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“Small publishers and start-ups have lots of opportunities right now!”

April 27th, 2012 | Posted in Blog | 1 Comment »
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The Publishing Studies Visiting Speaker series went out on a high with a visit from Sara Hunt of Saraband. The perfect blend of information, optimism and advice, this was a fitting end to our course. At a time when much of the publishing industry are wringing their hands and quaking at digital advancements and social media marketing, Sara Hunt is smiling; “Be creative! Have fun!”. And Saraband certainly are. Rather than panicking in the face of change, Saraband have embraced social media and the many hours of work which it demands. “When you get it right,” Sara says, “it’s absolutely time well spent.”

Saraband began experimenting with social media in 2010 in order to promote Making Shore, the debut novel by Sara Allerton. Using a variety of sites they reached out to their customers and to bookgroups to get people talking about the book, and this was a great success. “Go out and do it,” Sara advises.“You can replicate it for all of your subsequent titles, and then it really will be worth while.”

However, it’s not enough to just use social media. You need to set yourself apart from all the multitudes of people and companies who are quickly catching on. Saraband do just that. Between their backwards rendition of Auld Lang Syne for Burns night and their April Fool’s day  blog announcement of whisper audiobooks to lull you to sleep (“the number of people who fell for it just because we used a standard format!”) not only do they not balk at the idea of social media, but they use it inventively, and with a sense of humour.

“If we can do it, you can too!” It’s a far cry from our furrowed brows and worried looks, which have accompanied the final days of our course, and an awful lot more appealing.

As the final minutes of the session ticked away and we began to realise with nervous apprehension that this was our last class, Sara delivered her closing words:

“This is a really brilliant time to be completely can-do…everything boils down to ingenuity, your ideas, and your commitment to working hard to follow things through.”

Saraband’s future is certainly bright, and thanks to the optimism of this final talk, we are more optimistic about the brightness of our own.

– Kate McNamara