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Saying farewell to my publicist at Beacon Press

Posted August 1st, 2008 by

Today is Leah Riviere’s last day at Beacon Press. She’s moving on to a new adventure as she goes back to school to earn her Masters degree. She’ll be studyingUS History and literature. I’m thrilled for Leah that she continues to chase her dreams. And I’m sad that we won’t be working together on publicity for Inheriting the Trade any longer.

Writing a book is challenging and exhilarating. And it is merely the first step in a long process that leads to people actually reading what you’ve written. Preparing a query letter and book proposal in order to find an agent who wants to represent you is its own enormous piece of the puzzle. Once your agent finds a publisher a whole new process begins.

I’ve heard horror stories from authors who were disappointed with their relationship with their publisher. I have no such stories. I’ve been blessed as a first-time author to work with Beacon Press. Each step in the “business” of publishing Inheriting the Trade has been professional, thorough, and a great deal of fun. I’ve worked with various people at Beacon who work in sales, marketing, editorial, and publicity and all I can say is that I hope my next book is good enough that Beacon will want to publish it so I can work with this great team again.

Of all the people I’ve worked with at Beacon Press the two with whom I spent the most time and effort are my editor, Gayatri Patnaik, and my publicist, Leah Riviere. Without Gayatri, Inheriting the Trade simply wouldn’t be the book it is. Gayatri worked with me to find my clear voice, to cut out sections that didn’t contribute to the core message in my story, and to enhance those that do.

I began working with Leah Riviere late last year once the book was written and on its way to final design and printing. Leah is part of the publicity team at Beacon and I had the benefit of support from the whole team. But Leah was my key contact; my publicist. She sent information about Inheriting the Trade to dozens and dozens of media outlets, large and small, national and local. She worked to get my book reviewed by many different types of publications. She sent review copies of the book to radio, television and newspaper outlets. She helped set up my book tour; working with bookstores, libraries, museums, and film festivals to maximize exposure so we would have good crowds. She did more than I dreamed possible when this journey began to insure that people would know about Inheriting the Trade so we could spread the message of hope within its pages. When Katrina, Juanita and I were finally interviewed by Harry Smith on The Early Show on CBS on July 14 (after being “bumped” in both April and June), it was Leah who was working throughout the final week–and weekend– prior to the interview to insure everything was taken care of. There are links to many of the articles, interviews, and reviews we’ve received as a result of Leah’s efforts on my website.

I don’t want to minimize the work contributed by so many people at Beacon Press that has led to the success of Inheriting the Trade. I sometimes feel that working with Beacon is comparable to the summer vacations I spent at my grandmother’s home. I’ve been “spoiled rotten” as my mother would sometimes say.

But today, on her last day as a publicist at Beacon Press, I want to shine a light on Leah Riviere. Thank you, Leah, for your hard work, your dedication and your commitment to Inheriting the Trade. I’m forever grateful. Best wishes to you in all that you do.

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