This just in from an independent book publicist:
Few things are as scary as a client new to the book business, where there's an inverse proportion of knowledge to dreams. A sense of enthusiastic unreality, if you will.
The book? A nonfiction title discussing political movements among under-30 voters.
The company? Owned and operated by a 28-year-old.
The goals? Publicity for a book by a new author and new company.
The task? A press conference. Old style, with big-name talkers introducing the author.
When advised about the lack of worth for this type of publicity for a book -- after all, press conferences are for court cases, politicians and the Beatles -- the client insisted on forging ahead.
Hours upon hours spent on the set-up: calling dozens of media, finding the perfect room, massaging the message.
The day came and drew dark. Podium, microphone, rows of folding chairs. The moderately famous person talked. So did the author. Then a few polite questions from a modest turnout of media. Then lights out.
The next day, the fury of the book company's young 'un: "What happened? What went wrong?" the beast railed to the hapless publicist.
"Did we not just have a press conference?" she wondered.
Turns out the book company owner wanted a press conference just like in the movies, with photographers flashing bulbs and rushing the podium, and reporters shouting over one another. In other words, complete pandemonium.
So to all of you gentle book people:
Beware of the non-knowing...they will eat your brains.