Elizabeth Allen – W&N, in association with Jane Beaton – Kew (Hardback celebrity)
Alison Barrow – Transworld (Hardback fiction)
Ceri Maxwell – Vintage (Original paperback)
Ruth Waldram – Cape (Hardback non-fiction)
We have a different format of notes this month to reflect the fact that it was a different format of meeting. Key points are below!
THE SECOND HALF by Roy Keane and Roddy Doyle Publicists – Elizabeth Allen (W&N) and Jane Beaton (Kew Publicity)
· Get to No 1 in Non Fiction
· Emulate Alex Ferguson’s autobiography
· Very strict embargo – even in house, to create buzz and control the story
· No serial – wanted everyone to cover it
· Use co-author effectively – although we had very limited time with him we wanted to maximise this asset
· Targeted events that would all generate their own PR
· Massive press conference on launch
· Access to Roy very limited, had to decide on key targets early on
· Only had Roddy for the press conference
· Very aware of negative coverage that had appeared following Roy’s first book
· We were dealing with Roy direct, no management tier in between so came across a few double bookings!
· Embargo broken by the Mirror after Tesco started selling copies early. Biked out copies immediately to all the media.
· Aviva stadium, Dublin
· Format – photo call, press conference, round tables interviews, one to one interviews, down the lines
· Photo call on the pitch on arrival, worked well as it got photos on the wires and social media straight away and before the conference had finished. Meant that photographers could then leave
· MD of Hachette Ireland introduced Roy and Roddy. Conference filmed for social
· Maximised Roddy’s time – he did 10 interviews
· Round tables – daily papers on one, Sundays on another. All signed an NDA preventing the release of anything before 10pm that night. Meant no evening paper got a head start
· Two long print interviews – The Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday
· 4 ‘in conversation’ events. Pre signed book with ticket. PR had to be generated at each of them
· Xmas signings in strategic locations – Dublin and Manchester
· Drip feed of PR through to Christmas was crucial
· Was such a strict embargo needed? Probably not. Though press leak ended up working in our favour
· Right decision to have no serial
· Targeted specialist sports media not celebrity interview slots. This was an author request and meant he could focus solely on the football stories.
THE GIRL ON A TRAIN by Paula Hawkins Publicist – Alison Barrow (Transworld)
· Make lots of noise around publication
· Top 10 bestseller
Pre-publication – Harrogate 2014
· Highly recommend using a physical event like a festival to make some noise/do pre pub launch
· Printed 100 limited edition, Harrogate branded proofs. Deliberately small amount – made it a sort after proof, built expectation
· Branded train ticket holders given out to bring it back to the story. Made it a real buzz book
· Lots of social to capitalise and pull it together
· Journos and industry bods saw build up and started requesting proofs
· Several formats
· First early outing for ambassadorial voices
· Harrogate limited edition
· A follow up with quotes
· A one off for the goody bags at the Crime Thriller Awards. Belly banded, with ‘Have you seen the new Gone Girl…’ The only time this reference was used. Alice O’Keeffe at Bookseller used it first!
· Can’t under estimate the importance of proofs. Couldn’t have enough for a book like this. Didn’t turned down one request. Lots of proof reprints, about 1,000 copies in the end. By way of comparison and to prove that word of mouth works. Da Vinci code US edition – 50,000 proofs.
· In January, good pub date
· Lots of face to face with journalists very effective. Find a trend, what else is out? Is there a common link/theme? Bookseller trend features? Can then take it to the media with industry quotes, ‘Look it’s a trend!’
· Partnered with other publicists with crime writers, create a news story. This led to ‘The bad girls club’ type features
· Solo reviews were key. Lobbying lit editors paid off. Every time something happened went back to those that had turned down. Need a fresh hook every time.
· Coverage updates continually sent to retailers who then used quotes on headers
· Goldsboro chose it as their book of the month. Made sure everyone knew, really helped with industry buzz
· Used author a lot. Took her on a two day tour of Waterstones and indies so she could see/hear the grass roots sales stories. Lots of photos, signed copies and social activity
· Be aware of any other major events in publishing calendar – knew there would be increased bookshop footfall with the publication of Lee’s Watchman so to stay high profile placed a few key national news/profile pieces which ran the Sunday before it was published. Sales team pushed out TGOTT to single title tables in Waterstones, placed close to the displays for Watchman.
· Simon Mayo Bookclub
· SJ Watson pair up. Do you have similar big name author who is willing to a be supporting act?
· R4 Front Row
· Loose Women book club. Launch title. 40% uplift in sales.
THE ALMOST NEARLY PERFECT PEOPLE by Michael Booth Publicist – Ceri Maxwell (Vintage)
· Very wide ranging book, geographically and topically. Had to drill down what themes would work for PR
· Pitch author as THE Scandi expert
· Challenge perceptions about the region, cause controversy
· Limited expectations, no budget, no marketing
· Huge author expectations
· Author location in Denmark. Radio tricky, events not possible
· Author challenging and assertive
· Serial in G2 with masthead. Created controversy. He was invited back for follow up piece. Created a lot of international interest.
· Ran at the same time as Radio 4’s Book of the Week
· Tons of author features, lots of specialist, 6 travel mag pieces
· As interest grew, went back to lit editors with the evidence to secure reviews
As success continued…
· Started to look at partnerships – eg, Scandi kitchen, competition and social media campaign
· Author became the go-to guy for the Scandi region
· Agree clear targets with author at beginning of the campaign
· News stories and wider angles, keep looking for them. Go back and re pitch to lit editors and teams in house
· Improved author-publicist relationship by adapting own communication style to mirror the author’s more assertive style
H IS FOR HAWK by Helen Macdonald Publicist – Ruth Waldram (Jonathan Cape)
· Launch author as key woman writing in male dominated natural history sphere
· A Sunday Times Top 10
· Set up for paperback
· Unknown author
· August publication
· Wasn’t a focus title, lots of internal activity needed
· A hybrid book, wide reaching but not one thing. Part memoir, part literary biog
To kick things off…
· Great advance quotes
· Pictures – get them early, clear the rights. How can you use them widen the campaign?
· Personal notes with each proof copy
· In house love – capture it, screen grab it and USE it!!
· Big splash to drive pre orders
· Met all lit editors, led to big reviews. When Bookseller profile came out and Edinburgh Lit Fest was confirmed this was fed to them convince them to review
· Targeted core nature/natural history media
· If it’s an award winner, stress the success of the book BEFORE it’s been shortlisted/won
· Capture spikes when they happen and include then – graphs, screen grabs of Amazon charts etc
· Always ask someone to proof read
· Proofs! Very useful 200 initially, this went up to 400
· Get everyone reading
· Get The Bookseller on board
· Make the most of assets
· If the campaign take off, you need to dedicate the time, talk to your line manager if necessary