Expo Aftermath

A box containing 43 pounds of catalogs, page proofs, and assorted other publishing effluvia is in the mail to me from New York -- dropping it off at the shipping center being the last thing on the agenda before wrapping things up Saturday afternoon.

We went out that night to see Vanessa Redgrave in The Year of Magical Thinking. With hindsight, that was not what anyone would call "unwinding."

You can get some feel for the hustle and flow of the weekend via the Spier-NY blog, which has video clips. It's much more representative of things happening around the booths of the commercial publishers during Book Expo -- which I, to be honest, only zipped through, stopping just long enough to grab catalogs.

My visits to the university and "academic trade" presses -- and the indy publishers doing interesting books, such as Soft Skull and Verso -- were, for the most part, time well spent.

There were a handful of exceptions to that rule, however. Best to deal with them via the following statement.

To whom it may concern,

For more than two years now, I have been writing a column that discusses scholarship and works of serious nonfiction. It appears each week at Inside Higher Ed, the publication devoted to American academic life having the single largest audience among university professors. At present IHE reaches more than 350,000 distinct readers per month.

If you are working at a university press and have never so much as heard of IHE, let alone my column, that is sufficient evidence of gross incompetence to suggest that you should probably step aside and let an intern have your job.

sincerely,
Tired Guy Who Spends His Waking Hours Reading Your #&?!(!!!) Books

June 4, 2007 2:51 PM | | Comments (3)

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3 Comments

Oh damn, Scott, clearly I missed you when you came by the booth then. Well, sorry :-(

It's no consolation, I know, but Scott, it's not just you. See my posts about the book industry's publicity system here (http://www.artsjournal.com/bookdaddy/2006/12/its_the_system_not_the_monster.html) and here (http://www.artsjournal.com/bookdaddy/2007/01/for_those_who_thought_my_post.html).

Thanks for the links, Jerome. You make good points, and I've certainly noticed the demographic tendency you mention in regard to publicity folk for the big houses.

I'm not sure why I expect better from people at university presses. But I do.

And it's not just a matter of being testy when -- as happened last month -- someone complains to me that book X got no press attention at all WHEN I FEATURED IT IN MY COLUMN TWO WEEKS EARLIER. Though that is certainly annoying, as you may have guessed.

I know of several university-press publicists who are very smart and can tell me useful things about the books and authors they are handling. But far too often I find myself dealing with someone who quite literally reads me the catalog copy. I feel quite capable of doing that on my own.

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