I’ve been blurbed!

Remember when I reviewed DARKWALKER by E.L. Tettensor a little over a year ago? Well, the sequel (Master of Plagues: A Nicolas Lenoir Novel) is out, and on the very first page is a list of blurbs from reviewers, and I’m one of them! That was a fun thing to discover yesterday.

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Thoughts: Relationships in SFF Publishing

image credit unknownSO – it turns out I completely suck at holding contests and then actually clicking the little button on Rafflecopter to draw a winner. Thanks for your patience! The winner is Meg Winikates!! Thanks for participating!

The main thing I wanted to talk about today is the ongoing conversation I’m seeing across Twitter, blogs, and podcasts about the relationship that reviewers have with various members of the publishing world – readers, authors, and other reviewers.

A recap:
SF Signal Mind Meld: The Evolution of the Author Fan Relationship
Rob Bedford and Justin Landon talk about it extensively on RocketTalk
Paul Weimer talks about why he can’t review every book on his personal blog

It was Paul’s blog post and a previous Mind Meld that ultimately inspired me to join this conversation. As a publicist, I typically stay out of the conversations that are going on in the SFF community unless I’m actively promoting my author or reaching out to reviewers and other media professionals, but this time I wanted to take a moment to portray my point of view on this as a publicist.

For those of you who aren’t all that familiar, the publicity department at a book publishing house attempts to get as much coverage of a book and/or author as possible. That means we’re writing press releases, reaching out to reviewers across all media platforms, establishing relationships with reviewers, coordinating travel and events, and just trying to do whatever we can to let people know that the book exists. This is different from marketing in that we are not purchasing any sort of advertising, we do not make promotional items (though we use them occasionally), and we don’t sponsor anything through publicity. We have a marketing department to handle all of that.

The most important part of our job is the relationship between publicist and reviewer. This is a process that takes place very much behind the scenes, and our efforts are meant to be invisible to the general public. I think that SFF publicity is vastly different from other kinds of book publicity because the community is more tight-knit, and there’s a lot of opportunity to interact with reviewers through social media. When I’m working on mystery/fiction titles, I don’t have nearly as much access to people reviewing my books as I do with the SFF peeps (I’m hoping to change that!). I also think that the genre community is vastly more enthusiastic about new titles as well. This is the thing I love the most about my job.

I love getting to know the reviewers and the authors. I love seeing all of the interaction on Twitter and through blogs. I also deeply appreciate that most of the reviewers I interact with are reviewing out of love for the genre and not for money. Most of them have full time jobs and full time families, but they always make the time to regularly interact with each other and with the readership to promote the books they love. I hope they never doubt their value to the community, and I’m excited to see more awards being given to these wonderful, dedicated people who make this community as unique and interesting as it is. Rob Bedford said that without publicists, you wouldn’t have much to talk about. I think that without reviewers, not very many people would learn about our books. It goes hand in hand, and I’m just really happy that I get to be a part of a vibrant community of like-minded people. I grew up always wanting to do something that helped people, and I can’t imagine doing anything other than getting to tell everyone about amazing books and encouraging more people to read. So, reviewers, thanks for all you do, and thanks for making my job such a great experience!

All Hallows Read for October! [Giveaway]

10411879_10152339225912343_7309159229074767804_nI think I love October the most. The leaves are starting to change and there’s a whole month of anticipation for Halloween, my favorite holiday! And best of all, it’s time for All Hallow’s Read! For more information about this illustrious tradition, you can read all about it on their website here.

Since I know so many fabulous people both through Twitter and here in New York, I’ve decided to do a contest on my blog and give away two great books: The Beautiful Thing that Awaits Us All by Laird Barron courtesy of Night Shade Books and Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling courtesy of Tor Books.

To enter, simply tell me your creepiest ghostly encounter in the comments below. A winner will be randomly selected from entrants via Rafflecopter on October 31st. You must be a resident of US or Canada to participate.

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

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September 2014 Releases from Tor and Forge

Hi friends! Sorry this post is a bit belated! September has been a busy month so far for Team Tor/Forge now that we have some authors touring, and we’re gearing up for New York Comic Con. Check out the titles below and let me know what you’re excited about! Got requests? You know what to do.

Tor

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September 9 – Exo by Steven Gould

September 9 – The Bloodline Feud: A Merchant Princes Omnibus by Charles Stross

September 16 – Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon by David Barnett

September 16 – Last Plane to Heaven by Jay Lake

September 23 – The Seventh Sigil by Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes (check out the awesome book trailer!)

 

Forge

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September 9 – Sabotage by Matt Cook

September 30 – Strong Darkness by Jon Land

Publishing Talk – Tania Grossinger

I think we can all agree that I stink at blogging regularly. I’d promise to do better, but I don’t want to lie.

Click the cover to pre-order Jackie and Me

Anyways, I want to talk about a moment I had at work (I work for a small independent publisher located in the garment district of Manhattan) that really touched me. No, it’s not about science fiction or fantasy, but it is about dreams.

It’s not every day that you get to hang out with a published author for a couple of hours, and not many people can say that they get paid to do it. Today I think I experienced one of the highlights of my internship in publicity at a book publisher, and that was when I got to meet and have a conversation with Tania Grossinger. She was in the office signing copies of her forthcoming children’s book, Jackie and Me: A Very Special Friendship, and I was tasked with helping her label the envelopes for each book that was signed. Ms. Grossinger is a true gem. I had already read Jackie and Me because advance copies of it have been in the office for a while, and part of my job is to make sure these advance copies go out to book reviewers. The book is beautifully illustrated, and the story is a classic tale of being an outsider that I am pretty sure we can all related to on some level. While I was labeling envelopes, I got to ask Ms. Grossinger some questions about being an author and about her life in general. She’s a fascinating lady and a delight to talk to.

Pre-order Memoir of an Independent Woman

The first thing I learned about Jackie and Me was that the book idea was brought to her by our publisher when she was trying to sell an idea for a different book. Tania is proud of the fact that she is “one of two million of us Americans who are childless by choice,” so writing a children’s book had never crossed her mind. The idea came about because of her childhood friendship with baseball legend, Jackie Robinson, and the children’s book was born. Fortunately, she was able to strike a two book deal, and her other book, Memoir of an Independent Woman: An Unconventional Life Well Lived will be out in June. Her previous biography, Growing Up At Grossinger’s, gives insight into what is was like to grow up at a resort in the Catskills frequented by celebrities and historical figures while Memoir will be about Tania’s personal life and her reflections back on the choices she’s made. Ms. Grossinger hinted to me that there might be some controversial topics covered in her memoir, and as the former Director of Broadcast Promotion for PLAYBOY magazine, a travel writer, a book reviewer, and a consultant, I’m sure she has some very interesting stories to tell.

So, after many years working in media as a publicist and PR consultant, Tania Grossinger has finally realized her dream to publish her memoir. She described the project as near and dear to her heart, and she kept expressing how she couldn’t believe that it was really happening. Her delight over reviewing the final jacket copy for Memoir showed, and she just glowed as she personalized each autographed copy of Jackie and Me. She seemed in awe of being able to finally realize her dreams, and I felt so inspired to just sit and chat with her about publishing, publicity, and life in general. This is why I’m in publishing, and this is why I want to work in publicity. It’s all about the author, and it’s all about getting the word out about amazing stories and amazing people.

Is Historical Fiction Also Fantasy? The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye

Imagine a Manhattan with low slung wooden buildings, little to no police force, and a rural farming community and a wild forrest north of 23rd street…. Is this an alternate universe? No, it’s New York circa 1845. I believe my love of historical fiction is a direct result of my love of fantasy/sci-fi because it is just another genre that transports you to another world in another time, and your imagination is required to recreate scenes that don’t exist in our current waking world. Sometimes, the only difference between a historical novel and a fantasy novel is that the setting in the historical novel was real once (although I think some would argue that fantasy settings are just as real to the reader, they just exist in the mind’s eye).

I had the pleasure of meeting author Lyndsay Faye at a publishing event at NYU about a month ago. She is witty, charming, cute, sincere, and endearingly humble about her literary success. Her publisher, Amy Einhorn, of Amy Einhorn Books, an imprint of Putnam at Penguin Book Group (USA), accompanied her to this event as they bantered back and forth about Lyndsay’s latest book, The Gods of Gotham. I think what piqued my interest in this book the most was the interesting incorporation of period street slang, called Flash, that eventually helped shape some of the modern slang we used today. Anyone interested in the history of the English language would find this both delightful and informative. Furthermore, this story is about the beginning of the NYPD, the copper stars, as they were known (which is where we get the word “cop”, fyi) and what I feel is also the story of the first real NYPD detective, Timothy Wilde.

The story begins at a very interesting confluence of events that will change the political, economic, and physical landscape of New York City forever. First, there’s a fire that burns down a large section of lower Manhattan. Second, Irish immigrants are starting to the flood the city because of the Irish potato famine. Third, an official police force is formed to govern the streets of Manhattan, which stirs up political animosity among those who are staunchly anti-government. Timothy Wilde is a reluctant former bartender whose fate is now reluctantly and irrevocably caught up amidst these events. His problem, though, is that he has become too good at being a copper star, a job he loathes yet must do thanks to circumstance.

The action begins on page one of this book, and we are immediately deeply interested in the fates of the characters as we meet them in the first chapter. The story is being told from Timothy’s point of view, and we meet his very charismatic and political older brother, Valentine, the love interest, Mercy Underhill, and the ten year old “kinchin“, Bird Daly, who we love despite her need to lie about everything. Not only is this novel full of the atmosphere of the time period, but there’s a serial killer on the loose, and it’s up to Timothy Wilde to find him and catch him before more young Irish blood is spilt.

I haven’t finished this novel yet, but I am engrossed. It takes every effort for me to not just spend the entire day languishing in bed reading this book until I know everyone is safe and the murderer is caught. There is definitely an immediacy to how this story unfolds. I feel like I am really there, strolling down the dirty streets of 1845 Manhattan alongside my favorite copper star. I have truly been transported to another world.