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  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

Upskilling Dictionary: Publicity

By Meghan Capper, Sukhpreet Chana, Misha Manani and Joe Pilbrow


The marketing and publicity teams are crucial in the publishing process to engage readers and drive sales. Although they will often work together on projects and share objectives, they are actually doing very different things. Marketing involves paid promotion, whereas publicity refers to unpaid actions that aim to increase awareness of a book. These can include press releases, speaking to journalists, sending review copies or planning book launches. If you’re organised, creative and great at communicating with others, then a role in publicity could be perfect for you!


  • Advance Reader Copy (ARC): A free copy of a new book which is sent out (usually by the publicity team) to influencers, journalists or booksellers to create buzz before the official release.

  • Assets: A collection of media, including graphics and logo that is used by the publicity team throughout their campaign.

  • Author Brand: An author’s distinct and authentic personal voice or identity that is unique to them and attracts a readership. Publicists should tap into the author’s existing brand when creating book campaigns.

  • Cover Focus Groups: This is when publicists review and select a book cover amongst multiple options and provide feedback to come to a collective decision.

  • Earned Media: Unpaid media coverage that is generated thanks to the relationship a publicity professional has built with a specific journalist or media outlet.

  • Festivals: Publicists may accompany authors to public speaking events such as literary festivals. Cambridge Literary Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Cheltenham Festival and Hay Festival are some examples with brilliant author talks.

  • Kickoff: An initial meeting between the author and the publicity team, where ideas for the campaign are discussed and project goals are outlined.

  • Lead Time: The time it takes for coverage to go live, from the first discussion to its publication. Lead times for print newspapers and magazines are longer than those for online publications.

  • Lead Title: Publishers often have lead titles released every month that are expected to attract a lot of attention. An extra effort will be made to ramp up their publicity.

  • Mailing List: A database of useful contacts, such as book bloggers, bookstagrammers, booktokers and journalists used to build and maintain relationships and reach a specific audience for a publicity campaign.

  • Media Relations: Rapport built between the book publicist and external media companies. It can consist of pitching client work, organising interviews and press coverage.

  • NetGalley: An online platform where booksellers, book reviewers and librarians request to read and review a digital copy of an upcoming title before it is published.

  • Outreach: The process of reaching out to journalists, influencers and media outlets, with the aim of introducing a new book, building relationships and increasing awareness of ongoing campaigns. It’s important that a publicist continues to expand an author’s outreach to attract new readers.

  • Personality Cultivation: A book publicity campaign focused on building the author’s brand and giving their name recognition.

  • Pitch: This is included in emails to journalists about a book. A great pitch includes the genre, concept, hook and key details about the author and its significance.

  • Press Kit: A collection of promotional material (both physical and digital) that the publicity team provides to journalists and media outlets, which includes all the necessary information about a new book, including character information, cover designs, blurbs and key dates.

  • Press Release: A one-page document with the key book information that is typically sent to journalists. It covers metadata like the publication date, price, author, the keynote, quotes, copy and author bio.

  • Publicity Campaign: A strategy that tends to start at least six months before publication to build the profile of an author and book. This can include magazine and newspaper coverage, radio, podcast or television appearances and blogger reviews.

  • Publicity Catalogue: A guide with a list of books from a publisher that gets distributed to journalists on a mailing list. This increases their awareness of upcoming titles that they may want to write about or review.

  • Second Serial: A rights license that enables an author’s work to be reprinted in other publications such as in magazines or press articles. This is crucial for publicity as quotes and chapter snippets can be published in other periodicals to further promote the book.

  • Testimonials: Positive quotes endorsing the book, used to build pre-publication buzz. They are often written by credible sources such as journalists, fellow authors and TV celebrities and are often found written on the cover of a book.

  • Third-party Coverage: This includes reviews, articles, TV coverage and other promotional material that the publicity team helped to bring about but wasn’t created in-house. The message of this coverage can’t necessarily be controlled unlike with paid marketing.


Thank you for reading Issue Seventy-Five. Join us again for Issue Seventy-Six, where we will cover Upskilling Tips: Publishing in Southern England.



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