Maria Barry, VF Publicist, Joins The Alliance

What follows is a compilation of several posts Maria Barry made to the Visionary Fiction Group blog on Goodreads.com. She agreed to our reposting them, with a few editorial liberties, here on the VFA site.

About Maria Barry

Maria Barry, Publicist

Maria Barry, Publicist

I am a publisher/publicist, part of the UK based John Hunt Publishing Ltd. My background is mind, body, spirit – nonfiction. But last year I took on the role of publicity for a number of our fiction lists, these are multi-genre lists, fantasy/SF/Romance/Historical and Visionary Fiction. I am actually based in France, but due to the way the John Hunt system works, we can be anywhere in the world as long as we have internet access. I am the longest current member of the team apart from John Hunt himself!

I am Jan Krause Green’s publicist for her book, I Call Myself Earth Girl  and she has been very successful in her initial promotion for her title. But it can be hit and miss for authors. Generally the successful authors are those that put in the most effort. But not every author knows where to start and how to keep the momentum going.

I have just joined Visionary Fiction Alliance, and would like to get as involved as possible in promoting VF as a genre. I’m looking forward to being part of this discussion. As publicist, I have to keep things current, watch out for opportunities, not just for reviewing/selling, but also to learn.

About John Hunt Imprints

For JH imprints: General fiction is Roundfire Books, which covers all genre of fiction. Cosmic Egg covers fantasy, SF, and most of those titles have an element of Visionary Fiction:  Gem’s Story, Wellsprings, Orders from Above. Then fiction creeps into some of the other imprints, in particular Soul Rocks which has Jan’s title I Call Myself Earth Girl.

JH has built a contacts database of interested orgs: reviewers – radio – bookstores – bloggers – awards. Authors that publish through us have access to this,(35k plus) but also get a dedicated publicist to work on their title prior to its publication. On a typical VF novel, I can send notice to around 300 contacts. I also have a dedicated list of 300 radio shows. The author is given continued PR support as they each receive 500 copies to sell.

Authors as Primary Promoters

BUT the most successful authors are those that are active. The explosion in self publishing hasn’t altered that fact. It is a myth to think that your publisher will do it all for you.

Anne Stuart QuoteYou really have to ‘know’ your market. If you are writing VF, then you need to acquaint yourself with the huge variety of magazines, ezines, online orgs, bloggers in that area. Target them with a really succinct press release; the first line that they read of your approach has to get them interested in the book. Your email should also provide the recipient with all the relevant information : book info, author bio, endorsement, ISBN, and how to get the book. We offer a PDF version of the book for review; hard copies can be expensive to provide. Look for sites/magazines that actively seek articles, write about your book’s subject matter, or write about how the book came about. Offer giveaway copies. Build a list of radio shows – VF is a great genre for this.

There is no denying that it is hard work and often a thankless task. Some sites do not like being approached by authors directly, preferring the publisher to contact, and there is still a stigma attached to self publishing. Having an online presence always helps: social networking links, getting reviewers to put their reviews up on Amazon/Goodreads etc. Getting out and about to your local bookstores.

VFA EDITORS’ ADDENDUM

Welcome, Maria, to the Visionary Fiction Alliance. Besides increasing our international presence, your observations and input from the publisher/publicist side of an author’s road to success will be a substantial contribution to the expansion of the Visionary Fiction genre. We authors write because we love to do it; we work at promotion only because we have to. Any glimmer of wisdom you can give us to ease the pain as we hack away at the great divide between manuscript and published book will be profusely appreciated.

For those interested, Maria addresses the difference between John Hunt Imprints and the typical vanity publisher in a detailed  post on Goodreads (11/12/13). It is informative on industry practice in general.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Victor E. Smith (Vic) is a writer specializing in Visionary Fiction, a semi-retired computer trainer to the publishing industry (15 years as a consultant to The Wall Street Journal), and a spiritual/paranormal researcher currently residing in Tucson, Arizona. He is a member of the Editorial Team of the Visionary Fiction Alliance and author of The Anathemas, a Novel about Reincarnation and Restitution. His website and blog can be found at victoresmith.com.

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About Victor Smith

Victor E. Smith, a lifelong generalist with a diverse resume, sees himself as a scribe of the realm “in-between.” Writing largely visionary and historical fiction, he seeks to observe, absorb, and express those close encounters between the spiritual and material universes that form the unique adventure called human life. Vic is the author of The Anathemas: A Novel of Reincarnation and Restitution (2010) and Channel of the Grail (May 2016). He is a core team member of the Visionary Fiction Alliance. For further information, visit his website, victoresmith.com.
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6 Responses to Maria Barry, VF Publicist, Joins The Alliance

  1. Peggy Payne says:

    As a John Hunt author– my novel Cobalt Blue–I'm pleased to see Maria here. Welcome, Maria Barry!

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  2. maria barry says:

    Thank you, I will sending VF authors this way too.

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  3. PJ Swanwick says:

    Welcome, Maria! And Vic, another well-crafted article. You excel at that.

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  4. Hi Maria. The following statement, "As publicist, I have to keep things current, watch out for opportunities, not just for reviewing/selling, but also to learn." says a lot about you and has me interested in getting to know you through VFA. You say your background is mind, body, spirit – nonfiction. My work is mind, body, spirit – fiction; another reason to keep my eyes and ears open when you have something to share. I foresee information from the perspective of a publisher/publicist as being invaluable to all writers of visionary fiction. Welcome!

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  5. Maria,
    I am happy to see a publisher/publicist as part of our VFA. As Vic noted, authors write b/c it is a passion and market because we need to. I came to peace with that after my second novel. If I want to get my books out there, into readers' hands, then that is part of the deal, like it or not. So, to have a well rounded perspective from across the board in the industry will be so helpful. I am glad we can help you as well, as you mentioned. To that end – What specifically would you like to learn here at the VFA? And how would you like to be more involved?

    Welcome aboard!

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