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Fly on the wall: book tours are not as glamourous as they appear – Mary Jo Buttafuoco is a true master

July 31, 2009 at 6:12 pm


I wasn’t there but I heard that News 12 did a pretty great job interviewing MJB and spent a generous half ┬áhour doing so. That kind of air time on television is like gold in this business. (If you picture how much that would cost in advertising time, you can get a good idea of its value). No crazies called in, I heard, and friend and award-winning journalist, Judy Martin, did a terrific job. It’s kind of a warm and fuzzy full circle for Judy since as a young reporter starting out, Mary Jo Buttafuoco was one of her early subjects. SHE was one of the reporters camped out on Mary Jo’s front lawn.

Mary Jo has forgiven her, too.

Tonight, Judy will add another notch to her reporter’s belt at Barnes & Noble in Carle Place. Just like Dr. Robi played interviewer at the 82nd Street bookstore, Judy will do the same (in her own inimitable style) before MJB’s homies. More poetry in the story is that once upon a time, in an early incarnation, Judy Martin managed store events for Barnes & Noble. That happened to be in Florida, which is how we became friends.

I wish I could be a fly on the wall, REALLY, tonight in Long Island.

What I have to say here is that, glamorous as it looks, the author book tour is an extremely challenging and taxing experience. While you and I were drinking our morning coffee in front of our virtual newspapers today, Mary Jo had probably already completed a dozen radio interviews. At last count, there were 22 interviews on her radio satellite tour schedule today. (There are 5 radio satellite tours in this mega-tour)

This was after a late night at the bookstore event.

Poor Mary Jo. My heart goes out to you. I know how tired I am from just having been accompanying her for the last four days. And, she’s doing all the real heavy lifting. Here it is day 5 and the amazing woman with a bullet in her skull is doing media stops around the clock. Not only is her historic survival miraculous, her stamina on the tour is downright amazing. (If you have her number, don’t even think about calling her after 9:00 pm! )

My last stops with Mary Jo yesterday consisted of a very early call at WPIX TV (where producer/fans lined up for photos with MJ). Then it was off to CBS to tape a segment for the Saturday morning news segment (with a dreamy anchor – please refer to photos in last post). That was the one with the gigantic book cover hanging in the background on the set.

We love that.

After CBS, we went to yet a different building where I think some top secret thing must go on because the uniformed gentleman hovering about the lobby wouldn’t allow me to take photos. This was my first reprimand as the paparazzi. We’re talking photos of the marquis listing offices and the interior architecture which always interests me. Of course, I want to photograph this place even more because of this. I’ll be back.

Upstairs on the pre-programmed Jetson elevator (that freaks me out, I feel trapped) to another news studio where Inside Edition is shot (watch tonight folks). This is where smoke and mirrors are employed in the highest degree in the show production.

If you refer to my photos, you’ll see Mary Jo sitting on a chair with her knees nearly touching those of a handsome young man sitting across from her. Inside Edition host, Paul Boyd, sat before Mary Jo this way and both situated in front of a green screen. We know that during the post production of the interview all kinds of images, sounds and footage (we hope not too much dwelling on Amy and Joey, please!) will be woven into the frames showing our interview subject. Remember, Inside Edition took some great footage aka “B roll” at the BookExpo this past June so we’re hoping to relive the long line of fans who came out to see her there.

The most comical part of the interview next to MJ’s incessant dry wit was when Paul Boyd asked to switch seats with Mary Jo and had himself filmed asking the same questions he had asked minutes before. The odd part was, Mary Jo didn’t have to answer him. He spoke with all the realistic pauses, hand and head gestures one would have during a real conversation while Mary Jo sat frozen and straight faced. I have to hand it to Mary Jo, if I were her I would have been unable to contain my hysteria.

Another example of Mary Jo Buttafuoco’s amazing resolve.

She’s my hero.

And, from where I sit, the heroine of a lot of other people, primarily women, out there in the world. If she can get over the ordeal that she did, how hard will it be to get over ours. I’m pretty sure that whatever challenges we’ve experienced, it’s most likely that there weren’t any bullets involved.

At least I hope so.

Stay tuned to the continuing saga of Mary Jo Buttafuoco’s book tour. Besides getting to live it vicariously, you are witness to what an ideal book/media tour looks like.

Remember, every time they turn around, have them bump into your book.

Until next time. Be safe.

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