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Think News, not Reviews

Posted on July 13, 2015 by Sheila Bounford

In her third and final post on what an independent literary publisher made of the Bookseller's recent Marketing and Publicity conference, Cherry Potts of Arachne Press summarises what was said about reviewers, reviews, news & literary festivals.

Reviewers, Reviews, News & Literary Festivals
Useful advice from Eleanor Mills, Editorial Director at The Sunday Times about approaching newspapers and magazines, and not necessarily going for the book pages which are inevitably chock full of big names. Apply the human angle (again! they are more interested in the author than the book) to a current news story and offer a relevant author to write or be interviewed. This has the advantage of including authors from the backlist, it doesn’t need to be limited to the authors of recent or forthcoming titles.

For a review send the book with a hand written letter to a specific person and tell them why you’ve chosen to send them it – if they’ve written about the subject or reviewed positively a book that you can relate it to etc.( I expect some of you are going yes, yes; at this point, but this information was manna to me!)

There was some disagreement over the value of print media reviews, with the booksellers saying they are incredibly useful, and the online reviewers saying don’t get stuck in the past, so do whatever you think will work for you! (I’ve been researching all the social media that people mentioned this morning and I have to admit to reaching my Don’t ****ing Care level in the process). For those of you with greater tolerance you might want to look at The Pool (dot com). How did I not know about BookTube?

Specifically Books and Quills was recommended as a possible place to try for articles that relate your books and authors to current events. I have to say after a swift glance at what came up at the top BookTube is a bit noisy, but if they are being noisy about my books, that’s fine by me. I learnt a lot about Pinterest, but found myself thinking that adding this to my already time consuming social media roster might be that spread-too-thin moment.

A useful point was not to put the same content on all the different media streams at the same time – apparently it annoys reviewers if they get the SAME message from different sources. Counter-intuitive?

Something I already knew about publishing – people are generous and don’t treat each other as competitors. Publicists were talking about promoting each other’s books, and running blogs that never mentioned the books or the company behind the blog but just talk nicely and topically not even always about books and authors at all. Behaving like journalists gets them noticed by other journalists.

(This is where the time thing comes in again ...)

And finally: pitching to literary festivals. Know who you are pitching to – who goes to the festival? Is your book/ author right for it? Think broadly - cross over to other publishers and suggest joint readings that match the zeitgeist. Tell them if your author is shy or needs a host or can hold their own in a row … Invite organisers to your events.

You see, it really is all about the author!

Many thanks to Cherry for taking the time to write about what she learned (and what knowledge she had reconfirmed) by being our winning delegate for the Bookseller conference. You can read Part I here and Part II here. Also a number of slide presentations from the conference are available here.

If you have an idea for an article about publishing for the Inpress blog, please do get in contact with us.



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