Five Things Cynthia Wants You to Know

    Jeevan Sivasubramaniam Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.


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    Five Things Cynthia Wants You to Know

    I love the authors I work with, but sometimes, the process can be a bit trying. Since the same things come up with every title, I thought it might be best to list the five things that I want my authors to know up front:

    1. I want you to be on the Daily Show just as much as you do. I have a crush on Jon Stewart and getting you on the show would get me one step closer to having him notice me. Seriously though, you need to have a really solid book that is smart enough for Stewart, or you need to be a celebrity of some sort. Stewart’s producers know the power of their reach and look for really compelling topics that would make good interviews. I know, all authors feel that their topic is really compelling, which is why you should approach your teenage kids or nieces or nephews about the subject and see their reaction. That reaction will be Jon's producers' reaction.

    2. I cannot send you the contact information for my media contacts. Sorry, but too many over-zealous authors before you abused that privilege by calling my contacts and harassing them incessantly, which only ruined the contacts’ trust in me. A big part of my job is cultivating relationships with media, and protecting them from authors who don’t understand when to move on. Trust that I follow up with them appropriately, and I know how to speak their language.

    3. Your media contacts are just as good as my media contacts. If you have a friend who has a sister who works at Time Magazine, it’s perfectly fine to send her a copy of your book, asking her to pass it along. But please share that information with me so that we can decide who has the better relationship.

    4. Many authors think that their books "are for everyone." Not so. Please don’t make me pitch media that has little to do with your book. If a magazine only covers recipes and food, an article about building social networks isn’t going to fly -- even if you pitch it as "the recipe for social networking success!" Instead, familiarize yourself with the outlet, and then explain to me exactly where and how you’ll fit in. If it’s too far of a stretch, I'll let you know. Trust me.

    5. Use email instead of the phone whenever possible. Phone calls are reserved for discussions that take too long to write, or when you’re needed immediately for a last minute interview. Calling me often is not going to give you priority, and calling me to tell me that you just emailed me is just redundant.

    Now I feel better for getting that off my chest. Thank you!

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