The last time we spoke was pre-COVID. What’s been the biggest change in the book publicity landscape since then?
Phew, it is tough to pick! Obviously closed borders and public gathering restrictions completely obliterated the book tour and festival circuit as we knew it, and it has been incredibly heartening to see retailer events and writers’ festivals swinging back into gear over the past couple of months. I feel confident that our literary community, bolstered by such strong independent bookshops especially, will always find new and safe ways to celebrate new releases, generate conversations and host a crowd – and I’m hopeful that the industry in general will work to maintain the new level of audience accessibility that virtual events proved was possible.
Securing media coverage for books and authors is undeniably tougher now. It’s a slower process, there is (even more) limited space. Editors and producers across the media are doing so much with often so little resources. In my opinion, one of the most upsetting changes was the closure of so many excellent women’s magazines. Any move that drastically shrinks the opportunities for writers and the space for books coverage, be it reviews or features or interviews, is devastating.
What’s the difference between a good and bad press release?
A good press release should be clear, concise, and include all relevant information – that means publication date, RRP, a contact email address, the author’s location and availability. It should tell the outlet a little more about the book than they can find on the blurb copy, but don’t waffle! You can tailor your individual communications to include talking points and suggested angles. A bad press release is one that is presumptuous, crowded yet missing information, an eye-watering combination of fonts and sizes. And contains typos and errors (these happen, but try not to)!
What are you reading at the moment?
I just finished Patricia Lockwood’s No One is Talking About This, which completely tore me apart in ways I could never have expected. I highly recommend it for anyone terminally online! And now I’m reading advance copies of Gary Nunn’s The Psychic Tests (out in September) – a wildly entertaining deep dive into the psychic industry and the inner lives of people who seek guidance from the supernatural world. It’s fascinating and funny with a huge heart.
Léa Antigny is a publicist and writer with a decade’s experience in trade publishing. She has worked on media campaigns for local and international authors across genres including literary fiction, non-fiction, illustrated and lifestyle. She is Publicity Director at Pantera Press.
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