The shoe’s on the other foot — what journos need to know about pubs
Journalists are always advising publicists to be familiar with their publications / shows / websites before pitching books. And rightly so. Our job as book publicists is to know who we’re pitching and how best to approach them.
But I think it’s only fair to ask that in return, journalists learn a little something about publishing houses. I’ve earned the right to complain about this — every day, I forward dozens of book and authors requests meant for other departments that were incorrectly sent to mine by journalists who don’t realize there’s a difference between a publishing house and an imprint. That Random House the imprint is different from Random House the company that consists of dozens of imprints (departments). That Vantage is different from Vintage which is different from Viking. That children’s and YA titles are handled by different departments than those that publish adult books. That Penguin Books, which only publishes paperbacks, is different from The Penguin Press, which only publishes hardcovers, both of which are different from (but part of) the company The Penguin Group, which is itself a separate entity in all but name from Penguin UK. Well that was a mouthful.
The most thorough way to learn about publishing houses and imprints is by searching individual websites. However, since this will likely take more time than anyone has, we can, happily, check Sarah Weinman‘s six-part post about publishing house imprints (Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, HarperCollins, The Penguin Group and Random House) on her blog Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind.
Book reviewers: To make it easier to get your review copies, I encourage you to check my posts Why Haven’t I Received My Review Copies Yet? and Why Haven’t I Received My Review Copies Yet? Part II.
Book publicists: If you find yourself on the receiving end of numerous requests for books not your department’s, consider creating “Autotext” so you can quickly send journalists on their way while hopefully making them aware of the difference between imprints. For example, I have two lines of Autotext (there’s a character limit) that say the following:
This is a [department] title / author (different department). I am forwarding your message to [email address] and they can help you out with your request.
For future reference, you can check our site, [URL], and our Media Contact page, [URL], to find the correct departmental address for your request. Thanks.
Everyone: Please share this information with all and sundry. The better informed journalists are, the easier it is for them to get their requested review copies (and the more time it saves book publicists)!