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Posted by Kate, July 8, 2011

Our publicist meets Helen Peters, to talk PR for debut fiction

Dom Kingston recently joined us as our “attached freelance” one-stop PR man, and he’s getting to know our authors. This week, he met Helen Peters, pictured above at a cafe in Muswell Hill, author of debut novel for 8 – 12 year olds (particularly 8 – 12 year old girls) The Secret Hen House Theatre, which Nosy Crow is publishing in April 2012.

This is what he said:

“Meeting new authors is always an exciting part of a publicist’s job.

Often, especially if the book in question is their first book, meeting their publicist is an author’s first insight into life after the editorial process. And publicity is often a relative mystery to many new authors. Most aspiring writers know that they will have their book edited, but not so many think, when they’re writing, about what they’ll say about themselves, their book, and the process of writing it to a class of school children, a librarian, a bookseller, a journalist or a conference audience.

For some, the word and the idea of a ‘publicist’ has scary connotations – think Entourage. Or Ab Fab. Or the bit in Phonebooth before Colin Farrell actually gets into the phonebooth…

Luckily, publicists in the children’s publishing industry are always a four-day-drive-and-a-boat-trip away from this stereotype. Authors often seem to be relieved when you don’t arrive Gucci-ed up to the eyeballs, in a cloud of Kouros, and barking into the four mobile ‘phones permanently clamped to your ears.

As publicists, we just want to get to know and understand… The Author. It’s important that an author is totally comfortable with any promotional activity they’ll be doing.

So… how was Helen?

Well, she’s an English and drama teacher, so she’s totally at home when she’s talking to a room full of children and engaging them creatively with a subject.

Music to my ears!

She also kicks off our meeting with some excellent event ideas that will work beautifully for the age-group that she writes for.

A natural!

The icing on the cake is that Helen’s obviously going to be a dream interviewee. She’s eloquent, focused, funny and charming. And she has a story to tell. Couple these qualities with the autobiographical, made-with-love aspects of her novel (the farm setting, the characters drawn from her own family), and we’re soon bandying around possible feature ideas for both adult and children’s media.

Fabulous!

She’s also connected to, or connecting with, with lots of our world’s brilliant – and deliciously vocal – bloggers and tweeters. (Kate says, “speaking of this, you can read about Helen’s experiences as a first time author in this terrific blog post.”)

By this time I’m practically pinching myself.

So… Helen Peters – a lovely person, author of a lovely book and a publicist’s lovely dream . I CANNOT WAIT for curtain-up at The Secret Hen House Theatre

ENCORE!!”