Every Monday, the Book Roast will post letters from publishing insider Ms. Sally Spitfire.
Ms. Spitfire is full of mystery and intrigue. (That is why we can't tell you her real name.) But we do know some things about her. For example, when not tutoring Antonio or smoking in the bathroom, she is busy churning out bestsellers and keeping her authors happy.
Her letters will be informative, fun, and full of juicy tidbits! Please drop by with your comments and questions!
Without further ado, the first letter to Miss Susanna, Ms. Spitfire's country cousin:
My dearest Suzy-Q,
I propose a new addition to our vocabulary for 2009: TGIMITTW. A little unwieldy, perhaps, but it is a noble sentiment. ""Thank God I made it through this week!" I don't mean to sound melodramatic, but seriously, Suzy, the first week back after the winter holidays in the publishing world is one of catastrophe, of 6,000 unread emails, and of playing catch-up as if your life depended on it. (Which, in the current economic climate, it might. But I'm getting ahead of myself...)
So, to answer your question, my week was let's say... very, very intense. I had at least three times as much to do as usual and, thanks to a whole slew of day-long launch meetings, barely half the usual amount of time to do them in. On the bright side, launch meetings are one of my favorite times of the publishing season. Have I every explained launch meetings or seasons to you before?
Basically, at big publishing houses like mine, the year is divided into three seasons--winter, fall, and spring/summer--and every book is assigned to one of these three. So, although the common bookstore browser would never know, we publishing folk live our lives by a cycle that repeats three times a year and, for me in marketing, the cycle begins with... drum roll please... the launch meetings!
Basically, the launch meetings are when each editor officially announces which books he or she will be publishing in the next season. It's the editor's opportunity to really win over the marketing, publicity, and creative services teams that THIS book is fantastic! This book deserves special attention and excitement! This book is going to be a BEST SELLER.
Maybe I exaggerate. Not every book is introduced as a future best-seller. But, just like a parent with a child, it is an editors job to believe that every book is truly special and to convince (or dupe) everyone else working on the book to believe the same. Suzy, dear, I simply LOVE watching the editors enter the fray for their--as of yet--manuscript-bound book-babies. To me they seem like old-fashioned knights defending their fair maidens...
Even better, perhaps, is that launch heralds the beginning of my role in the publishing process. Once we learn which new books are coming out, each book is assigned to one marketing manager...
But oh my! I have rambled on, haven't I? Suzy, dear, I'm so glad you wrote! Hearing from you simply made my day and I've decided to make it my New Year's resolution to keep you up to date on my life and career here in the "big city," as "y'all" call in down there. It makes me smile to picture you sipping Aunt Callie's sweet tea as you read...
Your lovin' cousin,(Miss) Sally S
P.S. I almost forgot to tell you about the uber-delicious Christmas present I gave to myself this year... a new assistant! His name is Antonio and although he's new to publishing (and the English language in general, from what I can tell), I know you would approve. After all, what are assistants for if not to help us do our jobs better? And I know seeing him each day will do exactly that... More on this next time I write...
Let's give Ms. Spitfire a big welcome to the Book Roast! And feel free to ask questions--she may use your questions for future posts!!