Seven months till publication of The Four Ms. Bradwells! Seven months. Not seven years. No broken mirrors or bad luck here. No need for Stevie Wonder songs.
So we had the first of what in my lawyering days we called “all-hands” meetings today – or the first I was involved in. It’s quite clear every time I talk with the folks at Ballantine that the Four Ms. Bradwell gears are turning in New York long before my morning alarm rings.
A few weeks ago, my agent and I had a lovely chat with the head of publicity at Ballantine (who, a few days later, was named director of publicity for the Random House Publishing Group). She was not only delightful to talk with, but also incredibly savvy, and left me very excited about their thinking for the book. Today’s call was with the team who will actually knock on doors and leave calling cards: Katie Rudkin and Lisa Barnes at Ballantine, and Kathleen Carter Zrelak at Goldberg McDuffie.
Already, advanced reader copies of The Four Ms. Bradwells have gone out to “the trades” – places that people in the book business look to for early information but that the rest of us can’t afford: Publisher’s Weekly; Library Journal; Kirkus; Booklist. Will we get reviewed? Or the much-sought-after (knock on wood and throw salt over my shoulder for even mentioning the word) star? Most of the writers I know would like to fast forward through the wait for early reviews, or perhaps have a full mouthful of root canals instead.
So the chat today was mostly about the other ways books get attention: magazines, newspapers, radio, book tours and the like. Terms such as “pitch cover letter,” “release,” and “Q&A” were bantered about, along with “review” and “long-lead” and “feature piece,” “galley list” (which has nothing to do with stocking kitchens on boats), and “finished book.” Everyone had great ideas, including my agent, Marly Rusoff, who was mentioning facts about Myra Bradwell that I didn’t know!
My biggest contribution was to ask, when someone mentioned “six months lead time” and “October” in the same sentence, that October was … um … five months before March by my math? (This in my politest, who-am-I-to-question tone.) Long pause before someone very kindly explained that since The Four Ms. Bradwells comes out March 22 – about the time April magazines hit bookstore shelves – it’s those they are looking at. Sigh. I have so much to learn. And yet I know so much more now than I did for The Wednesday Sisters.
The bottom line: many exciting possibilities were bantered about. But – as you may have realized already – I’m a superstitious gal; I’m not going to mention the particulars unless and until they come through, lest I jinx myself.
(And if you’re wondering where the “All-True Story” post #13 went, let’s just say I haven’t had great luck with publicity in the past, and, really, plenty of buildings seem to do fine without thirteenth floors.) – Meg