Feb 23 2007
Dear Ms. Anonymous Author:
I read your letter over at the Anonymous Publishing Vent Club which, I have to confess, has been terribly boring of late. I had high hopes for it when it started, but the first 4 posts have been quite dull. Your letter was just the right thing to start out the day. I’ll be quoting liberally from your piece so no one can accuse me of misinterpreting your thoughts.
You are mad at your publicist. How do I know this?
I am so PISSED at my publicist.
At first, I felt a bit bad for you until you let on that the publicist was a publisher employee.
I signed with this major publisher in hopes that maybe they’d do some publicity but so far he doesn’t return calls, doesn’t return emails.
Oops. This is where I started laughing. Good thing I didn’t have any liquids in my mouth else I would have spent the rest of the morning cleaning off my keyboard and screen. Let’s parse this sentence out some more. You signed with a major publisher because of the publicity you thought you would get? You didn’t sign with a major publisher because you hoped you would be published and would be able to take advantage of the publisher’s extensive distribution contracts?
And sure I’m a newbie but I think I have a real chance at getting national magazine attention because of the subject matter of my book.
Of course you do. But seriously, unless you are writing an OJ Confessional or are a presidential candidate, what topic is really that interesting that hasn’t been written a million times before by a million other authors? Frankly your post isn’t written with any humor or ingenuity that would make me think that you are writing anything but pablum.
Shit I know I’m one of probably 200 authors he’s working on right now but what can I do to stand out and make him notice me?
Here’s some things you can ask yourself to see if your publisher is going to put some dollars into publicity for you. Was your contract for your first book a six figure one? A seven figure one? Was it bought at auction? Did you have several houses fighting over you? Were you given a contract for 6 books? Because these things would mean that the publishing house made an investment in you that they need to have pay off. If not, you are just one of the hundred of new authors being published and it is your responsibility, like it or not, to get out the word.
I gave him a list of media contacts (exact emails, names, addresses, phone numbers, astrological signs I mean shit)
You’ve got the email contacts, the names, the astrological signs. Contact those sources yourself. Don’t expect that someone will do it for you. I’ve seen plenty of authors, like Alison Kent, Sylvia Day, and others work their asses off to get noticed. Getting pissed off and then posting about as you did makes you sound like a child who is not yet ready to play in the big girl’s pool. The publicist is not your lifeguard. You’ve got to sink or swim on your own.
The fact that you don’t know this is pretty disturbing to me. Even I, as a reader, know this. Shouldn’t you, as the author, know this too? It’s called market research and just because you write doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be savvy about your business.
So my plan is do all the media I can on my own and make an awesome selling novel and make them wish they had done something. Maybe then cause of this experience I’ve had with them I’ll sign with another publisher on my next book (though I fear it’ll be the same experience) and teach them so there! Dammit!
Yep, that will show them. Because publishing contracts are a dime a dozen. I feel bad for you because your expectations are so clearly out of line with the current business practice that you are doomed for more disappointment. On the bright side, I will look forward to more fun posts by you at the APV Club. I suspect the next one will be about why people didn’t buy your awesome book despite the fact that it was the BEST BOOK EVER.