From College Grad to Book Publicist: How I Did It

By Cori Cagide, Associate Publicist

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It’s college graduation season. For many recent and upcoming graduates, the biggest question remains: “What do I do now?” As a communications major with a concentration in public relations and a minor in digital communication and media, I had a lot of options as far as career paths. I’ve always been a strong writer and passionate about media, reading and books in general. Finding a way to combine my love for both public relations and publishing seemed attainable, but I wondered how common that role was in a professional setting.

I was fortunate enough to find an internship during my last semester at school at a company that combined both. MEDIA CONNECT is the books/publishing division of Finn Partners, a widely respected and recognized public relations firm. I decided to push my luck at the end of my internship, which ended in mid-May 2013 at the same time I graduated college. I was offered a part-time position for the summer that turned into a full time position in the fall.

So, I did it. How can you?

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Books and Wine: Partners Working for the Rebirth of Independent Bookstores

A guest post by Carol Hoenig, via Kristin Clifford, Partner and Director of MC Satellite.


Carol Hoenig (left) and Peggy Zieran (right).

My good friend and business partner, Peggy Zieran, who had been a General Manager for a Long Island Borders store, and I, have been talking for quite some time about wanting to open an independent bookstore of our own. However, we thought it was nothing more than a foolish dream since we saw the writing on the wall when it came to bookstores’ survival rates.

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When It Comes to Connecting With a Teen Audience, John Green Gets It


By Nicole Martineau, Associate Publicist


In case you’ve been living under a rock and are unfamiliar with the current media explosion that is the big-screen adaption of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, here’s a very brief synopsis of the book: Originally published in 2012 by Dutton Books, The Fault in Our Stars tells the story of Hazel Grace and Augustus, two Midwestern teenagers who meet at a cancer support group. To avoid any potential spoilers I’ll leave it at that.

To say this film has generated buzz on the Internet is an understatement. In fact, the film’s trailer is the most “liked” trailer in YouTube’s history. But for once it’s not just because of the media’s obsession with movie stars, but also because of the ever-increasing popularity of author John Green, and the special relationship he has with his readers.

As many of his fans will tell you, Green is not just an author. He is an online educator and one half of the Vlogbrothers, a YouTube channel he shares with his brother, Hank Green, which currently has over 2 million subscribers.Green has also garnered over 2.4 million Twitter followers, 1.4 million Facebook fans, and is very active on his Tumblr. This online presence has earned Green a huge following of tweens, teens and college students.

As the film’s producer Wyck Godfrey pointed out in an interview with Mark Healy of Bloomberg Businessweek, much of Green’s teen appeal lies in the credit he gives to his young audience:

“The intelligence with which John treats teenagers is refreshing to them. They’re not all just a bunch of YouTube-watching empty vessels. They’re asking big questions. They’re funny in the least expected ways.”

To back up that claim, Green explains to Healy why giving attention to this specific audience is so important to him:

For all the adult concern that Facebook and Instagram are warping their minds into echo chambers of self-obsession… I’ve found that if you treat them as if they are smart and curious, they will respond in kind. I think they’re so often undervalued by pop culture, particularly by the big corporations that churn stuff out for them. A lot of kids are really excited to be thought of as smart.”

In addition to intelligence, Green also keeps the emotional development of his audience in mind when writing a book in the YA genre. While reading a recap of a Q&A at an advanced screening of the film, one quote by Green stood out to me:

“[Young adults] are doing all these interesting things for the first time. Falling in love for the first time, grappling with grief for the first time, they’re also asking, separate from their parents as sovereign beings, questions about meaning and human life for the first time… They ask these questions without any irony and with real enthusiasm, which I think sometimes to us comes across as naivety, but I don’t think it is. I think it’s lack of irony, lack of fear. The same way they approach emotional experiences with a lack of defensiveness. I find that very appealing as character traits to write about because I’m also not particularly interested in irony as a device to get at meaning. I’m much more interested in stripping it down and finding a way to tell emotionally authentic stories that aren’t sentimental.”

It is always refreshing to see an author that truly understands their audience, and with recent news of book deals with various YouTube sensations, we can only hope that we will see more of this understanding when it comes to communication and writing in the YA genre.


Related: World Book Night 2014 Recap: ‘Givers’ Take to the Streets to Spread Their Love of Reading


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Book Expo America Reflections


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As we eagerly await the United States’ largest book convention next week, MEDIA CONNECT looks back to remember some of their favorite moments of Book Expo America’s (BEA’s) past.

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Author Q&A: Embedded Photographer-Turned-Author Shares His Experience In Afghanistan


Robert Cunningham has photographed the five living United States presidents and nine heads of state, 12 prime ministers, numerous astronauts, celebrities, and Fortune 500 CEOs. But his proudest moment in a 10-year photography career came when he photographed U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan. He took 55,000 photographs and had a selection of the best published in his recently released  book, Afghanistan: On the Bounce (Insight Editions).

 Photos by Robert Cunningham:



Cunningham, whose work hangs on the walls of the George W. Bush Presidential Library, spent four months as an embedded photo journalist with the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (spanning two trips a year apart). He documents what he witnessed during 132 missions, brilliantly capturing and conveying the full spectrum of the troops’ experiences  -  on patrol, in combat, in the chow line, at night, and in religious services – through photographs, stories, diagrams, and stunning images.

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The Hidden Symphony Behind a Book’s Success

By Adrienne Fontaine, publicist


A friend of mine recently sent me the link to a New York Observer article on Adelle Waldman’s debut novel The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. I had given this friend my copy of the book, thinking that she might also enjoy reading a book that so adeptly winks at Brooklyn’s literary and intelligentsia-types. We haven’t had the opportunity to chat about it, but based on the Observer article, it seems as though everyone else is chatting about it for us.

The article uses the book as an example of “how a debut novel broke through.” The book’s promotion has been so successful that people have been referencing the name “Nathaniel P.” when talking about a certain kind of young, precocious man. As the article states, the book hits a nerve about the psyches and contemporary mores of highly educated males in a certain gentrified area of New York. I myself had heard of the book from Maureen Corrigan on NPR’s Fresh Air. Corrigan raved about the book, saying that she wanted to read it again just to absorb some of the cleverness that she may have missed.

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So You’re Going to Book Expo 2014

By Dee Donavanik, Publicity Director of MEDIA CONNECT DC

BookExpo America, aka BEA, is a yearly event that brings authors, educators, librarians, and others involved in the publishing industry together for a few days of exhibits, events and networking.  For a book publicist, it’s mecca. There is so much that goes on in those three days (this year it is May 29th-31st),  from book signings to panels, that being prepared is crucial in order to make the most of the experience.  Also, have I mentioned celebrities?  Yes, there will be celebrities, and lots of them.  As someone with a few BEA’s under my belt, I’ve found that there are some specific guidelines that will help you make it through the conference in one piece.


Be Prepared.  You should know what you are getting yourself into.  There will be a lot of walking, so comfortable shoes are imperative.  Make sure you check out the guides and find the appropriate booth numbers for where you need to visit.  Skim over the event listings so can prepare your agenda accordingly. It’s actually quite helpful to do a walkthrough in the beginning of the day so you are familiar with where all the booths are. Also, sometimes you will find that certain events/guests are not listed in the guide. Also, in recent years BEA has added charging stations, so it is helpful to locate those (and bring your charger) so you know where to go when you need to catch up on your emails and your phone is on its last legs!

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Social Media Traffic Times, the Best and the Worst Times to Post


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By Brian Feinblum, Senior Vice President and Marketing Officer


The key questions on social media are:

Which sites should you post on , and how often?

What type of content should you share?

And what time of day is best to post?


There are theories on all of this. Today let’s explore the best times to post.

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5 of the Worst Romantic Match-Ups in Literature

By Alexandra Israel, Publicist


Confession: I’ve been on a Thomas Hardy kick. I recently finished Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and now I’ve begun reading Jude The Obscure. What inspired this blog post was thinking about Hardy’s match-up of characters - he likes to test out the concept of “fate” by pairing characters together that are much better off without each other, to the point where their lives would have been totally different had they not crossed paths!

Working with Hardy’s theme, the following are five of the most ill-fated romantic matches in literature:

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5 Mexican-American Authors to Read for Cinco de Mayo


By Johanna Dickson, Digital Publicist


Cinco de Mayo originated in Mexican-American communities in the 1860s in the American West, Southwest, and Northwest as a way to honor their heritage and pride. It was first celebrated by Mexicans and Latinos living in California during the American Civil War. The holiday became increasingly popular in the 1940s during the rise of the Chicano movement. Today there are more than 120 official celebrations of the holiday in 21 states across the country.

Chicano literature tends to focus on the themes of identity, culture, discrimination, history and Chicano culture in the United States. Another important theme is the experience of living and speaking two languages. The literature is written in either English or Spanish or a combination of the two: Spanglish.

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, here are five Chicano authors to add to your reading list:

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