The Corner Office: On the Record With: Paul Bogaards
Always know the customer you’re pitching (because they’re going to judge your work). Message carefully on every title. Read for bylines. Pay attention to everything (and everyone) that connects to your author and their work. Have a publishing plan. I look at some industry work and it reminds me of a guy riding a bicycle all over Manhattan, slipping menus under apartment doors, hoping someone will place an order. It doesn’t work like that. Campaigns stick and drive results only if you target appropriate outlets and audiences. And in this day and age, where we have access to all kinds of salient data points, there really is no excuse for a misfire.
Answer the phone. Be responsive to email. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so (then find out the answer). Lastly, buy all your colleagues in the media a bottle of booze during the holidays, even if it’s against company policy.
How would you describe your work style?
● Casual and profane. Also, highly motivated (I’ve been described as both a tyrant and a cheerleader).
Publishing houses don’t tend to brand themselves, and yet if any house has a brand and is known for a certain type of book, it’s Knopf. Can you describe the Knopf brand as you see it?
● We publish Authors. We invest in careers. Our editors curate an exceptional list of books; we design and manufacture those books to exacting standards in all formats; and we focus our efforts on publishing every book well.
Can you describe how the publicity department functions within the Knopf group? Are you involved with books from the point of acquisitions? Do you have input into design? Sales decisions?
● We plan and execute publicity campaigns for our books and authors. We work cross platform—every touch-point with a reader is a potential point of engagement for our team. We have a framework that we apply to every title, and we start with this question: What is the audience we are trying to reach for said book and author? We then follow with this question: How are we going to access that audience? We work with media, booksellers, librarians, reading groups, social networks, online communities—anywhere and everywhere an author can engage. We have strong publicity teams in place within our publishing group—anchored by seasoned industry veterans (Nicholas Latimer, Alison Rich, Russell Perreault)—and our approach to campaign work is creative, disciplined and pragmatic.