Ask BHP: What’s a Hard Part of Your Job?

Today’s Ask BHP question is more specific to me, Amy Green, BHP’s fiction publicist: “What’s one of the hardest aspects of working in the publishing world?”

If we’re talking “hard” as in “What part of my job is the hardest?” I have a few frontrunners:

  • Planning book tours, because so much goes into it: arranging times and flight schedules and hotels and sending posters and trying not to mess everything up so the authors/bookstore owners/librarians don’t hate me forever.
  • Fixing HTML errors in the things I code. Let’s face it, I am significantly more creative than detailed, and finding one tiny mistake in a page of code is like a treasure hunt…if the treasure was a missing </p> and there’s no map and you’d rather just leave it for the next pirate to find.
  • Cutting things out with an Xacto knife. (If you think I’m joking, you have never seen me trying not to hack off a finger cutting out a mounted book cover for an author. I have our designers print me an extra, because I almost always have to start over at least once. I can mess up straight lines even when using a ruler, which, come to think of it, is pretty impressive.)
I was going to make a joke about Mondays, but since I'm basically Anne of Green Gables, I'll go with this instead.

I was going to make a joke about Mondays, but since I’m basically Anne of Green Gables, I’ll go with this instead.

But if the question is asking what is the hardest part of working in publishing in general, I’d say that one thing that tends to frustrate me as someone who works in marketing—and I’ve heard the same thing from coworkers in editorial—is when a really talented author’s books don’t “take off” the way we’d like them to. They’re getting great reviews, but not the blockbuster sales they deserve, and no one is quite sure why.

The good news is, you can help with that! Probably right now you’re thinking of a book you read that isn’t by a super-famous author. Maybe none of your friends would recognize the name. Maybe the book is in need of a little love on Goodreads.

So leave a review. Post a picture of you with the book on Facebook to recommend a cozy fall read. See if the author has a contest or sale or announcement you can share on social media. Write the author a note of encouragement via his or her website. Buy another copy of the book and give it to someone as a present. I always love seeing readers doing something a little bit extra for their favorite authors, so thank you!

We can start it right here: what’s a book you read recently (or not-so-recently, if you like) that you want the whole world to know about?

9 thoughts on “Ask BHP: What’s a Hard Part of Your Job?

  1. At least half of what I read – probably more – comes from indie or small publishers so there are very, very many! I’ll give you three: Chasing Liberty by Theresa Linden, Unclaimed by Erin McCole Cupp, and Dying for Revenge by Barbara Golder.

  2. Thanks for being honest and open concerning your job with all its detailed work, which we readers never think of. It makes sense to me that a creative person would find little fiddly, yet important, administrative details so trying. !
    Recently I started doing reviews for books from netgalley, finding new authors who need tutoring, honest feedback, affirmation and motivation to persist in reaching their potential. It’s very difficult to be that honest yet kind when a book isn’t very well written and wondering why the editing wasn’t what I’d expect. Then I think that I wouldn’t do any better!

    I emailed authors some time ago – and still do – who were relatively unknown and whose books were inspirational and brought revelation to me. After mentioning they didn’t need to respond, what a surprise to hear from every one of them, saying how much my affirmation meant. Since then we have remained ongoing facebook friends, prayed for each other, emailed with further feedback on new books, and one even honoured me by asking for a review for his new, -still-to-be-published – book, which he sent me on pdf. Then seeing my review in his newly published book was a shock and a privilege! Me? I’m only a nobody, a missionary who loves reading!! So what you wrote made me feel on the right track.
    Thanks.

  3. I would like to leave a recommendation. I wish the whole world would read Sydney Tooman Betts’ books! “A River Too Deep” and “Light Bird’s Song” are two of the best books I have ever read! Make sure you read on into book one before judging. I will never forget these two books. And guess what she has the 3rd one coming out before two long. I can’t wait for just a glimpse of it!

  4. My favorite books of all time are the Glenbrooke series by Robin Jones Gunn! I’ve read several of them multiple times and plan to read them again.

    • Elizabeth, I love the Glenbrooke series also! They are some of my favorites. Robin Jones Gunn is my favorite modern author too.

  5. Dawn Crandall’s Everstone Chronicles are some of my favorite books. Dawn’s books are different than a lot of Christian fiction for the following reasons: 1) written in first person; one viewpoint (love that), 2) set in the Gilded Age in Boston and Maine, 3) wealthy and also Christian families who aren’t wishing they were poor :), 4) good spiritual nuggets to think over, 5) beautiful romance, 6) classic voice/style of writing; not too modern.

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