Allison's Book Bag

Interview with Rebecca Grose of SoCal Public Relations

Posted on: October 18, 2017

In the spring of 2015, Rebecca Grose of SoCal Public Relations contacted me about reviewing a children’s book. I don’t know if this was her first request, but it’s the first I have saved. Since then, she’s contacted me about several other books including Seashell Day by Dianne Ochiltree, which won the “Gwen P. Reichert Gold Medal for Children’s Literature”. Over the few years that we’ve corresponded, Rebecca has become familiar with my reading tastes. These days I might even receive a book in my mail that she’s sent on the hunch that I’d enjoy it. In fact, I received one today! Thus, I thought it fitting for my readers to know a little more about Rebecca Grose herself.

ALLISON: Looking back at your childhood, what kind of character would you be in a book?

REBECCA: Definitely inquisitive, precocious, and maybe just a little bossy. 😉 I’d want to help the other characters in the book in one way or another, but also be their friend. And I’d be very talkative!

ALLISON: As an adult, what do you most like to do? (Your photos suggest sports?)

REBECCA: I’m definitely not into sports—although I used to play tennis regularly in college—and enjoy bocce ball, ping pong, and occasionally go boating.

Mostly, I like to spend time with friends and take advantage of all the wonderful activities that San Diego has to offer. We dine out, meet for drinks, or attend various events around town (there’s always something fun going on) like trolley tours, new venue openings, etc. Just recently my friend and I went to the inaugural San Diego Festival of Books (modeled after the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books). It was a great turnout for being its first year, and I was able to say hello to old friends, including a few San Diego authors.

ALLISON: Why did you get into promoting authors?

REBECCA: It wasn’t something I went after at the start (I wanted to be in advertising!), but serendipity led me to my first job in publishing (a small publisher in San Diego—Oak Tree Publications—no longer in business). And once I got a taste of working within the publishing industry, and specifically, the privilege of working with authors and helping spread the word about their wonderful books… I was hooked!

ALLISON: What advice would you give to newcomers to public relations/marketing?

REBECCA: Explore different aspects of the business and find your niche—something you’re interested in that you’ll want to pursue as your career for many years to come. In doing so, you’ll build relationships within your field and a strong reputation that will continue to carry you as far as you’d like to go.

ALLISON: How did you land positions with publishing companies?

REBECCA: I had experience from previously working at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (now Harcourt, part of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) in San Diego, and asked friends for a few New York publishing contacts. When I moved to New York to pursue more opportunities in publishing, I was able to interview for an entry-level position with Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. I worked my way up over four years, and then from there, it was easier to leverage my experience to climb the ladder at other publishers (HarperCollins and DK Publishing).

ALLISON: What’s something authors should know about agents?

REBECCA: They receive a lot of inquiries from authors seeking representation that isn’t right for them. It’s important to research the agents to whom you’re submitting material, and only send to those that handle your genre/age levels. You’ll be much more successful that way!

ALLISON: Do you prefer print or electronic books? Why?

REBECCA: Always print! It feels great holding the book in your hands, and actually turning the pages yourself. Everyone should try it if they haven’t yet!!

ALLISON: How do you find a balance between having quiet time and being on social media?

REBECCA: Actually, I only use social media for work. I’d rather see my friends in person or talk with them on the phone.

ALLISON: If you could live anywhere, what place would you choose? Why?

REBECCA: That’s easy! I would live in Hawaii. For many years, it was a dream of mine to visit Hawaii and I finally had an opportunity to vacation there in 2010. It’s extremely beautiful, so lush, and the ocean temperature is very warm. Plus, the people are all so friendly. Simply heaven! I never wanted to leave. But reality set in, and I came to the conclusion that it just wouldn’t work for me.

ALLISON: What’s something on your bucket list? Why?

REBECCA: I’ve never made a bucket list, but since I was in my teens I had always dreamed of going to Italy and Hawaii. I went to Italy in 2001, and it was fantastic—everything I had hoped it would be and more! Then I went to Hawaii in 2010, as previously mentioned. So, I’ve been lucky enough to fulfill my dreams!

Rebecca Grose has been a freelance publicist since she started her own literary p.r. firm, SoCal Public Relations in San Diego in 2003. Prior to that, Rebecca worked in New York at several major publishing houses—Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, HarperCollins Children’s Books, DK Publishing—and with many distinguished authors including Alice Walker, Patricia and Fredrick McKissack, E.L. Konigsburg, Walter Dean Myers, and more. She began her career with Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (now Harcourt, part of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) when they had an office in San Diego.

Specializing in Children’s and Young Adult books, she’s launched successful media campaigns with author/illustrator appearances on national and local television/radio, interviews and features in national magazines/major newspapers across the country, and blog/online media coverage.

She also schedules author tours, trade show/festival appearances, and local bookstore events. Rebecca works closely with each author or illustrator to create and strategize an effective, personalized publicity campaign.

Links/Contact Info:

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