Behind the Scenes of the Contest 7: Public Relations

Pocket Guide Front Coverby Jake Winegar

I spoke with Nic de Sena on his experience with trying to get a reviewer to publish a review on their website.

It begins with a one sheet, which is like a summary, or catalog description that is used for publicity reasons. The one sheet for The Pocket Guide to Divorce included a review-like description of the book, a blurb, some author information, and other book information such as pricing. In order to assemble this, Nic and the PR group had to write a review for the novella that gave a good description of the book and its nature, but at the same time didn’t give away too much.

To get a review published on a website, their group had to pick through each site’s requirements and tailor their info to each one. Most of the sites require the one sheet and a generic cover letter, but each seemed to want different additions as well. Some sites wanted a physical copy of the book and said that they would get back to you if they reviewed it. Others wanted an additional cover letter that included all press information. And of course, some wanted an additional cover letter, but didn’t want press information. Places that didn’t want a physical copy of the book often wanted the group to submit their own review (different from the one sheet review) and if the reviewer liked it, then the reviewer would put it on their website. Part of the PR group’s job was to organize all these aspects into a file for each reviewer and send it to him or her so that it would be obvious that they had read and completed all the requirements.

Another part of their group’s work was to attain some university staff contact information so that the right department heads and affiliates would be able to let the campus know about the book release party at the appropriate time in September. They designed a flyer that would be sent out and effectively got the party put on the future campus event calendar. This class project also gave Nic a summer task to send out the physical copies of the book, when they exist, and follow up on getting some more reviews done.

(Students in The Publishing House course wrote seven narratives about the class and the contest. This is the seventh.)

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