Does Miss Snark do the Hustle?

A Snarkling ponders Miss Snark's role in the post publication process

Curious, though, as to the amount of help she expects from her clients? Are they supposed to be out hustling? Taking care of local outlets, doing PR, Does she orchestrate this - or work out a plan with the author and/or publisher?

Miss Snark's idea of post publication involves a lawn chaise, a pool and well oiled cabana boy. Sadly, she has been unable to work that into any publishing contracts even under cover of darkness using invisible ink.

Publishers are well intentioned about publicity..mostly. Individual publicists are too. The problem is they've got a lot of work, and most of them are based in NYC. Their knowledge of pr in ..to put it kindly..."outlying areas" verges on nil. It doesn't make them bad, lazy or stupid. There's just a limit to how many regions you can know much about if you're a 25 year old publicist in NYC. (Publicists' average age skew young..it's an entry level job).

So yes, my authors are out hustling, you bet. They're showing up at places like Bouchercon, and RWA and other fan sites. They're booking readings and appearances. They're blogging. They're writing book reviews for the local paper and other places.

Publishers can usually be counted on for getting books out to the trade journals and hitting some highlights. For deep market penetration, like a 25 city tour of California, the author is usually on his/her own.

Laurie King, quoted on Sarah's required reading blog says PR is like raising kids. Mostly it's about being there, showing up. I agree. Nothing beats knowing the manager of the Borders in Fargo North Dakota because you've been in his/her store and said "howdy". The big tour stores like Powells, Eliot Bay, Tattered Cover, and Book Passage are all nice places to know too, but they see a lot of authors..hundreds a year. The indie book store in Burns Oregon doesn't see quite so many...and they sell a chunk of books for the people who make the trek.

Do I orchestrate all this? No. I tell clients what they need to do and help them be realistic about what they can expect from the publisher. I offer information on how to be effective doing pr and marketing, but my job now is to make deals for them, not be their pr babe.


Gina Black said...

Maybe it's because I'm on PDT and I haven't had my coffee--or even my tea--yet, but did not Miss Snark at one point say she did not represent romance? I ask because I wonder why, then, your authors would show up at RWA...?

In search of warm caffeine

Mary Louisa said...

Gina, I'm not sure how Miss Snark would answer, but I do know that there is a Mystery/Suspense category of RWA, and we know that Miss Snark represents mystery writers. Mystery writers whose books appeal to a romance readership may go to RWA. RWA also sponsors the Daphne du Maurier Award for romantic mystery/suspense as well as mainstream mystery/suspense. So her mention of RWA doesn't necessarily mean she represents romance writers.

Miss Snark, please let me know if I'm all wet.

Miss Snark said...

Oh Miss Snark needs a cookie instead of a category. Chocolate chip please.

Romance is sort of like the old style Democratic Party. They had the lefties from Massachusetts (think Kennedy) and John Stennis from Missisippi. There was lots of screeching about who was a real democrat and who wasn't but they basically knew they weren't Republicans.

There's lots of places that Romance expands beyond bodice rippers and girls looking for boys who are strong and handsome.

I don't represent mainstream or category romance but I DO have chicklit, romantic suspense, romantic action and a heart of ...well...ok, never you mind. Lots of those kinds of authors go to RWA.

Now fork over the cookie.

crissachappell said...

Good advice. When my book comes out, I'm going to hire a freelance pr whiz, no matter what the publishing house offers...because they can only do so much.

Gina Black said...

Ahhh, Miss Snark. Let me sew up my bodice and hand you a plate of hot fresh chocolate chip cookies I just pulled out of the oven.

In the last few years the edges around romance seem to be getting fuzzier and fuzzier. The categories...er cookies...er categories are blending. And within RWA there has been some confusion, too, as to what romance fiction books are. Ahem.

Pass the cookies?