Like many Oolies before me, when I first started the graduate program in Book Publishing at Portland State University, I thought I would be most interested in editorial. In fact, besides being an editor, I didn’t really know anything about the other jobs that existed in the publishing industry. I had a lot to learn!
After learning more about the industry from different classes and through my work as a team member on Ooligan’s YA title, Love, Dance & Egg Rolls by Jason Tanamor, I discover that I had a penchant for marketing and publicity. I applied to a few different managerial positions, but I was thrilled to be assigned my top choice: Publicity Manager!
So, what is book publicity? And how does it work at Ooligan Press?
Here’s the basics:
What is Book Publicity?
A book publicist’s job is to serve as the liaison between the author and the media with the goal of acquiring press coverage for the book and/or author. Publicity is often defined as “earned media,” being something that generates attention without necessarily paying for it.
How Does it Work at Ooligan?
The Publicity Department is relatively new to Ooligan—I’m only the third person to hold the title of Publicity Manager! The Publicity Department is responsible for:
Press kits provide information to the media on our books and authors, which saves media editors time in research and preparation. Press kits should be easily accessible, have consistent messaging, be author-centric, and be kept updated like a resume. For more about press kits, check out this blog on The Anatomy of a Press Kit or this blog on How to Write an Effective Press Release.
Review requests are just that—requests for reviews! We send out review requests to different media outlets, bloggers, bookstagrammers, authors, and book reviewers. For more about review requests, check out this blog on writing review requests, or this blog on what to do about reviews!
Launch events can be held in a variety of ways, and there have been many different types of launches with Ooligan and our authors—from events at pubs and bookstores to virtual events! At Ooligan, our launch events are about giving the students and the authors a chance to celebrate together. To get an idea of how to plan a successful launch party, check out this blog, or for a look at what we’ve learned from a year of hosting virtual book launch events and some helpful advice from past Project Managers, check out this blog!
It’s Publicity’s responsibility to organize and apply for awards for all of our books! There are a few awards we generally apply to, like the Oregon Book Award and the Foreword INDIES, but project teams will also gather other viable options, sometimes based on things like genre or author identity. To learn more about the importance of awards, check out this blog!
It’s also the Publicity Department’s responsibility to submit our authors for events such as The Portland Book Festival and The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association (PNBA) Fall Tradeshow. The publicity manager fills out submission forms and writes cover letters pitching our books and authors to be featured at these events.
If our books or our authors receive any publicity—reviews, events, interviews, awards, etc.—the Publicity Department updates our distributor, Ingram.
Some Final Thoughts.
- Publicity is about cultivating authentic attention for our authors and our books.
- Something I love about publicity is that we’re receiving recognition and validation for our authors, our books, and Ooligan Press!
- In a way, finding the right media outlets to reach the right audience can be a bit like matchmaking.
- At Ooligan, we’re passionate about our books, so it makes marketing and publicizing them easy!