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Give your Publicist the Gift of Gratitude This Holiday Season

So you’ve written a book and you’ve hired a team to help you promote it.

Now, unless you made a deal with the devil, you’re working with real people, people with families, who base their livelihood on being able to do what you hired them to do, and do it well.

Do I sound a little condescending? Maybe bitter? Sorry.

But as a publicist I can tell you that it’s not unusual to work with authors who end up treating us like a magical beings devoid of feelings, who can strong-arm consumer sales and generate reviews by lurking around the reception area of the New York Times. And no, don’t get any ideas, we really can’t do that.

We want our authors to succeed more than anything, believe me, and in the spirit of the holiday season I’m going to take one for the team and just put it out there – we’d appreciate a little gratitude  – gratitude that’s not entirely based on sales numbers.

And to make it even easier, I’ve included a few suggestions for how you can show us how much you care:

  1. Say thank you. It seems so simple, but when was the last time you said it to your publicity team “just because”?
  2. Take a breather before hitting ‘send’ or ‘call’. Sure, shit happens, and we don’t have to like it. But please go for a walk, ponder starving children in Africa, or watch an ASPCA commercial before railing on us.
  3. Make a donation to your shrink. Okay, not a donation, but if you catch yourself getting irritable about every aspect of your publicity campaign, consider the fact that there may be underlying issues.
  4. Give us a week without email. This could be the best one yet. Give your team the gift of non-communication. Let them do what they do best, and let them contact you with an update when there are real things to discuss.
  5. Recognize that it’s a holiday for us too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been berated for not replying to emails on Christmas day.
  6. Get involved. Not with us directly, see #4, but with your fans. And potential fans. Be active on your blog, reply to fan mail, take the time to thank some non-mainstream reviewers for reading and rating your book. Make it easier for us to sell you as a person.
  7. Remember, there were millions of books published in the U.S. this year. Millions. Keep some perspective.
  8. Do us a favor and don’t assume the smaller successes, like a good review in a weekly, are throwaways. Every successful author took baby steps. If we held your hand through one of those steps, recognize.
  9. Give us a shout out at your next public appearance or fan event. It’s free, and it means a lot.
  10. Print out this list and tape it to your bathroom mirror, gratitude shouldn’t be reserved for Christmas alone.

So there you go, a few ways to show your publicist that you do know they’re human, and despite the inevitable ups and downs, you believe in them much as they believe in you.

Merry Christmas!