Welcome back to the next installment of my Publishing Q & A with HarperCollins Canada. This week I was able to ask a few questions of Alice Tibbetts who is a Publicity Assistant at their offices.
Yet another interesting part of publishing is the publicity aspect that goes into a new release. When you think about it, Marketing and Publicity may seem to be in the same wheelhouse but they definitely cover different parts of the process. The publicity team is key in getting ‘hype’ around a book in various literary circles but they will also work with marketing teams to continue the process of getting the word out there about a new title. The publicist will get the book in front of critics for review and you will tend to see these pop up in newspapers or magazine articles - not to mention on the actual book cover where you see the quotes of early readers gushing about it. Now I will leave it to Alice to talk a little bit more about her particular role. Kaylee: What drew you to this career? Alice: I’ve been a book lover since I was a kid and I worked in several jobs that kind of set me up to be able to work in publishing (eg. Editing translated English). My interest in publicity in particular came from completing different internships and seeing where I felt both challenged and excited. K: What makes publicity in the publishing industry unique? A: One thing is we are dealing with the finished books and what happens when they go on sale, rather than the creation and production of them. Our hours often vary from our colleagues as well because we are often with media or working at events, and those things tend to run outside of business hours. K: What is included as part of your day-to-day work? A: I work as a publicist for some books, but I have a shorter list than my colleagues because I am the assistant to the department and therefore have support and budgeting tasks as well. K: What is something that is a part of your job that was unexpected? A: I was surprised by how great the relationship between the media and publishers is. Sandra Bullock in The Proposal taught me that wasn’t the case and I believed her! K: What is your favourite part of your job? A: My favourite part of the job is the diversity of tasks. Because of the nature of pitching unique books and planning their coverage and events, no two days are ever the same. I am constantly being challenged and learning new things and it makes for an exciting job. I love the diversity that is allotted in many of the careers that fall under the umbrella of publishing. Alice was able to get real-world experience with different internships to find what avenue would be the best fit for her. Careers change and evolve and finding those opportunities is such an amazing advantage in the grand scheme of things. It is also interesting to see how various forms of media can potentially effect our goals. In particular, I appreciate the mention of The Proposal (which is a movie I personally really enjoyed) because the portrayal of certain careers aren’t necessarily accurate in media which can be a pro or a con depending on how you look at it. Someone could watch that film and have a view of publishing and publicity that was negative and may decide not to even think of it as a real career path for themselves but the reality could be that it may be PERFECT for them. It just goes to show that internships are such an important part of finding what will work for you.