity vs marketing in the publishing industry?
That’s a pretty difficult question to answer because marketing and publicity often go hand in hand here at Tricycle. A simple way of looking at it is that with marketing we’re spending direct money to promote a book and with publicity we aren’t. My job as publicist is to promote Tricycle Press books to the media to create buzz and make people want to buy our books.
As a publicist with Tricycle Press, can you give us some insight as to what happens in your typical day?
One of the nice things about my job is, there is no “typical” day. I always have to be ready to shift gears. We recently had a book launch party and there was a miscommunication and books were never ordered for the event. When I found out, I had to drop everything to make sure the books were there in time for the event. In the end the launch went off without (as far as people attending knew) a hitch but little things like that come up all the time. When I’m not dealing with stuff like that, I’m working on creating publicity plans for upcoming books, establishing and obtaining relationships with media contacts, and arranging events for authors and illustrators.
What types of publicity do you do for your authors (ARCs, blurbs, signings, materials, collateral)? And, does your role vary by author or is there a set standard of publicity that all authors get?
At Tricycle,the marketing and publicity dept. covers everything you mention above. We create sales materials, arrange events, create collateral to promote the events, solicit blurbs and early reviews, and attend trade shows—and that’s just to start. As publicist I pitch books to the media and if authors/illustrators have a platform that makes for an interesting/newsworthy interview, I pitch them for features.
Lately, I’ve been working to promote one of our fall books by offering interviews with its subject Maggie Gee, an 86-year-old woman who flew with the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) in WWII. Barack Obama passed legislation last summer that honored WASP members with the Congressional Medal of Honor. It’s a highly topical subject.
In your opinion, what are the top 3 things you think your authors should do to promote their books?
We encourage authors to set-up their own websites so that anyone interested in obtaining more information about them and their books, can get to easily.
We advise authors to get on social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Twitter. These are also great ways for anyone to get in touch with the author/illustrator. We figure once you build contacts here, it will develop into a way of networking and promoting themselves and their book(s), ultimately leading to sales.
We also encourage authors to participate in school visits and/or book signings. This is great for meeting people in their community and familiarizing booksellers with their book(s). Often times if they’ve met you in person, they’re more likely to recommend the book to potential buyers.
What things do you expect an author to do on their own?
We don’t expect authors—especially first-time authors—to know how to promote their books on their own but we really appreciate them when they try. Some easy and inexpensive ways that authors can spread the word about their new book is to tell their friends, local bookstores, and anyone else who will listen. Many authors are now blogging about their books which is cool. One of our authors travels the country speaking at schools and conferences and she always mentions her books in her presentations and they do very well because they she’s constantly promoting them. That’s not to say that a book won’t be successful if you don’t have a platform but it helps.
What are some creative things you’ve seen your house or authors do in terms of marketing and publicity?
We’re very fortunate in having such creative authors and illustrators who are interested in promoting their books as vigorously they can. When they have a great idea, we do our best to assist them in making it become a reality. For example, last spring we published a great summer read Brand-New Emily and the author mentioned how much she loved Bonne Bell and how fun it would be to do something with them. Running with her idea, we did a joint-promotion with Bonne Bell’s Lipsmackers Lounge where the book was included in a special summer giveaway they were doing. We also arranged several other beach-themed giveaways on websites like Cheerleader and Girl’s Life Magazine. And needless to say, when word got out that the author was giving out Lipsmackers at her events, they were a huge hit!
Thanks for stopping by and sharing some insight with us!