Susannah Greenberg is President of Susannah Greenberg Public Relations, a book publicity firm in the Greater New York City area. Her clients are authors, publishers, and book industry organizations. She has represented best selling authors including Spencer Johnson and Alan Dershowitz; launched the campaign for April is National Poetry Month for the Academy of American Poets; handled public relations for the Book Industry Study Group; and is the Publicity Chair for the Women’s National Book Association in New York, NY. She gets features, reviews, and articles for her clients in tv, radio, print and online. Media placements by her firm include the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, New York Times, the Today Show and more. Most recently, she assisted in the 2011 launch of Albert Whitman Teen, a line of books for young adults. Prior to founding her own firm, Susannah Greenberg was employed at Simon & Schuster, M. Evans & Co., Cambridge University Press, and Pantheon Books.
It was my pleasure to work with Cory Putman Oakes on a very successful campaign for her excellent debut Young Adult novel, The Veil. We had great success getting Cory’s book buzzed about online especially on blogs, many of them very significant blogs, including The Pioneer Woman which boasts over 500,000 visitors per month. Part of my working relationship with my authors, in addition to getting media coverage, includes my providing, as needed, a general introduction to the publicity process and consulting and advising on all aspects of the book’s publication. Cory took all of my advice, made the most of it, and went beyond it, going from beginner to extraordinary in her understanding of how book pr works in no time. In my years of working in the book publishing business, I have observed that this is the dynamite combination for authors that will lead to success, being both an excellent writer and paying attention to the business of book publishing, especially public relations. I think Cory has what it takes to go far in her writing career.
Top Tips for Young Adult Book PR:
From Susannah Greenberg, Susannah Greenberg Public Relations
1) PUBLICITY MUST BE DONE IN ADVANCE. Pay attention to the time line. Get started from a year to 6 months or at minimum 4 months before sale/publication date. Early long lead phases include crafting press materials and/or web site copy – book description, author bio, q&a with author or suggested interview questions; researching media outlets – tv, radio, print, internet, news web sites, bloggers. The public relations can and should continue after publication date but getting ahead of the date is very important.
2) ESTABLISH WEB PRESENCE, start early building online community and setting up your social media – Facebook, Twitter, Web Site, Blog, and now also Google+. Others, and there are many others, include Goodreads, LibraryThing, Tumblr, and YouTube.
3) PRESS MATERIALS – what are the basics? You need a good one to two paragraph description of your book. A good model for that might be an Amazon book description, a book publisher’s seasonal catalogue online, an online book review from Publishers Weekly. You need an author bio. Have electronic images of an author photo and book jacket. Include information on where to buy the book. These can all go on your web site. Your web site should have connectivity with all your other online social media so that viewers can go from your web page to say following you on Twitter and vice versa when it comes to your Twitter profile. Think of the web site as home base for all of your social media online.
4) CONNECT WITH OTHER WRITERS in the Young Adult Literature community online. Writers are supportive. Writers are readers. Writers are reviewers. Yes, there are readers who are just readers but not surprisingly a lot of the writers are voracious readers and book bloggers as well.
5) BOOK BLOGGERS. You’ve got to get to know and love your book bloggers. This is a powerful community for all kinds of books but especially so for YA. You can find them on Twitter. You can find them through Google searches. You can find them in many places online. They are critical to building the buzz in advance for your book.
6) READ AND STUDY the relevant media both to learn more about your trade and to try to identify the media who would be most interested in your book. When I say media, I am not making a distinction between traditional and new media. Find the newspaper, the magazine, the blog, the Facebook page, the web site, find any and all media contacts at these media outlets who would take an interest in your book and reach out to them over time. Leave enough time to do this by starting way ahead of pub date.
Critical reading would include:
@sljournal New York, NY
School Library Journal is the world’s largest reviewer of children’s & young adult material, from books to digital content.
and within SLJ,
the blog FuseEight NYC
and from Publishers Weekly, the trade magazine of the book industry,
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