On April 14, The Writing Barn welcomes Jennifer Robenalt, a communications professional who will be teaching An Author’s Guide to Book Publicity.
We like to get to know the instructors bringing their expertise to The Writing Barn — and with 22 years experience in media relations, creative and literary development, professional writing, marketing, publicity and Web 2.0/digital media strategy, Jennifer has plenty of expertise — so we’ve asked her five quick questions. Here are her answers:
WB: Tell us about yourself and how you came to be teaching this class?
JR: I’ve been involved in writing and publishing since the first story I wrote when I was 9. It was called “Albert the Blue Alligator” and I called every “publisher” in the Austin Yellow Pages to see if they would “please publish it.” Though that didn’t come to anything, I continued writing and eventually majored in Writing, Literature and Publishing at Emerson College in Boston, where I earned my BFA. It was during my time at Emerson that I was recruited to work as a publicist for Paramount Pictures. That was my first job in PR. Since then, I have worked in agencies and operated my own businesses. I’ve done PR work for companies including AMD, Hard Rock Cafe, Fine Line Features, Texas Book Festival, Girlstart and so many other great organizations. I love teaching authors and entrepreneurs the “hidden secrets” of PR and how to create programs that work.
WB: What are the top 3 things you love best about your workshop?
JR: I think my workshop is great because, while I give tons of interesting, useful information, writers have told me it is extremely empowering. More and more, authors seem to inherently understand that so much of the publicity and promotion of their work rests squarely on their shoulders. They know that to be a writer today not only means being dedicated to the page, but also committed to reaching out to audiences in various ways other than the work itself.
Which brings me to the second thing I love about my workshop: authors walk away with amazing resources that will save them critical time and money. From links to important PR vendors, to sample press releases, my resource packet gives authors a head start in developing a plan they can actually implement.
And, of course, the third thing I love about my workshop is that it is FUN. I try to keep the information flowing, but in a positive, high-energy, fun way! No yawning allowed. The second I see someone drifting off, we’re doing the hokey pokey. I’m sorry. It’s gotta be done. But, fortunately, I’ve never had that problem. I answer specific questions that benefit the entire group.
And there’s a fourth thing (yes, I am a rule breaker). For the first time, each participant will receive a complimentary 30-minute phone consultation after the workshop ends. Ask me anything!
WB: Who would benefit most by taking your class and why?
JR: Fiction and non-fiction authors of books recently out or soon to be released. This workshop would also be great as a general refresher course for old pros, and even writers who only dream of finishing their manuscript. It’s never too early (or too late) to learn about the fine art of literary publicity.
WB: Do you prefer sweet or sour?
JR: I’m trying to stay off sweet, which is making me pretty sour. But let’s just put it this way… certain things I like sweet, other things I like sour. For example… Cupcakes: Sweet; Epic Trilogies: Sour; School Librarians: Sweet; New York agents trying to get a deal for you: Sour.
WB: List in order of importance: Play, Work, Coffee, Tea, Chocolate, Sleep.
JR: Without sleep, I can not play. Then again, I can’t play without coffee. If I try, then it turns into work. This makes me crave chocolate. Then I get dizzy and just want to sleep. So, time for a nice cup of tea to smoothe everything out! It’s sort of the writer’s circle of life. It’s ALL important!
We agree! That is the writer’s circle of life!