More on the joys of your in-house publicist

By Carmen Comment

Building on the series of posts Ron has had over the course of the week to follow up on Elizabeth Royte’s NYTBR article, Bev Marshall writes in with her experiences before and after publication of her new novel, HOT FUDGE SUNDAE BLUES:

When I jumped from an independent publisher to Ballantine/Random House, nearly everyone I knew warned me that I would be ignored, overshadowed by the big name authors there. I write fiction, the literary kind that everyone I knew said was a hard sell anyway. But everyone was wrong. My publicist Cindy does handle big name authors, but that just makes her more savvy about promoting books. She’s got great ideas, she listens to all of mine, and treats me with great respect.

On my first tour she called me after every event. Was I happy with it? Did I need anything? How was I feeling? She called the booksellers, too, and they loved her for caring. I’ve just returned from my second tour with same publicist, but this tour was different. My book came out the day after Katrina hit. I’m a Louisiana author who grew up in Gulfport, and many of the events she’d booked were cancelled because the stores weren’t even there anymore. But she pulled it all together, salvaged what she could of the tour and most importantly, cared about me, the person, not the book. She helped me laugh, comforted me while we were still searching for lost relatives and friends, and I truly believe she would have moved the earth to sell my novel if she could. She remembers that I like to sit on the aisle in airplanes, that I smoke, that I like to arrive at events early. It’s the little things that matter, too. I don’t know if a freelancer can give all of that to an author since I’ve never hired one, but a long, close relationship with a publicist is what matters most to me.

I’m happy with Cindy, and if my book doesn’t sell a zillion copies, it won’t be because she didn’t believe it in with all her heart and try her best to promote it.