Monday, September 15, 2008

BBAW Guest: Lisa Roe, Online Publicist

(Book Bloggers near and far love Lisa Roe, so when she offered to do a guest post for BBAW about the differences traditional publicity and using book blogs, I was thrilled. I think you'll love what she has to say. Afterwards, be sure to check out her site Online Publicist and find yourself some books for review!)

My Resume:

*Outgoing and chatty (speaking at great length, whether you want her to or not)

*Asks questions (lots and lots of questions of varying length and relativity to a situation)

*Thinks a TO DO list is a list of things to be done eventually

*Follows her natural curiosity, even at the peril of not quite staying on task

And that’s what I have to offer. So: perspective employers! Take a number and get in line! Let’s face it, without all you lovely book bloggers, I’m one channel click away from chanting ‘Je-rry, Je-rry, Je-rry!’ and luring stray cats into my house.

In all seriousness, I cannot express enough appreciation for book bloggers and the work that you do. I am fanatical about books, as I know you all are! Prior to this position I created for myself, I worked as a traditional book publicist and let me tell you, many of the qualities of my resume did not exactly benefit my work in that world.

While I can’t knock the hard work of traditional publicists, let’s face it: it’s a glorified sales position. Cold calls, email blasts, pitch letters, and a dozen rounds of follow-ups. All this is done several months in advance of the publication of a title. The idea is to secure reviews for titles that will all hit around the time of the book’s publication. Now, when I’m the type of person that sometimes, just sometimes, absent-mindedly puts the milk in a cupboard instead of the fridge, keeping all of this straight was quite a feat.

Then, once everything is out, then the coordination of the campaign begins. There is an exhaustive list of items to maintain: reviews, interviews (taped or live), time zones, land line phone numbers, bookstore readings, book release parties, flights, hotels, transportation, announcements for events, getting people to show up at events…

Sound tiring? Back of hand on forehead, Scarlett O’Hara, ‘I simply can-not go on!’ sort of response? Well, the truth is, I loved it! I loved the work that I did and thrived on the pressure it created. I had charts and calendars and found myself in a whole new level of organization. I became bff with Excel and sticky, colored tabs. The only problem was that I missed the books.

The conversation on book content didn’t exist. Discussions were held mostly on the content in terms of who would be the best demographic to pitch to, or who should be avoided. How far a campaign could be taken (would it be of interest for national coverage?) and what connections the author had.

I was saddened by this, but had resigned myself to it as I felt the most important thing I could do was to get books into the hands of those who loved and appreciated them. And so I trudged on until I came across some book blogs and formulated a little idea for a business venture. ;-)

These days, I could not love my work more and can’t even begin to express the level of appreciation I have for what you do. Book bloggers are making a viable impact on the book publishing world and have allowed me to combine all of my loves into something that I have a difficult time calling ‘work’.

Instead of leaving voicemail after voicemail, begging to know if a book will be covered, I get to go along with you on the journeys of your lives. Through marriages, births, triumphs, hurricanes (safe thoughts to all of you currently in a strike zone!), good books, bad books, and mental health days, I am honored to be a part of your world. I am forever a champion and lobbyist for your work and am wishing you all the most amazing and wonderful Book Blogger Appreciation Week!

(I feel a giveaway coming on! Leave a comment relevant to this post for a chance to win a copy of Sisterchicks Go Brit! by Robin Jones Gunn)

38 comments:

mari said...

What a funny, yet informative post. This is what I strive for in my writing, but never quite achieve. Anyway, it is amazing how much work goes into publicizing a new book. As a very new book blogger, I don't think I have done much to help out, but I do appreciate the reviews of new books (or soon to be released books) that other bloggers post. Their reviews greatly influence the books I buy. :)

Booklogged said...

Hello, Lisa! It was so fun to read this post and find out more about you. I can feel your energy and enthusiasm for reading. Your work is appreciated greatly by so many of us who blog books. Keep up the good work.

elizabethwillse said...

What an interesting evolution of the book reviewing and book blogging world! And wonderful to see it explained with such clear candor.

Anne said...

I agree with Booklogged: "energy and enthusiasm" leaking out all over the place! I blogged about the book "Wesley the Owl" and my review is still the post that gets the most hits. I know I contributed to at least one sale and it made me feel really good!

Thanks for taking time to talk to bloggers!

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

blog at rhapsodyinbooks.wordpress.com

Jackie M (Literary Escapism) said...

Now that's a job I could get behind. Online publicist. :) The perfect job for a SAHM.

Seriously, great article. I know I am ecstatic when I get a chance to read a novel for review, especially when it's one I've been dying to get my hands on. I'm all about the free publicity, so go ahead and use and abuse me. :)

I also love it when I can tell my husband, who's complaining that I'm reading AGAIN, "but honey, this was sent to me for review, so I have to read it. You can make dinner tonight." :P

wordlily said...

It's fun to hear this explained. I've read so much of the conversation about the role blogs play in the advance/hindrance of traditional media, and it's good to hear someone who has sided, professionally, with the bloggers.

Sassy Mama Bear said...

I love Lisa's outstand wit and sense of humor and love that she relates to us book bloggers so much.
sassylucylootoo(at)yahoo.com

lovedandamazed said...

This was neat to read!! Being someone with an organizational bent, I would have loved her former job and keeping up with all that information... but I think I would have missed the books, too!! I'm glad Lisa has found a way to combine both her talent and her reading love in such a great way.

author_erin(at)lycos(dot)com

Dewey said...

I love working with you, too, Lisa! I really hope this works out for you as a long-term career.

Chris said...

Aw, I feel all special and glowy inside! :) Thanks for loving us book bloggers Lisa!

Cindy said...

Lisa was so nice to do that for you. Loved it. Lisa has such a great sense of humour. It was really nice to hear someone say they love book bloggers. Makes blogging more fun now.

Rowena said...

Wow, I think you have my dream job! Excel is my bff too! =)

Cheryl said...

I love everything that Lisa Roe does to get great books into readers hands.

Thank you Lisa

nbbaker1102 said...

This does sound like a GREAT job. I'm going to check out her website (maybe get some books to read). Yeah!!

sheistoofondofbooks said...

I appreciate your belief in the win-win for book bloggers and "nontraditional" publicists such as yourself!

No need to enter me into the giveaway; just wanted to say thanks for the support you give us. I enjoyed your post!

photoquest said...

Lisa I think you are a awesome lady! I don't have a blogging site but J-kaye allows me to send in reviews to her site :) and I appreciate the books that you have sent me to review. I love blogging sites I definatley have increased my books since going on them! Thanks Lisa you are Wonderful!!
and i would love to be in your contest
photoquest(at)bellsouth(dot)net

Julie P. said...

Great guest post! Lisa did one for Booking Mama awhile back! She's very nice and funny too!

Shana said...

Lisa, no need to enter me in the giveaway, but I just wanted to say I truly appreciate your work with us book bloggers and the obvious appreciation you have for us. It's mutual. I always enjoy your guest posts.

TheBookworm said...

Wow. Even though this post is for Book Bloggers in general, I can feel my cheeks blushing.

Also, I love this "Now, when I’m the type of person that sometimes, just sometimes, absent-mindedly puts the milk in a cupboard instead of the fridge, keeping all of this straight was quite a feat." Several times I find myself putting the milk in the cupboard and I have actually put the cereal in the fridge once and forgot it. Then when I opened the door, Surprise!

I haven't heard of the book your giving away. I would like to be entered though and then I can read it!

Thanks,
TheBookworm
www.inthecurrent.blogspot.com
emailthebookworm(at)yahoo(dot)com

blueviolet said...

I had absolutely no idea what went on behind the pages. Wow, that's intense. I'm glad you have made the move into the book blogging world. I love reading them and all their reviews! That's how I decide many of the book choices I make!
doot65{at}comcast[dot]net
Elizabeth

The Tome Traveller said...

Lisa, I love to read your guest posts and emails, you always bring a smile to my face! Thanks for being the friendliest, nicest & most fun publist that I have had the honor of working with!

Carey

Book Zombie said...

Lisa, thanks for sharing your story with us! I can totally see how you would miss the bookish side of things when companies are so focused on marketing for the best returns. It's wonderful to hear that you've created your own perfect job :)

Bobbi said...

"Thinks a TO DO list is a list of things to be done eventually." Isn't that what a TO DO list is for?!!! Interesting post!
brightmyer249(at)hotmail(dot)com.

Amanda said...

I think it's interesting to see how the behind the scenes action really works when it comes to getting someone to review a book. I can see how this system would be so much easier and so much more rewarding for a publicist. awalworth19(at)gmail(dot)com.

Melissa said...

Wow! Sounds like an interesting, yet time consuming job! Glad you found a way to make your experiences work for you!

melissalcummins@yahoo.com

Melissa

Daniel said...

Thanks for the insight on a publicist's job - very enlightening!

Sunny said...

That's very interesting! How wonderful that you've been able to get creative in finding that perfect job just for you. So many people would be jealous! And of course we book bloggers appreciate getting new books to review through your hard work.

sj3girls(at)hotmail(dot)com

stampedwithgrace said...

thanks for sharing! I appreciate your work with book bloggers! how wonderful to have a job you love :)

darbyscloset said...

I love the interview! What a great comparison! I especially enjoyed the "work" not being "work" .... I think that I would like her job!!!
Thanks,
Darby
darbyscloset@yahoo.com

gwendolyn said...

What a pressure-cooker being a publicist sounds like! It's interesting that in the book business, books are reduced to the status of "product." I would miss them, too. I think I really like being at the END of the production line -- with a book in my hand, and another under my pillow, and another in my purse, and another by the couch and another . . .
This was a great post, thank you! (And, yes, I would like a chance to win SISTERCHICKS GO BRIT!)
geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

Janssen said...

That sounds like a crazy job! I love the "back of the hand to the forehead" line.

Rebekah said...

Love the points of your resume. That's great! LOL Sounds like you stay busy, but what a fun way to do it. :)

Would love to enter your giveaway.

Thanks!
RebekahC
littleminx at cox dot net

Anna said...

It's great to see book bloggers getting more and more recognition, and I love it when publicists and others understand how passionate we are about books!

--Anna (Diary of an Eccentric)
diaryofaneccentric[at]hotmail[dot]com

Serena said...

I love how Lisa begins her post on publicity. What a witty beginning to an informative article to keep our attention, not that publishers don't have our attention now.

robynl said...

wow, what work that goes into a book, from beginning to end. I love blogs where one can find out about new bgoks, new authors, chats, etc.

MoonMaiden said...

It was very interesting to read what Lisa had to say :) The job sounds busy, but wonderful! *Thanks* for the giveaway!

ols[dot]moonmaiden[at]gmail[dot]com

Dorothy Thompson said...

I'm over here by way of a google alert which shows you how great a tool that is! Lisa, you do very much like what I do...finding online opportunities for authors to publicize their books and I can't agree with you more - book bloggers are the bomb. Love your sense of humor and someone above said something about it being a dream job. I can vouch for that. ;o)

Amber said...

I had no idea anyone was doing online publicity but it makes perfect sense; the internet is intertwined with nearly everything now.

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