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Making Publicity and Marketing Work for You and Your Career with Tracy van Straaten

Creative Lab Syllabus


Have you ever wondered how to get your career “to the next level”? Whether you are a debut author or an established award-winner, this session with TvS Media Group founder and publishing veteran Tracy van Straaten is designed to provide published authors and illustrators with a better understanding of how to take a step back and evaluate their career and “brand”, through the lens of a publicist and marketer. How do others view you and your work? What message do you want to send into the world about your book(s)? Participants will leave this session with a clearer understanding of how to define and amplify your personal brand; how to collaborate with your publisher for the best results; PR, marketing, and social media strategy / best practices; how to determine which marketing and PR activities are worth your time; and how to set achievable publicity/marketing goals for the future.

Prerequisites and Advanced Preparation - Ahead of this session, please prepare the following:

  • A list of five authors and/or artists publishing in your “space”. Review their websites and note a few of your favorite and least favorite things about each site (design, organization, ease of use, information included, etc).
  • Make sure your own website is available on a screen for viewing during the session (laptop, iPad, etc.), or print out a homepage for sharing.
  • Registered participants must fill out a brief Q&A in advance by February 1, 2024. (The survey can be found under MEMBER HOME > RESOURCES > WINTER CONFERENCE HANDOUTS after registering).


  • Introduction (5 minutes)
  • Publicity vs Marketing: An Explainer (10 minutes)
  • Defining Your Personal “Brand” (10 minutes)
  • Breakout/Workshop: Brand/Tagline Development, Discussion, and Q&A (25 minutes)
  • Humblebrag or Brag? Web Site Best Practices (15 minutes)
  • Coffee/Snack/Stretch/Bathroom Break (10 minutes)
  • Breakout/Workshop: Website Review with a Partner, Discussion, and Q&A (25 minutes)
  • Tags, Hashtags, and Reels, Oh My! Social Media Dos and Don’ts (15 minutes)
  • Breakout/Workshop: Developing Social Media Content, Discussion, and Q&A (25 min)
  • Coffee/Snack/Stretch/Bathroom Break (10 minutes)
  • Your Publicist is Your Teammate: How to Collaborate with Your Publisher (10 minutes)
  • How to Build a Ladder to Where You Want to Go: Setting Achievable Goals, and Q&A (15 minutes)
  • Breakout/Workshop: Goal Setting (10 minutes)
  • Final Q&A (10 minutes)

Objectives - Participants will leave understanding:

  • The differences between publicity and marketing
  • How to define their personal brand
  • How subtle website refinements can make a big impact
  •  Effective time management strategies for social media
  • Which social media platforms are the best fit
  • Strategies for social media engagement and audience growth
  • Personally customized ideas to bring their career to the next level
  • The value of strategy in publicity and marketing


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