My publicity internship with Belle Media Ltd.

When a publicity internship with Glasgow-based publisher Belle Media was advertised I was excited to apply for it. The description of the Tigeropolis series resonated with me as it reminded me of the children’s book series The Animals of Farthing Wood which I had loved as a child and also dealt with animal habitat conservation. My internship involved promoting the 10 part radio series (based on the Tigeropolis books) broadcast by the national children’s station FUN KIDS.

Preparing to pounce

I first got started by compiling a mailing list of children’s media (particularly children’s magazines like Animal Planet). Included in the mailing list were local Scottish newspapers, radio stations, blogs, and magazines with a Scottish interest or children’s focus. I also added conservation organisations, a number of Scottish bookshops (that could be interested in an author visit) and podcasts that discuss children’s books. I was given access to images by Dropbox and began to create a press release for the radio series. I kept it relatively simple while highlighting the main areas of interest, and included book reviews of the series from the website. In collaboration with Belle Media I made suitable changes, and some additions such as a strap line: “Celebrating 2022 – The Year of the Tiger!”. FUN KIDS also asked for additional information to be put in so I accommodated the necessary changes until everyone was happy with the final press release.

It was time to send out the press release and an email succinctly explaining why the recipient would be interested in the series and its unique selling points. This took considerable time, tailoring each email to each recipient. With every email I improved on the last and began to attract interest, and more importantly responses! A number of local newspapers got in touch to write up a piece on the radio series. I was able to offer some Tigeropolis competition prizes to children’s magazines as well. I sent on questions to the author and worked as a liaison between Belle Media and the newspapers which required precision and a quick response time to ensure deadlines were met.

Earning my stripes

After targeting local media, I decided to branch out to see if I could find a wider audience for Tigeropolis. The radio series is narrated by children’s tv presenter Ashwika Kapur who is from North India, so I approached an Indian magazine to see if they would like an interview with her. Fortunately they were interested, and I sent on the required high resolution images and quotes along with Ashwika’s answers to the interview questions. With this success, I felt motivated and confident to look beyond the UK to see if any Irish media would be interested in the series. A difficulty I came across throughout my internship was finding the correct email addresses for people. Through many attempts I managed to obtain a few I could contact. I emailed RTÉ Junior (National Irish Radio Service) as they have a show which deals with animal conservation/rewilding issues aimed at children, and so could possibly want to hear about it. They conveyed an interest in an author interview and asked to listen to the pilot episode of the series.

Thanks to the internship, I learned the importance of patience and perseverance in approaching journalists as they are very busy and sometimes follow up emails are required to remind them of a project. It was enjoyable seeing the final result in print and I felt a sense of achievement in my work.

A final tail

Two years on, remote working is still very much a part of every day life. My internship was conducted exclusively by emails and phone calls. While I would have liked to have the experience of working in an office with publishing professionals, I felt very supported by Belle Media throughout my placement. They were always happy to answer my questions and brilliant at providing me with feedback. It was also great to be trusted to work independently and to keep them informed when I encountered some interest.

I believe that the benefit of remote working is that it allows more students and graduates opportunities that would simply not be available to them otherwise.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to meet Kay and Richard in person at the London Book Fair 2022 and to see the Tigeropolis books up on the shelves at the IPG (Independent Publishers Guild) stand. They were very kind to make time for me and spoke about their future projects. This experience has been invaluable and I will be keen to apply for marketing/publicity roles in the future now that I have seen how rewarding it can be.

Meeting Belle Media in person at last! (centre)