You had this great twitter-thread talking about how self-creation via the internet is interesting and artistic, not frivolous. Some press surrounding the book makes it seem like it’s a scathing indictment of social media – but that’s not what you’re going for!
We’re going deep inside the making of a book, with interviews from Penguin Random House employees in editorial, marketing, sales, and more. If you’ve ever wondered about all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making your favorite books, this is the series for you. Take a look at the first post in this series here.
Today, we’re featuring an interview with Publicity Manager, Aisha Cloud. She joins us to talk about her career change, book tours, and being a cheerleader for Gemina. Read below for her inside scoop.
What is your job title?
What does that mean for you on a day to day?
As a publicist, my main job is to create buzz and awareness for our books by securing media coverage across print, tv, radio and online outlets and to support our authors/illustrators throughout the process. Media coverage could be in the form of a review, interview, op-ed piece, and/or giveaway, and I work closely with reviewers/reporters and then back with the authors/illustrators to produce any necessary content or prepare for interviews. I also set up events with bookstores and other venues and these include signings, presentations and school visits. We also pitch authors and illustrators for public events like festivals and comic cons (cons depend more on the genre of the book). These are just some of the different platforms we use to get the word out there about our books. My role also encompasses social media, as that’s a really important way to drive awareness today.
How is working with this book/series different from any other title?
The layout of the book is truly breathtaking, unique and seriously out-of-this-world. I enjoyed not only reading the book and experiencing the story unravel and how it is told in a different format, but also seeing people’s reactions to reading it on social media. Next up for me is listening to the audio book of Illuminae. It has received a bunch of praise and I would love to experience the book in that way too.
What’s the most surprising thing about this job?
Our connection to everyone and everything. When I describe what I do, it’s sounds simple…manageable, but publicists are the go-to people not only for authors and illustrators, but within the company, we serve as a central hub for information that is needed by sales, marketing and editorial. Besides the author, we are a spokesperson and cheerleader for the books and we want everyone (I mean, everyone!) to know the next big book to read as it might very well change your life…or make your long plane ride more enjoyable!
Describe Gemina in one sentence.
I called Illuminae a game-changer. But Gemina is more than a game-changer, it’s revolutionary. Expect the unexpected and enjoy the ride!
Do you have a favorite part of the book? Favorite element or visual aspect?
My favorite part is yet to come…we’ve got surprises galore and I can’t wait for fans to learn about them!
How did you get into publicity?
I use to work in advertising, I was completely miserable (used to imagine getting hit by a bus to get away from it all…horrible, I know) and it hit me (the idea, not a bus) one day that working at an advertising agency wasn’t the right job for me. So I thought to myself, what do I like to do? I like to read books and talk about it afterwards with fellow book lovers. So I quit my job and took the NYU Summer Publishing Program. There I learned that reading and talking, aka promoting and publicizing a book, was basically the underlying core of a publicist. After I completed the course, I got my first job as a publicity assistant at Doubleday and knew it was the right career for me!
Do you have a favorite moment or memory of the authors?
I was lucky enough to tour with the authors during the first leg of the Illuminae tour which started in Seattle. During our down time, we were able to explore the city and visit the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and walk the Underground tour in their buried city. It was so cool to be a tourist with the authors. It was my first time visiting the city and meeting the authors and it’s now a memory I will never forget! Also, Amie and Jay say that if they make fun of you, that for Australians means that they like you…so they love me a lot!
What are you looking forward to on this upcoming book tour?
I can’t wait to see people’s reaction when they meet the authors at their events and open the book for the first time. It’s obviously not my book, I didn’t write it, but being a part of this huge project is a reward in itself, especially being able to see the delight and excitement of fans when they finally have the book in their hands.
Follow along: #Gemina, #Illuminae, #IluminaeFiles
Visit the website here: illuminaefiles.com
Let’s play Bingo! We’ll be featuring printable, themed Bingo cards seasonally. If you’ve read a book that matches a trope on one of the squares, cross it off. If you cross off any five squares in a row, that’s Bingo! Take a photo and tweet @penguinrandom or post to Instagram with the hashtag #bingoreads. Tell us some of the books you liked! We’ll feature the books we read, the books you read, and challenge staff members to play.
(click image to see full size and print out)