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.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home