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Whenever I hear about someone losing their job or losing their home or losing something else that’s precious because of this bloody state of the economy, I experience my moment of empathy, compassion and then it passes. That may sound cold but I think I’m not unlike most people who have become more and more desensitized by the media and life in general.
Yesterday, I got some news that went straight to my stomach. Two women who are icons to me in the publishing world were laid off. Two women who, because of their talent and expertise, I thought were bulletproof. No way could they be let go from jobs that they did so well. Excuse me professions that are/were admired and appreciated by a very large circle of people.
Sara, to me, a rock star editor who brought new vigor to a tired trade magazine and Daisy, who gave 43 years of her life to PW are serious casualties in this downsizing of American business game. Perhaps they made more money than their colleagues. Perhaps that upset the monetary equanimity and they morphed from valuable contributors to dispensable numbers. I’m sure they’re worth every penny they made and more and will leave behind a noticeable void. (Dare I say, it? Neither were spring chickens, not that was a factor in any decision making)
I always looked forward to Sara’s weekly column. Her engaging writing style and good choice of subject matter were a pleasure. Something hip and contemporary was infused into PW when she arrived there and as far as I am concerned, was a real upgrade.
Now, Daisy. She’s another story. I’ve had the good fortune of cultivating a friendship with Ms. Maryles over the years and count on her invitation to her family’s Passover seders. Mikey’s fennel salad has become a staple in my diet. But, the warmth that I feel around Daisy is not unique. Anyone who’s done business with her knows how instantly comfortable she can make you feel. In fact, when I first came to HCI, Peter (my boss), told me of his special association with PW via Daisy Maryles. It wasn’t long before I found out what “special” meant.
In a word, she’s a gem.
Visiting NY for my book pitching won’t be the same. Sure, I’ll still take in a Broadway show with Daisy (which I do EVERY time), but visiting the offices of PW just won’t feel the same. It’ll just be weird. Daisy to me is synonymous with PW. I’m sure I’m not alone in my sentiment.
What I do know, and everyone else who knows Sara and Daisy knows, too, is that the next business or organization to get either of these publishing divas will be the lucky ones.
I’ll miss them at PW but will be delighted to watch them in their next professional incarnations.
I wish you both the best, Daisy and Sara.Comments (0)
Is it all worth it? Does the media really respond to our queries, pitches and on our knees begging?
The answer is YES!
Does our blessed media coverage sell books? Only the book gods know for sure.
Here are some recent conquests for some of the HCI titles that I work on. Keep in mind, though, that much of what you’ll see was either a collaborative effort between author and publicist (moi), or hired pr agency, or a gift from heaven. Have a look:
AARP’s coverage of HCI superstar author, Christopher Hopkins, the Makeover Guy behind STAGING YOUR COMEBACK. Note: AARP magazine has the largest circulation in the WORLD! He was selected as the stylist for their annual makeover contest and the results and the coverage are amazing.
And, on the true crime side of life, our author Roger Deann Kiser got some very nice attention in the hometown newspaper of Jacksonville, FL, The Florida Times Union. The stories are centered around Kiser’s book, The White House Boys which unveils a long kept secret about a boys school in Marianna, Florida. That secret has opened up a legal investigation of alleged atrocities that went on there in the late 50’s and early 60’s. Anderson Cooper will be covering this story on his show on CNN in 2 weeks and much more coverage is expected. (Click for second story in Time Union)
Ok, what else do we have in the publicity hopper. Hmm. Speaking of true crime, there is a VERY advanced mention of Getting Through My Thick Skull by Mary Jo Buttafuoco appearing this week in InTouch magazine, a national celebrity rag. And, we’re patiently awaiting a review in Publishers Weekly (PW) for Zig-zagging, the Tom Wilson cartoonist memoir.
Here at HCI, we’re a little miffed at how Oprah overlooked our hormone experts (again) but we’ll get over it. Whenever I see Suzanne Somers getting all the limelight, I have mixed feelings. I’m glad she’s enlightening women around the globe about their health but I get a little “sour grapish” since a lot of what she espouses comes from her mentor and former physician, Dr. Diana Schwarzbein. A brilliant endocrinologist, ahead of her time, Dr. Schwarzbein seems to stay under the radar.
Too bad. She’s the pioneer of all this Biodentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BRHT) stuff, or at least, one of them. Her Schwarzbein Principle books still find their audience but not at the national bestseller or Oprah numbers. Like I’ve said before, celebrities really need to encroach upon the literary landscape like accountants need to star in made-for-tv-movies.
Sorry. At least Suzanne Somers acknowledges Dr. Schwarzbein in her books and vice versa. (Bring her on Oprah with you, will ya?)
Until next time, may your makeovers be rejuvenating, your true crime stories solved and brought to justice and above all, may your hormones be balanced.
I got some pats on the back and some thoughtful questions from my last post concerning concentrated sales/marketing/publicity events for a book. My case study was for Zig-zagging, the new memoir by Ziggy cartoonist, Tom Wilson. Thank you for taking the time to write in. It truly energizes my blogging ambitions.
Here were some of your questions:
Q. “Would this (step by step process and concentrated time frame) apply to another author whose name or, in this case, cartoon, isn’t as well know?”
A. Yes, in order to make an impact or even an impression, the repetition of a subject, book title, etc. is key. What is/was once unknown has a better chance of becoming familiar. Sporadic publicity has its value but can be like whistling in the wind if you’re not (yet) a household name. It’s always best to map out your promotional campaign with intentional timing. However, if you are offered a publicity opportunity that doesn’t fit in your schedule, you may want to entertain participating anyway. Media isn’t always able to accommodate your plans.
Q. Is this what gets that all-important, up-front position in the bookstore? How can the midlist author accomplish this? Is it even possible?
A. What is not widely know about front-of-st0re positioning is that someone had to pay for it. “Prime real estate” in a bookstore doesn’t come cheap. Not only that, but the buyer and the publisher have to come to an agreement. Even if money is offered to pay for the promotion, if the store buyer doesn’t think it’s a viable choice for the promotion, they will flat out turn it down. They like to take publishers money, but they like to take bookstore customers money even more. It is possible for a midlist author to accomplish this, but under the same conditions. Money and a mutual decisions.
Q. What can the author do to give the book a bigger push and be sure it has “legs?”
A. The million dollar question. The answer is EVERYTHING. These days an author is so empowered by all of the technology available to him/her. An author generally doesn’t have the same budget as a publisher (that’s starting to look a lot different!) but access to lots of low cost and/or free promotional venues makes the possibility of getting buzz their book much greater. Also, there’s lots of instruction on the internet and in books that helps authors become more and more self-promotional. And, remember what I’ve said in the past, the more an author does to promote him/herself, the more their PLATFORM is strengthened and the more attractive they become to a publisher.
Q. “Can anyone follow your pattern or does it require subscriptions and relationships that you have nurtured over the years?”
A. Yes and yes and yes. Some of the tools I mentioned like “Author Buzz” or the Author Blog Tour or ads in Radio-TV Interview Report, etc. Those items cost money. These three specifically are in the inexpensive range, even to an individual. Other tools are not so affordable but so much out there is free. As far as I know, most of the social networking sites are free and offer everyone the same opportunities to create exposure. It’s all so new that we’re all in this together inventing new strategies as we go along. Get creative (and then report back to me your new secrets!!) Relationships are valuable, as you know, in any facet of life. That’s not different in the book business, but all the relationships in the world won’t pan out to a story in the media if that media isn’t primed to cover it. In the case of the Oprah show, it almost always has to be their idea first. But that’s no reason not to feed them yours.
Q. “Did the 700 Club respond to you because the author has a reputation or are they hungry for anyone’s book?
A. It must be said here that The 700 Club is on CBN. That stands for “Christian Broadcasting Network.” You can figure out part of the answer with that information. In Tom Wilson’s case, he has been on their show, they like him, and that gives him an edge.
I like when this little blog gets interactive. Keep interacting and I’ll keep feeding you with “undercover wisdom” (I like that Barbara!).
Your publishing insider.
P.S. Want to win a FREE AUTOGRAPHED COPY of Zig-zagging? Write to me. I’ve got five to give away.Comments (0)
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