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Piece of Cake

From flack to author, with a little help from her friends.

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One suspects Sloane Crosley had an easier time than most young essayists in getting her first book published. It’s not that she isn’t an amusing writer; it’s that she’s also one of the city’s most charming publishing flacks. Months before the April 1 release of I Was Told There’d Be Cake, a New York Observer profile declared her “the most popular publicist in New York.” So, as she told Jesse Oxfeld, it wasn’t hard for her to get good blurbs.

How’d you start doing this? I locked myself out of my apartment twice in one day, and I apparently got the world’s hardest-working locksmith, who was working at both eight in the morning and eight at night to come rescue me. So I wrote this e-mail about it to a lot of different people, including Ed Park, who was at The Village Voice, who liked it. And then I started writing for the Voice really regularly. That Observer piece was quite nice. There’s that “Far Side” cartoon that’s got two, I guess they’re elks, talking to each other, and one has a target on his chest and the other elk says, “Bummer of a birthmark, Hal.” If I read that about me, I would hate me—I would think I was like an overhyped, overrated, smiley idiot. And blurbs like Jonathan Ames calling you a “21st-century Dorothy Parker”? If I was a 21st-century Dorothy Parker, I’d probably think of a much better retort. Meghan Daum, Jonathan Lethem, Colson Whitehead, Andy Borowitz, and A.M. Homes also blurbed you. How many of them have you represented as a publicist? Lethem, Colson, and Ames. But I have not represented Meghan Daum, A. M. Homes, or Andy Borowitz. So how did you end up getting them to blurb your book? Andy Borowitz, I met him once at a book party for Alice Munro, who I work with here. A. M. Homes, I worked at HarperCollins, and she was one of the authors. Like, I think I had sent her a couple of e-mails while I was at HarperCollins about six years ago; I’m not sure if it counts. I did not know Meghan Daum. We just sent her the book, and she had really nice things to say about it. Isn’t this why aspiring writers in the rest of the country hate New Yorkers? Um, yes. It seems like cheating. And by all means, if cheating is promoting other people’s work, trying to get people to pay attention to a product that the entire world is slowly losing interest in, then yes, I cheated.

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