Back in my home town and you can specifically find me at BristolCon – I believe you can book in advance or come to a panel on the day. The full programme link will be added when up probably 16th or so. It’s at the Hilton Double Tree Hotel, in central Bristol.
Friday 20th October
Launch of The Green Man’s Quarry by Juliet McKenna. The latest in the brilliant Green Man series which put a fairly ordinary bloke (except, he sees weird stuff others don’t) into a world where folklore is real and bloody.
15:00 – SG1 Interview skills for authors and other creatives – a workshop helping you be confident in interviews, dealing with media, identifying stories. Me! And my 30 years in PR!
16:00 – Room 2 “Point of View” – First, second, third person? Stories told in emails, or in stream of consciousness. Endlessly fascinating topic, actually.
(Yes, one panel after the other is going to be fun)
Last couple of months, I’ve been talking to authors and poets about book publicity. (Broadly, the stuff that promotes the book which you don’t pay for.)
I’ve spent 30 years working in publicity – small organisations, individuals, big household names. I’ve done difficult TV interviews, I’ve taught plenty of people how to do them.
The main things that came up from authors of all types were as follows.
How can I be interesting talking about my book?
I’m frightened people will ask me horrible questions and I will look like an idiot.
What does a publicist do? How do I work with them, or could do it myself if I haven’t got one?
What value does publicity add? Should it be a priority?
Many people are worried about talking about their book – whether at events, on video, or talking to a journalist. They don’t think they’re important enough or interesting enough. They are paralysed with fear of looking stupid or not being able to answer questions. Even people who are confident in other contexts can be stressed by promoting their work.
You wrote a book. You can be as interesting as you need to be! I build confidence in dealing with these events. Simple preparation tools will help answer questions.
Book marketing is in some measure, about you as well as the book. People are worried they’ll be dragged into talking about things they don’t want to. How do you keep good boundaries?
I assure you, and I will show you, that you have far more control than you think -Including freedom to decide what events you do!
Many people don’t know how book publicity works – and what it can and cannot do. The basic information is straightforward – although experience and contacts and some tricks of the trade make a big difference.
I explain how it works, how you can work with a publicist if you have one through your publisher, and whether and when it’s worth hiring one…
What works? What’s a good use of your time?
Most people buy books based on more than one mention of the book. A few paid for activities deliver measurable results. I’m optimistic I can help you, particularly with how you feel about doing this. Publicity won’t sell 100,000 copies. On the other hand, it is more people who know about your book.
What are the stories in the book
What are the stories about the book
What are the stories about me and my writing
And how can I use the ones I want to promote it.
My Media Masterclass
I run two different types of workshop.
A one-hour group introduction to book publicity which gives you the basics. It’s on Zoom. There’s some opportunity for questions. I welcome contacts from existing groups. This is currently free although I circulate a tip link!
I also run an in-depth 1-2-1 focusing on your personal needs and questions. Currently this is £50 an hour (by Paypal) and includes some handy factsheets.
Email me about either.
I’m open to doing these face-to-face. Additional cost to be discussed. I like doing this convenient for British time, and also, I know the UK market better than elsewhere. But I’m open to wider engagement.
I woke up this week and thought – you should run media skills workshops for creatives.
Stephen, you worked for twelve years at Great Ormond Street. You supported world class doctors and nurses and fundraisers with the media. You helped parents and patients get through tragedies, and to get their side of the story across. I helped with research and fundraising and public interest campaigns. You enjoy doing this. You were good at it.
Last century, you led a successful consumer campaign, much of which was empowering local branches. You did turnaround PR support for the Nursing and Midwifery Council six months after it was described as ‘failing at every level’. You helped pro bono all sorts of small organisations.
My publisher publicists knew what they were doing. The publicity for Our Child of the Stars was excellent. But they’re overworked. Social media is becoming steadily less helpful at reaching audiences. It’s fragmenting, punishing small creators, and increasingly asking for money.
I thought – why not use these skills for authors and other creatives? You’ve been a writer and talking about that journey for years. Hell, you sent over a friend exhibiting her art a free PR plan last month just cos you could.
Being confident and interesting, and knowing how to answer difficult questions, will help in many ways. Some obvious opportunities on your doorstep will take little time. Speaking in public, doing interviews, getting coverage…. a bit scary but doable.
I’m piloting these workshops free, then I’ll be running them for a modest fee in the autumn. Interested? Drop me a line through contact asap.