Friday, July 25, 2008

Why I Hate Book Publicity and will Never do it Again

1) The work never ends. No matter how much publicity you get for a book, there is always more to get, something else to do, another person to pitch, news angle to take advantage of. There is never a sense of completion, just a slow winding down of how much attention you give an author and their book. I’d like closure for once in my life.

2) Too many books. You want me to effectively publicize 5 books a month? Do 3 tours in one month? Ummm, that’s an unreasonable expectation. Ain’t gonna happen. 1 will get my full attention. 3 will get the bare minimum. One will totally get lost in the shuffle. I’m tired of not having the resources, tools and time to do my job effectively. Why doesn’t the biz realize that it’s publishing too many books for the staff resources to actually work on? And even worse, publishing books that compete against each other. I can only pitch so many people so many times before I piss them off. Looking forward to less stress and getting that krick out of my neck from holding the phone to my ear with my shoulder from too many conference calls.

3) Unreasonable authors and their expectations. Yeah, I know this book is your baby, I know you spent 3 years writing it, but face it, calling me every day to check the status on your book is taking away time from working on your book. You’re a first time author and its mass market and nobody has ever heard of you and really don’t care. I’m doing my best here. Every one hour meeting with your agent, the editor and my boss you want to have is an hour I’m not working on your book. Hey, some of you were a joy to work with and for that I’m thankful but I’m really tired of dealing with the rest of you. Bye.

4) Meetings. The last place I worked we actually had meetings to discuss what we would say and cover in our upcoming meeting. I’d say ¼ of my time was spent in planning meetings, marketing meetings, sales meetings, meeting authors & agents on potential buys. Enough! I’m done with meetings… unless it’s over lunch or a beer and you’re buying.

5) Quality of life. I’ve eaten breakfast and lunch at my desk for the last time. I’m turning in my blackberry so I don’t have to get an email from my boss on the weekend about something we can easily discuss on Monday. I’m never working late or on the weekend again after a five day week because there’s too much work to be done and instead of increasing staff to cover the work load it’s been cut. I’m going to start eating at a proper table… or over the sink.

Yeah, I'm sure some of you snarky commenters will be like "geez, what a baby, suck it up and stop whining. I'm not whining but venting and moving on. If all i did was just complain and not change anything, well then, you'd be right to taunt me. However, i'm just sick of the shit and not in a position to change the industry from the inside so I'm getting out of it. Good luck, suckahs! See you in hell, or at the bar, which ever is closer.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Jessica Roy and the Literati

I feel like I should post about this, but I'm not even really sure why. By now, most of you have probably read it - and the Gawker/Jezebel/n+1 scene's reaction to it. But to sum up, NYU student, blogger, and want-to-be literati Jessica Roy wrote a piece about her experiences hanging out with the Leon Neyfakh and Keith Gessen crew for New York Magazine's Daily Intelligencer.

As a publicist, I'm not part of this scene (although, we all do occasionally overlap. new york is strangely small in that way), but it sums up what I've heard a lot of people say about the industry as a whole. A number of people I've worked with have confessed that they rarely befriend people at their jobs because said co-workers are too pretentious. And it can be true. There are those people that don't have TVs and only listen to NPR and read the Times, and scoff at people like me for watching the Hills. There is a bit of aura of superiority - we publish books after all. We educate people. We produce a product that is meant to make a difference.

Which, if you think about, is kind of ridiculous. Can we really feel superior to the people over at Glamour or Maxim when we're publishing books like "Stuff White People Like" or "lolCats"? It's not as though we're in search of the next great American writer. We're in search of the next great bestseller. And I'm sure Leon or Keith can feel superior to us because, well, Leon covers the industry rather than taking part in it, and Keith runs a "high brow" lit magazine. Oh, and they're writers and highly educated.

The whole thing is just silly. And it's even more silly that we all write about it. That I'm writing about it. That people in New York have become so self-involved with ourselves that we think such things are news-worthy. Emily Gould is not famous. Nor is Keith Gessen. They are famous in a select circle of people, but because of sites like Gawker, the New York media has somehow become convinced that they are. No better than a Julia Allison type fameball, but they can feel superior to her because they've gained their fame for "deep insights" and books, rather than dating columns or talking about celebrities on national TV shows.

I don't really know my whole point with this, except that it sits badly with me. It bothers me that a 20 year-old girl was holding these people up as role-models and for what she wanted to be. Look, I read Jezebel and Gawker as much as the next girl - probaby more. And I find it hilarious. But, I would never wake up in the morning and say that my goal is to be Moe or Tracie. Or Sheila or Choire or Nick Denton. Well, maybe Nick Denton. He does have a really sweet apartment.

It just saddens me that these are the people that college students are looking up to. That these are our mentors. And that, as the book industry, we encourage it by continually publishing their work. People who tumblr and post rants and write pieces about themselves...aren't there better, more-talented, and less self-involved writers out there? Or is that just a contradiction in itself?


Drunk to Publishing

This week's literary event of the week is brought to you courteous of the crazy kids over at Drunk to Publishing. Celebrate your summer fridays (for those of you that get them) by heading over to the Parkside Lounge (Houston & Ave B) for happy hour with the rest of the slackers in the biz. Happy hour starts at 2 pm and goes until you can no longer walk a straight line...and perhaps even longer.

Do tell,

The Editor