Harper Collins pumps the same-old same-old publicity brakes

Harper Collins Canada (full disclosure: the publisher of Ms. Ninja two previous novels and upcoming new one) is revamping their publicity plan for the stay-at-home world. Wait, publishers have publicity plans? Ones that change to fit the times? Wow. You fiction people must live in a strange utopia of recognition and sales. For most poets, publicity plans look like a scrap of paper torn from a Harvey’s tray liner on which someone has scrawled: I don’t know, what do YOU think we should do…?

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, physical bookstores have closed – which has led to a decline in book sales. Literary events are being cancelled or moving online. But at the same time, there is clearly an appetite for reading, as many Canadians stuck at home find themselves with more time on their hands and a need for entertainment.

HarperCollins Canada saw a problem – and an opportunity. Its marketing and publicity team worked to come up with ideas to help their authors and bookstores make up for the loss of launch parties and events held at bookstores.

“At the beginning of this, it really did feel like the Wild West,” says Lauren Morocco, publicity director. “Publicists, I like to think that number one in our jobs, we’re problem-solvers. But it really has been everybody brainstorming, heads together, on what we can do and how we can do it.”

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