Since I wrote this post before Christmas, I read one more book, THE SUBMISSION, during the holidays that I would like to add to my My Favorite Reads of 2011. It was an incredible book and is worthy of my list.
Rather than call this a Best Books of 2011 like many holiday round-ups, I’m calling this roundup My Favorite Reads of 2011, because some books that made my list, such as GREAT EXPECTATIONS, were not even published in this century. And I didn’t get a chance to read several books on my “must read” list last year, so I read them this year. But this list will give you an idea of literary taste.
The books in my favorite list range from literary and contemporary fiction, popular fiction, memoirs and history to a delicious, gossipy book about Elizabeth and Richard Burton. I’m not including detailed descriptions because you can find those in the many reviews that came out or on Amazon.
(An asterisk indicates that the book is one I promoted this year.)
RULES OF CIVILITY by Amor Towles. This brilliant debut novel is my absolute favorite and best read of the year. A Fitzgerald-like tale set in New York in 1938. Included in The Wall Street Journal’s Best Fiction 2011.
THE SUBMISSION by Amy Waldman. This novel should be required college reading. It is absolutely brilliant in so many ways. Poignant, heartbreaking, it captures the post 9/11 politics and grief in a remarkably realistic rendering. It will raise your consciousness and open your heart. A different kind of book from RULES OF CIVILITY, it ties with it for my favorite book of 2011. Included in The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2011.
STATE OF WONDER by Anne Patchett: Brilliant. Loved it! Mesmerizing.
THE ART OF FIELDING by Chad Harbach: Excellent debut novel about baseball in the way the Malamud’s The Natural is about baseball. The sport is the setting to a novel about growing up, hopes and dashed dreams, friendships and romances and family, and ultimately what matters most in life. Included in The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2011.
MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND by Helen Simonson: Great. A PBS Masterpiece-like classic. Transported me to England. Loved the story.
NEMESIS by Philip Roth : Excellent novella about the polio epidemic in Newark in the fifties. Vintage Roth. Brilliant.
LITTLE BEE by Chris Cleave: Finally read this bestseller in a day or two. Heartbreaking, poignant.
THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST by Steig Larsson: Loved this third in the trilogy. Brilliant. Especially the details about the inside workings of the espionage agency and the different levels within the agency..
THE COOKBOOK COLLECTOR by Allegra Goodman: Loved this contemporary novel about relationships and food. Ending was predictable, but still enjoyed it.
THE PARIS WIFE by Paula McLain: About Hemmingway’s time in Paris told from the point of view of Hadley, Hemingway’s first wife. Inspired me to read a MOVEABLE FEAST, the story of the same years from Hemingway’s point of view (see below under Favorite Nonfiction).
A TALE OF TWO CITIES and GREAT EXPECTATIONS by Charles Dickens: After Oprah selected these two Dickens classics for her bookclub picks, it gave me an excuse to re-read these classics which I never finished and didn’t really enjoy in high school. My teacher gave away the ending to GREAT EXPECTATIONS, so I never finished it. But I remember plodding through it and thinking it was way too long. As an adult, I thought it was an absolute page-turner! And as an adolescent I lacked the attention span needed to really savor GREAT EXPECTATIONS, which I absolutely loved as an adult. Must have had my mind on other things when I was a teenager!
* BRIDGE OF THE SINGLE HAIR by Candida Pugh: A fictional memoir written by a Civil Rights Activist who was a Freedom Rider. Pugh’s historical account of actual events as well as her story, told through her protagonist, of the harrowing experiences she endured when she was incarcerated in a maximum security prison at the age of 18 for demonstrating in the Deep South against segregation is what Kirkus hailed as an “evocative novel [that] effectively encapsulates the physical and emotional volatility of the Civil Rights era.” “Named to Kirkus Reviews Best of 2011.”
*SLEEPING WITH MORTALS: The Story of a New York Mistress by Cathrine Goldstein. This cautionary tale is loosely based on the author’s young adult years. Disturbing, dark and engaging, this debut novel debunks the myth of the glamorous life of mistresses.
FAVORITE NONFICTION BOOKS OF 2011
IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson. My favorite non-fiction book of 2011. Another brilliant and riveting must-read by the author of the captivating THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY. A disturbing look at Hitler’s rise to power from the perspective of America’s first ambassador to Germany and his family, who accompanied him. Included in The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2011.
FICTION RUINED MY FAMILY by Jeanne Darst: Heartbreaking but hilarious. Poignant memoir of a family living on the edge in the upscale town of Bronxville, a wealthy suburb of New York. The father is an unsuccessful writer who devotes his entire life at the cost of his family to writing even though he makes no money at it. The mother drowns her sorrows in drink. The father can’t get published and consequently the family is destitute living off the mother’s inheritance. Sad, sad story about wanting to be a novelist at the expense of everything else in life. But there’s hope at the end of this tunnel: the daughter becomes a successful writer.
TOLSTY AND THE PURPLE CHAIR: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch: Beautiful memoir. The author read a book a day to get over the loss of her sister. A must-read for all bookaholics and those who suffered a recent loss.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE DRESS by Vicky Tiel: Delicious insider’s look at Hollywood, Liz & Burton, by the dress designer who designed Liz’s clothes, the mini skirt and other fashions. I loved it.
A MOVABLE FEAST: by Ernest Hemingway. I was inspired to read this book by A PARIS WIFE. It’s the same story from Hemingway’s perspective. Then I went to see Midnight in Paris, which came out right after I read A MOVABLE FEAST. A great year for Hemingway fans.
COMMITTED by Elizabeth Gilbert: The reviews were not as good as for EAT, PRAY, LOVE but I love Gilbert’s writing and this is an interesting look at marriage in her vintage style. If you like Gilbert’s voice, you’ll like this book.
I’ve read a lot more books this year, and enjoyed almost every book I chose. Some are worth an honorable mention:
CHILDREN AND FIRE by Ursula Hegi. Good story about the early days of The Third Reich and the impact of Hitler's Germany on a teacher and the young boys she teaches.
THIS BEAUTIFUL LIFE by Helen Schulman: Included in The New York Times 100 Notable Books. This novel got a front-page review in The New York Times Book Review about an upscale Manhattan family who seems to have it all until their lives are upturned by their son’s posting a sexually explicit video on YouTube sent to him by a high school classmate who has a crush on him. The video goes viral and the family’s lives are in upheaval. A cautionary 21st century tale.
A DAY AT THE BEACH also by Helen Schulman is set on 9/11.
AN AMERICAN HEIRESS: A must-read for Downton Abbey fans!
ORDINARY THUNDERSTORMS by William Boyd. I am a huge fan of William Boyd and have read every novel he’s written. This is good but not his best. My favorite is still ANY HUMAN HEART, which is a must-read and was adapted by PBS Masterpiece, although I did not think the adaptation captured the brilliance of the book.
THE WEIRD SISTERS: Enjoyable novel about sibling rivalries.
THE LEFTOVERS by Tom Perrotta. Did not like this as much as his previous novels.
WHAT I’M READING NOW:
THE SUBMISSION, a debut novel by Amy Waldman, that has been hailed by some critics as the definitive 9/11 novel. It was included in The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2011. I’m just in the beginning, but it promises to be a compelling look at the politics of post 9/11, Muslim Xenophobia and grief.
BOOKS ON MY HOLIDAY READING LIST:
THE SENSE OF AN ENDING by Julian Barnes: Included in The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2011.
LOST MEMORY OF SKIN by Russell Banks: included in The Wall Street Journal’s Best Fiction list and The New York Times 100 Notable Books 2011.
THE GATHERING and THE FORGOTTON WALTZ (included in The Wall Street Journal's Best Fiction 2011), both by Anne Enright.
What do Chihuahuas, cheesecake and heavy metal have in common? All three are subjects of delicious new books I’m promoting.
When Esri Allbritten queried me way back in 2010 about CHIHUAHUA OF THE BASKERVILLES (St. Martin’s Minotaur Books; July 2011), I knew with a title like that the book promised to be hilarious, and it surely lives up to its promise. Mystery Scene Magazine concurred: “With a title like this, can a mystery be anything but hilarious? Fortunately, Chihuahua of the Baskervilles lives up to its comedic promise.”
Esri Allbritten is a smart, savvy young writer. Not only has she written an engaging mixture of parody and suspense, but Esri also has marketing acumen as well. She hired me to saturate Colorado media—her homestate—and the payoff was huge: A profile story in The Denver Post, and a great review in The Boulder Daily Camera: “To curl up with a book about a ghost Chihuahua named Petey is to thank heaven you ever learned to read in the first place…. In the quirky, humorous little mystery…. Allbritten offers plenty of reading pleasures in this off-the-wall tale. Readers will love and root for the little dog, Petey and all the others."
Other local publications have featured stories or reviews as well, and I was able to schedule many book signing events throughout Colorado.
If you’re a New Yorker, then you must have heard of, if not tasted, the sumptuously delicious Junior’s Cheesecake. Junior’s is a family-run restaurant that opened more than 60 years ago and has become a New York institution.
Now, Alan Rosen, third generation of the Rosen family, offers 75 delicious desserts in JUNIOR’S DESSESRT COOKBOOK: Over 75 Recipes for Cheesecakes, Pies, Cookies, Cakes and More (Taunton Press; October 2011).
So if you don’t live in New York and want to know what all the fuss is about, pre-order a copy online. The recipe for their original cheesecake, rated #1 by The Wall Street Journal, The Today Show, New York Magazine and Iron Chef, is featured in this latest Junior’s cookbook.
I recently sampled the original cheesecake when I was at the Times Square Junior’s, and I can attest that it’s reputation is well deserved. Creamy, scrumptious, it’s a diet breaker you won’t be sorry you tried.
PLAY IT AGAIN, JEREMY
When heavy metal rock star Jeremy Wagner first queried me in December 2010, I said to myself, heavy metal? I’m a Mozart kinda gal, so I initially passed.
But persistence paid off, and Jeremy was anything if not persistent. I finally decided to read his manuscript one winter weekend which had been gathering dust on my bookshelf, and I couldn’t put it down.
It’s a riveting page turner, part DaVinci Code, part horror, with a guitarist protagonist inspired by two guitar greats and a heavy-metal twist. Katherine Turman, co-author of LOUDER THAN HELL: An Unflinching Oral History of Hevy Metal, is right on the money with her appraisal: “THE ARMAGEDDON CHORD is like THE DA VINCI CODE with a heavy-metal soundtrack!”
THE ARMAGEDDON CHORD begins in an ancient Egyptian pyramid, where a sinister archeologist discovers an evil song written in hieroglyphics. The protagonist, an unwitting guitarist, soon finds himself caught between the forces of divine good and monumental evil.
But you’ll have to read the book if you want to find out the rest. If you read thrillers and horror novels, and if you’re captivated by historical events and the fate of the world in the wrong hands, then you must absolutely get your hands on a copy of THE ARMAGEDDON CHORD.And if you’re a heavy-metal fan, it goes without saying that THE ARMAGEDDON CHORD is a must-read.
“Summer’s here, and the living is easy.” I can hear the slow rhythm of the famous Gershwin song from Porgy & Bess as I write this blog. Yes, summer is here, and the living is easy, but I’ve been busy attending ThrillerFest, book parties, writing for GalleyCat.com, and writing reviews for BookPage.com.
And taking a few vacation days here and there and enjoying the summer weather. So that’s why you haven’t heard from me in a while.
Here’s a brief update of what I’ve been up to:
I’ve been promoting a riveting book by a Spy of the Deep. That’s right. Craig Reed is a former U.S. Navy diver and fast-attack submariner who served aboard two submarines involved in secret Cold War Operations. His new book, RED NOVEMBER: Inside the Secret U.S. Soviet Submarine War, is the first book to reveal just how close we came to nuclear war with the Russians way back in 1962. Reed provides a thrilling insider’s account of the secret underwater struggle between the U.S. and the USSR, and reveals previously classified details about the most dangerous, daring and decorated missions of the Cold War.
Reed is one of the true unsung heroes of the Cold War and he has the scars to prove it. RED NOVEMBER is a must-read for Tom Clancy fans as it is the REAL HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER. In the words of NYTimes Bestselling author James Rollins, “If Tom Clancy had turned The Hunt for Red October into a nonfiction thriller, W. Craig Reed’s RED NOVEMBER might be the result.”
To catch Reed discussing the Spy Ring Scandal on WCVB-TV, the ABC affiliate in Boston, click here.
I’ll be handling a campaign for an important investment book this fall that advises those who’ve had their investments torpedoed and are reluctant to jump back into the market: RECLAIM YOUR NEST EGG: Take Control of Your Financial Future (Bloomberg Press; October 2010) by Ken Kamen, who is a regular guest on CNBC, Fox, PBS and other national news stations. Stay tuned…
There’s no dearth of books about spiritual topics this season. I just finished reading Gary Zukav’s latest book, SPIRITUAL PARTNERSHIP: The Journey To Authentic Power (HarperOne; April 27, 2010), an important book for getting in touch with your inner voice, living an authentic life, becoming a multi-sensory human being, and having relationships that are not only fulfilling, but that will also help you grow spiritually.
Since I’ve read Zukav’s latest book, I’ve been sent several spiritual books and novels to promote this winter. Is it a coincidence? I don’t think so. One is a compelling novel about near-death experiences that reads like nonfiction, and the other is a spiritual thriller that explores mystical themes. More to come on both books…
Alas, as it is summer and my birthday is approaching, I plan to enjoy some lazy days at the beach and pool. I just read two books coming out this fall that I highly recommend: PICTURES OF YOU by Caroline Leavitt (Algonquin; November 2010) and Laura Lippman’s latest page-turner, I’D KNOW YOU ANYWHERE (William Morrow, September 2010) that I’ll be reviewing for BookPage. So stay tuned….
Oh, and I almost forgot: Pick up the July issue of BookPage or visit their website (www.bookpage.com) and read my latest review of LEAVING THE WORLD by Douglas Kennedy (Atria; June 2010), who Time Magazine hailed as "The most famous American writer you've never heard of."
Here’s a great article by bestselling author Kyra Davis on how she thought out-of-the-box to implement a successful, creative publicity campaign that generated quite a buzz for her last book, Passion, Betrayal and Killer Highlights.
Most new authors assume that they're going to get some marketing and publicity help from their publishing house. Don't count on it. In fact you can't even count on it if your editor tells you that you'll get that support. There's a good chance that your editor isn't going to be the decision maker in regards to what kind of campaign you're going to get (or if you'll get any) and it's not unusual for a publishing house to over-promise and under-deliver in this area. By the time I was publishing my fifth book I had experienced all the highs and lows of the world of book publicity.
I hired Susan to handle the campaign for my first novel, Sex, Murder And A Double Latte. The campaign she ran for me was nothing short of phenomenal. I got coverage in Cosmopolitan, The New York Times, The Washington Post, I was interviewed on multiple regional television talk shows...in other words I got spoiled. My publishing house ran the campaign for my second novel, Passion, Betrayal And Killer Highlights. They had a completely different approach from Susan. It’s true that my publisher poured a lot of money into promoting my second book but they misspent almost every dollar of it on things like launch parties in the Hamptons and free give-aways. No one reached out to regional television shows. There was no major push to get me in the highest profile publications. I sat back and watched as the quality of my reviews got better and better and my sales got worse and worse. It was painful to say the least.
I knew that when I published my latest book, Lust, Loathing And A Little Lip Gloss, I was going to have to take matters into my own hands. By that time many of the newspapers that had reviewed me had ceased publication. After the failed publicity campaign of my second book my publishing house was declining to invest much more in that area so my budget was small. I considered sending myself on a tour but that would have been prohibitively expensive. And then I thought, what if instead of traveling all over the place to visit with a bunch of readers I fly one reader to San Francisco to visit with me? I could hold a contest. All a reader would have to do is blog or tweet about my latest book and they would be entered in a contest to win a free trip to San Francisco and I would take them to all the places that my protagonist visited throughout the series. The businesses that were featured in the book (restaurants, cafes and chocolatiers) were happy to contribute gift cards to enhance the winner's San Francisco experience.
As I continued to develop the idea further I decided that readers would also be able to enter the contest if they reviewed the book on a bookseller's website. If they posted a book trailer on YouTube that would be worth ten entries. If they chose my book for their book group and had me speak at their meeting via speakerphone or webcam everyone in the book group would be entered twice. In other words I would make my readers my publicists.
There is no better publicity than word-of-mouth publicity and the power of the Internet makes that true ten-fold. The readers were excited by the prospect of visiting the haunting grounds of one of their favorite protagonists. Reviews for the book came pouring in only days after the release as people stayed up all night to finish my latest novel. Book trailers popped up left and right. In addition to all this I hired Susan to exclusively target Internet book review sites. And then the icing on the cake was CocoaBella chocolates. I had mentioned them in my book and in exchange they not only provided me with gift certificates for the contest but they actually came out with a specialty box of chocolates named after my protagonist. They even held an event for me at which my books were sold. So now I had a publicity campaign that was partially funded with sponsorships, I had a publicist to help me with the professional review sites and I had readers promoting my book with enthusiasm.
It was a successful campaign. Lust, Loathing And A Little Lip Gloss generated buzz and was supported by readers. Furthermore I connected with readers more than I ever have been able to before. It cost me a little more than a plane ticket.
When it comes to promoting your work you have to think out of the box and more importantly you have to take responsibility for your own campaign. Your book is your baby and expecting your publisher to truly nourish its growth and success is like sending your child to an orphanage and hoping that one of the nurses will decide to treat your baby with more personal care than all the other babies who are demanding her attention. Your baby deserves better and you, possibly with the help of a publicist (who is kind of like your baby's nanny) can give it the care it needs. Just don't be afraid to use some creative parenting.
Kyra Davis’ latest book, VOWS, VENDETTAS & A LITTLE BLACK DRESS is available on May 26th. Please visit http://www.kyradavis.com/ for more information.
I haven’t posted a blog in several weeks because I came down with a bad case of bronchitis. When you’re self employed, it’s a bummer to be sick. Friends and acquaintances think I’ve got the life. That I can work when I want to and take off when I want to, but nothing could be further from the truth.
When authors are paying you out-of-pocket to get media coverage for their book, you’ve got to work, rain or shine—or getting sick. Publicity is very time sensitive. If you’ve read my previous blogs, you know that there are tight deadlines. Magazines must see galleys three – six months prior to the book’s pub date. National morning shows and Oprah book author interviews three months in advance. Local TV has shorter lead times. But the cycle in publicity is never-ending. When I’m promoting a June or July book in March, I’m also promoting March and April titles to radio and local TV, and to local newspapers.
So I got up each morning, feeling sicker than I’ve been in years (I pride myself in never getting sick), and pounded away on my keyboard, sending out as many e-mail pitches as I could. Leaving voice-mail messages was futile after three or four phone calls as no one wants to hear a hacking cough over the phone (most media prefers that you pitch them via e-mail anyway and a message mixed with a hacking cough is sure to result in a deleted message).
But all the extra work I usually do went by the wayside. At 4:00 in the afternoon I was ready to pack it in. I had a book review due for THE LOST SUMMER OF LOUISA MAY ALCOTT, a debut novel by Kelly O’Connor McNees, which will be posted on BookPage’s website on April 1st or sooner (http://www.bookpage.com/). Fortunately, I read the novel and took notes before I got sick, so I was able to meet my deadline without a problem.
But my friends and acquaintances are right. I do have the life. I love what I do, and the freedom that comes with being self-employed. Although I disagree with Janis Joplin’s definition of freedom—“freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”—what those of us who are self employed do lose is the luxury to take sick days and extended vacations.
Stay tuned this weekend for a special guest posting by bestselling author Kyra Davis of the Sophie Katz mystery series, which includes Sex, Murder and a Double Latte, Lust Loathing and a Little Lip Gloss, Passion Betrayal and Killer Highlights, Obsession, Deceit and Really Dark Chocolate, and a stand alone novel, So Much For My Happy Ending.
Kyra’s latest book, VOWS, VENDETTAS & A LITTLE BLACK DRESS will be available on May 26th. Check out http://www.kyradavis.com/ for more information. Stay tuned.
In a blog I posted last week, What to Read or Not To Read, I wrote about the publicist’s dilemma: when many clients query me at once and send me their books, how do I choose the book that I will read first?
I usually select the book that is the most media driven. But what if I am sent three books at once that are all equally media driven? I usually begin reading the book from the author who has expressed the most interest in hiring me. The author who indicates that he or she wants to begin a campaign immediately because his or her book is already out. Due to the time sensitivity of publicity campaigns, if a publicist doesn’t contact the media at least a month or two before a book’s publication, the media opportunities dwindle. In fact, I launch most campaigns three to six months before pub date in order to get book review coverage in monthly magazines which have a three to six month lead time. National shows such as 20/20, 60 Minutes, Oprah and The Mornings Shows usually have a two-to-three month lead time as well.
Often, I read several chapters of several books at the same time. In the course of a week, I may have partially read as many as five books. In some cases, however, the books I’m sent are so riveting I finish them, only to find out that the author has decided not to hire me.
I started to read SEX LOVE AND MONEY: Revenge and Ruin in the World of High Stakes Divorce as soon as I received the book. The author had sent me many e-mails, and we were engaged in a weeklong conversation about his book. The day after I received SEX, LOVE AND MONEY, however, I received another book that piqued my interest and which turned out to be just as riveting: RED NOVEMBER: Inside The Secret U.S.-Soviet Submarine War by W. Craig Reed, who served as a U.S. Navy Recon Diver, submarine weapons technician, and special operations photographer on nuclear fast-attack submarines. He accompanied Navy SEAL teams on reconnaissance missions and earned commendations for completing top-secret operations during the Cold War.
There is a quote on the cover from New York Times bestselling author James Rollins which says “If Tom Clancy had turned THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER into a nonfiction thriller, RED NOVEMBER might be the result. [A] full-throttle and riveting story….not to be missed.”
How can anyone who is interested in history, the Cold War, and who reads thrillers resist a description like that? So I sunk myself into the pages of RED NOVEMBER as I was half-way through SEX LOVE AND MONEY.
So did either author hire me? I sent out proposals to both authors on the same day. Craig Reed signed a Letter of Agreement shortly thereafter. The other author did not.
You win some and you lose some. But I’ve learned after 18 years of wins and losses that for every author who doesn’t hire me, another author of perhaps an even better book is around the corner.
Every day is full of suspense. Much like the thrillers I promote, I never know what surprises are in store for me when I awake and turn on my computer. And sometimes, there is an e-mail waiting for me from a New York Times bestselling author who wants to hire me to promote his next book. What could be better than that?
Labels: Book Publicist
When I first began promoting books as an independent book publicist, several prospective clients who were looking for bargain-basement deals said to me, “You only make a few phone calls a day and that’s it.”
Would that it were that easy. A few phone calls is quite the understatement when there are literally hundreds of media outlets to contact in a comprehensive campaign. Way back in the early Nineties, however, when that comment was made, we publicists relied on the phone and voicemail as e-mail was a burgeoning form of communication and most of the media preferred that you contact them via the old-fashioned way.
Slowly that changed. You would call a media contact and some voicemail messages indicated that the editor or producer would prefer you to contact them via e-mail. Nowadays, if you call a media contact their voicemail message often says, “If you are a book publicist, please don’t leave a voice-mail message. E-mail me a press release or pitch.”
What do you do then, when you’ve sent hundreds of e-mails and not one contact has responded? Ah, that’s the challenge of being a publicist. Because most likely, unless you are promoting the latest celebrity or political confessional, one e-mail is not enough to ensure your author receives media coverage. Nor are two e-mails. Sometimes three e-mails are not enough.
Do I send the same e-mail if the first, second or third has not received a response? Of course not. I am constantly reinventing my pitches and rewriting press releases, looking for a new hook that will elicit a response.
Recently, I had to stoop to more subtle means when I had not heard back from producers who had consistently booked my clients throughout the years. So I put in the subject line: Are you still producing for the Morning Show? That did elicit a very quick response. And a positive one at that. “When is your author coming to town? We’d love to have him on our show.”
I do, whenever possible, follow up three or four unanswered e-mails with phone calls on the oft chance that a real live voice will pick up the phone, and that I can engage in an old-fashioned conversation. And when that happens, more often that not, I land an article or a TV or radio interview.
But chatty conversations with the media have gone by the wayside just as relying solely on newspaper coverage for our content has.
And just like in the past when producers complained about the amount of voicemail messages they received and how they could not possibly listen to all of them (one harried producer of a well-known national morning show who was deluged with hundreds of voicemails a day once called to say “please keep your pitches to 30 seconds” when I was a rookie), the media now complains about the amount of e-mails they receive daily, which far exceed the number of voice mails they ever received.
One producer said at a luncheon that she receives more than 200 e-mails a day. And remember, she is not glued to her computer all day. She has meetings to attend to, books to sift through, shows to produce. By the end of the week, she has received more than 1,000 e-mails from book publicists all jockeying like for the very few interview spots that exist. It’s understandable that she can’t respond to all of the e-mails she receives. Just those few books by high-profile authors or books about subjects such as finding “Mr. Right” that she and her executive producers feel will pull the highest ratings.
So what is the day in the life of a book publicist like? Sometimes I compare it to existing in the void of a black hole. I am out there in cyberspace wondering if anyone is even reading my e-mails, much less responding to them. But I persist. Because that’s what a good publicist does. I pitch and pitch again until I have finally caught the attention of a producer or reviewer.
And when I do, the adrenaline rush kicks in and makes all the effort worth it. For me and for my client.