I initially scoffed when my former agent Marly Rusoff suggested I attend a publicity seminar for authors. My reasons for scoffing were fueled by ego and insecurity (sides of the same coin, of course), but Ms. Rusoff is a publishing genius, so I figured what the hell. Something good had to come out of four hours in a room with publicists, agents, and media coaches. [Actually it was eight hours; time goes by fast when you're having fun.] And lunch was included.
The seminar was called “Book Promotion 101,” created and moderated by the lovely Bella Stander, an incredibly bright, refreshingly blunt publicity guru who has the courage to blast apart authorly pretensions and replace those shattered delusions with good sense. Before Bella I thought my job as a writer began and ended with writing books. After Bella, I realized self-publicity isn’t something done by hacks or desperate salesmen—it’s as crucial a part of the publishing process as finding an agent, selling your book to a publisher, and making sure they spell your name right.