Friday, May 2, 2008
Hugs and kisses,
Thursday, May 1, 2008
I don't know how I missed this last week, but apparently New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning author Thomas L. Friedman was hit by pies while attempting to give an Earth Day speech at Brown University. Student Margaree Little, a senior English literature major, and an unidentified man apparently stormed the stage, letting loose green whipped cream pies. Now, I'm sure getting pies thrown at you is not fun (actually I'm not sure about this. I'm just trying to be dipolomatic. In fact, pies are delicious. It's not as though they threw shit pies at him. There are a lot worse things than being covered in whipped cream. Oh, I've said to much. Enough about my sex life). Regardless of your feelings about pie, I think we can all agree, it was a pretty harmless stunt. Come on, Tommy, would it kill you to crack a joke? He did try a little, I guess, when he licks his fingers and makes an approving face, but for the most part, the video is painful to watch. I keep waiting for him to punch someone in the face. And how about how he threw that guy's hankerchief on the floor after using it? That was just rude. I mean, he was probably going to take it home for Mrs. Professor to wash later.
The best (by which I mean worst) part? His comments after the fact. He won't be pressing charges, since he's "leaving it for Brown to decide what kind of values they want to uphold on their campus." First of all, what kind of charges do you press? Is there a law against pie throwing? Is a pie considered a deadly weapon? And what kind of values would Brown be upholding if they expelled their student(s)? That baked goods are bad? If pies are wrong, I don't want to be right.
YouTube video above for your enjoyment.
9) If after the first three months, your campaign isn’t getting the results and attention you were led to expect. Talk about this! If your publicist doesn’t want to entertain your concerns or hear your side, there may be trouble brewing in paradise.
This is why I never give expectations. It only leads to hurt feelings. Publicity is a crap shoot. I’m gonna try my best, but dude, there are no guarantees. And really, what's realistic, is probably not what you are hoping for. I can tell you our "dream spots," but I always try to convey that those are the equivalent of your reach school - the Ivy League of book coverage. However, if you think there’s something else I should be trying, definitely speak up! Oh, but please don't ask me if I sent your book to Oprah or the New York Times. I'm not stupid.
6) Be wary if your “little darling” writes a press release containing incorrect information – or it appears that she didn’t read your book. No publicist should be pitching a book that they can’t discuss with the media.
Sometimes we don’t read the books. Sorry. There’s not always time. That said, publicists, if you’re gonna slack on the “reading” portion, be extra careful with your fact-checking. There really is no excuse for putting down the wrong info.
4) If your “snookums” provides updates without specific names of media people or specific outlets. Ask for that info; it’s not top-secret. You should know who has been sent your book. If the list includes “The Sally Jesse Raphael Show” or “Montel Williams,” watch out! Your publicist is either working off an ancient list, or isn’t really working on your book at all.
Ha Ha. I remember sitting in sales meeting one time, and a publicist rattled off the names of some shows that had been off the air as targets. EMBARASSING. Peeps, make sure your contacts are up to date. And try to memorize the contact names at the big places so you can rattle off the names and appear as though you actually know them – and by know, I mean have had interactions outside of pitch emails and rejections.
2) For whatever reason, you and your publicist don’t see eye to eye, don’t have similar goals, have “lost that loving feeling,” or you’re having more arguments with them than you do with your real spouse. It may be time to have a fresh set of eyes look over the project and see what could be done differently. We aren’t condoning cheating, but it wouldn’t hurt to see what the competition thinks of your successes and failures.
Publicists, don’t fight with your authors. Come on. That’s like publicity 101. You don’t have to do everything they say, but if you’re going to reject their ideas, at least do so in a way that explains why their logic is faulty and why you are always correct. It’s really not hard to have a friendly relationship, or, barring that, a cordial one.
And the #1 sign that your publicist may not be “The One”:
She told you that you would “absolutely, definitely be on Oprah” but doesn’t have a strategic plan to make that happen. Help create one! No use in sitting around waiting for something to happen if your “loved one” doesn’t have a plan, a goal or a CLUE. And remember, when it comes to publicity, NOTHING can be guaranteed.
OMG. HA HA HA. I can tell you right now, none of you will be on Oprah, especially if you write fiction. And if you are, it probably has nothing to do with me and some great "strategic plan." The book gods just happened to smile upon you.
ps. Shameless Plug - if any authors are out there reading, and you need tips beyond the advice of Slunch, check out Bella's Book Promotion 101 workshop in NYC on May 17. Awesome PR Consultant (and one of the few outside publicists we DO like) Lauren Cerand is also a guestspeaker.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
And then, there’s the reading series. It’s hosted by Garth Risk Hallberg, the author of A Field Guide to the North American Family, and he looked quite dapper in his tuxedo shirt and vest. He also had a beer throughout the event, and everyone knows that I’m partial to a man with a beer in hand. Reading last night were Ceridwen Dovey, Anne Landsman, and Francisco Goldman. Ceridwen, author of Blood Kin, chose to read a short story she’s working on called “Red Peter’s Little Lady,” which is told from the perspective of an ape who serves as the girlfriend to Red Peters (the ape from Kafka’s “A Report to the Academy”). Anne read from her acclaimed novel The Rowing Lesson, giving the audience not only an insight into the disturbing world of medical school but also proving that the New York Times was correct in their assessment that “Landsman is a gambler, and here she risks everything” – and, b.t. dubs, wins.
After the readings from the two lovely South African ladies, we took a drinking break. Then – are you ready for this – Garth had the authors throw arrows at a dart board to determine what our drink specials during the break would be. It was genius. Especially when Ceridwen hurled the dart into the wood above the board itself.
Once we’d all refilled our pints, we settled back in to hear Francisco read from his new, non-fiction book, The Art of Political Murder, during which he uttered one of my favorite lines of the night: “The number of taco stands in that city could be a metaphor for infinity.” And that, I think says it all. Well, not really, but come on, it’s kind of a cool line to end on.