PUBLICITY KNOWHOW Meeting the Reader

Barnes Children's Literature Festival
Our KnowHow series on publicity with Children's and YA author, Gill Stewart, continues. This week, it's all about library visits and book festivals.

This is my second article on Meeting the Reader. Last month, it was the book launch. Now that’s over, you can start looking into other opportunities, such as school or library visits and book festivals. In this instance, making and maintaining contacts is essential. Ideally, you’ll be invited to speak. If you’re not, then you can always offer!

Visiting Schools

With one in five children leaving primary school unable to read to a secondary school standard,
teachers are delighted to have a ‘real’ writer to come in and talk about books, reading and writing
[1]. Libraries are also often keen to have writers in to engage with readers. It’s up to you to decide if
you wish to be paid, and your decision may depend on the distance you have to travel, whether you
are allowed to sell books during your visit and the extent of your local links with the organisation.
For Scottish writers, visits may be part-subsidised by the Scottish Book Trust.

Approaching Festivals

There are now literary festivals all over the UK and details are easily tracked down online. Some festivals are very high profile and will only take best-selling or celebrity authors, others are small and local and far more likely to welcome in less well-known writers with local links. Don’t wait to be invited. Do your research and contact them. Again, the decision around fees is up to you, but the Society of Authors strongly recommends asking for payment to recognise your professional input.

Above all, plan!

Key to all of the above is good research, advance planning and the ability to accept knock-backs
(there will always be some) and to keep on believing in yourself and your writing. Bringing your
books to the attention of readers isn’t always easy, but when you can engage with their enthusiasm
it’s great fun.


Gill Stewart’s coming of age YA novel, Lily's Just Fine is published by Sweet Cherry in July 2019. Born in England, Gill has lived in South Africa, France and Zimbabwe and now lives in Scotland. You can follow her on Twitter.

Eleanor Pender is Knowhow Editor. If there's something you'd like to know how to do, send your suggestions to

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