Emma Noble is the director of Noble Words Communications and Book Publicity, which has offices in Sydney and Melbourne. She has more than 15 years of experience in promoting writers of fiction and non-fiction in the UK and in Australia. Noble Words’ regular clients include major publishers like Penguin Random House Australia, Allen & Unwin and HarperCollins Australia, as well as many self-published authors.
You’ve been promoting writers of fiction and non-fiction for nearly 20 years. What makes you so passionate about books and authors?
Like most publishing industry people, I got into it because I’ve always loved reading, so my passion for books has been there for as long as I can remember. (Ask anyone working in books: we’re not in it for the riches.) And working with the talented people who write them is a real privilege, although such close contact is guaranteed to kill any writing ambitions I might have harboured, since they make it look impossibly easy. I think we’re at a cultural crossroads in Australia and writers (and the organisations that support them) need every advocate they can get. The more publicists out there fighting to keep books and writers at the forefront of public conversation the better, in my opinion.
You wrote The DIY Book PR Guide. Are PR skills something writers can learn?
PR skills are something most authors already have. Much of my job is about communicating an idea in a clear and succinct way that is appropriate to a specific audience; authors are, by definition, creative ‘ideas people’ who excel at writing, so they already have these foundation skills. What my book (and my upcoming NSW Writers’ Centre course) does is set out a framework for a great PR campaign, including how and when to pitch ideas, and to whom.
Can you share some details of one of your favourite success stories with us?
Career highlights include the obvious ones – touring Michael Palin around Australia and managing publicity for the Sydney Writers’ Festival, for example – but I’m happiest when I’ve pulled off something a little exceptional, like a Good Weekend profile for a debut writer, or national TV coverage for a self-published author.
Emma Noble is sharing all her secrets in Book Publicity for Self-Published Authors, a seminar on 3 March from 6:30pm-9:30pm at the NSW Writers’ Centre.