Thursday, June 26, 2008

BOOK BASH: Philip Carlo's 'Gaspipe' launched in Tribeca

Rusty, Tolly and I had the pleasure of surprising long-time P&P client, Philip Carlo last night at the launch party for his new book, Gaspipe: Confessions of a Mafia Boss (July,William Morrow). Tribeca's Ago Restaurant (owned by the venerable Robert De Niro) teemed with editors, agents, media and 100 of Carlo's closest friends and family - not to mention a few stars of mafia pop culture - Sopranos' John "Cha Cha" Ciarcia, Danny Aiello, Tony Danza and Chuck Zito.

L to R: Rusty Shelton, Carlo's agent Matt Bialer (Sanford J. Greenburger), Tolly Moseley, Stephanie Mayabb and Philip Carlo

Shelton poses with Carlo and Tony Danza.

John "Cha Cha"Ciarcia, former castmember of "The Sopranos" and "Goodfellas"

Bialer and Carlo's editor at William Morrow, Sara Durand

A veteran to the true-crime genre, Carlo reveals the most intimate, personal look into the world of La Cosa Nostra to date, in Gaspipe. Kirkus Reviews says "Carlo has the real goods. …the inside information about the lifestyle, rituals, killings and betrayals is priceless. An authoritative look at a once-rampant predator now at bay." And in a starred review from Publishers Weekly, Gaspipe was called "... required reading for anyone with a yen for the Mafia, the criminal underworld and a law enforcement system struggling to keep up."

Props to one of our favorite NY publicists, William Morrow's Sarah Burningham, who brought out A-list media to capture the event including HBO who started rolling tape on their upcoming documentary about Casso. Thanks to some lovely friends who hosted us about town Tuesday and Wednesday - Dot Lin over at Tor/Forge and the Picador team, Yen Cheong at Penguin, Matt Bialer of Sanford Greenburger & Associates, William Morrow's Sarah Burningham, Robert Guinsler at Sterling Lord, Ami Greko at Folio Literary Management and the John Kaminski and Clair Israel from NetGalley.
Warmest wishes to Phil and Laura!

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Landing Ink, Airtime and Blog Buzz--What We Learned at the WLOT Panel

Just enough time left in my Monday to offer some thoughts on the Writers' League of Texas Agents & Editors conference over the weekend. The event was dynamite, with agents (23 of them), editors, book doctors, publicists, 345 eager authors and several members of the media converging on the Sheraton in downtown Austin for the event.

P&P organized a panel discussion titled "Landing Ink, Airtime and Blog Buzz in Today's Changing Media Environment" and here are some action shots:

Sara Nelson and I watching Dallas Morning News Books Editor Michael Merschel show attending authors that it takes several postal bins to house the 300 review copies that arrive at his desk every week.

"I'm not kidding you--at least 300 a week!"

Austin American-Statesman religion editor Eileen Flynn, GalleyCat rockstar Ron Hogan, the panel's best voice and only broadcast rep, KUT-FM's Ian Crawford and me looking for my next question.

The panel was a great blend of national literary heavyweights and local media leaders. We an amazing 0 authors pitch their book during the Q&A session and only one author pointedly question the motives behind a nonreview from the DMN. I think we came out pretty well.

In case you missed it, here are some highlights:

What came out during the panel
SARA NELSON: It's a bad idea to start an email out with "Dear Sarah"
RON HOGAN: "To get GalleyCat's attention, there must be a back story, an extra hook."
SARA NELSON: "The publicists I like the best are the ones who tell me the truth."
RON HOGAN: "Review coverage used to be a one-sided conversation - but now pepole are conversing on their own blogs to regain readership."

Dos & Donts for publicists
RON HOGAN: Bad book trailers that use stock photography, public domain music and just recount the plot. The point of a trailer is to get me hooked on a story.
EILEEN FLYNN: Generic salutations from publicists who haven't done the research to discover the most appropriate reporter's name (i.e., Hello! or Dear editor:), look for ways to be an expert source
IAN CRAWFORD: "What am I supposed to do with a book trailer in radio?!!" and "Please don't nag" when it comes to pitching story ideas
SARA NELSON: approach on a personal level only when appropriate, likes well-written pitches (NO SELF-PUBLISHED)
MIKE MERSCHEL: Do think small because of space constraints, remember they run a weekly listing of touring authors. "Don't take it personally" when you don't get a review (NO SELF-PUBLISHED)

- DMN sends leftover review copies to Texas libraries
- DMN receives 300 review copies/week (see above)
- PW receives 200/day and reviews 100 books/wk
- Shelflife of a new book release with review sections at daily newspapers is about one month.
- On negative reviews (Sara Nelson) - A bad review shouldn't be devastating. Often people don't remember what they read, only that they "read something about that book recently."

The panelists provided great perspective and I know the authors in attendance really appreciated the candid discussion.

Afterwards we headed to Stubb's for a lively discussion of Cannonball Run II over barbeque and beer. From L to R, Katie Sulkowski (literary agent at Nashville's Creative Trust), myself, Tolly Moseley, Michael Merschel, Ron Hogan & Stephanie Mayabb.

Rather than detailing the 70's cover band we saw afterward, I'll let Mike's review suffice.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Texas needs a publicist

Around 250 million Americans live outside of Texas and thanks to recent news, I imagine this is what their dialogue relating to the state sounds like:

”So, did you hear the latest from Texas?”

“You mean the polygamists at the FLDS Compound? They have more compounds than they know what to do with.”

“Financial fraud at Enron?” Yes - also in Texas.

"People setting fire to the Governor’s Mansion? Must have been those hippies in Austin."

"Crazy cheerleader Moms? Why is their hair is always bigger in Texas?"

"Gun-slinging in the White House? He used to be their governor, you know."

Based on recent events, it comes as no surprise that these are the talking points.

Texas needs a publicist…but not like an author with a new book needs a publicist. We’ve actually got the market cornered on national media attention. But whoever said all press is good press hasn’t had “Texas” on their Google Alerts over the past few years.

So, this weekend we decided to take things into our own hands. We literally invited the publishing industry to town to come witness our more positive side...our literary heritage. I mean, let’s think about it…we gave the world LARRY MCMURTRY. And where would we be, as a culture, without "Lonesome Dove?" Exactly - not very far.

The Writers’ League of Texas Agents & Editors conference gets underway today and the national turnout is really strong. Ok, so it helps that Austin has South Congress, 6th Street and a very hip vibe but we’re talking about agents that don’t like to go down the street for a writers conference…let alone board a three and a half hour JetBlue flight to attend (yes we now have a nonstop option to NYC).

When I say strong turnout, I mean 23 agencies represented, including some real heavyweights.

Although it’s great to have agents & editors in town, we wanted media as well. So, we’re putting on a panel discussion tomorrow afternoon that features a great blend of national literary personalities and Texas media. Ambitiously titled “Landing Ink, Airtime and Blog Buzz in Today's Changing Media Environment: How Authors and Publishing Houses can Effectively Work with the Media to Position Themselves for Coverage," this panel will feature:

* Ian Crawford, News Editor for KUT-FM, Austin's NPR affiliate.

* Eileen Flynn writes about faith as a reporter, blogger and columnist for the Austin American-Statesman.

* Ron Hogan, editor of GalleyCat and creator of

* Michael Merschel, books editor at The Dallas Morning News

* Sara Nelson, Editor-in-Chief of Publishers Weekly

If you can’t make it, I will take notes for you—I promise.

For decades, Austin has been the muse of many a songwriter, launching careers of aspiring artists at South by Southwest and the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Already widely renowned for its music scene, we’re starting to turn our focus to another area of the arts — and we’re glad the industry is noticing. Thanks to the success of other homegrown writers — Lawrence Wright, Sarah Bird and Kinky Friedman, to name a few—the Texas Book Festival, and a well-connected writers’ community, publishing insiders around the country are finally tuning into Austin.

Welcome, y’all.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Video killed the radio star…and created the book star

Seth Greenland, author of Shining City, recently contributed a piece to the L.A. Times addressing the explosion of author videos within the publishing industry. Greenland points out that:

“Once upon a time, an author published a book and left the selling to the experts in the marketing department…But that quaint notion has suddenly gone the way of Duran Duran. Now, because of recent developments in the world of publishing, writer and merchant are fusing into one.”

He also categorizes the types of author videos that have become popular in recent months. Essentially, these categories are 1) The elevator pitch, 2) The graphic montage and 3) The author field trip.

Having recently forayed into the world of video book promotion, we couldn’t agree more with Greenland. He argues that author videos are picking up the slack as book review sections become a thing of the past. In addition to the categories mentioned above, we’re also starting to see a new type of author video emerge onto the scene--the controlled interview.

Deviating from the pace of a book trailer, such interviews are more about letting the reader get to know an author in a roundabout, non-salesy way. Think "Inside the Actor's Studio" where the author or publicist controls the content. Not only is this a good fit for an author and publisher's site, but as publicists we love the idea of having footage of a client when trying to secure appearances on national, regional and even local television programs. has done this really well and we've started down that road with

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

*Tweet Tweet* Are you Twittering, yet?

Ever heard of this mysterious, dishy little thing called Twitter? Essentially, Twitter is a bare-bones interpretation of those intricate social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. Or, in geek speak, Twitter is a “micro-blogging” service.

The free service allows you to send mini-updates, or “tweets” to people in your network. Updates are then displayed on the user's (ie: you) profile page and instantly delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. Bonus: you can tweet from anywhere, not just from your computer. The beauty of Twitter, in my opinion, is its simplicity. You can post and receive tweets via the Twitter website, IMs, SMS, RSS and email by installing an easy-to-navigate application.

If you haven’t jumped on the Twitter Wagon yet, you should. Not sure why? Well, we’re still new to the whole bit, but this is what we find useful about “tweeting” with our friends…

1. Connect with old friends, and make new ones!
2. Keep your fans in the know.
3. Follow your favorite media members and see what they’re working on.
4. Send messages to bloggers.
Be sure to add P&P to your network once you join!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

'Nuff said.

Thanks to Chris Bauerle at Cumberland House for sending this our way and to Dennis Cass for the funny!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sex in Another City

Like the lonely girl who didn’t get to go to the prom, I sat home this weekend watching a chick flick. No, I did not attend BEA. No, I did not see the bright lights and big city of Los Angeles. I shunned all books in protest, wiping my tears on a bone-and-ivory vintage Yves St. Lauren drape blouse. Didn’t sleep. Didn’t eat. (Unless you count reading this month’s Vogue, which fed me more than food itself).

Meanwhile, while I was wringing my hands – hands ensconced in Zac Posen distressed leather gloves - Samantha was relishing BEA's past. The place? BEA Manhattan. The crowd? Literati. My heart? Breaking. I mean, wasn't I the writer here? Why did she get to go mingle with all the hot literati? And, she went back in 2005! I never went! I was just about to go affix a nasty Post-It note to her high-rise loft door, when I remembered: I had a movie to see.

So that night, with the girls on-hand and Manolos on-foot, I was off. The theater was packed. Perhaps not quite the crowd at BEA, but then, this crowd was holding Cosmos, not galley books. (Take that, Samantha). True, there was nary a Y chromosome in sight - but then, who wants those eye-rolling, buzz-killing, one-thing-wanting men to ruin a perfectly good Ladies Night, anyway?

With the lights low and music cuing, I was happy as a Derek Lam. Here we were, out on the town! Four girls as fearless - and fierce! - as they come. And yet - as I looked around at the sea of pink, glitter, and Vera Wang clutches, a sea that was still just a drop in the bucket for BEA's crowds, I couldn't help but wonder: when it comes to sex, are books the new black?

Barbara Walters recently revealed her steamy affair with Senator Edward Brooke in her memoir Audition - not on TV. Prince just released 21 Nights - a book, not an album - and I don't think I have to tell you what he did on each of those nights. It seems that sex is between all the covers these days - and I don't mean just chick lit.

So during two of the biggest events of the year - BEA and Sex and the City film release, both held on a single, fateful weekend - it's clear that sex sells. But when the pink book is closed, the martini is put down, and this monologue finally comes to an end - the real question will be, "will sex continue to sell?"

Judging from the impressive Amazon rankings of this hardcover, movie tie-in book, it would appear so.

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