Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Why I love some BREs....not

So, a lovely publicist friend just passed this along to me. For those of you too lazy to click through, it's a Publishers Weekly blog entry by Editor-in-Chief Sara Nelson, entitled "Why I Love (Some) Publicists." Bascially, Sara acknowledges that we have a hard job (duh) and face constant rejections (sigh, it's amazing we retain any self esteem). But, then, she goes onto say how she appreciates it when publicists tell her the "truth" - ie, admitting that this book might not be for everyone, but here's why she should look at it anyway. Sara goes on to say:

"It’s not easy – and it usually helps to have been in the business a few years and to know the tastes of the person you’re addressing. The greatest publicists, even, will privately admit to a book’s faults without damning its author – and those, above all, are the publicists I like. No book is going to be 'perfect' to everyone, and by admitting flaws, honest publicists are helping reviewers and editors do their jobs."

Ok, first of all, I don't know anyone's tastes. I don't even know my own. I mean, I know Marilyn Stasio likes mysteries. I'm not going to pitch her a memoir about Iraq. And I know that Pat Towers isn't going to review the new advice book about how to pick up chicks. So yeah, fine. But do I have time do look through a pile of literary fiction and think to myself, hmmm, would Dwight Garner prefer the moving one about the boy coming of age during the Holocaust, or the comical story of a young woman trying to make it in finance. Um, no. And I certainly don't have time to do it for Sara Nelson - no offense, Sara.

For every book I work on, I'm pitching hundred of reviewers, editors, producers, and reporters. And yes, I try to tailor those lists based on the type of book and to tailor certain pitches. But, the book review editor in Tulsa is probably going to get the same pitch as the BRE is Atlanta (if the AJC still had one, of course). That's just the way the cookie crumbles. I don't have time to research all of you and discover your tastes. And if you care so much, why don't you let me know? How about sending me some guidance - ie, I only review this. I prefer this. Then, I can stop wasting your time and mine.


Bonus question: Thoughts on who the favorite unnamed publicists are?


Anonymous said...

Well said. Ever hear the line "I want the publicist to be familiar with what I write?" Well - the first thing I do in the morning is read about 2 hours worth of papers, magazines, newsletters, etc, and there's no way that I am ever going to be familiar with every single column or article by a reporter.

Also - sending a "no" our way is a million times better than ignoring us forever. We're adults, we can take it.

ladytron said...

seriously! how long does it take to hit reply, type "pass," and hit send. and then I don't have to clog your inbox with pesky follow-ups.

Anonymous said...

OR -- when I see someone reading an ARC on the LIRR to Manhassett, and I get my hopes up that he's a reviewer for the NY Post (looked the type), and it only turns out that he bought the ARC "at some Christian book fair, in Brooklyn," when it CLEARLY says NOT FOR SALE on the front. Thanks reviewers. I really feel appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Ha! I was TOTALLY thinking she meant Sloane. But surely there are others who are talented? And no, I don't have time to read everything Sara writes. I'll do that when she reads all my pitch letters!