Ep 83 An Aussie self-publishing sensation, a vending machine that dispenses short stories, how to write your author bio, huge plagiarism scandal, how Candice Fox writes two books at the same time, writing app Novlr, and how to do your own book publicity with uber-publicist Emma Noble.

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podcast-artwork In Episode 83 of So you want to be a writer: Australian self-publishing success Beau Taplin, a vending machine that dispenses short stories, how to write your author bio, super prolific author caught in a plagiarism scandal, and the book “Content Inc.” by Joe Pulizzi. Also: how Candice Fox writes two books at once and keeps them distinct, how to DIY book publicity with uber-publicist Emma Noble, the writing app Novlr (free until the end of November), how much should you charge as a copywriter, Allison Tait’s latest book “Breath of the Dragon”, and more!

Click play to listen to the podcast or find it on iTunes here. If you don’t use iTunes you can get the feed here, or listen to us on Stitcher radio.

Show Notes

Aussie writer gains A-list recognition for self-published work

This vending machine prints short stories to read instead of looking at your phone

Writing Your Author Bio? Here Are 10 Great Examples

Don’t Do This Ever (an advice column for writers): Plagiarism Warning edition

Content Inc. by Joe Pulizzi

Double Trouble

Publicist in Residence 

Emma Noble
publicist emma nobleEmma Noble is the director of Noble Words Boutique Communications and Book Publicity. She has 15 years of experience in book promotions in Australia and the UK and has launched the careers of many successful debut writers, built the profiles of developing authors and managed celebrity talent across the spectrum of fiction and non-fiction genres. Along the way, she trained many authors in the art of effective media communications.

Find Emma on Twitter

Web Pick

Novlr

Working Writer’s Tip

How much should you charge as a copywriter?

Answered in the podcast!

Get Allison’s latest book!

Breath of the Dragon

Competition

Win a copy of Swimming Home by Mary-Rose MacColl

Entries close 2nd November 2015.

Your hosts

Allison Tait

Valerie Khoo / Australian Writers’ Centre

Connect with us on twitter

@altait

@valeriekhoo

Email us

podcast at writerscentre.com.au

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Interview Transcript 

Valerie

Thanks for joining us today, Emma.

 

Emma

Thank you so much for having me, Valerie.

 

Valerie

Now, I have your book in my hand, The DIY Book PR Guide, with the subtitle “The happier guide to do it yourself book publicity in seven easy steps.”

 

As soon as this landed on my desk I was very excited. For people who haven’t got a copy of the book yet, can you tell us what it’s about?

 

Emma

Absolutely, thank you for asking. It is essentially distills what must be about 17 years’ worth of experience in promoting fiction, non-fiction on two continents, that makes me feel incredibly old to say that, but it is true.

 

I’ve collected together some of the lessons that I’ve learned along the way about promoting books. I’ve learned those lessons the hard way so you don’t have to, and I have written them all down in a book, so it’s everything you need to know about constructing and conducting a book publicity campaign.

 

Valerie

Great. Can you give us just a bit of a potted history about your background and experience in book publicity?

 

Emma

Absolutely. I started off in editorial, funnily enough, in England in the late ’90s, that makes me feel very old indeed. And, I always knew that I wanted to get into books, I actually had a journalism degree but decided that books were more my speed, rather than media.

 

Started out in editorial and kind of quickly realized that I really didn’t have the attention to detail necessary to look at the same piece of copy 17, 18, 19 times, whatever it takes to be an editor and I really hated every second of it.

 

But, I loved the book industry, and I looked across my desk to the publicity department who always seemed to have a glass of champagne in their hands and be on the phone and having a terribly good time, just to reinforce all of those terrible stereotypes about publicists, but they really did seem to love what they were doing.

 

And an opportunity came up in a company that I was working for at the time, Quadrille Publishing in London, and the publicity manager asked me to go along and join her there, and that was my first… experience. They had some really great authors, many non-fiction illustrated coffee table books, which are actually quite easy to promote, so it was quite an interesting and easy entre in the world of publicity.

 

Then I joined Orion Publishing in London and they have a lot more fiction on their list, so I was working with a lot of crime fiction and women’s fiction, all of those people like Erica James and Ian Rankin and Maeve Binchy, and that kind of broadened my experience out into the fiction world a bit.

 

And then, it’s a bit of a long story, but I’ve kind of come backwards and forwards between London and Australia, Sydney and Melbourne for a few years. And, I was invited to come out to Sydney and run the Orion group’s list as part of Hachette Australia in 2006. So, they kind of transferred me out to Sydney and I managed their list there for about four years before starting my own company.

 

Valerie

Great. And now what do you do with your own company?

 

Emma

Now I represent authors of all sizes and all genres, and I look after their publicity campaigns for them. A lot of my work comes via the major publishers who are working with increasingly lean staff in their publicity departments and outsource a lot of campaigns now. But, I also work with self-published authors and in range of genres, so fiction and non-fiction and actually primarily fiction over the last couple of months. So, at the moment I’m working on a sporting biography for Allen & Unwin. And also an incredible novel by a Melbourne-based novelist, Tony Birch, called Ghost River. So, it really does kind of run the spectrum, the work that I do at the moment.

 

Valerie

Yeah. Great. So, when… I mean you have clients, you do book publicity for either the publishers or directly with the author, but why did you decide to distill this all into a book?

 

Emma

That’s really a good question, and it was really a question of not having the time to help everyone. I’ve get a lot of inquiries and unfortunately, this is a point worth making, a lot of those inquiries from self-published authors come way too late, usually it’s a case of, “Oh, my book has been out for three months and nothing is really happened with it. I’m wondering if you can help me?”

 

All publicists are different, but ideally I like to be on board with a campaign well before publication, about four months out if I can, or definitely before publication anyway. I find that novelty is one of the easiest reasons for a journalist to cover something and a lack of currency is the easiest reason for them to reject covering a book or an idea about a book. So, yeah, I find that self-published authors tend to come to me way too late.

 

It’s not to say that you can’t get publicity for a book that has already been out there for three months, but it’s just not the way I like to work. So, really what I wanted to do is just put down the basic structure of how to construct your own publicity campaign in order to help those people that I couldn’t help personally.

 

Valerie

Yeah. And so brought up a very valid point that a lot of self-publishers come to think of publicity, whether that’s to you or not, too late in the game. What are some of the other biggest mistakes authors make when they’re seeking publicity for their book?

 

 

Emma

Another great question. I would say not understanding what your book is actually about. It sounds like a really weird observation, but I have been in many interviews in my early career when I didn’t really know better and I should have briefed these people on being able to describe your books succinctly and clearly in one or two sentences. I’ve seen people in radio interviews go… because radio interviewers have rarely read your book, because they’re busy people who interview five authors a week, and rarely get around to reading your book.

 

I’ve heard radio interviewers say, “Local author so and so, tell us about your book.” And I’ve heard authors say, “Well, there’s a guy, and there’s another guy… hang on, but there’s also a woman, but it’s crime, but it’s not really…” you know?

 

They actually can’t describe what their book is about. So, there’s a thing in business called the elevator pitch, that I’m sure you’ve heard of, which is you’ve got a business idea and your perfect ideal investor walks into your lift and you’ve got the two or three… however long it takes you travel the two or three floors until they get out of the lift or you do, to describe your business and ask them to invest in it. That applies equally to books, you really need to be able to get your point across really quickly and really succinctly.

 

Valerie

Yeah, absolutely.

 

Emma

So, that’s another one.

 

Yeah.

 

Valerie

What else have you got? What other ones are there? Because I think a lot of people will learn a lot from this.

 

Emma

I think being perhaps realistic about who your reader is as well, because I find a lot of people, self-published and traditionally published, when asked who their reader is say, “Oh, this book is really for everyone.” And, you know, that’s not true of many books I don’t think.

 

I think if Bloomsbury when they first picked up Harry Potter had said, “I think this book is for everyone,” I think they would have struggled to convince people that was necessarily right. I think a very sort of concerted and expensive marketing campaign eventually won around an adult audience, but essentially it’s a children’s and young adult book that became kind of zeitgeist-y enough to become an adult book as well.

 

Even those ones that do sort of transcend age and gender boundaries, I think they’re backed by massive marketing campaigns and they are backed by fleets of sales reps who are able to kind of position books in a way that they are seen by many, many different people.

 

Essentially most books have a reader, a certain type of reader. Let’s say you’ve written a book about… you know, you’re a 36-year-old urban male who is interested enough in brewing his own beer to write a book about it, the chances are your reader is going to look quite a lot like you.

 

Valerie

Yes.

 

Emma

Yeah. Women’s fiction is very broad, catch-all phrase, but, you know, it’s called ‘women’s fiction’ for a reason, there are very few male readers who read women’s fiction, romance fiction or historical romance, whatever. So, it’s unhelpful when planning your publicity campaign to go, “Do you know what? I’m just going to talk to all media, because I really think this is a book that everyone should have.”

 

You need to be very clear about who your reader is, and that helps you identify the media they consume, and that helps you target them. You’re able to go Australia’s Women’s Weekly, or, you know, Brewer’s Magazine Monthly, whatever your book is about, I may have made that up, or it might be a real thing, I’m not sure.

 

Valerie

Yes.

 

Emma

But, with confidence, knowing that the content that you’re offering them is relevant to their audience and therefore more likely to get taken up by them.

 

Valerie

Yeah, absolutely. Let’s say we’ve written a book, and we want to do things the right way. We don’t want to approach publicity too late, we want to make sure we have all of our ducks in a row, at what point in the manuscript writing process, in the editing process should we be thinking about publicity?

 

Emma

Well, I suppose that depends on how you’re publishing as well, doesn’t it? Because if you’re published with a publisher, the chances are you’re going to deliver your manuscript about a year before you’re actually published, so you’ve got plenty of time, or nine months or whatever the traditional turnaround is, but it’s a long time ahead, isn’t it?

 

Valerie

Yes.

 

Emma

So, that gives you a little more leeway to sort of start thinking about… actually, the other thing is if you’re published traditionally you’ve probably got an in-house publicist, so a book like mine might still be helpful, it might give you a clearer idea of what that in-house publicist is going to be doing and when… but, let’s say we’re talking about self-published authors…

 

Valerie

Yes.

 

Emma

I think realistically you need to be thinking about publicity anywhere between four and six months ahead of publication in a perfect world, and that’s if you want to talk to traditional media, you’re not just concentrating on digital media.

 

Let’s take, for example, I’m working on a book at the moment called The Dressmaker, that is about to hit screens as a film starring Liam Hemsworth and Judy Davis and various other luminaries. That book is a really good example of a novel that has quite a strong non-fiction angle to it, fashion. Now you wouldn’t normally go to Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar with a women’s fiction read, because they have very limited review space and they tend to kind of privilege those sort of heavy-weight literary novels, however, The Dressmaker is about a woman who leaves small town Australia, goes over to Paris, becomes a noted couturier and then is forced to return to her small Victorian town to care for her ailing mother.

 

It’s got Kate Winslet in the movie, she looks fabulous in all of the frocks. Like, there’s just frocks, frocks, and frocks throughout, so Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar where incredibly interested in covering this book and speaking to the author and then talking about the film, obviously a film adaption is always going to be helpful for book publicity purposes.

 

Valerie

Of course.

 

Emma

But, let’s say that you want to speak to Harper’s and Vogue about your book, they’re working about four months in advance of publication, which means that we’re in October 2015, and they are going to be working on January and February issues right now.

 

Valerie

Yep.

 

Emma
So, if your book is a February book you need to be speaking with to long-lead magazines right now. So, that really underscores the importance, I think, of planning your campaign, working out which media you want to talk to, what you’re going to offer them well in advance of their deadlines, and actually an important point to note is that what you really want to be doing is timing all publicity to coincide with publication. I don’t know if I really made that clear, but, you know, the consumer is exposed to so many marketing messages on an average day, that you want to be able to create as much cut through in that clutter as you possibly can, and the best way to do that is to concentrate as much publicity around the publication date as you can.

 

Valerie

If you’ve done that and you get a good response, you do want ongoing sales though, so should you also have a separate campaign for ongoing publicity?

 

Emma

I think you want to time the initial burst to coincide with the first week, or at least the first month of publicity. But, as long as you can kind of find new ways to keep talking about your book, and, you know, without having a specific example, there usually are plenty of opportunities to carry on talking about a book, you can hook into the news agenda, there might be something on the first ten pages of the newspaper, so kind of news story that touches on the subject of your book that you can respond to. There are anniversaries, there are things like… let’s say your book is about a librarian, there’s National Libraries Day that you can try to hook into.

 

You can keep going back to media on anniversaries like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, depending on the appeal of your book. You can keep tapping into your personal experiences, and finding stories there, so you may have taken some fabulous trip that you think a travel blogger might like to know about that you can write a short blog post in return for a book credit at the end. So, yeah, definitely keep looking at ways of promoting your book on an ongoing basis, but really what I’m interested in as a publicist is that sort of initial burst, getting the launch right, basically.

 

Valerie

Sure. I was on the phone the other to a woman who was bemoaning the fact that her book is out there, you know, she put her blood, sweat and tears into this book, as all authors do, and one of the things that she was saying is that, “I just can’t get anyone to review it,” as in anyone at any of the major papers to review it, “And I just want to get it reviewed and I’ve been sending it to them, and I’ve done this… and I’ve done that… and no one is reviewing it.” Even though she’s also had some success in her previous books.

 

My question is how important is a review?

 

Emma

I think it depends on the place, really. So, if you really feel that the Sydney Morning Herald is the heartland of your potential reader, then it is pretty crucial to try and get a review in there. And people do… it’s quite interesting, but as a publicist I don’t make my purchases based on reviews and I’m not sure why that is, because I spend my entire life pursuing them, but plenty of people do. And actually I use music reviews to purchase music, so it could just be something to do with the fact that I work in books and it’s like knowing how the sausage is made, isn’t it?

 

Sometimes it’s almost a bit of a vanity point, some authors… I always make a point of asking this, actually, about an author’s wish list, because sometimes it is as basic as an interview in the local paper so that their mum sees it. That’s their goal, if you can get them a review in The Australian they’d be like, “Yeah, great, but what about The Leader?”

 

So, I think it comes down to what’s really important to you. Reviews are increasingly hard to get, and they’re very, very hard to get for self-published authors as well. I happen to know a couple of literary editors who don’t really touch them, unfortunately, so it then becomes a question of maybe being a bit more creative about where you look for reviews.

 

And if you’re wedded to the idea of getting into the Sydney Morning Herald, maybe you start trying to create a buzz in other ways, maybe you get yourself interviewed elsewhere in the paper, or you write a short opinion piece, or you make your name familiar enough that Susan Wyndham at The Herald says, “God, I’ve heard of that person… oh, hang on, I’ve got their book on my pile.”

 

Valerie

Yes.

 

Well, speaking of trying to make a splash in other ways, the world of book publicity will have just changed heaps compared to when you first started in it, 17 years ago.

 

Emma

Yeah.

 

 

 

 

Valerie

And 17 years ago there weren’t blogs, there weren’t podcasts, there wasn’t social media. So, how has the digital world changed the way you do book publicity and how important is it for authors to embrace that digital world, or appear in that digital world?

 

Emma

Well, I should say that actually I don’t do a whole lot of social media, I do my own promotions on social media, but I don’t offer social media campaigns for authors. And the book only touches lightly on that, because as you know it’s a whole subject in its own rite, and there’s Facebook specialists who run campaigns and load things up on Hootsuite for you so you’re tweeting and Facebooking and Instagramming all in one perfect storm. It is its own kind of discipline really.

 

But, it does… it certainly has impacted on the world of traditional media too, because where you used to be able to say with certainty to a TV show, “Yes, you can have the first broadcast interview with this particular author,” all of a sudden they’re sitting in 3AW or 774 ABC Melbourne or 3GB in Sydney and there’s a camera in and the radio interview is being podcast. So, officially speaking that TV interview that you promised as the first broadcast interview isn’t really the first broadcast anymore. So, everything that you give to a print newspaper ends up online now.

 

Valerie

Yeah.

 

Emma

That’s got serious implications for extract, for example, like you might be really happy for the Daily Telegraph’s Body & Soul Daily page to run 800 words on your health and well-being book, but then it goes digital and all of a sudden it’s all over the place, which is great for publicity purposes, but it does have kind of a knock-on effects, you have to be careful about where else you offer that information or who else you’re giving exclusives to and how you’re promising firsts and so on.

 

So, yes, it’s changed a lot. But, I feel like there’s lots more opportunities for coverage with the sort of explosion of channels available to you, and you can just be a bit more creative about it. Like, you need to feed this kind of content machine really, don’t you?

 

Valerie

Yes.

 

Emma

So, there’s lots of opportunities for, you know, a creative approach and a talented writer to take advantage of.

 

Valerie

So you’ve represented many famous people in promoting their books, like Barry Humphries, the footballer Chris Judd, Michael Palin, what about if you have no profile? An author has no profile and they didn’t play in the grand final, they didn’t win the Brownlow or whatever.

 

Emma

Well, I refuse to get out of bed for them, Valerie. No, of course not.

 

No, I get your point, you have to build a profile, you have to be a little bit more creative. Essentially they’re two completely different campaigns, actually. When you’re working with a famous person you’re fielding incoming requests and you’re trying to please as many people as you can without making any mortal enemies, because, you know, everyone wants to go first, everyone wants to have, you know, 40 minutes with them instead of 10 minutes with them, or whatever the situation is.

 

That becomes a real sort of air traffic control kind of campaign, and the chances are if you’re self-publishing it’s probably not ever going to be a problem for you, if I’m completely honest.

 

Valerie

Yes.

 

Emma

The self-published author and the person with no profile has to be a little bit more creative about how they go about building that profile. So, rather than just sit down interviews talking about the grand final, they have to come up with interesting stories about their personal history or angles from… there’s an entire chapter in my book on angles and how to generate them.

 

And angles are basically story ideas that speak to media outlet’s audience and somehow touches on your book. So, you might be a plumber from Sydney’s western suburbs, and you might have written the definitive guide to home plumbing, and that sounds like a really boring book that I would never buy, but anyway there’s an audience for every book.

 

Valerie

Yes, there is.

 

Emma

But, you might have been at the peak of your plumbing trade and the rough and tumble of the high-paced plumbing world might have taken its toll on you and you might have nipped off to Nepal for a month in order to escape the rat-race, and here are the five things you learned on your Buddhist retreat, or when you were backpacking around Europe, or that romance that you had when you were, you know, 18 that went horribly wrong, or whatever it is. There are lots of kind of personal experiences that kind of resonate with everyone else that you can turn into a short blog post or a short article or whatever, but mentions your book somewhere at the end… you know, ‘so and so’ is the author of the Ultimate Guide to Plumbing, Zen in the art of washer replacement, or whatever you’ve creatively called it.

 

And you just need to generate these angles — I make it sound very simple, but, you know, really what you’re doing is having a think about the things in your personal life that you’re prepared to share and how. Or, the universal themes in your book that could be spun into little news stories, or feature pieces, or interview topics, and you’re working up a set of story ideas based on all of these interesting points that you’ve identified and then you’re working out who to pitch them to. And that’s actually in a potted sense the first two chapters of my book, H and A, Hit lists and Angles. The media you want to speak to and what you want to speak to them about, essentially. So, it’s just a matter of plugging away, Valerie.

 

Valerie

Yes.

 

Well, that makes sense if you are a plumber or if you have written a non-fiction book, but let’s say you’ve written a fictional book, and it might be women’s fiction, how do you come up with — beyond getting a review, obviously, how do you come up with story angles for a fictional book that you can pitch to the media?

 

Emma

Fiction is undoubtedly harder, but finding non-fiction angles within the fiction still applies, that’s sill how you have to approach it.

 

Valerie

Great. What’s an example?

 

Emma

Well, I mean, again, your personal life is a great place to start, as long as you don’t mind talking about it.

 

Valerie

Sure.

 

Emma

You know if your book is set on a New South Wales farm stud, by the way all of these principles apply on the West Coast as well. I keep using Sydney and Melbourne as an example, but they’re universal, I promise you.

 

But, if you grew up in a New South Wales farm stud and there’s a New South Wales farm stud in your book, then there’s an opportunity there to talk about your childhood and a pivotal point in your childhood for a website like Daily Life, or, you know…

 

Valerie

Right.

 

Emma

You have to be a little bit creative about how you’re pitching it to them, because it can’t just be, “I grew up in on a New South Wales farm stud, can I talk tell you about it?” It could be something like, I don’t know, you might be one of 11 kids, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics released its results saying that the Australian family is shrinking and it’s smaller than it’s ever been and you’re like, “Well, hang on, here’s an opportunity to talk about the fabulousness of having ten siblings roaming free on a New South Wales farm stud…” horse stud, or… do you see what I mean?

 

Valerie

Yes.

 

Emma

So you keep your eye on the news agenda, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, for example, is a really, really great place to start. You log on there, sign up, and they send you press releases about twice a day about things like refugees proving to be a valuable impart to the Australian economy, that was of particularly useful one for me when I was working on a book this time last year about a refugee to Australia.

 

Or, yeah, the size of the Australian families, or people getting married later, or small businesses, you know, startups being higher than ever in the 2014/2015 financial year, whatever those angles are.

 

Quite often I’m surprised at how often I find a link to a book that I’m working on when I read one of their press releases.

 

Or, you know, Clem Ford writes something really interesting in Daily Life and you think, “Well, actually I’ve got a different take on that same subject and actually my main character goes through sexual assault,” or whatever horrible thing that writer has written about. And you might be able to add a valuable perspective on that story.

 

So it is a matter of kind of keeping your eyes open, watching the news, thinking about how your book relates to overarching themes, like bigger issues rather than the specifics of three sisters…

 

And then kind of thinking about how your experiences make you a sort of unique and valuable commentator on those issues.

 

Valerie

Great. What’s your advice then on how to pitch that angle to journalists? Should you ring them up? Should you write it down and in an email? You know, this is for the people who are doing DIY, and may not have a publicist like yourself, what’s your advice to them?

 

Emma

This is the second ‘P’ in HAPPIER, pitch. And it’s quite an exciting… I mean I do it professionally, I suppose, but I quite like this engaging with journalists and I love the sense that you’ve hit on a story idea that really excites them and then seeing it in print or on TV is just fantastic. But, you know, I suppose it’s probably quite daunting if you’ve never done it before. So, I would always say email.

 

I know plenty of PR professionals who aren’t happy cold-calling. And I know plenty of journalists who really are just a bit busy for the phone call as well, so if you do cold call them and, “Hi, my name is… so and so… I’m a local author living in your area…” the chances are they’re going to say, “Listen, can you send me an email about that?”

 

Valerie

Yeah.

 

Emma

So… the chances are an email is going to be your first way of contacting someone.

 

And in that email I would be, obviously very polite, very succinct about your story idea, very clear about what you want them to do. So, do you want them to come to your launch? Do you want them to write a story about you before the launch in order to encourage traffic to your launch? Do you want them to review the book? What is it that you’re asking them to do? Be clear about that. And when you would like them to do it by, obviously that’s your deadline, they don’t have to respect that, but, you know, like at least you’ve asked.

 

And, then sign off, be just very short and very punchy and to the point.

 

I get a lot of approaches from self-published authors and there’s just too much history in there, there’s just too much…

 

Valerie

Oh, yes.

 

Emma

… detail — yeah, I’m sure you’ve…

 

Valerie

Life story.

 

Emma
Absolutely and you have to kind of wade through ten paragraphs to get to the point, which is that they’re looking for PR representation or they want… quite often they’re looking for an agent and I’m the wrong person anyway. So, that’s a key point, make sure you’re talking to the right person, and in this age of Google and other search engines, it’s actually not that hard to find out who covers what topics in which media.

 

And then the chances are, the old sound of one handclapping, the chances are your pitch is going to be met with complete silence, it’s a very demoralizing job. I don’t know why I’m still doing it. Just kidding.

 

But, you’re very unlikely to get a response the first time. If you do, good on you, let me know what your trick is. So, you’re going to have to follow up a couple of times. And how you time those follow ups is a bit of a combination of how willing you are to be completely ballsy and risk badgering a journalist and putting them off that way, and a combination of, you know, how long you can afford to give them as well, because if you’re timing everything to coincide with publication the longer you leave it with one journalist the less time you have to pitch it to another as well.

 

So, it’s a bit of a tricky balance. You know, I usually leave it a couple of days between emails, and then three emails later maybe progress to a phone call, if that’s your bag. or you might just decide to cut it loose and move elsewhere with the idea. Depends on the timing.

 

Valerie

What do you enjoy more, publicity for fiction or non-fiction?

 

Emma

I mean there isn’t a great deal of difference in the process, really. Again, it goes back to finding those kind of salable angles, those ways of spinning a story and then selling it to the right person at the right organization.

 

But, I mean non-fiction is easier, so the lazy part of me says, “Non-fiction.”

 

Valerie

 

Now your book also contains a sample media schedule, sample press releases, and some checklists as well that people can use when they’re constructing their pitch, when they’re approaching media and all of that sort of thing. Is that right?

 

Emma

Yes, that’s right. Yeah.

 

Valerie

Very handy.

 

Emma

Oh, that’s great. I’m glad you thought so.

 

Really, I suppose it’s like the skeleton of the entire book, it goes through constructing the hit lists, coming up with angles, how and when to pitch and follow up and what to do when you’re lucky enough to secure interviews, you know how you construct that publicity schedule, what information you need on it.

 

And then how to review your campaign as well and work out whether or not it’s been a success and whether or not there might be ideas that are super awesome that you’re really convinced are great ideas and deserve some coverage, but for whatever reason the first time you pitch them they just didn’t… so there is a little plan in there about how to kind of reattack and identify new people who might be interested.

 

And, yeah, I included sample press releases because I’m aware that a lot of people have not seen a press release.

 

Valerie

Yeah.

 

Emma

So… I thought that might be handy, and there’s also a little media training guide in there as well. So, when it comes to getting interviews a few key tips about, you know, what to wear on television and how to conduct an interview like ours today, where the interviewer is in a different location to you, so you can’t feed off of those verbal cues and the facial cues and you have to… something that I’m sure I’ve done very badly today, but stop talking when you’ve made your point.

 

Valerie

We’ve covered a few of the seven steps for do it yourself book publicity. And where can people buy your book if they would like to?

 

Emma

They can either go to my website, which is www.noblewords.com.au or it should be available on all of the major etailers, so Amazon and so on, Booktopia and so on.

 

Valerie

Fantastic.

 

And just a couple of final questions, when you’ve got clients and presumably you work on more than one client at a time, how many do you work on? I’m just interested to know how much time you have to block off for each project in a sense?

 

Emma

I suppose because of the nature of the publicity campaign timeline if you’re working on one book four months ahead of publication you can’t work on just one book for four months ahead of publication, so by its very nature you can slot in other books there, so, yeah, you’re right to ask. I’m working on a few books at any one time.

 

As a freelancer I’m lucky enough really to only have to work on two or three a month, which gives you a great amount of time to sit down and think about things carefully and construct a really great plan and keep chasing people and keep adjusting your plan as you go.

 

In-house publicists, unfortunately, aren’t quite so lucky. There’s usually, based on my own experience, maybe four or five big titles a month and then if you’re working like I was, as the Australian distributor for a much bigger UK and US list, there’s probably 40 or 50 titles on that list as well that all need kind of basic review mail outs and basic press release and whatever.

 

So, in-house publicists, incredibly hardworking people. If you think yours isn’t working very hard for you, the chances are she probably is, give her a break. Be nice… be nice to her.

 

Buy my book and you can find out more about what she’s doing. A shameless plug at the end there.

 

I say ‘she,’ because they usually are as well.

 

Valerie

Yes.

 

Finally, what’s the grandmaster plan for you? Where do you see what you’ll be doing in five years or so?

 

Emma

I think I would like to expand on the principles behind the book. So, I would like to be able to help people who I can’t personally work on campaigns for, so I’m looking at the moment at a series of online courses, I’m developing those right now.

 

And, I just sincerely hope that… you know what the book world is like. It’s so uncertain. Every year there’s some doomsayer who’s like, “Oh my god, eBooks are going to kill us.” And then they’re going to save us. You know, retailers are dying, but then they sort of spring up… there’s a bad news story every year about the publishing industry. They always prove not to be true.

 

So, in five years’ time I hope to still be working with fabulous authors, talking to great journalists about ways they can cover it, really.

 

Valerie

And on that note, thank you so much for your time today, Emma.

 

Emma

Thank you, Valerie.


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