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Harvard University Press Published: July 29, 2020
Cambridge, MA
Job Type



Harvard University Press


Job Summary

The Publicist develops, coordinates, and implements publicity plans for Harvard’s books and publishing programs.  Works closely with members of the department and the Press to generate publicity campaigns for a substantial percentage of the nearly 150 trade and professional titles published by the Press each year.  Publicist partners with the authors of her/his assigned books; with other members of the press, especially those in the Editorial Department, to develop a good sense of the book; and with journalists who may be interested in covering the book/author in reviews, interviews, news articles or cultural stories.  Works closely with colleagues throughout the Press to determine a book’s appropriate audience and its importance relative to other books published in the same season.  Creates pitch letters and press releases, researches media, assembles mailing lists for galleys and review copies, schedules interviews, organizes author tours, signings and other book-related events, develops press kits, and sustains an informal dialogue with journalists (print, broadcast and online) about new and upcoming titles.  Communicates results to Press staff and authors.

Job-Specific Responsibilities

40%  Identifies the best and most appropriate audience for assigned titles; researches, organizes, and develops media lists and contacts for assigned titles; develops detailed knowledge of scholarly and trade media in key disciplines and contacts with key editors in those disciplines; researches and writes press materials; arranges interviews with feature editors and radio and television producers; organized book signings, author lectures, and other related events; initiates special efforts outside of designated publicity plans.  Determines which are appropriate for major media and which for specialized publications, negotiates and signs contracts for same.

10% strategizes about which books are most likely to receive review attention and ensures appropriate resources are allocated to them.

20% maintains positive author relations by initiating and sustaining proactive contact throughout the publicity process.

20% works closely with editors and other in-house staff to ensure good communication between authors and the publicity department, as well as a thorough understanding of the projects and of the Press’s overall publicity goals.

10% shares general knowledge and experience with other members of the department.  Possible attendance at various trade and scholarly meetings on behalf of the Press.  Includes out-of-state travel.

Other duties:  Performs other duties as required in furtherance of the department’s mission.

Basic Qualifications

College degree plus 2-3 years of experience in publicity or public relations/communications.

Additional Qualifications

Background in all aspects of book publicity or public relations/communications; contacts with print and broadcast media as well as scholarly and specialized journals strongly desired; strong writing, organizational, and verbal and written communication skills; demonstrated ability to be creative and innovative in promoting titles or subject matter; broad intellectual interests; knowledge of scholarly disciplines; excellent interpersonal abilities; demonstrated ability to work independently and with others under deadline pressure.  Ability to work in a collegial manner with authors and colleagues in a university press setting.  Ability to use PC and related word processing and database software strongly preferred.

Competencies:  Adaptability; building rapport and relationships; decision making; communication; managing work; valuing diversity.

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