Title: The Publicist
Author: Christina George
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date: November 2012
Length: 226 pages
Series?: The Publicist
Genre: Chick Lit, Romance, Contemporary
Can one woman change an age-old institution like publishing? Probably not, but Kate Mitchell sure wants to try. As a publicist with a large, respected New York publishing house, Kate finds herself at the mercy of a broken publishing system, books that don’t sell, and author egos that are often, well, as big as the island of Manhattan.
Enter the star Editor, MacDermott Ellis: Tall, handsome, charismatic, married, and ready to save the day. Then there’s Allan Lavigne, once a revered author–now as forgotten as last year’s bestsellers and his nephew Nick: Tall, gorgeous, sweet, single and ready to sweep Kate off her feet. Kate wants to do the right thing but her hormones seem to be driving her decisions.
As Kate tries to navigate the landmine of publicity, over-the-top author expectations, and the careful dance of “I’m sorry, your book isn’t on the bestseller list this week,” she also finds authors who are painfully overlooked by a publisher wanting more sex, more celebrities, and more scandal.
The story only an insider could tell.
Kate Mitchell is a jewel in the world of publishing. She advocates for her author’s, calls in favors to get attention for books of her authors. Yet she works in a world that is quickly cutting ties with literature. Instead, it’s all about the latest celebrity’s memoir or someone who got their 15 minutes of fame and is trying to get it back. She goes above and beyond and gets the short end of the stick. In fact, the book opens with her talking one of her author’s down from jumping off a building.
Kate struggles at work with some of her editors, particularly Pete the office snoop. He likes to upend Kate’s world during conference meetings but is just riding on tailcoats. But Pete’s snarky workplace attitude is compensated for by Kate’s star editor, Mac. He is a shining beacon in the editing world, advocates for Kate, has her back, and tries to get quality books. Then there’s dependable Lulu, a sweetheart of a girl and always willing to do extra for Kate. And of course Kate’s best friend, artist Grace.
Kate has also become close friends by a one-hit wonder author, but Allan Lavigne made her publishing house what it is. He’s signed for two books, but has never delivered on the second book. Kate visits him regularly, and her caring nature comes through in her interactions with him. Allan pushes Kate to be a better publicist, encourages her…and wants to set her up with his nephew, Nick.
Things start to get complicated as Kate enters an inter-office relationship with a co-worker – a married co-worker. It does not bode well, and Kate evades Grace, who has a personal history with Kate’s situation. Kate digs herself deeper and deeper…and then something unexpected happens. Nick comes to New York and Kate warms up to him, but won’t give up her married co-worker. Things start to snowball a little bit out of control for Kate, and she knows she’s about to have to face some decisions.
Christina George provides wonderful insight into the mechanics of the publishing world, and creates a wonderful, heartfelt story. I couldn’t help but root for Kate, but all the while hoped she would make the right choice. Her character did not seem as in-depth as it could have been, and I think glazed over a very important component of the book, which leaves Kate’s character lacking. Don’t get me wrong – she is a great person – but I don’t recall getting anything about her history, her family. As much as I was rooting for Kate to grab the bull by the horns, I was slightly disappointed that her character did not experience a lot of growth throughout the novel.
Despite this, it was a fast read and I could not put the book down. I was engrossed in what the next crazy thing would be that would throw a wrench in the mechanics of Kate’s life, and how she would handle it.
The book does end on a cliffhanger – but I promise all of it is explained, comes to fruition, and is tied up in the second book, Shelf Life.
I’ve worked in publishing for twenty years (give or take). Here’s what this book isn’t. It’s not a slam against publishing (though it is broken) and it’s not a slam against authors (though some of them are crazy). This book is not autobiographical though many of the stories are true. No you won’t know which ones, hell it’s more fun to guess, right? I continue to work in publicity and help authors because at the end of the day I do love books, I love publishing, and I love authors. I hope you’ll enjoy this romp through Kate’s world as much as I enjoyed creating it. Have fun reading Kate’s posts!