I am delighted to welcome Bethan James to the RNA Blog’s monthly series where
we speak to book bloggers and reviewers and get an insight into their world. This
month we are taking a slight departure by speaking to Bethan who is an account
manager at PR Agency EDPR.
and your work at EDPR
Manager at publishing, lifestyle and entertainment
PR agency EDPR. I have previously
worked in publicity and marketing for Accent Press and Oxford Playhouse,
amongst others. I am an Earl Grey addict, writer and identical twin who can be
found Tweeting (mostly about books) here: @thebethanjames
have you worked at ED PR?
new Account Manager role at EDPR, so it’s been nine months already. Time flies!
described as a boutique PR Agency, what sort of authors do you work with?
is you get to work closely with authors who write in an incredible variety of
genres. I’ve enjoyed running publicity campaigns on literature in translations
for independent publisher Belgravia Books, as well as titles from the ‘Big 6’
London publishers. A typical month could involve doing PR for authors who’ve penned
nail-biting crime; gripping historical novels; gorgeous hardback non-fiction;
trailblazing sci-fi; the latest celebrity releases (like Matt Lucas’
autobiography); and fabulous romantic fiction, of course! At the moment I’m working
on lovely RNA member Elaine Everest’s heart-warming saga Christmas at Woolworths which is out on 2nd Nov –
perfect timing for a festive read.
little bit about a day in the life of a Book Publicist
publicist is it’s never boring because no two days are ever quite the same! But
in general, I’ll start my morning with a cup of Earl Grey at 9.30am as I sift through my emails. Then I might
have a PR meeting with my Director Emma Draude and the team to catch up on
media coverage for titles I’m promoting. I’ll also spend some time on the phone
following up with journalists about book reviews. Crafting email pitches to
secure features and interviews for my authors is also a key part of the day.
Other tasks can include meeting journalists, writing press releases, putting
together mailing lists for book proofs, setting up blog tours, compiling PR
updates for publishers, and delegating social media activity to our assistant.
If one of my authors has a book launch I’ll look forward to heading along for
wine, nibbles, and mingling that evening!
of contact do you have with your authors before, during and after a campaign?
off, a publisher will usually put me in touch with the author so I can get to
know them. For example, it’s good to get a sense of how comfortable they are
with broadcast interviews, what their availability is for press/ event
activity, and any personal media contacts they’d like me to reach out to. It’s
also really important for me to know if they have an interesting personal story
they can talk about linked to the book. Is there a real-life experience that
inspired your story? During the campaign, I’ll keep in regular contact with the
author to set up interviews and keep them updated on coverage plus press
cuttings. Afterwards, I’ll send a full round-up of all press and reviews
secured. It’s nice to keep in touch and see how sales are going and hear how
readers are responding to the book as well.
Communication with the author and publisher is key!
best part of your job?
passionate people who’ve poured their heart into a story, then helping readers
to discover and enjoy it is incredibly rewarding. The buzz when you land them a
big piece of national press coverage is fantastic. (That, and all the books I get to read before
they’re even out in bookshops…)
could give one piece of advice to authors what would it be?
bring your book-baby into the world, and gain an understanding of the wider
publishing process. It all helps to avoid confusion and makes things smoother
if you know the roles of different departments at a publisher and the key
timelines for a book.
piece of advice is to communicate. This of course works both ways, but once an
author forgot to tell me they were away abroad with almost no email or phone
access for a month before publication! That was a bit of a nightmare
your interests away from work? Do you ever read just to relax?
Wales, so I’m still enjoying everything the capital has to offer, from theatre,
to art galleries, eating out, and exploring hidden gems. I’m also writing my
debut novel, which is historical fiction with a dash of fantasy and romance –
watch this space! That’s keeping me pretty busy, but I try and read widely as
well. Sometimes it’s nice to wade through a novel without having to stop and
get my notebook out to jot down a potential PR angle.
ask agents and publishers what they consider to be the next ‘big thing’ – what
do you hope to see next?
eyes when I say this, as in some areas it’s
cross-genre fiction making it mainstream and hitting the Sunday Times
bestseller charts. There can be a
tendency sometimes for the industry to say that a manuscript that bridges
genres is too confusing: What shelf in a bookshop would it go on? How could you
market it and would it sell? What section of the book pages would a newspaper review
it on? I think readers deserve some
credit – if it’s a good story they’ll champion and discover it. I’m sure many
RNA members are already breaking the mould. Bring on that next big historical
crime romance thriller…
very interesting insight into the world of publicity and well done for
including a plug for Elaine Everest of this parish.
her soul in the country. Ellie’s debut release was The Flower Seller. A member
of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Alliance of Independent Authors,
Ellie’s latest book, White Lies is out now.