May 28, 2013
An Interview with Stephanie Barko
Today I welcome Stephanie Barko to my series of interviews. Stephanie will be presenting at the Historical Novels Society Conference as a literary publicist. In the workshop Building an Effective Platform for your Historical, Stephanie will lead attendees through her proprietary exercises that coax a book’s platform to the surface. Welcome, Stephanie.
Q: What does a typical day look like in your job as a literary publicist?
A: My day begins with black coffee, a lit candle, a gratitude list and soul writing (a la Janet Conner).
After listening to a guided meditation through a headset, I clean up my email before beginning to execute client deliverables. During my day, I may be shipping galleys for pre-pub review, pitching radio producers, subcontracting for a colleague in Manhattan, or arranging a virtual tour. Depending on the season of the year, I will be working in some yoga, aqua aerobics, Tai Chi or walking to keep my brain oxygenated during the work week. I break to cook dinner and then get right back to it during the evening unless there’s something I can’t bear to miss on PBS.
Q: What do you like most about promoting historical novels and nonfiction?
A: My favorite task during a contract is research–researching journalists for a media list, researching the top Technorati book bloggers, or researching the best endorser candidates for a client’s book. The pre-pub phase is when I can add the most value, and that’s the part of a campaign I enjoy the most.
Q: What do you like the LEAST about your job?
A: Redirecting stray prospects who have queried for my services without doing their homework.
Q: What can historical novelists and nonfiction authors do to help you help THEM?
A: A good start would be to approach me with a publisher already on board, a release date, an edited manuscript, and professionally designed cover still in progress, and a list o potential or actual endorsers.
We’ve now reached the time in our interview for the let’s-get-to-know-the-interviewee-better, nearly-pointless, sort-of-silly, rapid-fire questions:
Coffee or tea? Organic French Roast
Ocean or Mountain: Mountains of the American West
Hiking or shopping? Hiking
Violin or piano? Piano
Mystery or fantasy: Mystery
Darcy or Heathcliff? Darcy
Love scene or death scene? Death scene