Diana Franco

#60: An Interview with Book Publicist Diana Franco, by Maria Gagliano

When I think of Encounters in Publishing, I’m always drawn to the secrets of how a book is created–that is, the years of writing, editing, and revising that go into making a beautiful book. But there is another department of book nerds who are also sweating over these projects, and they rarely get the spotlight: Book Publicists. I chatted with Diana Franco, a Publicity Manager at Penguin Random House, about the love, stress, and emails (so many emails) that help get the word out about a book. It turns out, it’s not just the editors and writers who obsess over making a book perfect.

So, what does a typical day in the life of a book publicist look like?

A book publicist’s day is never the same one day to the next. But typically, I’m a bit glued to my email, for many reasons. I’m usually waiting for responses to media pitches, keeping track of any authors on tour (last minute travel emergencies, any local media, and correspondence with the bookstores/festivals they’re visiting), as well as internal correspondence with editors, the sales department, the marketing department, and my own managers. Book publicists not only pitch media–television and radio producers, magazine and newspaper editors, and bloggers–but we handle all aspects of any given title’s publicity campaign. This usually means pulling media lists and physically mailing lots of books from the office, setting up bookstore events where appropriate, sending authors on tour when appropriate and doing everything from picking the stores/markets to handling all of their travel arrangements, attending media and events with author when they’re in town, and sometimes traveling with authors to events in other cities. I often attend proposal meetings with editors and publishers when we are considering an acquisition and I offer my perspective on what I think the media response could be for that particular author/project. Other days I am writing–pitch letters for galley mailings, press releases, announcements for big acquisitions, and email pitches for following up on mailings I’ve sent.