WIN SOME, LOSE SOME

In a blog I posted last week, What to Read or Not To Read, I wrote about the publicist’s dilemma: when many clients query me at once and send me their books, how do I choose the book that I will read first?

I usually select the book that is the most media driven. But what if I am sent three books at once that are all equally media driven? I usually begin reading the book from the author who has expressed the most interest in hiring me. The author who indicates that he or she wants to begin a campaign immediately because his or her book is already out. Due to the time sensitivity of publicity campaigns, if a publicist doesn’t contact the media at least a month or two before a book’s publication, the media opportunities dwindle. In fact, I launch most campaigns three to six months before pub date in order to get book review coverage in monthly magazines which have a three to six month lead time. National shows such as 20/20, 60 Minutes, Oprah and The Mornings Shows usually have a two-to-three month lead time as well.

Often, I read several chapters of several books at the same time. In the course of a week, I may have partially read as many as five books. In some cases, however, the books I’m sent are so riveting I finish them, only to find out that the author has decided not to hire me.

I started to read SEX LOVE AND MONEY: Revenge and Ruin in the World of High Stakes Divorce as soon as I received the book. The author had sent me many e-mails, and we were engaged in a weeklong conversation about his book. The day after I received SEX, LOVE AND MONEY, however, I received another book that piqued my interest and which turned out to be just as riveting: RED NOVEMBER: Inside The Secret U.S.-Soviet Submarine War by W. Craig Reed, who served as a U.S. Navy Recon Diver, submarine weapons technician, and special operations photographer on nuclear fast-attack submarines. He accompanied Navy SEAL teams on reconnaissance missions and earned commendations for completing top-secret operations during the Cold War.

There is a quote on the cover from New York Times bestselling author James Rollins which says “If Tom Clancy had turned THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER into a nonfiction thriller, RED NOVEMBER might be the result. [A] full-throttle and riveting story….not to be missed.”

How can anyone who is interested in history, the Cold War, and who reads thrillers resist a description like that? So I sunk myself into the pages of RED NOVEMBER as I was half-way through SEX LOVE AND MONEY.

So did either author hire me? I sent out proposals to both authors on the same day. Craig Reed signed a Letter of Agreement shortly thereafter. The other author did not.

You win some and you lose some. But I’ve learned after 18 years of wins and losses that for every author who doesn’t hire me, another author of perhaps an even better book is around the corner.

Every day is full of suspense. Much like the thrillers I promote, I never know what surprises are in store for me when I awake and turn on my computer. And sometimes, there is an e-mail waiting for me from a New York Times bestselling author who wants to hire me to promote his next book. What could be better than that?

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