Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed PR expert and author Lucy Werner about her career, what inspired her to start writing, and the work that went into her books; Brand Yourself and Hype Yourself.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
Hey, I’m Lucy Werner. I’m a PR geek, live in east London with the co-founder of my two children and my cockapoo Arlo. I like collecting things – currently on rotation are vinyl, postcards and notebooks (although the latter is inadvertent)
When did you first WANT to write a book?
When I set up my consultancy in 2014, I went back to basics and read as many PR books as I could, and most were not written by PR professionals but by journalists turned PR experts that only told you how to pitch to the press. This is publicity and just one strand of PR, so it sparked an idea that there was a gap in the market.
I also wanted to help as many small business owners as possible with their publicity. The whole process could easily be demystified for many, so I tried to help with that.
When did you take a step to start writing?
Joining Alison Jones’s 10-day book proposal challenge.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
I won my book deal at the end of January 2019, I had written it by June 2019, and it was out into the world in January 2020.
How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?
I pitched the second book in August 2020, wrote it by February 2021, and it was published in September 2021.
Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write Brand Yourself?
Just like there are many myths around PR, there are also many myths and confusion around branding, so I wanted to use Hadrien’s brilliant creative brain to show small business owners exactly what it is and how they can make a start on their own.
What were your biggest challenges with writing Brand Yourself?
Hadrien is French and dyslexic, so it was always his brain, and I was the writing brawn. Getting the information out of him in the book structure I had mapped out was tricky. That and because you often think of other ideas or problems you want to solve and match up with relevant case studies. Getting contributors promptly was tricky.
What was your research process for Brand Yourself?
Reading other branding books, blogs, checking what questions people were asking. Every time we held a workshop, we would note the questions we would ask and make sure we addressed these.
How did you plan the structure of Brand Yourself?
I have a spreadsheet that breaks down each chapter and subsection, including how many words each area. I then had a list of contributors and case studies I wanted to include plugged into the spreadsheet.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Brand Yourself need?
Haha YES. A lot. My publisher offered a development editor at first to give initial feedback and notes on the script, then a sub-editor who reviews the next version and works with you until the final submission to ensure there are no inconsistencies.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?
Non-fiction books are a great interactive business card. How can you drive people from your book to find out more about you without giving your email and phone number?
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
I’m still cooking it up, but it’s something to do with marinading on a few different flavours that aren’t necessarily from the non-fiction world. It might not necessarily be something I bring into the public eye, maybe just for fun.
And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
This week, nearly two years after launch, Hype Yourself has just landed its first international imprint in Vietnam. We can often focus on just launch week, month or quarter, but you are constantly launching – so yeah, that felt a proud moment.
Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
Hype Yourself: a no-nonsense DIY toolkit for small businesses
Brand Yourself: a no-nonsense DIY toolkit for small businesses
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