Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Book publicity in the UK

Here's a tip which may be useful if you are (a) trying to publicise a book in the UK, and (b) are a very small and inexperienced publisher.

There exists in London a group of professional people which is known as the Publishers Publicity Circle. This is a gathering of book publicists from big the publishing houses or p.r. agencies, and it meets more or less monthly. Each meeting features (it seems) a presentation from one or more guests who work in the mainstream media: magazines, newspapers, TV companies, and so forth. And a short summary of what the guests have to say is, praise be, subsequently posted on the Publishers Publicity Circle web site. Click on the 'Last meeting' box to find an archive of such posts.

All of this information is, in my opinion, potentially valuable to authors and small publishers generally. But of course it does need to be interpreted with common sense. When the editor of Vogue (or whatever) says that she welcomes phone calls to tell her that a press release is on the way, and that she likes to chat about projects over coffee, she doesn't mean that she is happy to hear from you and me. Well, me, anyway. What she means is that she would love to hear from you if you're handling a new erotic novel by Madonna.

In the nature of things, the contact details for some of these speakers may go out of date fairly rapidly; people do move onwards and upwards. But there is a lot more on this site than just the records of previous meetings. If you're looking for a p.r. firm to plug your latest, there is a list of consultancies. There is also a list of events which might offer opportunities for writers and small publishers: e.g. the Derbyshire literary festival in June 2006.

PS. The Publishers Publicity Circle provides more food for the apostrophe debate; and note the difference, when you get to the web site, between Publishers in the heading and Publisher's in the text. Consistency is perhaps a virtue?

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