A DAY IN THE LIFE OF…. Jess Barratt by SJV
What does a Publicity Manager do?
Shout about books!! Well more specifically, we work with authors and the media – TV, radio, magazines, newspapers and online – to set up as much coverage for our books as possible, be it broadcast interviews, written features, national reviews, blog tours – anything that promotes the book, really! We also co-ordinate events, book tours and festival appearances with authors, which are often around publication, but not always. We talk to journalists all day every day about our books, shout about them on social media and generally try to make sure you know they’re out there to buy!
Is there such a thing as a typical day, and if so what does it look like?
Not really! I write press releases and pitches, create mailing lists for proofs and beautiful finished copies, respond to journalist and blogger requests for books, explore ideas for features with authors and editors and generally pester people about books I think they should be reading… We try to meet journalists as much as possible to share the exciting books we have coming up, as well as pitching all our wonderful authors for book festivals and events programmes. I spend a lot of time on Twitter, interacting with people who have reviewed or are talking about our books, shouting about a particularly beautiful proof which has arrived, or keeping an eye out for people who might like to see more of our books.
There are occasions, probably two or three times a year, when I’ll be ‘on tour’ for around a fortnight with an author, travelling around the country doing interviews and events and generally meeting lots of people who love books! It’s tiring but lots of fun!!
For the record, if I was a budding debut author, faced with the dreaded blank first page, what would be your top tip to bestseller success?
I’ve heard A LOT of writers talk about their journey to success and the overarching message seems generally to write the kind of book you’d like to read and just go for it.
We’re obsessed with other peoples TBR piles, how high is yours? And do you have 2, one for work books and one for pleasure books?
I don’t exactly have a pile – they’re just EVERYWHERE. I have one for work and one for pleasure, with a mix of literary and more commercial books in both. I’m trying to read more non-fiction, The Outrun, When Breath Becomes Air, The Good Immigrant are all on the list. Plus more Sarah Waters and Maggie O’Farrell as I’ve barely scratched the surface, and Little Deaths by Emma Flint which I’m seeing everywhere. I’ve vowed to re-read the Dark Materials trilogy ahead of the new book this October, AND the final book in Justin Cronin’s The Passage trilogy (it’s truly epic!!!).
Have you got a best and worst part of the job?
The best part is getting to work with inspiring authors on inspiring books. This summer we’re publishing Martine Wright’s memoir, a survivor of the 7/7 attack who went on to compete in the Paralympics for Team GB. I can’t wait to meet her! And the worst part is never having enough time… Where does it go?!
Is there an author you’d sell a limb to work with?
If JK Rowling comes calling, I’m around.
What book do you most recommend to others?
The Passage by Justin Cronin. Because I didn’t expected to like it, not being much of a fantasy/sci-fi fan, and I’m obsessed with it!
And lastly our quick fire trivia round…
Thing you’d never leave home without? A book of some form, my kindle if I’m pushed for space!
Favourite place to read? My sofa, with a HUGE mug of tea.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? Dartmouth in Devon. It’s my favourite place.
What’s the secret to success? Being nice to everyone.
What’s on your current reading pile? Little Deaths by Emma Flint.
Staying in or Going out? Going out, but not out out…
What’s your Signature dish? Flapjacks!
Beach break or city break? City break.
Favourite Literary Hero? Hermione Granger.