A day in the life of a publicist...
When I tell people what I do for a living, it often triggers an eye-widening, brow-raising and ever-curious reaction. “You’re a publicist!? How exciting! Is your job a party all day long?!” My responses: Yes. Sometimes. Definitely not.
Being a publicist has been somewhat glamorized over the years. Just look at Sex and the City’s Samantha Jones, a PR exec whose workday activities include lunching with Lucy Liu, exclusive invites to club-openings and champagne toasts at the unveilings of several prominently-placed billboards.
Or, if you’re looking for a younger portrayal of the Pop Culture Publicist, just look at Heidi Montag of MTV’s The Hills. When she’s not dutifully filling her role as reality TV villain, Montag dons an earpiece and clipboard as an event publicist for some of Hollywood’s hottest parties.
Sure, being a book publicist is exciting work. It’s a creative industry, and we get the chance to rub elbows with top members of the media and the Literati. But like any other job, it’s a lot of hard work.
An anonymous publicist for a big NYC publishing house recently shed light into the daily grind of the book publicist with this post in Publisher’s Weekly.
Following said publicists lead, here’s a sneak peek into the day in the life of a Phenix & Phenix book publicist:
6:00 a.m.: Trade in early morning workout for an hour of snooze button-filled sleep
7:15 a.m.: Frantically finish new client’s book while simultaneously drying hair
7:56 a.m.: Settle in for the day, browse through news sites for breaking news, create a “to do” list and drink copious amounts of coffee.
8:10 a.m.: Sort through 57 new emails in my inbox (I guess yesterday’s pitch worked!). Book interviews, mail requested books and respond to client questions.
9:00 a.m.: Phone pitching begins. Call tour media for a book signing in Orlando next month. Start with morning show producers at radio and television stations. Move on to editors at dailies later on
11:15 a.m.: Work on mailing list for a new campaign. Target book editors at daily newspapers, magazines and online review sites.
12:00 p.m.: …and just as the excel sheet of contact information begins to blur before my eyes, I finish narrowing down the list, email my pitch to book reviewers and break for lunch.
2:15 p.m.: Host brainstorming meeting with the publicity team for a new parenting how-to book. What fresh media angles can we come up with today? Internet safety? Cold. Text-savvy mommies? Getting warmer. Eco-friendly families? Hot, hot, hot!
3:07 p.m.: Create strategic plan for new campaign. Research upcoming holidays that might tie in with book’s message and/or author’s credentials. Looks like “Talk Like a Pirate Day” is coming up soon. If only my client were Johnny Depp…sigh.
4:23 p.m.: Coffee reboot before I attempt to rework the lede on a press release for the tenth time.
5:30 p.m.: Attend “media analysis” meeting with sales and publicity team to lend feedback on the media potential of prospective authors. An accountant from Pittsburg who’s written a romance novel about life in the bush of the Australian outback? Sorry—next!
6:12 p.m.: Wrap up loose ends, finalize details on last-minute NPR interview tomorrow and end another day at the office. Whew!