New book by Reverend Matt Woodcock, about his first ministry in Hull

Being Reverend
A Diary

By Matt Woodcock
Published by Church House Publishing

The hilarious and heart-warming diary of rookie vicar Matt Woodcock (author of the best-selling Becoming Reverend) records with great humour, and a happy pen, the highs and lows of the author’s first ministry at one of Hull’s oldest, biggest yet emptiest churches: Holy Trinity.  From masterminding a real ale festival to hiring real camels for a nativity play, Matt is determined to do whatever it takes to breathe new life into this struggling community.

Adding the enterprising (and mercurial) Matt to the church’s existing team is the last throw of the dice for this 700 year-old church. But is he ready for such a challenging first assignment? Are his new flock – and his new colleagues – ready for the whirlwind that’s about to descend on them? And can Matt realize his vision of a joyful, thriving church without wrecking his married life in the process?

The challenge

I was called in just a month ahead of publication to promote this book (a typical PR campaign takes from three to four months). Moreover, the pandemic was ongoing (October 2020) which made it more difficult to contact journalists etc. So, the premises weren’t the most hopeful.

The solution

Charged into the campaign like a battering ram. This involved, carefully reading the forthcoming title and the previous bestseller by the same author (on the same theme), working closely with him to grasp exactly the key tenets of the book (Matt’s Christian approach and vision, his message) and manage to convey this to a wide variety of journalists so as to persuade them to cover the book (fast!).

The result

The efforts paid off. A two-page book’s excerpt appeared in the Daily Mail, one of the UK’s papers with the highest circulation (ABC-controlled: 994K+) and Matt was interviewed at length by another high-circulation paper, the Daily Express (ABC circ. 251K+) in a full-page-article. Both the author’s local media (York) and the Hull media (where the book’s action unfolds) covered the book, including The Yorkshire Post and the Hull Daily Mail. The main local websites/ blogs such as TheHullStory also featured it. Matt was interviewed on BBC Radio 2 (he is a regular guest, but I had to contact them several times to make sure they weren’t going to forget in their hectic schedule) and on Christian broadcast (Premier radio and Premier TV). As for the Christian print media, the leading weeklies welcomed the book: The Church Times run a review and The Church of England Newspaper published a long excerpt.