Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Godzilla wants cake

OMG, Sloane Crosley has evolved into something out of a japanese horror movie, stomping tiny media edifices everywhere she goes. Just hours after we posted "Why I want to hate Sloane Crosley" Gawker published this article and everyone commented on her shiny hair. Could Sloane and her shiny hair become the next sexy meme to take over the internet? What would happen if she and Julia Allison were in the same room, naked, wrestling in jello and it was skyped? Would the interwebs implode or life as we know it wink out of existence.

--slunchie wants to know

Slunch is back, bitches…

Hi! Did you miss us? I’m sure you did. So, here’s the thing. Remember how when we started up last summer, it was all regular posts and gossip and great times? And then it started to kind of dwindle away, until once a week, once a month, and then nothing.

Yeah, our bad. I think I’ve figured out the problem. We’re BOOK PUBLICISTS. We’re not designed to follow a project for more than a few months. Think about it. You get assigned a new book. You are totally excited about it. Every day, you’re thinking about new angles, you’re pitching, you’re planning tours, you’re doing mailings. It’s great. Then, the pub date comes. You’ve been working for weeks to line up publicity, so by the time the pub date comes, you almost feel like the book is over. You half heartedly continue the campaign for another month or so, sending out quotes, pushing for those “maybes” still hanging around. Then you move on – at least until the paperback. So really max, 6 months, start to finish. And that’s generous.

So think of Slunch as a book we were assigned to. We got it out there. People picked us up. And then we got tired and bored and our inspiration dwindled. Plus, you people. You don’t contribute enough. You tell us things under the condition that it “can’t appear on Slunch.” No one sends fun anonymous tips. This was supposed to be for you. A safe place for you to complain about how fucked up the industry can be. Or how great it can be. Or a comment on ANYTHING that’s somehow related to books. We’re not picky. And, frankly, we also have jobs. And shit got busy. We can’t always be carrying it alone. But, anyway, sorry about the slacking. Our bad. We’ll try to do better.

Consider this our paperback release. Slunch is back.


Why I Want to Hate Sloane Crosley…but can’t actually seem to

Every time I turn around, I see her name. Sloane Crosley. Publicist extraordinaire, author, all around perfect New York publishing success story. I should say first that I’ve actually interacted with Sloane before. She was pleasant, helpful, and overall very sweet. Her name was vaguely familiar to me at the time, but publicists run in small circles, so if you haven’t worked with someone before, odds are you have met her at an event or you know someone who has worked with her or she’s a friend of a friend. We’re a bit incestuous that way.

Somehow though, Sloane has started to invade the publicity circle in a way that I’ve never experienced before…she is everywhere. And everyone seems to have an opinion. Last month, she came up at three separate drinks dates I had. And opinions run the gamut: hatred, jealously, admiration, and – from some of the few straight men still daring to enter publicity - crushes.

I think it all started with the Observer piece, titled “The Most Popular Publicist in New York.” Now, I must confess, I don’t check the Observer everyday. I rely on Galleycat, Gawker, Pub Lunch, and my Goggle Alerts (I’m still trying to master RSS feeds – shut up. It seems hard) to provide me with any necessary links to any new publishing-related stories. So, I learned of Sloane’s new title from Gawker , which tore apart Sloane’s assertion that the suffered from “spatial dysphasia disorder.” Apparently, that’s not really a disease but whatever.

That’s hardly the point – at least from a fellow publicist’s point of view. I take issue with the entire tone of the article. First of all, author Leon seems a bit biased – as if he wrote this entire article in hopes of scoring a date. Yeah, yeah. Sloane is cute, clever, funny, and a joy to work with. Whatever. So am I. Once I’ve had my coffee. My hair is pretty shiny too, when I have time to wash it. Oh, and all of her authors LOVE her. So what? My authors love me too – they just happen to be less known. Sorry that I didn’t get assigned to Jonathan Ames and Joan Didion. But my author who sold 2,000 copies of his first book – well, he sent me a bonsai. Take that! I bet Toni Morrison never did that for you, Sloane.

So began the Sloane-hating. Than, this showed up – a little piece in New York Magazine in which Sloane endearingly acknowledged how over-the-top the Observer piece seemed, “If I read that about me, I would hate me – I would think I was an overhyped, overrated, smiley idiot.” Hmm, well….

Now, I felt torn. Here was a girl that was approached for an interview, and she gave it. It’s not her fault that Leon drooled all over the pages while writing it. Perhaps if someone had dedicated a piece to me (snort), I would also seem vapid and over-glorified. Perhaps she isn’t really a good publicist only because her only friends are media people that she uses to promote her books, while the rest of us have actual friends that we don’t use for professional gain. Maybe she doesn’t create a perfect social persona just so her boss will invite her to getaways on the weekend. Maybe she is just a sweet and talented person, and I’m just a bitter, jealous hack who doesn’t condition my split ends enough.

Oh, but we’re not done yet. While reading the Sunday Metro section a couple weeks ago, whose name should appear? Why, yes, dear reader: Sloane, in a charming essay about an epiphany she had on the bus . Um, what? This is a woman who is about to publish a collection of essays, based off some emails she sent to friends. She has received amazing blurbs and more pre-pub buzz than many bestselling authors. So I expect this sample of her clever and funny prose to be just that. Instead, I was left with a bizarre story about riding the bus in the snow, popping some woman’s arm into place, and somehow leaving with a feeling that balance had been restored. What? Could I write an essay about my experience on the subway the other day? It involved a realization of sorts too. When the N train pulled up one Sunday, the car that stopped in front of me was remarkably uncrowded. This was very exciting as I was guaranteed a seat so I could zone out and work on my crossword puzzle. It wasn’t summer, so it couldn’t be the AC was out. No worries. I stepped in, along with 5 other people, and as the doors closed, I realized with horror why the car was empty. Let’s just say, there was a woman passed out on the far bench, covered in her own shit. Yes, people, shit. I spent the next three minutes dry-heaving in the opposite corner until I could switch at the next station. Epiphany: Even in winter, don’t get in the empty subway car. Could I write an article about that?

This is the New York Times. We strive every day to get our authors some kind of coverage, whether in the Style section, a Modern Love column, the Book Review, ANYWHERE they might take us. And this publicist has written some crappy story about the bus and she makes it in? It makes me mad. I had two authors write beautiful essays that we rejected. I’ve pitched (in my opinion) some pretty creative feature pieces. Nada. But Sloane writes something…well, go right ahead and don’t forget to slap a big stock photo above it.

I walked into work today, and lo and behold. Sloane pops up twice before I’ve even had my coffee. Quoted in yesterday’s essay in the New York Times Book Review on romance and book taste and as the author of the Publishers Weekly Soapbox essay on, of all things, why book titles have become long…sigh. REALLY? Also, when I googled her to find these links, I can’t even tell you how many other pieces popped up. Apparently, Salon just did an excerpt from her book, Emily Gould interviewed her for Radar , and there’s an interview in the Kansas City Star . She even has her own Wikipedia page!

And, now, I realize – the problem is not Sloane Crosley. Sloane probably is a good person and a good publicist to boot. People do have very nice things to say about her, and that’s hardly her fault. And she’s not a bad writer. Most publicists aren’t. We have to have some kind of skill in a world of email pitching, and we certainly have to be creative if we want our emails to even get opened. And, if I had the opportunity (or the time) to write something worthy of being published outside of Slunch, I sure wouldn’t turn down the opportunity. So, I guess I can’t really hate her. However, I can hate on book media for the flood of Sloane-coverage. In a world of shrinking book coverage, where over 300,000 new books are published each year, and we are all fighting tooth and nail for a tiny mention, Sloane Crosley is popping up everywhere. Excerpts, essays, profiles. Give us a break, Sloane! Leave some space for the other authors. It’s hard enough.