I returned from Book Expo to a lot of work and a lot of follow-up emails. A friend of mine who is a freelance publicist sent me this email. I laughed so hard I nearly fell off my chair. I asked her for her permission to post it, told her it could be therapy to other publicity people out there. She’s always game to help out a fellow book-peep so here you go:
It was great seeing you at Book Expo, sorry we couldn’t spend more time together. I was busy hiding from authors which is particularly difficult to do at a book event. I also came home sick, which is par for the course I suppose. Too many book-germs there.
I don’t know if you noticed in the protected bubble of the Morris & Dean booth, but the crazies sure were out this year. Several of my current clients were there, including one who had invited me to the Super Book Awards party. You may not know it, it’s mostly for small press or self-published titles.
So, I got in Tuesday, and Wednesday Danielle had invited me to the Book Awards party (she was nominated for something, I’ve since blocked it out). The party is essentially an open bar, loads of cheese and 85 categories of awards. No, really. And they call each of the winners per category off the entire night. No one pays attention, it’s actually kind of silly. Then they had some guy reading poetry. Lord. But when I got there, she was already there and had a bunch of her books. She was tense, it wasn’t really pleasant. I think she was slightly pissed that I refused to send out her press release about Book Expo, you know the one I sent you that had three different headlines? Seriously. Pick one. I hear she sent it out anyway, spent around $2,000 to do it and got nothing. Crickets. What a shock.
Anyway, so open bar, Danielle, and the endless awards. Me contemplating suicide. At some point she said, just out of the clear blue: “I’ve spent $200K on my marketing, I am tired of being disappointed.” She was glaring at me. I, in turn, leaned over the bartender to order another drink. Note she did not spend this money with me, not sure where it went, nor did I ask.
Then she rambled on about how healthy her family eats and pulled out this Ziploc bag with all of her herbal supplements. Hell it could have been narcotics for all I know, I just nodded, not sure where the conversation was headed. Then she says, “I need to smoke!” I figured I’d heard her wrong, Miss-I’m-so-healthy, but then she pulled a pack of Marlboros out of her handbag. Lovely. “I’m pissed I can’t smoke in here!” she said in a huff. That makes one of us. She then asked me what my plans were for Book Expo as it related to her book. I said I don’t view BEA that way. I go for industry stuff, nothing is ever just one-client focused. Well, that was a mistake. Clearly she thought she was my only client.
“Bartender!” I tried to change the subject. I told her I’d just found out that a former client of ours (a fairly big guy in the movie industry) had died suddenly from a very bad fall. She said “Wow, that’s a great way to go, get it over with.”
Huh. All right then. Do much charity work, do you?
The evening meandered on in a slow, painful though thankfully alcohol lubricated fashion when finally (thank merciful God) her category was up. I finally figured out why she’d invited me. She had three cameras. I was photographer. God I hate freelancing sometimes. I bet no one ever made you do that at MD? Oh, wait, never mind. I’m sure they have.
She wanted to leave immediately after that. Fine with me. We walked outside, she lights up (Hey, thanks for asking if I mind!) and hails a cab. As she leans to get in, she stands upright, towering over me (she is short but had these massive high shoes on) and says, “Why am I not on your website?” WTF – I shrugged and said, “It needs to be updated.” (read: we don’t put psycho lunatics on there)
I made a note to get her campaign done as fast as I can when I get home.
By Thursday morning, I had like 6 emails from people on my Facebook page telling me they were at BEA and wanted to meet. All authors, no one I knew. Yep, let me make time for that. At some point during the day I Skyped a gal who does work for me, from my spot in the basement at Javits where I hid out for a while.
On Thursday I ran into Danielle, she wanted to chat but I told her I was off to a meeting. “Later!” I yelled as I raced away. Likely that’s what was the straw that sent me to the basement.
On Thursday Book Expo asked if I’d do some shows, radio expo or something, honestly I can’t recall. It may have been through Publishers Weekly. You know me, I’m game for anything. I must have gotten the short straw because I got to interview this author who used to ghost for a well-known thriller writer who shall remain nameless but is usually referred to as “the biggest ass in the industry” – you know who I mean. Anyway the guy (the one I was interviewing) was a moronic jackass. Showed up unshaven, hair a mess and then told me three times that some of my questions were stupid. “Thanks for playing, we will now vote you off the island.” His interview was supposed to be 15 min, I cut him to 7. Afterwards he shook my hand and said, “Great interview!” Thanks, psycho man. You should go find Danielle, she’ll be the one with the depressed look on her face wondering why the world isn’t beating a path to her door.
Later that Thursday Danielle texted me. Note that I haven’t even mentioned her texting, which she does constantly. I ignore them, she keeps at it. The only time I responded was the night of the awards party to confirm the time. Anyway, it’s annoying. So she texts me and says, “What appointments do you have lined up for me on Friday?” Dear God. I didn’t respond. Why feed the monster? Note to self: never tell clients you’ll be at BEA.
When I left that day, some author in the hall shoved a book at me and yelled, “You’re press!!” (I get in on a press pass) – I said, “Well, eh, sort of…” she didn’t hear that but proceeded to tell me about her book which involved leprosy and kids. Lovely. She said it was like the Hunger Games, but involved leprosy. Thanks for the visual. “And,” she insisted, “it’s on the rise again. It’s all over the place.”
I’m convinced that’s how I got sick.
I ran into psycho Marilyn (last name omitted to protect the guilty). Basically she makes any nut job you’re working with now seem like the best client ever. We never worked with her, she just stalked me. Endlessly. And then got pissed off at my assistant at the time because when we realized she was a disorganized whacko, we stopped giving her appointment times. Trouble is, she is a NY socialite and has tons of money so everyone wants to pay attention to her. She said, “Oh, Vivienne!!” and raced across the aisle way. Damn me for leaving the safety of my basement. She said, “Oh we must chat soon!” Not likely.
So that was that, I’m sorry I didn’t make it to the MD party, I hear it was a blast. Did you get to see Jim Gaffigan at the event? I wish you all had published his book, what a fab guy he is. Anyway, that’s all for me. See you next time I’m in NYC and give a hug to Lulu for me.