Jo James – Books are my Bag
2014 campaign: 11th October Consumer launch
Jo James wants an author for every bookshop across the UK (2300 in total). Please contact her directly about A-List authors who would like to be involved. Otherwise other authors can register themselves on the website www.booksaremybag.com/author
Jo also needs as many authors involved in publicity as possible and is asking for them to supply the campaign with details of their favourite book/s or books they are currently reading etc as well as favourite shop/s.
9th October: Press launch at Foyles Charing X. Party with A-List authors and VIPs.
The 2014 Bag – this year it will be designed by Tracy Emin.
Recap on 2013 campaign
BAMB distributed 270000 bags between September and xmas. 1800 bookshops were involved and 115 celebs (including the PM) were photographed with a bag.
On launch day Bookshop sales increased by 18.5% and foot fall was 17% up.
For more info email Jo on firstname.lastname@example.org
Ruth Lewy, Feature editor, Guardian Weekend
Ruth handles books serial and all the non-regular features.
The Saturday paper has the biggest circulation and Ruth believes Weekend is the flagship part of that edition. The Guardian has 100 million unique users on website a day.
Main feature – 4500 words. Never fiction (though they are interested in fiction writers writing non-fiction). Particularly interested in A-list names for this for interview or written pieces. Also keen on emotional stories, surprising/quirky stories. She particularly likes to commission top writers doing reporter pieces. Needs to be kept updated on who might be willing to do this and what they can write about.
If you are talking to anyone else at the Guardian then be upfront about that as they can discuss between the sections.
Lead-times: They like to secure big features/extracts 2-3 months ahead of publication
Meetings: Ruth likes to meet publicists for coffee/ breakfast to go through new catalogues.
She gets a lot of proofs so likes publicists to do what they can to let her know why she should be looking at a particular book otherwise they get a bit lost. Email press release and phone about big proofs being sent.
Photo/illustrated books – Big Picture Slot runs every week. Contact Abigail.email@example.com
Otherwise for very strong photography books that would work as a double-page spread, please email Ruth a sample of 5 or 6 pics.
Rob Fearn, G2 – assistant features editor
Rob looks after serial extracts and author features. For interviews contact Nosheen – firstname.lastname@example.org
They have 4 covers a week and have the freedom to be quite playful and inventive with these. They have a good track-record of getting their features to take off online.
Monday is the main interview slot with household names. Recently they’ve talked to Malcolm Gladwell and Glenn Greenwald.
G2 is very topical and news led. They like buzzy books and authors to write features on areas of expertise that they don’t have. When sending proofs it’s useful if you can include crib sheets on the content and page references.
Lead times – They only 100% finalise the content the day before. However it’s best to contact them at least a week before. For big name interviews they like publicists to be in touch as early as possible.
Particular authors and pieces that have worked well recently are:
Mohammed Hanif on Pakistan, Kamilla Shamsie on Citizenship, Michael Booth on the Nordic myth, John Sutherland on 10 overlooked novels.
Shortcuts – good to pitch small, quirky things.
Guest columnists – they need these when authors go away on holiday.
Meetings – Rob likes to meet up with publicists.
Photo/ picture books – they have 1-2 picture stories a week.
Contact – prefers email. Rob.email@example.com
Sarah Philips, Assistant Editor, Comment is Free
Sarah looks after Comment is Free (online and print) and the columns in the main paper.
A quarter of the Guardian online’s traffic is for the Comment is Free section.
Pitching – Publicists need to be very clear what particular angle their author wants to write about. They are looking for new views rather than well-rehearsed, familiar view-points.
The best stories will make it from online into the paper.
If a news story breaks in the morning then get in touch with Sarah asap If you have someone who can write on it. They do their commissioning for the next day at 10am, so the earlier the better. However do contact her if stories are breaking later in the day that are relevant.
However not all columns emerge from the news agenda so she finds it useful to meet publicists to find out about forthcoming polemical books.
Contact: Sarah likes to be contacted by email firstname.lastname@example.org or to the generic email which is read by the comment team: email@example.com