Meet the wonderfully kind and lovely Rebecca Oram from Walker Books!

The Gatekeepers!

Meet the Publicists working hard to get new books into the hands of bloggers, influencers, booksellers, teachers and most importantly….the children.

We are 28 weeks into this blog feature and I am continuously amazed and honoured that the publicists are so happy and willing to share their journeys and jobs with me via this feature. I am always impressed with the level of detail they offer and the insights into what I believe is a fascinating job! At times difficult to be a voice in the crowd shouting about children’s books, these publicists are extraordinary in their creativity and talents. I have now planned this feature into December and am working hard to get to a full year before I launch the flip side…the Bloggers! Get in touch if you would like to be a featured blogger one week!!

The twenty eighth publicist to feature is Rebecca Oram from Walker Books!

How did you get your start in the publishing industry?

I first got a taste for publishing when I did a module at university as part of my English Literature degree but when it came to getting an internship after I graduated, I just couldn’t seem to get my foot in the door! I hadn’t done any summer internships (which I would definitely recommend!) and at the time I didn’t know enough about all the different departments in publishing and wasn’t sure where I wanted to be yet. I had to widen my search and instead took a marketing role, organising events and promotional activities for brands at universities and festivals and then moved to PR in house at an education company.

A year and a half later, I left my job to travel in Australia and New Zealand. After travelling I was determined to give publishing another shot, and knew PR was where I wanted to be so only applied exclusively for PR roles in publishing. My parents thought I was mad to not widen the field, but I knew it was something that I really wanted to pursue! Luckily, a job at Walker Books popped up, it was perfect timing and I haven’t looked back since. It really is never too late to go for that dream job!

What is the most interesting part of your job?

I really relish being able to work across our titles, from picture books through to YA novels. The campaigns can be so different and it’s brilliant being able to be creative across the board.

I love thinking about what makes a certain book stand out and putting myself in a journalist’s shoes to pitch the best angle. You really have to think outside the box sometimes and look beyond traditional media as well. Every single book mention, review or author interview big or small is still so exciting two years in and I don’t think I’ll ever lose that feeling of joy when I have secured a piece of coverage or an influencer has posted about a book!

I also can’t not mention all the brilliant people we get to meet and the new places that we travel to for events and festivals. It’s unbeatable and one thing I know we’ve all missed this year!

What are the challenges of your role?

I think sometimes the challenge is just having enough time in the day! There are emails to reply to, multiple authors and campaigns to look after each month and you always want to do your absolute best for every author and book you work on. It’s quite the juggling act with books publishing at different times. You have to be pretty organised and make peace with the fact that your to-do-list and email inbox will never be quite complete if you’re a publicist!

Describe a typical day or are no two days alike?

You really can’t predict what your day is going to look like if you tried! I’m generally chatting to authors, pitching to journalists, writing press releases, coordinating mailing lists for books to be sent out or organising events. One minute I could be shopping for a peculiar mailing item, the next I could be creating a balloon arch, it’s really that varied!

Tips for Book Bloggers?

Book bloggers really are a huge part of spreading the word about a book and we can’t thank them enough really! They give so much time to participating in blog tours and writing reviews. If a number of book bloggers get behind a book it can really make the difference!

We’re always happy to hear from bloggers and it’s helpful knowing the sorts of books they’re hoping to review so that we can prioritise them on mailing lists. It’s great hearing from excited bloggers when they see a book that they would love to review!

Some already do this but I find it useful when bloggers send me an email with a link to their blog review with a short quote. Some of their quotes make it in to finished copies of books if they’ve given a quote for a proof for example!

What are you currently reading?

I’m very lucky to be reading Angie Thomas’ novel, Concrete Rose coming in January. Reading books early, is just one of the perks of being a publicist! I’m also just about to start Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan. After seeing her publicist talk about the campaign at the Bookseller Marketing and PR conference, I just had to buy it to read!

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