Today Scott and me went into the Penguin offices to meet some of the people who sell, market and publicise our books. We ate yummy cheese, humus, tabouli, dolmades, grapes and strawberries, drank good (Aussie) wine and talked publishing.
We writers mostly work on our lonesome but we’re actually part of a team. A really big team. I have a lot of contact with my editors, Eloise Flood and Liesa Abrams, and some with the rest of the Razorbill team (especially Andy Ball and Margaret Wright), but much less with the other people who work on my books. Frankly, I’m not always sure what the folks in the other departments do. So it’s fabulous to meet the people from online marketing and discover that they’re starting to work on author podcasts. Would the two of us be interested in doing one? Would we be interested? Is the Australian men’s cricket team going to destroy England in the next Ashes? Yes, they are, and yes we’d love to do a podcast.
I was fascinated to hear just how much work goes into wrangling authors for big events like BEA (Book Expo America) and the big ALA (American Library Association) conferences. Wow, are we authors a pain! Collectively, I mean. Imagine trying to get many different authors to various different places in the space of eight or so hours. Not fun, eh? And even before we get to an event they’ve logged hours and hours making sure we’re available, organising us to get there, and setting up our schedules. A publicist’s (for BEA) and marketer’s (for ALA) work is never done.
We learned that at the last ALA meeeting they had put a two minute limit on kids giving testimonials about three particular authors cause they were so enthusiastic they’d have gone on for hours otherwise. One was Stephanie Meyer (author of Twilight and New Moon), the other one was someone really famous I’m ashamed to say I’ve forgotten, and the third one was—wait for it—Scott!! How cool is that?
It was also lovely to have people from non-editorial departments asking when they’ll get to see the third Magic or Madness book because they’d enjoyed the first two so much they were dying to read the final book in the trilogy. They work on many, many, many books every year, reading all them is impossible, so it’s a real compliment when they make an effort to read yours.
To recap: me author part of big team of editors, sellers, marketers, publicisers and others. (Though I’m still not entirely clear on the diff between selling and marketing. Anna explains how it works at Tor, but I get the feeling it works a bit differently at Penguin. One day I’ll understand, one day. . .)