“Summer’s here, and the living is easy.” I can hear the slow rhythm of the famous Gershwin song from Porgy & Bess as I write this blog. Yes, summer is here, and the living is easy, but I’ve been busy attending ThrillerFest, book parties, writing for GalleyCat.com, and writing reviews for BookPage.com.
And taking a few vacation days here and there and enjoying the summer weather. So that’s why you haven’t heard from me in a while.

Here’s a brief update of what I’ve been up to:

I’ve been promoting a riveting book by a Spy of the Deep. That’s right. Craig Reed is a former U.S. Navy diver and fast-attack submariner who served aboard two submarines involved in secret Cold War Operations. His new book, RED NOVEMBER: Inside the Secret U.S. Soviet Submarine War, is the first book to reveal just how close we came to nuclear war with the Russians way back in 1962. Reed provides a thrilling insider’s account of the secret underwater struggle between the U.S. and the USSR, and reveals previously classified details about the most dangerous, daring and decorated missions of the Cold War.

Reed is one of the true unsung heroes of the Cold War and he has the scars to prove it. RED NOVEMBER is a must-read for Tom Clancy fans as it is the REAL HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER. In the words of NYTimes Bestselling author James Rollins, “If Tom Clancy had turned The Hunt for Red October into a nonfiction thriller, W. Craig Reed’s RED NOVEMBER might be the result.”

To catch Reed discussing the Spy Ring Scandal on WCVB-TV, the ABC affiliate in Boston, click here.

I’ll be handling a campaign for an important investment book this fall that advises those who’ve had their investments torpedoed and are reluctant to jump back into the market: RECLAIM YOUR NEST EGG: Take Control of Your Financial Future (Bloomberg Press; October 2010) by Ken Kamen, who is a regular guest on CNBC, Fox, PBS and other national news stations. Stay tuned…

There’s no dearth of books about spiritual topics this season. I just finished reading Gary Zukav’s latest book, SPIRITUAL PARTNERSHIP: The Journey To Authentic Power (HarperOne; April 27, 2010), an important book for getting in touch with your inner voice, living an authentic life, becoming a multi-sensory human being, and having relationships that are not only fulfilling, but that will also help you grow spiritually.

Since I’ve read Zukav’s latest book, I’ve been sent several spiritual books and novels to promote this winter. Is it a coincidence? I don’t think so. One is a compelling novel about near-death experiences that reads like nonfiction, and the other is a spiritual thriller that explores mystical themes. More to come on both books…

Alas, as it is summer and my birthday is approaching, I plan to enjoy some lazy days at the beach and pool. I just read two books coming out this fall that I highly recommend: PICTURES OF YOU by Caroline Leavitt (Algonquin; November 2010) and Laura Lippman’s latest page-turner, I’D KNOW YOU ANYWHERE (William Morrow, September 2010) that I’ll be reviewing for BookPage. So stay tuned….

Oh, and I almost forgot: Pick up the July issue of BookPage or visit their website (www.bookpage.com) and read my latest review of LEAVING THE WORLD by Douglas Kennedy (Atria; June 2010), who Time Magazine hailed as "The most famous American writer you've never heard of."

Here’s a great article by bestselling author Kyra Davis on how she thought out-of-the-box to implement a successful, creative publicity campaign that generated quite a buzz for her last book, Passion, Betrayal and Killer Highlights.

HOW I TURNED MY READERS INTO PUBLICISTS
By Kyra Davis

Most new authors assume that they're going to get some marketing and publicity help from their publishing house. Don't count on it. In fact you can't even count on it if your editor tells you that you'll get that support. There's a good chance that your editor isn't going to be the decision maker in regards to what kind of campaign you're going to get (or if you'll get any) and it's not unusual for a publishing house to over-promise and under-deliver in this area. By the time I was publishing my fifth book I had experienced all the highs and lows of the world of book publicity.

I hired Susan to handle the campaign for my first novel, Sex, Murder And A Double Latte. The campaign she ran for me was nothing short of phenomenal. I got coverage in Cosmopolitan, The New York Times, The Washington Post, I was interviewed on multiple regional television talk shows...in other words I got spoiled. My publishing house ran the campaign for my second novel, Passion, Betrayal And Killer Highlights. They had a completely different approach from Susan. It’s true that my publisher poured a lot of money into promoting my second book but they misspent almost every dollar of it on things like launch parties in the Hamptons and free give-aways. No one reached out to regional television shows. There was no major push to get me in the highest profile publications. I sat back and watched as the quality of my reviews got better and better and my sales got worse and worse. It was painful to say the least.

I knew that when I published my latest book, Lust, Loathing And A Little Lip Gloss, I was going to have to take matters into my own hands. By that time many of the newspapers that had reviewed me had ceased publication. After the failed publicity campaign of my second book my publishing house was declining to invest much more in that area so my budget was small. I considered sending myself on a tour but that would have been prohibitively expensive. And then I thought, what if instead of traveling all over the place to visit with a bunch of readers I fly one reader to San Francisco to visit with me? I could hold a contest. All a reader would have to do is blog or tweet about my latest book and they would be entered in a contest to win a free trip to San Francisco and I would take them to all the places that my protagonist visited throughout the series. The businesses that were featured in the book (restaurants, cafes and chocolatiers) were happy to contribute gift cards to enhance the winner's San Francisco experience.

As I continued to develop the idea further I decided that readers would also be able to enter the contest if they reviewed the book on a bookseller's website. If they posted a book trailer on YouTube that would be worth ten entries. If they chose my book for their book group and had me speak at their meeting via speakerphone or webcam everyone in the book group would be entered twice. In other words I would make my readers my publicists.

There is no better publicity than word-of-mouth publicity and the power of the Internet makes that true ten-fold. The readers were excited by the prospect of visiting the haunting grounds of one of their favorite protagonists. Reviews for the book came pouring in only days after the release as people stayed up all night to finish my latest novel. Book trailers popped up left and right. In addition to all this I hired Susan to exclusively target Internet book review sites. And then the icing on the cake was CocoaBella chocolates. I had mentioned them in my book and in exchange they not only provided me with gift certificates for the contest but they actually came out with a specialty box of chocolates named after my protagonist. They even held an event for me at which my books were sold. So now I had a publicity campaign that was partially funded with sponsorships, I had a publicist to help me with the professional review sites and I had readers promoting my book with enthusiasm.

It was a successful campaign. Lust, Loathing And A Little Lip Gloss generated buzz and was supported by readers. Furthermore I connected with readers more than I ever have been able to before. It cost me a little more than a plane ticket.

When it comes to promoting your work you have to think out of the box and more importantly you have to take responsibility for your own campaign. Your book is your baby and expecting your publisher to truly nourish its growth and success is like sending your child to an orphanage and hoping that one of the nurses will decide to treat your baby with more personal care than all the other babies who are demanding her attention. Your baby deserves better and you, possibly with the help of a publicist (who is kind of like your baby's nanny) can give it the care it needs. Just don't be afraid to use some creative parenting.

Kyra Davis’ latest book, VOWS, VENDETTAS & A LITTLE BLACK DRESS is available on May 26th. Please visit
http://www.kyradavis.com/ for more information.

I haven’t posted a blog in several weeks because I came down with a bad case of bronchitis. When you’re self employed, it’s a bummer to be sick. Friends and acquaintances think I’ve got the life. That I can work when I want to and take off when I want to, but nothing could be further from the truth.

When authors are paying you out-of-pocket to get media coverage for their book, you’ve got to work, rain or shine—or getting sick. Publicity is very time sensitive. If you’ve read my previous blogs, you know that there are tight deadlines. Magazines must see galleys three – six months prior to the book’s pub date. National morning shows and Oprah book author interviews three months in advance. Local TV has shorter lead times. But the cycle in publicity is never-ending. When I’m promoting a June or July book in March, I’m also promoting March and April titles to radio and local TV, and to local newspapers.

So I got up each morning, feeling sicker than I’ve been in years (I pride myself in never getting sick), and pounded away on my keyboard, sending out as many e-mail pitches as I could. Leaving voice-mail messages was futile after three or four phone calls as no one wants to hear a hacking cough over the phone (most media prefers that you pitch them via e-mail anyway and a message mixed with a hacking cough is sure to result in a deleted message).

But all the extra work I usually do went by the wayside. At 4:00 in the afternoon I was ready to pack it in. I had a book review due for THE LOST SUMMER OF LOUISA MAY ALCOTT, a debut novel by Kelly O’Connor McNees, which will be posted on BookPage’s website on April 1st or sooner (
http://www.bookpage.com/). Fortunately, I read the novel and took notes before I got sick, so I was able to meet my deadline without a problem.

But my friends and acquaintances are right. I do have the life. I love what I do, and the freedom that comes with being self-employed. Although I disagree with Janis Joplin’s definition of freedom—“freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”—what those of us who are self employed do lose is the luxury to take sick days and extended vacations.

Stay tuned this weekend for a special guest posting by bestselling author Kyra Davis of the Sophie Katz mystery series, which includes Sex, Murder and a Double Latte, Lust Loathing and a Little Lip Gloss, Passion Betrayal and Killer Highlights, Obsession, Deceit and Really Dark Chocolate, and a stand alone novel,
So Much For My Happy Ending.

Kyra’s latest book, VOWS, VENDETTAS & A LITTLE BLACK DRESS will be available on May 26th. Check out
http://www.kyradavis.com/ for more information. Stay tuned.

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?

When I first began promoting books as an independent book publicist, several prospective clients who were looking for bargain-basement deals said to me, “You only make a few phone calls a day and that’s it.”

Would that it were that easy. A few phone calls is quite the understatement when there are literally hundreds of media outlets to contact in a comprehensive campaign. Way back in the early Nineties, however, when that comment was made, we publicists relied on the phone and voicemail as e-mail was a burgeoning form of communication and most of the media preferred that you contact them via the old-fashioned way.

Slowly that changed. You would call a media contact and some voicemail messages indicated that the editor or producer would prefer you to contact them via e-mail. Nowadays, if you call a media contact their voicemail message often says, “If you are a book publicist, please don’t leave a voice-mail message. E-mail me a press release or pitch.”

What do you do then, when you’ve sent hundreds of e-mails and not one contact has responded? Ah, that’s the challenge of being a publicist. Because most likely, unless you are promoting the latest celebrity or political confessional, one e-mail is not enough to ensure your author receives media coverage. Nor are two e-mails. Sometimes three e-mails are not enough.

Do I send the same e-mail if the first, second or third has not received a response? Of course not. I am constantly reinventing my pitches and rewriting press releases, looking for a new hook that will elicit a response.

Recently, I had to stoop to more subtle means when I had not heard back from producers who had consistently booked my clients throughout the years. So I put in the subject line: Are you still producing for the Morning Show? That did elicit a very quick response. And a positive one at that. “When is your author coming to town? We’d love to have him on our show.”

I do, whenever possible, follow up three or four unanswered e-mails with phone calls on the oft chance that a real live voice will pick up the phone, and that I can engage in an old-fashioned conversation. And when that happens, more often that not, I land an article or a TV or radio interview.

But chatty conversations with the media have gone by the wayside just as relying solely on newspaper coverage for our content has.

And just like in the past when producers complained about the amount of voicemail messages they received and how they could not possibly listen to all of them (one harried producer of a well-known national morning show who was deluged with hundreds of voicemails a day once called to say “please keep your pitches to 30 seconds” when I was a rookie), the media now complains about the amount of e-mails they receive daily, which far exceed the number of voice mails they ever received.

One producer said at a luncheon that she receives more than 200 e-mails a day. And remember, she is not glued to her computer all day. She has meetings to attend to, books to sift through, shows to produce. By the end of the week, she has received more than 1,000 e-mails from book publicists all jockeying like for the very few interview spots that exist. It’s understandable that she can’t respond to all of the e-mails she receives. Just those few books by high-profile authors or books about subjects such as finding “Mr. Right” that she and her executive producers feel will pull the highest ratings.

So what is the day in the life of a book publicist like? Sometimes I compare it to existing in the void of a black hole. I am out there in cyberspace wondering if anyone is even reading my e-mails, much less responding to them. But I persist. Because that’s what a good publicist does. I pitch and pitch again until I have finally caught the attention of a producer or reviewer.

And when I do, the adrenaline rush kicks in and makes all the effort worth it. For me and for my client.

When you are a book publicist, the choices to read are boundless. I’m looking at a pile of books that just arrived, and am wondering which book to pick first. If I spend the weekend reading a particular book, will the author hire me? If not, have I wasted my time?

The book that piques my interest the most, I must confess, is somewhat sensational and salacious, but definitely media driven: SEX LOVE AND MONEY: Revenge and Ruin in the World of High-Stakes Divorce by Gerald Nissenbaum, J.D. and John Sedgwick (Hudson Street Press/The Penguin Group).

Salacious because there is a lot of talk about sex. Sensational because the characters involved are some of the wealthiest people in the country (their names have been changed) but their actions are crass and selfish and expose the basest traits in human behavior.

Some of the stories read like fiction and the book is hard to put down. As Nissenbaum says in his book, the stories “contain the truths that make fiction jealous.”

“Sure,” Nissenbaum says, “These are divorce cases, but really they’re life studies. Divorce reveals the full range of human behavior, from the good to the very, very bad….Divorce rarely involves murder, but my cases have plenty of theft, battery, tax evasion, kidnapping, drug taking, verbal and physical and sexual abuse, willful destruction of property, and illicit sex of every sort, from the adulterous to the utterly perverse. Because divorce cases entail the love and betrayal that go into every marital meltdown, these stories have enough emotion for a century of soap operas—jealously, rage, lust, passion, vengeance, mourning, spite, revulsion.”

The stories are surely riveting. What is it about the basest side of human nature that holds us in its grip, that seduces us into reading about the actions and motives of people behaving badly and shamelessly? Suffice it to say that we humans revel in the scurrilous behavior of others. Witness the national media obsession with Tiger Woods, whose actions are really only accountable to his wife and children—the family that he betrayed--and to a lesser extent, those admirers who feel let down by a public figure they looked up to and held to a higher standard.

Do we embrace others’ sins against their lovers and spouses because we are relieved it hasn’t happened to us (at least not yet)? Or are we empathizing with the betrayed or betrayer because it has? Either way, the public outing of those who have betrayed their lovers still engages us and holds us captive.

But these very public displays of adultery and betrayal, whether we are watching a confession on TV or reading about them on the written page, even though they can be as addictive as a thriller, ultimately do not enrich our lives. Which is why, this weekend, I am returning to a gem of a book I found in my mother’s collection after she passed away, and that has sat on my shelf unread for many years: JOHN BURROUGHS TALKS: His Reminiscences and Comments As Reported by Clifton Johnson.

Burroughs was a naturalist who preferred the country to the city. He lived during the Civil War and the later part of the 19th century into the early 20th century. His reflections bring us back to a time when people walked through meadows and woods to town, or to return home from a train trip to the city. When Burroughs describes his rural surroundings, or the different birdsongs he spends his time listening to, my spirit and soul soars to those woods, meadows and mountains he so loving describes.

But the more things change, the more they remain the same. If you think that our newspapers have traveled down the dirty path that was once as pristine as the woods and meadows Burroughs describes, think again.
Burroughs may have indeed been amazed by the progress of today's media--the different forums-- but not by the content of much of it.

As Burroughs said in March of 1896, “In fact, the newspapers in general don’t measure up to their opportunities. They have been losing influence for years back—particularly the papers published in the big cities. Some of them sold themselves to the devil long ago. There are certain ones so bad I wouldn’t have them in my house….You get paper enough to make a bedquilt, and the reading is mostly trash…Yes, the majority of the newspapers, in what they print and in typography, fall far short of good taste.”


Which is why I consider myself blessed to have to make such difficult decisions everyday: What shall I read next? If I don't want to read about the latest celebrity or political scandal, there are so many wonderful books being published every day to choose from. I have a personal list of books I hope to get to as well as the many compelling, satisfying and often riveting books such as SEX LOVE AND MONEY that are sent to me by prospective clients: books that entertain and books that enrich me; books that educate and inform; and books that enhance--and sometimes change-- my life and make lasting impressions. I have enough choices to satiate every longing, desire and need to fill eternity—and then some.

UNFINISHED DESIRES by GAIL GODWIN

I was profoundly moved by Gail Godwin’s UNFINISHED DESIRES. I have read most of her books, having begun my literary fascination with Ms. Godwin with one of her early novels, A MOTHER AND TWO DAUGHTERS.

When I read during the Christmas holiday week that UNFINISHED DESIRES, about an all-girls Catholic High School, was coming out in January, my only wish was that it had come out during the Christmas break, when I traditionally spend my week off taking a reading vacation. A review I read after the holidays by Lauren Bufferd in BookPage increased my anticipation for the latest Godwin novel: “It’s only January, but if you plan on reading just one great novel in 2010, this might be it,”

UNFINISHED DESIRES was definitely worth the wait. I savored this evocative novel that captures so realistically the spirit, conflicts, competition and rivalries, the jealousies and dynamics that occur in an all-girls Catholic high school.

The novel is set at The Academy of Mt. St. Gabriel, a school located in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. I attended an all-girls’ Catholic high school, The Academy of Mt. St. Ursula, in the Bronx. The settings and school names may be different, and the girls from different demographics, but therein the differences end.

UNFINISHED DESIRES recounts the life of the headmistress, Mother Ravenel, while she presided at Mt. St. Gabriel’s, and especially one year in 1952. The repercussions of an incident that occurred in that year almost brought her down and still haunts her in her old age. The plot’s suspense revolves around that incident—one that was conceived by a headstrong student whose mother attended Mt. St. Gabriel’s and was a classmate of Mother Ravenel’s.

There are many twists and turns in this novel, which is not full of high drama, but is one of delicious detail. And it’s the details in this wonderfully rendered novel, the relationships and friendships between the girls, their teachers, the headmistress and the relationships of the headmistress, that make it so poignant, realistic and worth the read.

I have the fondest memories of my education at Mt. St. Ursula. I will be attending my 40th high school reunion this spring. UNFINISHED DESIRES brought me back to a time of innocence, where the biggest problems we faced were test scores, not getting a call from a Fordham boy we had a crush on, a hurt classmate who did not get asked to the Fordham prom and you did, calling up a boy you had a crush on and asking him to the Sophomore Tea. And, yes, there was jealousy, competition, rivalries and conflicts at my high school. Where in life are there not? But they were healthy rivalries and competition among us and understandable jealousies that never took on the bizarre and sordid nature we read about in the news.

Ours was a close-knit class of 200 girls. Shortly after reading UNFINISHED DESIRES, I was asked by my high school to write a letter to my classmates encouraging them to attend our 40th reunion. I was honored. My memories were already back at the Mount for several days before the request came after reading UNFINISHED DESIRES.

Some of my happiest days and fondest memories were of the four years I spent at the Mount. UNFINISHED DESIRES brought them all back.

I urge anyone who has attended an all girl’s Catholic High School to run to your nearest bookstore or library and get this book. It is a must-read! And for those who attended a co-ed public or co-ed Catholic school, read this book for your own edification. As Lauren Bufferd in her review for BookPage adds, “…the wise, human story [Godwin] tells reaches beyond the boundaries of region and religion, satisfying any reader looking for a good story.”

UNFINISHED DESIRES has received rave reviews in many publications, including in The New York Times, which hailed it as "reserved yet powerful" … "Godwin has created several deeply affecting characters."

Following is another excerpt of Lauren Bufferd’s rave review in BookPage:

“Complex intergenerational relationships of blood, friendship and passion abound in this powerful novel. Best friends jockey for position, closeness threatens to spill over into physical intimacy and the power struggles between mothers and daughters, teachers and students seethe and swarm.”

To read the entire review, go to
http://www.bookpage.com/books-10012714-Unfinished+Desires

Just as spouses who are often the last to discover that their partners are cheating, authors are often the last to know when a publisher decides to delay or move up the pub date of their books.

Recently, a client of mine called me, distraught that his book’s pub date had been moved up two months. He had done his homework and made sure he hired me more than three months before his book was due to hit the bookshelves. Now, without his knowledge, his publisher had decided to release his book two months early, which put a kink in the publicity plans. This author wondered aloud if he had made a mistake in hiring me, and asked if it was not too late to maximize publicity.

In the best of all possible worlds, a publicist wants to be able to pitch the long lead national monthly magazines as well as the national morning and evening magazine shows at least three months prior to pub date. Many publications prefer to tie in a review, profile or Q&A to a book’s pub date. This rule is not set in stone, but it is more often than not reliable. indeed, many national network programs book their author interviews or evening segment stories three to four month’s in advance.

Rules, however, are made to be broken, and a good publicist can find ways around those rules. My schedule would have to be stepped up. Instead of writing the press materials at my leisure—because I thought I had several months to do so—I got to work immediately. They were ready within days of the author’s phone call.

Next, I urged the author not to wait for his publisher to print advance reading copies, but to print his manuscript and have it spiral-bound. his book is on a timely subject—strategies for small businesses to survive in a tough economy—and I wanted to get his book out to as many shows as possible while the topic is hot. As I explained to the author, a publicist never knows if a show such as 20/20 is doing a story on small businesses. I would hate to turn on my TV several months from now and watch a segment on how small businesses are coping and know that my author missed a media opportunity because his publisher was unable to print galleys fast enough to meet the earlier than scheduled pub date.

What can authors do to stay abreast of their publishers’ decision making and not learn about sudden changes of plans after the fact? Authors have to be vigilant. This doesn’t mean that you pester your publisher everyday. But you should be receiving fairly regular communications from your editor and in-house publicist. A good agent is usually on top of things. But, for those authors who don’t have agents, sending regular e-mails to ascertain when advance reading copies are due, when covers are ready, and checking Amazon to make sure your publisher has featured your book on Amazon three months before pub date so you will not lose out on pre-orders, is essential.

In my author’s case, he did all of the above. Sometimes, despite all of your efforts, you are still the last to know. In an ideal world, everything runs smoothly. You have hired a publicist six months before your book comes out. You have written about a topic that makes breaking news as soon as your book hits the shelves. You do the talk show circuit. And you hit the bestseller list.

In a less than ideal world, a good publicist who thinks out of the box can often do damage control and get you more media coverage than you ever anticipated.

1. I resolve to update my Blog every day.

Well, unless I'm booking a West Coast tour. They're 3 hours behind, so I would be working until late into the evening, which leaves very little time to blog. Or if Resolution #4 works out. Or if I break Resolution #9. Ok, would you accept one blog post per week? I can do that...

2. I resolve to take on every author who needs me.

This will be a tough one. I really wish I could. Problem is, I'm a boutique firm and I only take on as many campaigns as I can handle. I love what I do and I love reading books. Nothing makes me happier than spending my time reading and getting authors the media coverage they deserve, but there are only so many hours in the day. Leaving me very little time for Resolution #4.

3. I resolve to NEVER take on a book campaign more than 3 months after the pub date.

Oh, your book came out 12 months ago and NOW you want to promote it? National shows like Oprah, The Today Show, 60 Minutes and 20/20 usually book three months BEFORE the publishing date. Your book that was gleaming and fresh and au courant 12 months ago is stale and tired. Oh wait... See Resolution #7.

4. I resolve to take a vacation this year!

I mean it this time! But... What if Oprah calls when I'm basking in the sun? Or hiking up the Swiss Alps? It's not so farfetched -- she did call one publicist who was in Sri Lanka when the tsunami hit. The publicist survived but her clients didn't. No one wants to hear excuses. Now that I think about it, maybe I’d better not take a vacation. Oh, who am I kidding? This is one resolution that I can't even pretend to make. Let's try again...

5. I resolve to take the GPS ankle bracelets off my clients.

It may be time to forgive and forget, but after I pulled out all the stops to get this guy on a national morning show and he went MIA, well, what options did I have? Hey, I have my reputation to consider. Hmmmm. Yeah, better cross this resolution off too.

6. I resolve to NEVER AGAIN agree to arrange a full five-city media tour in one day.

Sure, I did it, because I had to, and that’s why I’ve been told that I’m the Navy SEAL of Publicists. But since when did a Navy SEAL win a war in ONE day? I suppose Odysseus’ Trojan Horse won the war overnight, but that was more of a group effort. Then again, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

7. I resolve to start pampering the delicate egos of new authors.

"Oh, absolutely! Your textbook on derivatives and their relationship to Etruscan tax law is PERFECT for Oprah! You're going to make millions!"

8. I resolve to stop being frustrated by authors who tell me where they live, but nothing else.

Um, what's your book about? Who are you? What have you done? Your geographical location isn't newsworthy unless you live in Alaska and think you can see Russia from your backyard.

9. I resolve to avoid authors without hobbies.

Forty "Just checking in!" emails a day from one person is too many.

10. I resolve to stop taking on clients who brag about their net worth.

I know it's tempting, but the richer they say they are, the more they complain about having “cash flow problems,” especially when payment is due.

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