3 S.R. Johannes: Marvelous Marketer: Hayley Gonnason (Publicist at Tricycle Press)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Marvelous Marketer: Hayley Gonnason (Publicist at Tricycle Press)

"Thanks for Following this Turkey" contest!

Thanks to everyone who played in last week's contest. The winner is TESS!!!!

Tess, please email me offline to schedule your free consultation and choose your book. :) Congrads!

Marvelous Marketer!

Today we have Hayley Gonnason, a publicist from Tricycle Press.

Hi Hayley! Thanks for joining us today. I am sure everyone is excited to hear from a publishing publicist. But first, tell me a little about yourself, your background/experience, and your role as a publicist.

I got my start as a publicity and sales associate at a small publishing house called Northland Publishing/Rising Moon/Luna Rising, which has since closed. I’ve been a publicist for Tricycle Press, the children’s book imprint of Ten Speed Press, for just over three years.

First let me ask, do you see a difference in publicity vs marketing in the publishing industry?

That’s a pretty difficult question to answer because marketing and publicity often go hand in hand here at Tricycle. A simple way of looking at it is that with marketing we’re spending direct money to promote a book and with publicity we aren’t. My job as publicist is to promote Tricycle Press books to the media to create buzz and make people want to buy our books.

As a publicist with Tricycle Press, can you give us some insight as to what happens in your typical day?

One of the nice things about my job is, there is no “typical” day. I always have to be ready to shift gears. We recently had a book launch party and there was a miscommunication and books were never ordered for the event. When I found out, I had to drop everything to make sure the books were there in time for the event. In the end the launch went off without (as far as people attending knew) a hitch but little things like that come up all the time. When I’m not dealing with stuff like that, I’m working on creating publicity plans for upcoming books, establishing and obtaining relationships with media contacts, and arranging events for authors and illustrators.

What types of publicity do you do for your authors (ARCs, blurbs, signings, materials, collateral)? And, does your role vary by author or is there a set standard of publicity that all authors get?

At Tricycle,the marketing and publicity dept. covers everything you mention above. We create sales materials, arrange events, create collateral to promote the events, solicit blurbs and early reviews, and attend trade shows—and that’s just to start. As publicist I pitch books to the media and if authors/illustrators have a platform that makes for an interesting/newsworthy interview, I pitch them for features.

Lately, I’ve been working to promote one of our fall books by offering interviews with its subject Maggie Gee, an 86-year-old woman who flew with the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) in WWII. Barack Obama passed legislation last summer that honored WASP members with the Congressional Medal of Honor. It’s a highly topical subject.

In your opinion, what are the top 3 things you think your authors should do to promote their books?

We encourage authors to set-up their own websites so that anyone interested in obtaining more information about them and their books, can get to easily.

We advise authors to get on social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Twitter. These are also great ways for anyone to get in touch with the author/illustrator. We figure once you build contacts here, it will develop into a way of networking and promoting themselves and their book(s), ultimately leading to sales.

We also encourage authors to participate in school visits and/or book signings. This is great for meeting people in their community and familiarizing booksellers with their book(s). Often times if they’ve met you in person, they’re more likely to recommend the book to potential buyers.

What things do you expect an author to do on their own?

We don’t expect authors—especially first-time authors—to know how to promote their books on their own but we really appreciate them when they try. Some easy and inexpensive ways that authors can spread the word about their new book is to tell their friends, local bookstores, and anyone else who will listen. Many authors are now blogging about their books which is cool. One of our authors travels the country speaking at schools and conferences and she always mentions her books in her presentations and they do very well because they she’s constantly promoting them. That’s not to say that a book won’t be successful if you don’t have a platform but it helps.

What are some creative things you’ve seen your house or authors do in terms of marketing and publicity?

We’re very fortunate in having such creative authors and illustrators who are interested in promoting their books as vigorously they can. When they have a great idea, we do our best to assist them in making it become a reality. For example, last spring we published a great summer read Brand-New Emily and the author mentioned how much she loved Bonne Bell and how fun it would be to do something with them. Running with her idea, we did a joint-promotion with Bonne Bell’s Lipsmackers Lounge where the book was included in a special summer giveaway they were doing. We also arranged several other beach-themed giveaways on websites like Cheerleader and Girl’s Life Magazine. And needless to say, when word got out that the author was giving out Lipsmackers at her events, they were a huge hit!

Thanks for stopping by and sharing some insight with us!

Thanks Shelli!


Patti said...

Very interesting to see what's done when in promoting a book. Thanks for the insight.

Susan R. Mills said...

Thanks! Another great interview.

Paul Greci said...

Thanks Selli and Hayley. Great information.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Thanks for the valuable info, Haley!

Thanks for another great interview, Shelli!

V. S said...

Great inerview, I've always wondered what went on behind the scenes.

Great job!

mary.anne.gruen@gmail.com said...

I'm interested in that book about Maggie Gee and the WASPs! I hope you'll remind us when it comes out.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

It's so great to read about the business from an insider's perspective. Thanks to Hayley and Shelli for this interview.
And big woo-hoo to Tess, too.

Tess said...

Wa-Hoo! I won! I won! You don't know how EXCITED I am to have won and how much I need this and how wonderful it will be!!!

And, a perfect interview to go with it - very insightful and interesting.

thank you Shelli!!!!!

Elana Johnson said...

Great interview. Have I told you how much I adore these posts? No? Well, I do. A-Dore.

Katie Ganshert said...

What a wealth of information! Awesome post and interview! Thanks for sharing!

I have the social networking, but would love to spring some dough on a nice website. Right now, mine is incredibly lame!

Anonymous said...

Great interview, I really enjoyed it!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Congratulations to Tess!

Wonderful interview Shelli. :)

Sherrie Petersen said...

I love the cross promotion idea with Bonnie Bell. How cool is that?! I'm reading Flygirl right now which isn't by Tricycle but it is about the WASPs. I'll have to look for Maggie's!

Natalie said...

Great interview! It's fun to read a publicist's view on marketing. :)

Kelly H-Y said...

Love Tricycle Press ... great interview ... thanks!

Sarah Campbell said...

It's good to hear that the professionals are interested in authors' ideas. Thanks, Shelli, for another good interview.

Kerri said...

Love reading all these marketing tips. Nice interview!

Irene Latham said...

I am currently reading Brand New Emily, and it is SO GOOD!! And I had heard about the Lipsmackers thing, but had forgotten which book it was attached to... and the author Ginger Rue (who I graduated high school with) is absolute precious-ness... so thanks, Shelli, for filling in the gaps for me. :)

Kelly Polark said...

Excellent interview and tips. Tricycle has so many great books!