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Letter to Anonymous Author Who Thinks Her Stuff Is the Bomb

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.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

15 Comments

  1. bam
    Feb 23, 2007 @ 13:43:28

    FIRST!

    Sorry. Couldn’t help it.

    I’m thinking of having a banner made and plastered on my car: “DOWNLOAD DIONNE GALACE’S Skin to Skin from Samhain Publishing on August 17!” Too much?

    Man, did the bitch expect trailers on all the major networks or what?

  2. Roslyn
    Feb 23, 2007 @ 14:30:20

    D’oh! Too late bam, I’ve already beat you to it. I’ve got one of those wraps on my car, and a sign in my front yard. My girlfriend teased me about it, and I made her put a wrap on HER car as well! :D

  3. Charity
    Feb 23, 2007 @ 14:31:14

    Oh, that’s bad.

    and make them wish they had done something

    They DID do something, they signed your ass. Gave you a book deal. Do you have any CLUE how HUGE that is? And really, learn the use of the comma, I’m the queen of them, I can loan you some. Are you really a writer? Honestly? Well, shit!

    And BAM, can I have one of your banners?

  4. Barbara B.
    Feb 23, 2007 @ 14:44:40

    Is this writer 16 years old? I wonder about this book she’s written. She sounds too immature to have written anything with any depth.

  5. Holly
    Feb 23, 2007 @ 16:55:08

    Oh, come on. Have a heart. The poor girl just wants a little recognition. I mean, really, she went through all that trouble of writing this amazing book (well, I mean, I assume it’s amazing) and here you are, bagging on the poor thing because she just wants a little publicity.

    Of COURSE the publisher’s publicist should be tripping all over himself to promote her. Duh.

    I swear, y’all are just haters.

    :P

  6. bam
    Feb 23, 2007 @ 17:22:09

    D’oh! Too late bam, I’ve already beat you to it.

    I’m also planning on printing up fliers, climbing up the roof of the highest building on campus, and sprinkling the fliers on the student body

    And BAM, can I have one of your banners?

    Hot Pink on Black okay? heh.

  7. Charity
    Feb 23, 2007 @ 17:28:58

    You betcha, it’ll look great on my tan mini-van LOL

  8. Christine Rimmer
    Feb 24, 2007 @ 09:51:40

    Okay, because I’m a really sick person, I’m figuring this anonymous author has to be a joke. Or wait. Could be an overworked publishing house publicist cleverly spoofing a clueless new author.

    I mean, this can’t be for real. Please someone. Say it ain’ so….

  9. LinM
    Feb 24, 2007 @ 11:03:55

    Jane, Jane, Jane – why did I follow your link? Surely this was setup by a pre-teen, it looks/sounds juvenile and is not nearly clever enough to be a spoof. It must be identity theft. Oh help – why am I even thinking about this?

  10. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 24, 2007 @ 12:46:36

    …wow…color me speechless.

  11. Laura Florand
    Feb 24, 2007 @ 17:55:45

    Do you know, I actually LOVE my publicist. Maybe I just got incredibly lucky. I mean, she sent my baby girl a Christmas present and everything. BUT, despite the fact that she’s so wonderful, we have talked on the phone once, at her initiative, and it was when she was go-betweening to set up a photo shoot with a major magazine.

    So I’m wondering about the “doesn’t return my calls or emails”. I emailed mine somewhat prior to the book release to introduce myself to her and ask what I could do to help us both, and we have occasional emails to set up signings or to keep each other up-to-date on any publicity things happening on either end. If she doesn’t answer for a couple of days, I figure she’s in meetings or maybe swamped with emails, etc. Like I get myself.

    Still…maybe this poster got unlucky? Completely ignored forever? I see these kind of complaints pretty regularly, and I’ve tried to talk my own publicist into doing a blog interview to talk about this kind of thing. She seems to be game, so maybe one day…when she doesn’t have 100 authors to juggle… :)

  12. Laura Florand
    Feb 24, 2007 @ 17:59:36

    I wonder if that was clear. I meant, I’m wondering why the author in the post was badgering his publicist with calls and emails. Because even though I think my publicist and I have a very good relationship and she’s done some great things for me, we don’t really call and email each other all that much.

  13. Nora Roberts
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 06:45:59

    I like the part where she said she didn’t want to be labeled as difficult. Too late, I’m afraid.

    I do think she’s very young, very new, very high on having her first published and just completely clueless. She’ll either season, or fade away.

    I think new writers (particulary) should do a little research into the work loads of the average editor and in-house publicist. Once they learned, they’d spend more time writing, and less on anxiety, anger and resentment.

  14. Dionne Galace » Blog Archive » Thirteen Things For Which I Should Get MY Ass Kicked
    May 10, 2007 @ 09:16:36

    […] I would never go on my friends’ blogs and pimp my book on the comments section… check this out. I was being facetious, but it was undermined by the fact that I mentioned MY book, the release […]

  15. rose
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 19:18:44

    If the book is the BOMB, why be anonymous. You missed a great opportunity to self promote.Why should the publisher do it for you, when apparently you are unwilling to do it yourself.

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