The Cranky Publicist answers Another Question

Cranky PublicistI didn’t think I’d pull out the Cranky Publicist so soon, but there’s an uptick in two questions (mainly on Facebook) recently:
“Who is Laura?”
“Why doesn’t Nora write her own posts?” * Most recently, the questioner implied Nora owed readers original posts.

I get that first question, after all readers come to this blog or Facebook and someone who is not Nora signs the posts.

Laura, Nora
Laura, Nora

There are helpful, long time readers who answer that I’m Nora’s assistant.  That appears to be a simple explanation but it’s not the case at all – I’m Nora’s personal publicist (as opposed to the publisher publicity team).  My background is in PR and after years of promoting consumer goods, then health insurance where I tried to prove the benefits of the eu health card system, I moved to talking about my favorite thing in the world: books.  I put in time as publicity chair for New Jersey Romance Writers, I worked as the Community Relations Manager for a local Barnes & Noble, I organized visiting author events at my kids’ schools.

I started reading Nora in 1982-83.  Can’t quite remember the when, but I remember the book.  The Law is A Lady was condensed for Good Housekeeping Magazine, and once i read it, I searched for the whole book.  When I figured out the Silhouette category publishing schedule and that this fabulous author gave me five books a year, my allegiance was hers.

Nora, Laura
Nora, Laura

One of the things I do with Nora is help out at signings.  I stand near her, chatting with readers, taking photos, moving the line along. I love recognizing the first timer — the person so beyond thrilled to meet Nora that she/he is speechless. Sometimes teary.  Always shaking.

I met Nora at the 1989 NJRW conference.  I didn’t really know what she looked like because her photo still wasn’t in her books (that changed within the year).  I was nervous, but determined to say hello.  So I did.

Laura, Nora

Afterward, I was completely positive what came out of my mouth was along the lines of “Your perfume smells like dead fish” or something else equally socially horrifying.  It was a blur and I’d ruined my chance!   Nora doesn’t remember anything like that (she doesn’t remember the moment at all)– but she’s met a lot of people, so I forgive her for not recognizing how momentous the occasion was.

But I remember every single emotion the first timer feels and I do my best to make sure that even if they converse mainly with me, with Nora chiming in, they walk away thinking they had a great conversation with Nora.  That’s the job.

Let’s move onto the “Why doesn’t Nora write posts?” question. Nora and I started working together in 2005 on the very cusp of the social media revolution. Since then it’s taken over our lives and changed the way we interact.  Nora understands the role social media plays in publishing or for public figures, but as we saw in the recent Price Points, Discounts, Sales! post, she just wants to write books. Everything else distracts from that goal.

But me?  I can make small talk for days on end.  I can ask questions.  I can see the value in strengthening a community of readers who gather for one reason:  they love Nora’s books.   Since I started the Facebook page in 2010, I’ve signed  every single post because I believe in transparency.  No, it’s not Nora asking a question, but in certain ways you’re getting fairly close to it.

20141128_202514 (2)
The Laura-Nora Borg

So we’ll leave it at the standard answer:  I’m Nora’s personal publicist.  She handles writing the books while I handle the social media.  So far it works out for both of us.


*Nora writes all her blog posts, I just format and publish them.

75 thoughts on “The Cranky Publicist answers Another Question”

  1. Love it Laura! ? now I’m wondering if I happened to meet you also when I met Nora at the beautiful Ashford Castle?! And I feel terribly guilty as I was the nervous first timer who was completely in awe. ? love the transparency and that we know when it’s you or Nora posting, the green text also helps. We really do appreciate everything you do!

    1. That was part of a family vacation so no I wasn’t there. (Close we may be but there are lines.) 🙂


  2. Sounds as if you both have the best of what you love to do! Carry on!

  3. I would adore meeting you and Nora but what would I say that you both haven’t heard a million times?
    I enjoy the blog posts, the insight into my favorite ladies lives. It makes her more human to realize that she has days just as the rest of us do, and to you Laura for being patient with all the readers.

  4. You are one busy lady, Laura! And you look more than a bit like Nora. Thank you for all that you do to keep us informed, entertained, and “in the loop.”

  5. I think you do a great job helping Nora at book signings! I was overwhelmed how graciously you offered to take pictures of fans & Nora. I’ve met Nora several times now & each time I get all tongue tied & shy, I could just kick myself afterwards.

  6. What on earth is going on with people when it comes to snarky questions/ comments?! I’m currently on a Facebook/social media break while I recover from a serious illness but the last few blogs have highlighted to me how nasty people can be to others! I’m a NR (and Laura) fan – I don’t have to like everything I read but I don’t think it’s my place or even right to criticise someone else’s livelihood or profession! The viciousness is simply depressing and uncalled for! Laura you do a fantastic job! I especially love your book/topic discussions of NR classics xx

    1. I don’t understand why people would ask snarky questions (or act so entitled) either, but they do, on FB, to Laura and/or Nora, or in face-to-face life. I look at negatively commenting to an author about his/her books is like having dinner at someone’s house and complaining about the food offered. I wouldn’t tell an author what I didn’t like about one of his/her books just like I wouldn’t make negative comments to a host or hostess about the food they prepared. I even ate a dish once with teeny shrimp, and I hate shrimp. (I just told myself they were small enough that I really couldn’t taste them. 😉 )

      1. I agree, Kristy. Common courtesy is often not so common anymore.

  7. A very big thank you to you, Laura, for all you do that allows Nora the time she needs to do what she loves.
    I was one of those speechless readers the first time I met Nora. 🙂

  8. Laura, your post made me smile. Having just been a first timer last weekend, I clearly remember the one and only thing I said directly to Nora. I said “hi.” That “hi” was supposed to convey many things like “I really enjoy your books and thank you for creating them.” I’m sure she knows that’s what I meant even if I didn’t manage to say so. I also enjoyed getting a chance to chat with you as well. Laura, you do a great job keeping the page interesting and I enjoy your posts. Thank you for all you do.

  9. What a fabulous career! I missed a chance to meet Nora in California many many years ago.

    One silly question, like so many I enjoy the recipes the characters create….but what are chipped potatoes? Like fried potato chips, or chopped up potatoes cooked in bacon grease with onion bits?

    1. Chips is just the Brit or Irish word for french fries. Crisps is their word for potato chips.

  10. I dread to think what state I would be in if I ever had the opportunity to meet Nora.
    I’ve cried each time I’ve received a signed copy of the first three hardback In Death books.
    My husband gets me the best surprises,

  11. Laura, I have noticed over the few years that I have been going to the TTP signings that you and Nora are a perfect match. You keep the readers comfortable and keep the line moving, even if I slow it down at times. ? Keep up the great work of keeping us all in “line” at the signings and on social media, while Nora keeps doing what she does best. See you both in April.

  12. Honestly, if Nora had to handle all the social media alone she wouldn’t have time to write the books! Think about how lucky we are that she is so prolific! Thank you Laura- for the connection, and the wonderful job you do! I’ve become a Laura fan, too!

    1. Here’s what would happen if I had to handle the social media.

      I wouldn’t. No way I’d take hours a week away from writing to think of posts for FB, to actually post them, to monitor and answer questions and comments.

      So yes, you couldn’t be more right. We’re all lucky to have Laura, because without her, there’d be no FB page and no blog.

      1. You keep writing, girl. I’d much rather have more books than personal replies. Love them all and have read most series at least twice. Currently re-reading Sign of Seven Trilogy. You are one of the very few authors that I don’t find spelling and/or
        grammatical errors.

      2. I don’t know what is wrong you, Nora. You should be writing quicker, selling them cheaper, spending time on facebook and your blog, replying to everyone’s comments, and have a personal life. Just don’t understand why you can’t do all that. lol!!!

        Seriously, people are ridiculous. You and Laura are an awesome team. Keep up the good work!!

  13. Laura is there any chance TTP can maybe have an annex for us disabled? I walk with a rollator and have difficulty with stairs. Pretty sure there are many fans with similar disabilities. Living within the area and not being able to make any more book signings is maddening. Hey stay warm calling for 9below tonight. Plus I do not think you are cranky, just doing your job.

    1. We have a door on the street into the area where we hold signings. The staff does everything they can do accommodate people with disabilities. We often have readers in wheelchairs, and they come in that street level door.

      1. That is great to know. I will have to schedule one of my “Me Time” vacations away from TheGroom and head over that way. I can almost smell the Fall leaves and air from here. For sure I’d be one of those babbling fans, but it would be worth it!

  14. Wow, thanks so much for all the background! I think it’s great how you handle the FB pack, allowing Nora to chime in when she feels like it, but you’re the wrangler. Seems to work great for both of you. Loved “the Borg” reference.

  15. Bless you both!
    Ive been following for about 4 years and am completely enamored w both of you, and offer thanks for being so open and accessible.
    Love, love, love Nora’s books.
    My sister and i are fans for as long as Nora is willing to write!

  16. Nora needs her time to write all the fabulous stores we love to read. What is wrong with some people?
    Thank you Laura for all you do.

  17. I think you girls make the perfect team.with you running the social media part and Nora writing and occasionally jumping in with her own thoughts. One day…. I’m gonna meet yall in person.(bucket list) if I happen to curtsy, overlook me, cause I’ll be in the presence of royalty! 🙂 lol

  18. I would much rather have Nora writing her books to keep us entertained. I do like when she writes about what’s going on in her life, however.

  19. People can really be jerks. President Obana has a Twitter account (not that I love Twitter) but it is very obvious that he doesn’t post every post. When he does they are signed BO and we get an MO once in a while.

    On Nora’s FB we get a NR once in a while.
    What is the problem??

    Anyway. I am signed up for the Dec book signing. I’m gonna be that speechless, shaky, teary eyed one and I cannot wait.

  20. Love both Nora and Laura. They are like twins they can complete each others sentences and thoughts. Nora seems on the quiet side and Laura knows how and when to bring her out. What difference does it make who writes what. . . What other writer do you know who gives as much as Nora does. She even takes us on her summer vacation every year. Besides the book signings about five and six times a year. Also signing books several nights at home to be shipped out to us. I love and appreciate all the both of you do for us. Keep doing what you do the way you do. THANK YOU BOTH!

  21. Works for me. Lol. Nora please keep writing, writing. We’ll talk to Laura in the meantime

  22. Love both Nora’s work as well as Laura’s expertise and insights. Some folks will always have a sense of entitlement and the rest of us will just shake our heads in amazement. Thank you both!

  23. Love Nora Roberts have been reading Nora Roberts books for many, many years. Thank you Laura. One question when are you both coming to Australia so I can be that really excited speechless person? Anytime soon, maybe? I’ll just keep reading, cause I possibly know the answer. Thank you for many hours of happy reading. ????

  24. Laura, having attended several book signings at Turn The Page and dealt with first meeting jitters, I can honestly say you do a wonderful job!! Thank you for all you do for both Nora and her readers. And you provide hours of entertainment while we wait for the next book!

  25. Thank you for doing the blog, answering questions & keeping all of it up so Nora can write . It is great you have her back& keep writing the posts. Social media has its pluses & minuses. Laura you keep it on the plus side. I am sure I will be one of the first timers at a signing one day.

  26. I Love all of Nora’s books. Have read pretty much every one for many, many years (I am 56.) I live 5 miles from Boonsboro, my step daughter went to Boonsboro and we had the pleasure of Nora speaking at her graduation. I enjoy the blog and no matter who does the writing Laura, I enjoy all you have to say. Many happy words! Sharri

  27. People all over the world read Nora’s books. People all over the world are on Facebook and other social media. I much prefer that Laura does what she does and Nora writes. Common sense tells you there’s no way Nora could do both. She’s an amazing writer but she’s not super-human!!

  28. I think there is a way to block all those stupid people on FB. Why not just unfriend them- OFF WITH THEIR HEADS ( oops- their posts )They should be grateful that Nora writes as much as she does. Doubly grateful that Laura bothers to take time out to write the blogs, & keep us updated.

    I met Nora for the first time, at the RWA in NYC. It was the longest line in the room, of course. I was admiring Laura- she was calm, cool, and friendly, & kept the line moving. I was the first timer who acted cool on the outside, but I was shaking on the inside. I made a fool of myself blabling to Nora- how we are born two days apart, both have similar kids, look alike, etc. She smartly responded- twins! It could have been worse- at least I got a photo with her, & didn’t break down in tears. So thank you both for all that each of you do. And for putting up with us.

  29. Laura, you are chatty-and I appreciate it. I would have become frustrated long ago. I met Nora briefly in Boonsboro in June 2014. I tend to just hang back and observe, lest I do something stupid. On my own turf, I am quite confident and assertive. But, as an introvert who functions as an extrovert professionally, I tend to stay on the fringes. I applaud your partnership. It’s a special one.

  30. I don’t remember the first Nora Roberts book I read, I like most of them. The in death I have all of them. I love all the stories. They kept me company when I was injured, and in bed for so long.
    Thank you . Nora .

  31. I absolutely appreciate everything Laura does for we NR and JDR fans. Obviously, Nora cannot take the time out to do social media every day or we wouldn’t get the masterpieces she writes. Thank you so much for all you do, Laura! We are grateful to you!! 🙂

  32. I love you both! Thank you for being there! I feel like we get to know Nora through you! I just started reading her December 2013 and met her in San Antonio in 2015 July! So thrilled and happy with her writing style!

  33. Both Laura & Nora are truly blessed to be working together! It is obvious that your relationship is as much a friendship as it is a business one. I’m sure that is why it has lasted these many years. Thank you Nora for all the decades of enjoyable reading, and to you, Laura, for taking care of all the details on social media, putting out fires, etc., that lets Nora do what she does best. You’re a treasure.

  34. Sometimes fans/readers feel as if they know the author personally through his/her books. (It’s kind of like thinking that the character in a movie or tv show is who the actor really is.) And, sadly, this seems to spark a sense of entitlement in the fans/readers instead of a profound sense of gratitude. I “happened” on the Nora Roberts page on Facebook and then was thrilled to discover that Laura (Nora’s personal publicist ?)keeps us up-to-date. I love the questions that make me have to go back to my books to re-read. Thank you, ladies. Nora, keep on writing. Laura, keep on chatting. You are so appreciated.

  35. As my dear friend says, “Lord love a duck!” So glad you cleared that up for me, Laura. 😉 Hmm, do I want Nora to have the time to do her work, and deliver an amazing book to all of us, do I require her to answer every post, hmm.

    It took me six tries to muster the courage to meet-greet Nora in person, I know I babbled, but after a fashion we talked about the unique, and beautiful jewelry she was wearing, and commented on each other’s biceps. The woman has great guns.

    With thanks.

  36. Laura, I thank you for all the amazing work you do to keep us engaged and distracted while waiting for the next great book. And I was one of those newbies in Sept and I really want to thank you for keeping me from making a fool of myself, I was so excited and nervous that I wasn’t able to communicate with ” Words” my mom came with me and just talked and chatted with everyone but I wasn’t able to string actual word together in any form of a sentence. So thank you for all that you do.

  37. Some people need to get a life. Laura & Nora (rhyme?) work well together & it works for me. It makes you wonder where some people get off telling (demanding) what others should do. Laura you do a fantabulous job at what you do & Nora equally does a fantabulous job at writing. Nuf said!

  38. I say get Nora as much help as possible so she maximizes the time to write the books.

  39. Thanks Laura for the explanation. I think signing your name is honest and ethical. I appreciate your posts and keeping us up to date. I’d much rather have NR focus on writing novels than FB posts.

  40. Here are traveling. My husband asked me why I had to drag around the big heavy new JD Robb book. Why not just carry a paperback? I answered, because I have been waiting for this one!!

  41. Part of the problem with our current culture; folks think they own the stars so the stars should be happy to drop everything & “talk” to them; and the social media aspect seems to make people think everyone should drop everything & respond immediately; regardless of how trivial the question, comment, etc. Combine that with your comment the other day about folks asking the same questions over & over instead of bothering to look the answer up? I think we’ll have to go back to using the term “nitwits”!

  42. Laura, we love what you do so that Nora can continue to do what she does.

    Thanks to you both, and thanks for not letting the irritating trolls ruin your communication plan!

  43. Sounds like a match made in “heaven”. I too adore her writing – especially the JD Robb “In Death” series….

  44. Hi Nora, Laura ..I’m afraid I have never been to a signing.. I live in Toronto, Ontario. I’ve wanted to see the town… bookstore, etc., since I read the Boonsboro books…the books made it so much more personal. It’s probably better if I write as I would probably either be one of those awestruck women who stares with mouth open (very unladylike) …or be very demonstrative and want to give you a huge hug, as if you were one of my family feels like you’ve been a friend for many years. I’ve just retired so maybe I’ll be able to make my way there one of the these days.

    As for those unhappy people who complain about ridiculous things without giving it any reasonable thought …just give them the typical Eve Dallas reply …ie “Bite me”. I don’t do FB ..or anything online ..except your blog ..getting adventurous in my old age..LOL!! Enjoy the snowy days …good for writing…

  45. OK ..I just found the Bite Me blog …I just started replying to these so bear with me …I’m a rookie …OMG …Nora, you’re reply was priceless …yet again showing us that you are indeed a “writer extraordinaire” It’s nice to know I’m at least on the same page …I was laughing out loud when I read it…You rock, girl !! Very appropriate response.

  46. A clear indicator of success in any field is to focus only on your “vital few” those are those single tasks that only you can do that drive your business/success forward. Dr Oz does not worry about anything when he is in surgery except for what he personally has to show up to do. And he is only in there for 45minutes. The surgery team handles the rest. He only performs what he knows only he has to do. The same with his tv show. He only focuses on his vital few tasks. The rest is handle by the production crew.

  47. If you to wonderful ladies ever come to British Columbia Canada. I will be there. You might like the sights and weather.

  48. Laura…I was going back through some of these posts and ran across this. So appropriate I had to respond. My sweet husband surprised me by flying my best friend from TN to VA and is sending us to the book signing this weekend…my first. Nora’s books have saved my sanity over the years, I just love everything she writes, and I have talked about doing this for several years now.
    So I have been asking myself what will I say to her? Will I be able to get anything out of my mouth? My brothers called me mouth of the south, so that is not usually a problem for me. But I am so excited. I am sure you will recognize me, I will be “that person” 🙂
    I look forward to meeting you both!

    1. Vicki,

      If I don’t ask, make sure you introduce yourself! It gets busy and sometimes the conversations are quick. And make sure you get a photo too.

      Safe trip up.

      1. Laura, maybe if you did a quick clip of Vicki swooning and shared it with us, then Jean (and I) can enjoy the event vicariously – lol.

        1. Paula, that might very well happen. I am so excited.

          1. I’m already swooning just thinking about the possibility of meeting Nora and Laura and all of the fans! Have a blast.

          2. Jean, I noticed you live in St Louis. My husband is active duty Coast Guard and we are transferring there this summer.

          3. Jean I will do that. It looks like sometime in July. I don’t know anyone there, and the hubby and I will be new empty nesters. ..we just “finished” raising a grandchild. I’ve actually never been to St Louis so it will be an adventure.

          4. Thanks Paula, I’m sure we will. In addition to the book signing we are also spending a night at the inn…beyond thrilled by it all. It’s an early birthday present. Love my guy! I am so blessed.

  49. Will the two of you ever be coming to St. Louis??? My “vacations” of late consist of flying to Omaha and seeing my surgeon. No extras left over for heading east to see you.

    1. Hi Jean, Unfortunately Nora doesn’t tour any more so the only events she attends are at Turn the Page. I’ll send good thoughts that sometime you’ll be able to join us.


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