Friday, July 27, 2007

It's a great week not to be a celebrity publicist.

It’s a great week not to be a celebrity publicist. A really great week. In fact, our staff breathed a collective sigh of relief that we don’t work with celebrities—at least not unless they’ve written a book. In case you didn’t hear, actress Lindsay Lohan was arrested Monday for the second time in a month, suspected of drunken driving and cocaine possession. It’s safe to say that Lohan’s publicist and damage-control extraordinaire, Leslie Sloane Zelnick, has her work cut out for her. We’re just glad that we’re not the ones answering the phones.

Thankfully as literary publicists we get to carefully review books before we make the decision to take them on. We have two sets of clients: the authors and publishers we represent and the media contacts that we have built relationships with over the past 13 years. Each month we review books submitted to us and select those titles that have the best opportunity to reach major media. In addition to evaluating the book’s media potential, we have to make sure we’re comfortable with the credentials, expectations and personality of the author. The bottom line is that we have to be confident attaching our name to someone we will eventually offer to the media as an expert source or guest opportunity. Each time our authors go on the air, we put our reputation on the line. If the author blows an interview or doesn’t live up to our pitch, the media outlet might think twice before booking with us again.

Sure, authors slip up. They’re only human. But the flub-level of recent A-list celebrities is on a much grander scale. As literary publicists, we’re happy to know that when we come into work each morning, there’s nothing that will require us to go on heavy-duty, Lohan-fueled spin control. Good luck Zelnick, you’re going to need it.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

P&P Attends ICRS in Atlanta

Stephanie Mayabb (P&P's media relations manager) and I returned from the International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta a few weeks ago and I'm finally getting around to posting a recap. We complement Book Expo America every summer by heading to ICRS to meet with current clients, sit down with media contacts and take a pulse of fall titles from the country's largest Christian publishers.

Though we handle both CBA and ABA titles, we have worked very hard to establish relationships within the CBA that I truly value. As publicists, we spend most of our time building relationships with media contacts and clients over the phone and via email. Thus, we only get the chance to connect in person a few times each year. The key publishers within this segment of the book industry have some of the most gifted PR professionals around and we're fortunate to have the opportunity to work closely with them.

We kicked off the weekend with the "Power Media Meet & Greet" on Sunday afternoon. This panel discussion is always well-organized (thanks Nancy!) and this year featured CNN Newsroom's Sonya Houston and Gayle White of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The panelists discussed packaging religious authors for secular coverage along with changes in religion coverage over the past year. Gayle discussed how her role at the AJC has recently changed, as her beat is no longer solely devoted to religion coverage. Unfortunately, it's a trend we're seeing with newspapers around the country.

This shift from unique, localized religion coverage is hammering home our belief that CBA titles need to relate to those "evergreen" general market media topics. We're excited to be working with a number of those books this fall.

Several of our authors had their new titles heavily promoted at ICRS and I thought I'd include some info about them:

Illuminated by Matt Bronleewe (Thomas Nelson, Aug. 2007) - This is one of the most impressive debut novels I've seen from the CBA in several years. I'm not alone in expecting big things from Bronleewe who, in addition to being a founding member of Jars of Clay is now a highly sought after music producer. Mark Parolini from CBA Retailers + Resources (formerly Aspiring Retail) proclaimed,"On a scale of 1 to 10, this goes to 11."

Logged On and Tuned Out by Vicki Courtney (B&H Publishing Group, Sept. 2007) - With apologies to several other clients, Vicki Courtney may be the hardest working author in the CBA. Only a few months after releasing the latest installment of her bestselling TeenVirtue series, TeenVirtue Confidential, parents of teens and tweens now have a resource to learn more about their tech-savvy children. CNN and Fox News have both looked to Vicki to provide a credentialed perspective on social networking sites in the past and we are eager to hit the ground running with this campaign.

FaithGirlz! Body Talk by Nancy Rue (Zonderkidz, Sept. 2007) - There's no doubt that today's girls are growing up faster than ever before. The FaithGirlz! series is a great resource for tween girls to get advice and help on issues that they're facing.

FaithGirlz! Girls of 622 Harbor View by Melody Carlson (Zonderkidz, Sept. 2007) - On Tuesday we attended the FaithGirlz! event at the Omni Hotel and I was quite impressed with the turnout. Local tweens were lined up for the opportunity to drink smoothies, decorate bracelets, play games and listen to a presentation from current FaithGirlz! authors Melody Carlson, Dandi Daley Mackall and Nancy Rue. Zonderkidz certainly knows how to throw a party!

Life's Healing Choices by John Baker (Howard Publishing, Aug. 2007) - This book is getting quite a bit of buzz, thanks in large part to endorsements from fellow Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren (who also wrote the foreword), Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. John Townsend and several others. Publishers Weekly has already reviewed the book, saying it will "galvinize Christians into action." We're very excited about this book because it addresses a number of great secular topics. I enjoyed sitting down with Baker, who has tremendous energy and passion. He's someone you can expect to see much more of in the coming years.

Could It Be This Simple? by Dr. Tim Jennings (Autumn House Publishing, 2nd Edition Sept. 2007) - This book is quietly heading to its second print run, thanks in large part to the tremendous word of mouth success. It's the first book from Dr. Tim Jennings, a practicing psychiatrist that also speaks and lectures widely on a variety of mental health issues. His publisher, Autumn House Publishing, is an imprint of the Review and Herald Publilshing Association.

We have several other fall titles that were promoted at ICRS and I apologize if I missed anyone, but these are fresh in my mind thanks to a number of great meetings. Look for these authors on the air this fall!

For more information about CBA or ICRS, please visit

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Welcome to Phenix & Phenix's little corner of the Blogosphere. We're coming to you live from beautiful Austin, Texas. Chances are, if you've come to our blog you're interested in staying up to date on the latest happenings in the world of literary PR. You've come to the right place.

Allow us to formally introduce ourselves:

We are a boutique literary publicity firm that has been working with top authors and publishers since 1994. P&P has handled launches for authors like Vicki Courtney, Les Parrott and Philip Carlo, publishers like St. Martin’s Press, Thomas Nelson, Zondervan and McGraw Hill and best sellers like "Crucial Conversations", "The Ice Man" and "Revolve". Our track record speaks volumes about the relationships we have built with top media contacts (from top-100 papers to national television outlets) and the professionalism of our award-winning publicity team. Over the past two years we have added fifteen best sellers to our overall tally of more than 25. We also frequently work with literary agencies and are among the list of recommended publicists at top distributors around the country.

Case studies, a client list and additional information about the type of books we look to work with can be found at Check it out!

We hope you'll find our blog informative and fun to read. We want this to be an informal place for us to share our extensive knowledge about the literary publicity field. Please feel free to leave comments or questions. We're passionate about what we do and we love talking to authors, agents and publishers about the benefits of literary publicity.