Please welcome Maria, multi-tasker extraordinaire. Maria's words are invaluable if you are a potential author.
Please tell us about yourself
I am a Publisher and Publicist at JHP.
My lists are Ayni Books (health and healing) O Books (general spirituality) Mantra Books (Eastern Philosophies) and Psyche Books (psychology). I then manage the publicity for an eclectic mix of other imprints, from political activism, Christianity to Science Fiction. I am a Gemini, I am certain that helps!
I don't really know how I got here! I was passionate about stories and books as a kid, told I'd amount to nothing by someone who had influence on my life, but thankfully I ignored them. I worked damn hard from the bottom up and pride myself on being 'a doer'. I have been working for JHP since 1999. I've watched the business change out of all recognition, along with the entire publishing industry.
Please describe your typical day
I work from home in the middle of nowhere in South West France. You can normally find me behind the lid of my laptop from 8am in the morning. You’ll see me pop up as available to 'chat' on Facebook/Twitter/Google, but I am working, honestly!
I do my emails first; these normally consist of responses to review requests, or links to reviews that have already been done. If there is something in the news that I can link to a book I will 'Tweet' or 'Facebook' it. I blog for 9 of our imprints so I may dash one of those off too.
My two year old may then appear around the side of screen to 'help' me, so I take a 'read her a book' break. Hubby will then make me coffee and a bit of toast; he is full time nanny at the moment, and supplier of constant sustenance!
I will typically start the PR for two books per working day. This consists of drafting Press Releases, collating a review list and sending PR to the list. I work on informing print magazines bookstores, event co-ordinators, radio and TV of a particular book. And each title is tailored to its own niche audience. Sometimes a book needs to have the audience researched a little harder. I have recently taken on the publicity for a Science Fiction list, so I will spend a portion of my day searching for review potentials via the internet. Then there are the new inquiries and reader reports on books that are currently at proposal stage.
What is the first thing you look for when a book enquiry arrives?
Can the author actually write.
What makes you think you’d like a closer look and a full proposal?
If I like the flow of the attached sample, then I will set it up for proposal. Increasingly I check out an author’s online presence. Their website will tell me how much effort they are likely to put into promotion themselves. A potential author with an active website and links to social media, blogs and articles they have written to their potential audience has an enormous head start.
What things make you wince?
Unrealistic expectations. This can start when an author puts 'thousands' as their expected sales to them wanting to know why you haven't booked them in with Oprah Winfrey.
What type of books do you read?
I am a fiction gobbler! I read tons of books and not all of them for work. My all time favourites are Kate Atkinson, Helen Dunmore, Ben Okri, Zadie Smith, Barbara Kingsolver, Joanne Harris and Louis de Bernières. I name these simply because I would automatically read what they write without knowing what it's about first. I follow the Booker nominations on Amazon and read from that list. The rest of my shelves are taken up with MBS books Crystal healing, psychic development, mediation, yoga and of course Reiki. My husband is allowed a top shelf, where he keeps his World War II history books!
What advice do you have for potential authors?
Don't give up the day job!!! No seriously, writing is just the beginning. You have to be involved with the entire process and stay connected to your potential audience with whatever means are available to you. Oh and be really nice to your publicist :)
Anything else you'd like to share…
I am 36,000 words into my own novel, remember my name, I am going to sell thousands.
Thank you - please visit http://johnhuntpublishing.com/ for Maria's imprints.
News from the Muse
These posts are a mixture of information, interviews and tips for writers and those who are interested in getting published.
I also write about my back and the road to recovery and something might resonate with others in pain and maybe my discoveries will help.
Overall it seems that I prattle.
If you have any questions please get in touch - contact at the bottom of the page.
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