Galleycat sniffed out a fun diatribe by Dallas Morning News books editor Jerome Weeks that starts on the hot topic of publishing-themed revenge -lit (sparked by the recent LA Times article about Blind Submission, which "isn't" about literary agent Sandy Dijkstra, and Because She Can, which "isn't" about Judith Regan) and quickly digresses into a discussion of assistant culture and the "female boot camp" of book publicity.
As a book critic, I learned that I often had to get beyond the assistant to get much real information or help. That's because the assistants didn't know who I was, didn't even know their own authors very well, didn't know the territory. After all, they are impossibly young, overworked and hardly well-read, and they often vanish within a year (sometimes promoted, but usually gone to another firm to a better job). I had to keep explaining basic facts about Dallas or Texas to them (which bookstores to send authors, which literary series were good at getting audiences, what radio or print outlets there are in the area).
We sympathize — while know plenty of book publicists who are brilliant, hardworking, dedicated book evangelists, we also are routinely in touch with book publicists who are dumb as a bag of rocks. Want some evidence? Here's the latest missive we've received from one of them:
We just want to be kind of careful of posting ALL the juicy bits (we want people to buy the book still...). Maybe [. . . ] you could put a list of all the other stuff that they could find out by reading the book?
Well, whatever. We still prefer that one to all the ones who send us emails AT OUR [OURNAME]@GAWKER email that start "Dear Jessica . . . "