Thursday, April 18, 2013


(Or why are publicists super cool?)
(This post was written by Berk in answer to the above question from our blog tour host, Amie Borst. You can read this post on her blog at

 I do not remember ever being lost. In my youth, I roamed the trackless wastes of the Mojave Desert surrounding Trona, California, but those waste lands 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, and more importantly, I think visually, so as our old truck or dune buggy bumped and jarred over the uneven terrain, pictures of the landscape were continuously stored in my brain—a looming joshua tree, 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 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 always knew which bend in the road to take, which direction to go.

Unfortunately, when I signed a three-book contract for the Pitch Green 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 even see, or when I did, I didn’t understand. Up to that point in my life, I might have glanced once or twice at my wife's Facebook page, and while I had heard the words “Twitter” and “Blog,” I did not think those things would ever be part of my world.

Suddenly, I was in a new land with unfamiliar terrain, and I was lost. I could not visualize the road, or how all the roads fed into each other, or even which way was up or down, let alone north or south. While there were many crisscrossing, bumpy roads in this new wilderness, there was no need for a rifle with lots of ammo or a box of dynamite, and though a Hostess cherry pie still helped smooth the adventure when the way got especially rough, I was woefully ignorant of the real weaponry that I would need in this strange, alien wilderness.

Enter Kirk Cunningham, publicist 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, he 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, he stayed near to coach us in our new adventure and to warn us of the dangers along the way. Whenever we began to fear that we were lost, he was always there to gently calm us with the wise counsel, "If you don't understand, just Google it." Kirk has been a faithful and trustworthy guide through an dangerous and wild country.

beawolf / 123RF
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, Kirk created another avenue for encouragement, blowing off steam, sharing information and ideas, and supporting each other. Of course, behind the scenes, Kirk is also doing important groundwork which we only occasionally glimpse in the news we get of publishing sub-contacts, media contracts, contest information, 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 Kirk tells us, we’re on a path that will allow us to keep writing books. That's all we care about. Thanks, Kirk! You’re super cool!

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