Longtime publishing marketing executive Maryann Palumbo died on April 3. She was 75.
Born in Brooklyn, Palumbo earned her B.A. at Brooklyn College. She began her publishing career at In-Text Publishing and moved on to World Publishing, which was owned by the Times Mirror Company, which was also owner of the paperback publisher New American Library (NAL). Palumbo transferred to the NAL publicity department where she became publicity director. She was there when NAL, known for its paperback reprints and Signet Classics, launched its first hardcover line, NAL Books, in the early 1980s. During this period, she oversaw the publicity campaigns for some of NAL’s biggest authors including Stephen King, Ken Follett, Erica Jong, Mario Puzo, and Robin Cook.
In 1984, Palumbo was named NAL director of advertising, promotion, and publicity. She became known for her innovative marketing programs, such as the time she staged a casino party at the American Booksellers Association conference to promote the Signet publication of Mario Puzo’s Fools Die. She and her team created many consumer and trade campaigns for some of the company’s most successful titles such as Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions by Gloria Steinem, Growing Up by Russell Baker, and Weight Watchers bestselling cookbooks.
She was named v-p at NAL in 1985. Perhaps her best-known campaign was the six-volume “serialized” publication of Stephen King’s The Green Mile, each volume reached the top of bestseller lists nationwide, and sold 250,000 copies of the special boxed set. For this successful campaign Palumbo was included in Advertising Age’s “Marketing 100” in 1997.
After leaving NAL in 1998, Palumbo established her own firm, Maryann Palumbo Marketing Concepts. Among the book projects she worked on there were for the Guinness Book of Records, Ripley's Believe It or Not, and Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins. She retired in 2016.