The team at Divine Clark PR began working with best-selling author, Val Wood in 2010, just after the release of Homecoming Girls.
Val received PR support from the publisher, Transworld, (Penguin Random House UK), once a year. They promoted her titles as they were launched, but for the rest of the year Val, like most authors, was expected to do the rest on her own, finding it very difficult to update her website, generate free editorials and plan events and competitions, all at the same time as writing a book a year!
She had just rebranded from Valerie Wood to Val Wood and this needed to flow through all online platforms. The team at Divine Clark PR began by building a new website from scratch, focusing on all of the aspects that were important to the readership. One of the frequently asked questions from readers was the order the books had been published in. So this was made visible on the new website along with a welcome page for fans to see the latest news on book releases and signings.
Community engagement through social media
We also set up Val’s social media platforms which have become an integral way for Val to build a community with her existing readers and, open the doors to a brand new audience.
This open line of communication created a dialogue with the readers, many of whom requested information on the locations Val had written about in her many novels. Working closely with Val, Tourist boards, local historians and library services, we were able to create The Val Wood Trail – a website to promote Val’s novels, as well as tourist spots in Hull, Scarborough and Beverley. To publicise the trail, Divine Clark PR organised a library tour which helped create a solid relationship between Val and the library service and their customers.
Responding to readers
Readers often asked for advice on creative writing, so in response, we created the Val Wood Prize for Creative Writing in 2014 – an annual competition which started with around ninety entries. Since then the annual competition has become a huge success internationally and most recently Hull Central Library, who we partner with on the event, received over six hundred and fifty entries for the prize, from all around the globe.
Each year brings something new for Val and the publicity campaigns we create have not gone unnoticed. Val has appeared on BBC One, BBC Radio 4, BBC 4, BBC Look North and ITV Calendar, as well as local and digital stations. Her image was projected onto buildings in Hull City Centre during the opening ceremony for the launch of Hull’s City of Culture year in 2017 and in the same year, Val was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from The University of Hull.
Most recently we celebrated Val’s 25th year as a published author and the launch of her 25th book, Four Sisters. As her readership and list of best-sellers continues to grow annually, we are very excited at the opportunities that will arise in the future.