Friday, May 2, 2008

Barbara Walters is a failed homewrecker

Oh, Babs. You are so scandalous. An affair?? With a married man. With a black married man. With black married man that was the first black senator to be elected after Reconstruction. Whoa. I wonder how former Senator Edward Brooke feels about you revealing this info to the world (on Oprah!), including the fact that he wanted to leave his wife for you. Good thing he's married to a different lady now, or he really would have been in the doghouse last night.

My favorite part of the whole story? This little gem from the Daily News:

When her lover, who's now 88, told the newswoman she was the oldest woman he had ever been with, she wanted to say - but never did - "Oh yeah? Well you are the blackest man I have ever been with," Walters writes.

Sassy. Oh, and Brooke is apparently neither confirming nor denying, which I think we can safely take to mean that they totes got it on.

—Paige Sexie

A Tribute

Dear Facebook,

Thank you for making my day livable. Thank you for being an ever accepted marketing tool that I can’t be punished for having open in a tab on my computer at work. Thank you for allowing me to stalk former classmates, co-workers, and anyone else in the world that I have ever been curious about. Thank you for providing meaningless trivia games, Oregon Trail, Super Poke, and the ever amazing Scrabulous. Without you, what would I do between the updates at Galleycat and Gawker? How would I so productively waste time? And how else would I reward myself? Nothing makes writing a press release go as smoothly as a promise to myself that once it is completed, I can play another word on Scrabulous or answer another question about the Simpsons. Thank you, from one book publicist to one amazing online waste of time.

Hugs and kisses,

Paige Sexie

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Assault by Pie

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.

--Paige Sexie

We're not book reviewers...

OMG, guess what! We've started getting query letters about reviews. I guess we've finally arrived. Here's the deal, guys. We're in the industry, too. We're not reviewers. We don't have time to be reading your books and reviewing them to get you publicity. I mean, if we were going to do that, we'd just review the books we are each working on. That said, if you have TIPS of anykind, please send them to us. Or, if you think there's some funny story about a book you're working on or an event that you think we should know about. In addition, if you're interested in writing for Slunch, submit something. Less work for us, and really, we're all about that. But, we don't accept books. Sorry, kids.

Do tell,

The Editor

I just don’t feel that way about you anymore…

A bit belatedly (obvi have not been checking out other blogs enough!), I discovered this great post from Bella Stander’s Reading Under the Covers, which Bella posted courtesy of Darcie Rowan, McAllister Rowan Communications Group. I won’t repost the whole list, but in summation, for you people too lazy to click through, it’s a Top 10 list for authors: signs that your relationship with your publicist could be in trouble. Now, I’m going to assume this is for an outside publicist an author has hired, since there are references to paying for services (and in-house people obviously receive no money from the author. or really, from anywhere. god, it sucks to be us). But, in which case, this is even funnier because, for the most part, I detest outside publicists – and obvi, we in-housers would never treat you badly. ;-) Here are my favorites (with my comments in italics):

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

Margaret B Jones has Ginormous Cans

This video of Margaret B Jones lying through her teeth about her time as a gangsta in the hood has been making the rounds at places like Gawker and Galeycat ever since Media Assassin broke the story with this exclusive trailer. Sure her Love and Consequences: A Memoir of Hope and Survival, was a total fabrication, and as many note, her acting debut is less than credible, but what no one is talking about is the size of her enormous cans! I mean, look at em. They've got to be double d's or something and she's showing a decent Can to Waist to Junkinthetrunk ratio (its a scientific term, look it up) that makes her oddly... hot. Between that and the fact that she can travel back in time to alter the facts about her childhood makes her a force to be reckoned with. No wonder she got the book deal.


Ape sex, rolling gallbladders, and taco stands…

And what do all these things have in common, you may ask? Well, each represents one of the authors I heard read last night at Pacific Standard’s Monthly Reading Series – which, in case you haven’t been yet – is awesome. First off, they have a daily beer menu. Second, they have the alcohol content listed on said menu – and some of those beers get up to almost 10%. Third, and most important, they allow you to SAMPLE. Yes, sample a beer before you buy it. It’s like an alcoholic ice cream parlor in there.

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.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Arts, Politics, & Murder at Pacific Standard

As promised, Slunch is starting up the literary event of the week series - and bonus, it's not even May yet, but you still get a fresh event this week! As you may have heard, Pacific Standard Bar in Park Slope has been hosting a monthly read series on the third Tuesday of every month. This week's features Francisco Goldman, Anne Landsman, and Ceridwen Dovey under the theme of Arts, Politics, & Murder. See you there!