On Publicity

Thursday, June 11, 2009, 8:23 PM

Publicity is a funny thing. Although the distinction between publicity and marketing is, on the surface, pretty clear, I do sometimes struggle with whom to contact on certain issues. What I do know about publicity, though, is that it has a tendency to come out of the blue. Like Christmas time when my PR Hilary Knight put out a fairly straightforward press release about the local-boy-made-good author, and I'm getting phone calls telling me I'm doing an interview with the Belfast Telegraph in half an hour, or guess what, you're live on the radio this afternoon.

Such was the way of it yesterday when I made a stray comment on broadcaster and journalist Malachi O'Doherty's Facebook wall (he was asking about ghosts in contemporary fiction). Next thing I know, I've an interview lined up for a segment on Sunday Sequence on BBC Radio Ulster (a link to the iPlayer version will appear after it airs). Then that interview turns into a double header with another journalist writing for The Observer. Oh, and then a photo shoot which I knew was coming some time, but was hastily arranged to tie in with the visit to Belfast to do the other stuff.

And that's the other thing about publicity: it snowballs. One media outlet gets hold of a story, then another follows, and then another. The trick seems to be getting their attention in the first place. I have some excellent people working away on this as I type, namely the aforementioned Hilary, and Claire Jackson and Kate Bland at Random House, and Justin Hargett at Soho Press.

But it's all good. Even if I hate getting my picture taken, which I had to do today in a public place. A quite busy public place. It was my own fault, seeing as I suggested the venue (the Palm House in Botanic Gardens, where a scene in THE TWELVE is set). Justin the photographer was a consumate professional, I must say. He seemed to have a knack for finding good backdrops, and even foregrounds, and he made me feel about as relaxed as is possible for someone as camera shy as me. I don't know what will appear where, but you may see some shots of me staring wistfully into the distance from behind a greenhouse door in the not too distant future. During the lunch with Malachi, he took this snap, which reveals my horrendous double chin:



I share this because it reveals that, even though I'm as photogenic as a donkey's arse, I'm still quite vain; I put on my glasses as soon as the camera came out because I've got a nice little eye infection, and I thought they might distract from it. And if I look like I'm deep in philosophical discussion, that's probably deceptive; I might well have been debating who was going to get the last chocolate mint on the table.

Malachi made a post over on his blog, which I think is supposed to have audio from the interview, but it's currently not working. Check back, and you might get to hear my dulcet tones as I ramble incoherently about ghosts in modern fiction.

And lastly, still on the topic of publicity, it's looking like I'll be having a little trip through the US of A this October to pimp THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST. Locations currently planned are NYC, Indianapolis (for Bouchercon), Scottsdale AZ, Houston TX, San Mateo CA, then Denver CO for a few days at a convention and a little R&R, and possibly Boston to finish up. It's still to be absolutely and definitely confirmed (i.e. the tickets aren't bought yet), but it's looking hopeful.

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14 Comments:

Blogger Josephine Damian said...

Will you stop with the double chin! I see scruffy 5'oclock shadow, not double chin, and you look like a far more handsome version Elvis Costello with those specs.

Get used to the cameras, Mister. You're already quite the star.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Ello said...

Stuart - You are so funny! It is actually a good picture! You look quite handsome and intelligent.

10:48 PM  
Blogger Keith Rawson said...

Hey, that's cool you're coming to Scottsdale! The town digs first time novelists and the staff at the Poisoned Pen are awesome! I'll see you there!

11:17 PM  
Blogger moonrat said...

awesome, awesomeawesomeawesome. all the things that are coming to pass for you are the things we always HOPE will come to pass! best case scenarios!!

i can't WAIT to see THE TWELVE on bestseller lists :) and also to put a posse together in new york for your event!

11:23 PM  
Blogger Jamie Eyberg said...

My wife is wanting to go to Arizona this fall, I might have to make her trip coincide with yours. Although, if you would want to stop in Kansas City or Omaha or Des Moines I don't think your fans would mind. ;)

12:19 AM  
Blogger jjdebenedictis said...

...it's looking like I'll be having a little trip through the US of A this October to pimp THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST.

*flails*

Am I a dork for being so excited for you? This sounds so cool!

2:14 AM  
Blogger McKoala said...

Liking the specs. Nifty. Ghosts, I love 'em, as I think you know. I'll follow up and listen to the interviews!

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Nic said...

Looking good Stuart. I saw your interview in Writing Magazine yesterday - nice article.

11:40 AM  
Blogger CycleChrist said...

Stuart you should see if your people can set you up at the Ottawa International Writer's fest while you are this side of the water http://www.writersfestival.org/

It is also in October.

I think Malachi enjoyed it when he was here last year; I think you'd have fun as well - and get the word out to Canada too.

2:49 PM  
Blogger freddie said...

You're almost as camera shy as I am. I too fret over my perceived flaws. But I don't see any double chin. Love the glasses, too.

I'm excited about the book coming out in October, as I'll actually have money to buy it. I'll have to check when you're passing through Chicago (or if you are at all) and get it signed.

3:14 PM  
Blogger Gordon Harries said...

I can't believe that's what your concerned with when you have a substantive book to promote!!

Get over yourself, man!! (I mean this in a nice way, of course.)

4:29 PM  
Blogger Aerin said...

I'm sure Betsy has claimed most of your Colorado time but I will pout for the rest of eternity if I can't at least meet you all for drinks.




.....I do, after all, need a cut of your hair and some of your blood to put in a locket to wear around my neck....

(I get to say stuff like that but just today since it's my birthday.)

6:26 PM  
Blogger Stuart Neville said...

Thanks, everyone. If you're in the locale of any of my US stops, then please come and say hello.

Jamie - I think the Scottsdale gig is the 19th of October.

Nic - They're supposed to send my a copy of Writing mag, but I haven't got one yet. I think it was just a small piece.

CycleChrist - It looks like the dates for that con clash with the gigs that are already planned, plus I don't have a Canadian publisher as yet (I'm not sure if Soho exports books north of the border).

Freddie - I had thought I was going through Boston on the way home, but it's looking more like Chicago now. My Soho publicist is looking into a small event there.

Aerin - I'm sure Betsy will be glad of an excuse to get me out from under her feet, so you're on.

On a general note (highlighted by Gordon) - this whole getting-my-picture-taken-for-mass-distribution thing is bringing home to me how bloody vain I am. And it's not as if I have anything to be vain about!

8:38 PM  
Blogger cindy said...

how exciting! go stuart! and you look very scruffy handsome and like a true novelist! is it okay if i wait to pick up your novel in the uk?? i'll read it there!!

6:37 PM  

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