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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