Countdown to Publication: 70 Days & Counting
Written by
Lori L. Tharps
June 2010
Written by
Lori L. Tharps
June 2010
Hi SheWriters, My name is Lori L. Tharps and I am so thrilled to be the next Countdown to Publication Columnist. But I’ll be honest, I’m also a wee bit terrified. Why? Because by putting down in print my pre-pub journey, then all of you of you can (and should) hold me accountable for what I promise to do. And I hate looking bad in front of other people. So that means when I talk about hosting an awesome launch party and the book trailer I plan on shooting myself with my new Flip Camera (that’s still in the box) and the amazing newsletter I want to send out to all of my real friends and my Facebook friends too, I’ll actually have to do it. Yikes! But let me back up first. I should have started out by telling you about my new book. It’s a novel called Substitute Me (Atria/Simon and Schuster) and is due out on August 24. I don’t have my elevator pitch down yet (I’m working on that), but when I was at BEA in May, I told everyone who would listen that Substitute Me is a cross between ‘The Help’ and ‘The Nanny Diaries.’ It’s the story of the relationship between Kate Carter – a White woman going back to work after the birth of her first child – and Zora Anderson – the Black woman Kate hires to be her son’s nanny. The story takes place in late ‘90s Brooklyn and was inspired by my own experiences as a first-time mom living in New York City. Personally, I gave up trying to find the right woman to take my place in caring for my son, but Kate Carter doesn’t. She finds the perfect ‘substitute me.’ In fact, Zora may be almost too perfect. Substitute Me is my first novel, but it’s not my first book. I’ve written two nonfiction books, Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America and Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain, so you’d think planning the publicity tour for Sub Me wouldn’t be so daunting, but it is. It feels really different in how I approach the media and who I can/should target. Also, my previous books had a clear African-American focus, but Substitute Me is truly an equal-opportunity read. That opens up a world of opportunity, but it also makes my job a lot harder in that I can’t rely on old contacts to carry this book to the masses. So, please continue to follow my column here as I share with you this exciting journey. Next week I’ll be posting my detailed Master Publicity Plan and goals for Substitute Me. In the meantime, if you want to see the brand spanking new cover of Substitute Me, you can take a peek at my blog, My American Meltingpot. I'd love to hear your thoughts because I'm not too crazy about it (sigh). But you know what they say, you can't judge a book by its cover. And with that corny, clichéd ending. I say goodbye. Thanks for reading and your comments and suggestions are always welcome.

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  • Hi everyone, how does this work?  My book, The Blue Hours, comes out on August 17th, and want to do countdown to publication

  • Kathy Brunner

    Love the cover and enjoyed your blog.

  • Lori, welcome! So looking forward - and I think your book cover is HOT!

  • Lori L. Tharps

    I'm tempted to hire someone and may end up doing that, but since in a former life I was a publicist, I have this insane idea I should be able to handle this all myself. Plus, I don't have any publicist money right now :(

    Carleen, I think you have created my elevator pitch!

  • Lori, we are so thrilled that you are doing this -- can't wait to follow your journey, and to help you out by holding you accountable for doing all the great things you have promised yourself you will do! I just had dinner last night with a novelist who told me that two years ago the Author's Guild officially told its members that they should hire their own publicists, because the era of getting the publicity you needed from your publisher was over. Would love to know if you are considering doing that, or if you plan to do all of this yourself.

  • Carleen

    The Help + The Nanny Diaries + Good in Bed (Jennifer Weiner) = Substitute Me, IMHO :)