Washburn Random Thoughts
 
Why are publicists super cool?

Finding your way home.

            I do not remember ever being lost.  In my youth, I roamed the trackless wastes of the Mojave Desert, but those wastelands weren't trackless to me. No matter what new byway my friends and I explored, I always knew how to get back to where we started.  I have an accurate sense of general directions, north, south, east and west.  More importantly, I think visually, so as our old truck or dune buggy bumped and jarred over the rugged terrain, pictures of the landscape were continuously stored in my brain—a looming joshua tree or mesquite bush, a scraggly rock formation, a twist in the road, a set of animal tracks.  All were duly recorded as pictures that my mind could easily recall later for orientation and reference purposes.   
            When we had explored as much as we wanted, shot through our ammo, eaten all our Hostess cherry pies, gotten as dirty as possible, and generally had a great time, my mind pictures guided us unerringly home. I easily distinguished between old roads previously traveled and new roads not yet explored.  I always knew which fork in the road to take, which direction to go.
            Unfortunately, when I signed a three-book contract for the Dimensions in Death series with Jolly Fish Press, those homing skills did not cross over into the untamed wilderness of social networking and book promotion.  I had entered into an alien world with landmarks and signposts that I didn’t see, or when I did, I didn’t understand.  Up to that point, I might have glanced once or twice at my wife's Facebook page and heard the words “Twitter” and “Blog,” but I did not think those things would ever be part of my world.
            Suddenly, I was in a new land with unfamiliar terrain.  I was lost.  I could not visualize the road, or how all the roads connected with each other, or even which way was up or down, let alone north or south.  While there were crisscrossing, bumpy roads in this new wilderness, there was no need for a rifle with ammo or a box of dynamite, and though a Hostess cherry pie still helped smooth the adventure when the going got rough, I was woefully ignorant of the real weaponry needed in this strange, alien wilderness.
            Enter Chris Loke and Zach Power, publicists for Jolly Fish Press, and I discovered how cool a publicist could be for newbie authors like Andy and me.  In what I know now were tentative first steps, the JFP Publicity Group helped us set up our Facebook and Twitter accounts, gave us a logo from the JFP design department, and directed us toward Blogspot.  As we took our first tentative steps down these strange roads, they stayed near to coach us in our new adventure and warn us of the dangers along the way.  Whenever we feared we were lost, they were always there to gently calm us with the wise counsel, "If you don't understand it, just Google it."  JFP Publicity has been a faithful and trustworthy guide through an dangerous and wild country.
            So, what are publicists good for?  In our experience, the publicist is a fountain of clear water in the desert, a source of invaluable information, expertise, innovation, encouragement and a nudge (sometimes a shove from behind) when necessary.  By forming a Facebook group binding the Jolly Fish Press authors and management together, JFP created another avenue for encouragement, blowing off steam, sharing information and ideas, and supporting each other.  Of course, behind the scenes, JFP is also doing important groundwork which we only occasionally glimpse in the news we get of media contracts, contest information, publishing sub-contacts, as well as overseas, film and TV contacts, and much more.
            When it comes to promoting our books, Andy and I don't pretend to be savvy or to understand where all the social media paths might lead.  But from what JFP tells us, we’re on a path that will allow us to keep writing books.  That's all we care about.  Thanks, JFP Publicists!  You’re super cool!

 


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