In this recurring feature, we’re sharing tips for editors from the desk of Douglas Gibson. Good for those starting out or old hands who need a reminder, these reminders form an engaging guide for sharp-eyed wordsmiths.
Another hat that the ideal book editor wears is the Marketing Specialist’s Hat. Even a literary novel allows possible special markets. A central character’s interest in bird-watching, for example, opens up prospects of attention, even reviews, in birders’ magazines or websites. A story set during the Canadian advance in Italy during the Second World War provides gives the publisher the chance of a market among veterans, the Legion Magazine, and fans of military history. The editor, as the first reader of the finished book, should be the spearhead of the attack on these special markets. Or, if you prefer the bird-watching analogy, should be the one to tweet the news around the publishing house.
I like your tip, as I like all your tips! I can identify with your comments. I was, still am in my own way, doing PR for our local CF Chapter for approx 30 years. My three children, who had cystic fibrosis, were the subject of 10 major news stories during their lifetime and at their deaths – each time hitting the headlines on pages one and three. From the time they were diagnosed in 1970, to follow-up stories, the CF Gene being discovered through them, until they became my three CF angels, they were legends. I was lucky in doing PR, and in getting my own radio show, as “Ye Olde English Astrologer” which I shamelessly used asking others to help us find a cure for CF. In trying to narrow down my target market, station managers were frustrated because I had a caller as young as 8 yrs old asking what she should be when she grew up, to a ninety year old woman calling and asking quite spritely how she should invest the million dollars that she just received from selling her farm. Bell telephone said they always knew when I was on-air because the lines would explode with so many people calling all at the same time. I say I am lucky because many other writers do not have all the resources I did. One obvious tip that I gave aspiring entrepreneurs and writers was to help someone else out. By joining and promoting a charity or doing something else to help others in need, rewards would come almost unasked for – a win-win situation for everyone.