Sunday, February 8, 2009

What I Do...

Believe it or not, sometimes people do not believe I do what I do for a living. This is a subject I know I’ve brought up before with similar convo outlines:

So what do you do?
I’m a publicist for an independent book publisher… Actually I focus on romance novels.
Like the ones at the grocery store?
Or Borders and Barnes & Noble.
Really? But what do you actually do?

It’s always sort of a struggle when I get to this point in the conversation because it sounds kind of weird to say “I email people all day seeing if they want to review a book I’m the lead publicist for. And I also spend a good portion of my day researching new websites, new pitching ideas. Oh and I also schedule some interviews. And I also email back and forth with many of the authors all day—usually it has nothing to do with their books. Oh, and sometimes, I blog.” I could go on about all the things I do.

Don’t even get me started about when people ask about the types of books I publicize. Take a recent convo I had with a boy I’m going to refer to as Z (and yes, you giggly, nosy ladies, this is the same boy I had the cheese conversation with and yes, for those out of the dating game and wanting to live vicariously: we’re kind-of-sort-of-basically a “couple”):

Z: so these romance novels, what are they about?
D: Well, we’ve got this one series about witches… and 2 different series about werewolves…and there’s also one that deals with these cat-like aliens with intense sexual prowress…
Z: With what?
D: Sexual Prowess. It’s in our descriptions of the novels! (blushes)
Z: are all your books crazy? (he’s a boy and just doesn’t get it, so humor me…)
D: No, there are contemporaries and historicals, too.
Z: Bodice-rippers? (I was impressed that he knew that term!)
D: We don’t like to call them that.
Z: So have you learned anything, um, interesting from these romance novels? (insert devious smile)
D:……………(blushes, yet again)

Nonetheless, it’s interesting—what I do with your books. I really don’t know that there are many publicists that 1) work so hand in hand with authors (other than the other publicists at Sourcebooks) or 2) take the same hands on approach—after going to my first RWA National last year in San Francisco, I spoke to a lot of authors, new and experienced, who were very surprised to see a publicist at RWA and to find out about what exactly I do. Maybe it’s because the way I do things just automatically seemed logical to me, but I wonder: what do other publicist do with their romance novels?

So, it is with EXTREME excitement that I get to share with all of you some very awesome news: last year at RWA, Michelle Buonfiglio of Romance B(u)y The Book (a wonderful and lovely supporter of Sourcebooks Casabalnca) asked me if I would be interested in doing a workshop with her about online promotion. Michelle’s site has been one of the pioneering review/interview romance sites, and as you all know very well, the internet has been integral in building the buzz about your books. Together with NYT bestselling author LORI FOSTER (I’m probably going to be awestruck) and JENNA PETERSEN (a very web-savvy author, who runs The Passionate Pen, a great resource for aspiring authors) will be giving a workshop entitled Online Promotion B(u)y the Book!

This is a chance to showcase the hard work we’ve all been doing over the past year or so since I became the lead Casablanca publicist. I’m not sure about the date and time just yet, but once we know, I’ll let you all know. We’re all very excited about it, and with different perspectives on the romance online community, it should be a great success! Let’s face it, I wouldn’t be on this panel if it weren’t for the work, and now the romance “circuit” I’ve created while publicizing your books. I think this Spring season will be the one that will run smoothly and show a direct correlation between the stuff we’ve got buzzing on the web and sales in stores.

So I guess now, I’m going to have to figure out how to talk about what I do in a new coherent manner… What has been the most surprising thing for you since becoming a published author—has doing a lot of online promo surprised you? I know I’ve learned A LOT about organization, and the great thing about the web is that if we find someone who doesn’t like your book, chances are there’s someone else out there who will LOVE it. The opportunities are endless… oh, and nothing ever goes away once you post it… hmmmm… Perhaps I should stop mentioning dates.

PS Alas--I am away this weekend. I will comment as soon as I return on Sunday :-)


  1. Congrats on the RWA session, Danielle! I love Lori Foster, and will look forward to your session! I'm sure all the Casa gals will turn out to support our favorite publicist. It's great to hear that you feel like you're gaining traction in all your efforts and that we'll see even more great reviews and excitement with this next round of books. We all appreciate everything you do for us.

    As for "Z" and letting him in on what we've, ahh, taught you through our books... Well, he'll just have to wait and see, right? :-)

  2. That is just too cool, Danielle. Looking forward to RWA!
    PS: Just tell Z that he can definitely benefit from what you've read....

  3. ohmigosh, Danielle, I'm totally hooked on the dating story, and tell "Z" he can learn lots from our books too so he needs to read them and you'll both be on the same page. LOL :)

    Super on the RWA session!!! We'll all be rooting for you!!!

  4. "kind-of-sort-of-basically a “couple”)" Is that like being kind-of pregnant?

    Happy for you Danielle. If Cheese Boy can handle the talk of bodice-rippers and cat-like aliens with nothing more than a devious smile, I'd say he has strong 'keeper' potential. :)

    What you do is amazing to me. I have no other frame of reference, this being my debut book and all, but I know you have been a rock for me. Just knowing you are on my side, swift to answer every last email in detail, and working so diligently to bring the Darcys to every possible audience is comforting. I can relax in this regard knowing that you have it all competently under control.

    Good luck with the workshop. I have complete faith that you will take every morsel of what you learn and apply it to the Casablanca lines continued success.

  5. The workshop sounds fabulous. I know you'll do a great job--because you always do.

    I think the most surprising thing once I was a 'pub' was to learn about all the romance fan sites out there. Like...DUH...but I didn't know.

    Most of them were the soul of graciousness to me, and visiting the blogs turned out to be more fun than I thought.

    BTW, tell Z that if more men read romance novels to see what tips THEY could pick up, the world (at least the female half of it) would be a happier place.

  6. Thanks everyone for your kind words! I'm very excited and once I find out the info on the time and room, I'll let you know all know!

    As for Z--I might have to get him to read your books! Or at least certain parts of them hahaha :) Thanks much!!

  7. Awesome, Danielle! I'm there. And I'm sure Z can only reap the benefits of our excellent influence on you...which you should definitely point out to him;-)

  8. 2 quick ideas to help out with online promotion...

    1. Everybody join stumble upon and digg. Then stumble / digg each other's websites, best blog posts, and anywhere your book has been promoted. (Create a team force and submit links you want the whole team to weigh in on for faster results).

    2. Use youtube. It's a good friend. For instance Julia London has a channel: Perhaps follow in the example of vlogbrothers and all of you can participate under one channel like you do with this collaborative blog.

    Keira from