The Adventures of Farm Life and Book Publicity

As a kid that grew up on a dairy farm in Little Falls, NY, I can’t say that I dreamed about being a book publicist. With a love and passion for animals, the dairy industry, and the beautiful scenery in the country, there’s a saying that “you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl”. While I’ll always be a farm girl at heart, I think I was also born to be a book publicist. As a student, I always opted to take classes where reading various books throughout the semester was the focus of the class, and you’d often find me in the barn with a book in hand reading, as I waited for each cow to give their milk.

While life on the farm in upstate NY is a bit different than life as a book publicist in New York City, there were a number of things that helped prepare me for the crazy world of book publicity such as:

– How to work with different personalities – From farm workers to animals with different personalities, I learned at a very young age that we are all different and we need to be able to work well with others. In the world of book publicity, you sure do meet a lot of interesting personalities!

– Many projects require teamwork to get the job done well and efficiently. Just like we needed a lot of help as we bailed hay and put it in the barn, my teammates at MC are just as imperative for the different campaigns we work on.  They also make it more fun!

– Some days can be udder chaos, so it’s important to be able to go with the flow and roll with the punches on a daily basis. For example, one day we found that the cows had eaten too many apples from the trees, which made them look drunk as they were staggering and falling down in the pasture. We had to roll with the punches and let the apples work their way through their system before we could do anything with them.

– When a cow swats you in the face with their tail, you need to turn the udder cheek and mooove on. The world of book publicity can often include rejection from journalists, but we must remain focused and move on with a positive attitude for that next great booking.

– Just like my dad would research and gather data on latest developments to produce quality and quantity milk, book publicity also requires lots of research and relationships with journalists as we approach them with different topics.

– Like farming, book publicity can often be a lot of hard work, but at the end of the day, it’s generally rewarding and a lot of fun.

As I said, I can’t say that I dreamed about being a book publicist, but I’m happy that it found me. As I look back, I am amazed at the experiences I’ve had in this field. In the little time we had to watch TV, my mom would let us watch Walker, Texas Ranger. And sure enough just a few years ago I’m taking Chuck Norris to media opportunities that we set up in New York City and Nashville. As a business student in college, we studied numerous major corporations. At a National Bible Week luncheon I attended in Manhattan, I start speaking with the gentleman sitting next to me and I quickly realize that he is the CEO of one of the companies that we studied in college, and later on I have the privilege of working on his book. Before I started at PTA, now known as MEDIA CONNECT, I attended Women of Faith Conferences. A few years later, I’m driving the Women of Faith speakers to media interviews in cities across the country that I’ve never been to. I would never have imagined that I would have the chance to work with many of the authors that I read growing up, but I’m truly grateful that my boss had enough “faith” in me to give me a shot, and it sure has been an amazing adventure! 🙂

By Sharon Farnell, Director, Faith Division



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