Before the completion of the compilation, I assisted with reading the entries, selecting pieces for publication, shortlisting for category winners (judged externally) and overall proofreading of the Paperight Young Writer’s Anthology 2013 (hereafter referred to as the PYWA). I entered the project as an intern in April 2013, but took over the marketing elements of the project in July 2013 as part of my promotion to the role of Marketing Manager.
On Youth Day, the 16th of June, the PYWA was released. This fantastic publication necessitated my first batch of press releases sent on behalf of Paperight. I sent press releases to:
- contributing schools to congratulate them on their students’ success and let them know where they could purchase copies
- outlets close to these schools advising them to promote the PYWA in store and prepare themselves for students looking for copies
- media contacts, both national and regional, to tell them about the project and the PYWA’s release. We also encouraged them to get back to us to interview Oscar, the Anthology’s editor, or to request a copy for review.
Along with these press releases, I wrote a Facebook conversation plan in order to give our Paperight fans a taste of what the compilation entries were like. We selected quotes from longer entries, entire poems and illustrations to make beautiful posts (designed by Nick) for Paperight fans and PYWA contributors to share. We also posted stories of our visits to schools in the Western Cape, to hand out certificates to contributors and prizes to category winners. These stories were posted on the Paperight blog, too.
This conversation plan was Paperight’s first ever predetermined conversation plan. It ran from the 31st of July to the 9th of September 2013 (the Monday after the Open Book Festival Launch, mentioned below). It was supposed to end with a call for submissions for the 2014 edition, however, due to a shortage of resources, the project has been indefinitely postponed.
We used the weekly newsletter to remind outlets to promote the anthology in store by putting up posters and ensuring their staff are prepared to handle queries. In addition, we included links to blog posts on news items about the PYWA to inspire enthusiasm for the title.
This initial push was then followed up in September 2013 with an official book launch at the Open Book Festival in Cape Town. Arthur hosted a panel discussion between Oscar, Nick Mhlongo (author), Hedley Twidle (UCT lecturer) and Sarah Rowan (poet) to discuss the necessity of encouraging writing among South Africa’s young people. Invitations were sent to media contacts asking them to attend the event and offering copies of the Anthology to be reviewed. Copy shop owners and staff in the Western Cape were also encouraged to join the festivities. The event was well attended and led to many sales of the PYWA (perfect bound copies printed by Mega Digital) through the Book Lounge.
The Open Book Festival launch was filmed and edited into a punchy, short film by our film intern, Shaun Swingler. The film was then added to our YouTube channel where we have amassed our collection of Paperight related video content. It is definitely worth a watch!
One of the success stories to come out of the PYWA project is the fact that Eden College in Durban, the school with the most selected contributors, chose to use the PYWA as a prescribed English Literature set work for their Grade 10 students.