Thursday, November 02, 2006

Back at Ya! Author Taxonomy

While I was unconscious yesterday, Gawker's curmudgeonly guest editor, "Unsolicited," posted A Taxonomy of Publicists, classifying the different types of inhouse pubs, many of whom "suck at their admittedly difficult and repugnant jobs."

This gave me the happy idea of asking publicists--inhouse and freelance--to list the author types they deal with. So herewith I present:

A Taxonomy of Authors

The Chiseler
Wants everything on the cheap and tries to haggle down your fees--while expecting topnotch service, of course. Asks, "Do you offer a divorce discount?"

The Whiner
Kvetches constantly about every little f***ing thing, but won't stand up for herself to agent/ editor/bookseller/media escort because, "I want everyone to liiike meee!"

The "Yes, but..."
Acknowledges the sense of your suggestions, but always has a reason why s/he can't follow them. "Yes, but I can't give any readings in my hometown because I've only lived there for 10 years and don't know anybody."

The Star
Won't lift a finger for him/herself; expects deluxe personal service day and night, weekends and holidays. Can't be bothered with petty details, such as establishing beforehand exactly who is going to pay for an unneccessary car rental at an event that offers volunteer driver-escorts.

The Space Cadet
Needs constant reminders about interviews, public appearances and travel. Couldn't come out with a cogent sound bite if his/her life depended on it. Shows up at the last minute for a reading--often without a copy of the book--and asks, "What do you want me to do?" Brings guitar to a panel discussion, expecting to sing a lengthy, off-topic song. Appallingly dressed, with even worse hair.

The Amnesiac
Confirms available dates for interviews and then forgets the commitments and takes a vacation to Australia without telling anyone.

The Socialite
Wants to do "lots" of media as long as it doesn't interfere with opera schedule, assorted plays, morning sleep, afternoon teas, trips to Miami, etc. Gets married or gives birth the same week as the book's publication date.

The Promoter in Author's Clothing
Thinks he knows publicity better than you. Calls producers and talks badly about you, sends review copies behind your back, secretly believes you aren't sending books out on his/her behalf.

The Know-It-All
Regardless of the author's primary field of endeavor (doctor, artist, actor, writer, lawyer, dog breeder, but especially politicians--and ONE in particular), they want you to know that THEY know more about book publishing, media, stores, etc., than you do. Note: Necessary to have doorways enlarged to accommodate author's head.

The Innocent (but secretly a Schemer)
"Aw shucks, I don't know anything about books and how it all works. Can you help me?" So, you provide some guidelines, tell her what you'll do, request that she NOT do certain things. Then you hear that she has done the direct opposite. When confronted, she says, "...well, I didn't know THAT would happen..."

The Rare Gem
Great attitude, can-do spirit, unfailingly gracious and courteous, demonstrates appreciation and gratitude all around. Asks how to best work with the publicist, then does exactly what's expected--and even more. Verifies in advance all dates and logistics, and who is going to pay for what. Shows up in good time for events and interviews, always well prepared, appropriately dressed and neatly groomed. Never cancels an appearance, no matter how sick s/he may be. Practices and times all readings, and never runs long. Brings pen and bookplates to signings (the latter is in case there isn't enough stock to sign). Hint: Sends thank-you cards and presents to hardworking publicist!


Lexa Roséan said...

This was a good counter post. I liked it. Hope you're feeling a bit better these days.

Southern Writer said...

Love the whiner.

I want everyone to liiike meee.

So funny!

I don't know you, but I do feel for you and hope you continue to recover well. Say hello to Denver for me. Did the snow stick?

Richard Lewis said...

"Gets married or gives birth the same week as the book's publication date"

Yeah, well, how about "is hanging out on a small tropical island during novel's publication date"?

My novel's coming out Dec 5 in the US. Trouble is, I live here on this little ol' island, halfway around the world. Not a whole lot I can do about that.

Lee said...

The Dropout

Won't do any of those things and prefers to blog.

(also answers to The Hermit)