Next in the “Introducing AMACOM” series is Publicity Director Irene Majuk. Irene has extensive experience in business publishing, and is an AMACOM veteran.
What were you doing before you joined AMACOM?
I joined AMACOM about 20 years ago, and before that I was publicity manager at John Wiley & Sons also promoting business books. My non-business book experience included two years at New American Library (NAL) working on various genre books and paperback reprints. While at NAL I was introduced to the works of Stephen King and and became a huge fan. My favorite story as a publicist at NAL was when I was assigned to work on the paperback reprint of Thinner by Richard Bachman. After reading the book, I thought to myself, ok this guy isn’t just imitating King’s writing style, he’s channeling King. I brought up my concern with my boss saying that Bachman is King’s doppelganger or he is Stephen King. Long story short, a persistent Washington D.C. bookstore clerk, Steve Brown, did some snooping around and discovered that Bachman was in fact Stephen King. And the author photo on the book jacket was in fact Richard Manuel, the insurance agent of Kirby McCauley, King’s literary agent.
What are some of your responsibilities as Publicity Director?
We publish about 30 books each season (AMACOM has two publishing seasons). Based on conversations with the sales director and the VP of sales and marketing, I develop the publicity plans for each book. For an important book with high sales potential and broad consumer appeal, the publicity plans might include an extensive outreach to the print media, national and regional radio interviews, national TV placements, as well as online coverage, including pitching bloggers, websites, webcasts, and podcasts. Social media plays an important role in promoting our books, as well as helping to brand AMACOM. Fortunately I have a very talented, hardworking publicity team (shout out to Kama Timbrell and Alice Northover) who make my job infinitely easier.
What are the big challenges you face in your job?
The biggest challenge is staying current with the rapidly changing social media landscape, and finding the time to provide new content for Facebook, LinkedIn, LibraryThing, Twitter, Foursquare, Netgalley, and AMACOM’s blog. I have to say though as challenging and frustrating it might be learning a new social media service or tool (what exactly is a hootlet again???), I love the challenge.
What book are you really excited about right now?
Right now I’m working on The 11 Laws of Likability by Michelle Tillis Lederman. I admit that I am networking-challenged and the book has excellent advice that I’m eager to apply. At home I just started reading The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough. I’m also an avid reader of historical murder mysteries set in England and I’m a big fan of Anne Perry, C.S. Harris, and C.J. Hansom. I’m presently reading Ashley Gardner’s books featuring Captain Lacey set in Regency England.
What book do you want everyone to discover?
I also enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, and horror books. My favorite books from these genres are:
- The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
- Time and Again by Jack Finney
- Watership Down by Richard Adams
- The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft
What would you be doing if you weren’t in publicity?
If I had the money and no need to work? A world traveler writing travel books.
Buy and read lots of books.
Thank you Irene!