It was a full house at the PANZ Promotional Writing and Non-Fiction Editing workshops held in Auckland last month. With around 50 industry professionals attending both the morning and afternoon workshops the wide range of subjects up for discussion were enthusiastically received by all of our participants.
The morning session featured a frank and open panel discussion, led by Becky Innes, Publicity and Marketing Manager at Penguin Random House, looking at book publicity and how to get your book noticed. Joining Becky on the panel were freelance publicist Rebecca Simpson, Tania Mackenzie-Cooke, Publicity Manager at Hachette New Zealand and Spinoff Books Editor Catherine Woulfe.
It turns out that the fancy wrapped book and box of chocolates might not be the best way to get publicity for your book. Doing your research and targeting the right person, and at the right time (before the meagre books budget has been spent) is key according to Catherine Woulfe.
Michelle Hurley, Publisher, Allen & Unwin and previously editor of Canvas Magazine, Weekend and Spy then gave her insights on how to make a killer pitch and draft press releases that really work.
The morning sessions concluded with an engaging and interactive workshop from master blurb writer Madeleine Collinge. Participants were encouraged to bring along a copy of a book with ‘good’ and one with a ‘bad’ blurb and then had the opportunity to rewrite the ‘bad’ copy using the tips and tricks from Madeline’s tutorial.
Following lunch, we headed straight into the Non-Fiction Editing Workshop, which began with a lively panel exploring trends in NZ non-fiction publishing. The discussion was expertly chaired by Claire Murdoch, Head of Publishing at Penguin Random House who was joined by Jenny Hellen, Director NZ Publishing Allen & Unwin, Alex Hedley, Publisher at Harper Collins and Ashleigh Young, Editor at Victoria University Press. The panel generously shared their insights into what’s hot in non-fiction right now and shared some of their publishing highlights of recent times.
Then Stuart Lipshaw, Managing Editor at Penguin Random House NZ led an insightful and fascinating discussion on some of the nitty gritty aspects of behind the scenes publishing. He was joined by Leanne McGregor, Editor at Allen & Unwin and Anna Bowbyes, Managing Editor at Massey University Press.
The formal part of the workshop concluded with an interactive workshop on copy-editing and rewriting, where participants were given support and advice on honing their skills from Leanne McGregor, Stuart Lipshaw and Jenny Hellen.
Finally, the day was wrapped up with a glass of wine and nibbles as participants took the opportunity to mingle and chat informally before braving the Auckland traffic.
We’d like to thank everybody who attended and our wonderful presenters who made the day such a success. We hope to run run a similar workshop in Wellington later in the year, so watch this space for further details.