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by Writing Workshops Staff

6 months ago


Meet the Teaching Artist: PR Like a Rockstar with Blair Northen Williamson

by Writing Workshops Staff

6 months ago


Meet the Teaching Artist: PR Like a Rockstar with Blair Northen Williamson

by Writing Workshops Staff

6 months ago


We're thrilled to introduce you to Blair Northen Williamson, whose journey from sailing captain and scuba diving instructor to acclaimed author and PR guru has been nothing short of inspiring. From self-publishing success to her upcoming traditional debut, Birthday Bash, Blair has constructed a one-time Zoom seminar titled PR Like a Rockstar: Unleash Your Inner Publicist in the World of Book Publishing to help established and aspiring writers get the word out about their work.

In this intensive seminar, writers will learn the ropes of book promotion from someone who's not only walked the walk but also made a splash doing so. From forging meaningful connections with journalists, bloggers, and influencers to mastering the digital landscape for maximum visibility, Blair will impart insider knowledge and innovative strategies essential for standing out in today's competitive market.

With a focus on hands-on learning and real-world applications, attendees will gain the skills to design killer promotional materials, handle interviews with ease, and navigate public appearances like seasoned professionals. Moreover, the seminar offers a rare chance to engage directly with Blair in a Q&A session, where personalized PR strategies and invaluable insights await, ensuring every participant leaves empowered to elevate their book promotion journey with confidence and creativity.

Hi, Blair. Please introduce yourself to our audience.

Hi all, I'm Blair. I write children's picture books across multiple genre's and subjects. Writing has been a way for me blend my personal and professional life experiences together to create something meaningful, entertaining, and educational for all to enjoy.

I was a big athlete which is where my mental toughness, competitive drive, and hard work comes from. Querying really scratches the competitive itch that I have-- it's a great industry for athletes! I also worked on yachts as a captain and scuba diving instructor all over the world which has given me a unique perspective of what is happening under the sea with climate change and plastic pollution. Climate fiction is a great space to be writing in right now! It's great timing for me in this space. I have also worked in PR and Marketing for Global Expeditions Group since 2008 which is where my expertise and creative strategies come from. A lot of my skillset is what you need to succeed in publishing. Drive, passion, dedication, creativity, perseverance, professionalism, confidence -- these are all traits that will really help you in this industry.

I can't wait to spend some time sharing some of my experience with you!

What made you want to teach this specific class? Is it something you are focusing on in your own writing practice? Have you noticed a need to focus on this element of craft? Or is this just your jam and you love it?

I have been very successful with book sales, events, awards, and features-- even as a self-published author. Many people have asked me who my publicist is, (the answer is, I dont have one, it's all me!)! Many people also ask how I've gotten to where I am, how I did it, so I feel there is a need in the market for this type of class. Across all genre's, being able to market your own book, brand, message, and value is a huge piece of being a successful author in this industry. I hope I can help you!

Give us a breakdown of how the course is going to go. What can the students expect? What is your favorite part about this class you've dreamed up?

This is only a one hour seminar on PR and Marketing, and there is time for Q+A - we won't have a TON of "lecture time". I'd like to be available to brainstorm some ideas for your book launch and get inspiration flowing.

I'm really excited to share some marketing tools that we can apply for some "industry espionage". One tool in particular can be very helpful when querying.
Additionally, utilizing social media and online platforms strategically can also be beneficial in gaining visibility and building connections within the publishing industry. Networking with agents, editors, and other authors can provide valuable opportunities for collaboration and exposure for your work.
By sharing these practical marketing tools and strategies that you can use, I'll be providing valuable insights that can help aspiring writers navigate the querying process more effectively.

My favorite part of this class will be sharing the tools that I have found super useful that I don't think are widely used in the industry! I hope to help others succeed!

What was your first literary crush?

Huck Finn - I loved reading about all of his adventures and building a raft to float down the river. He was so resourceful!

What are you currently reading?

I just finished the most incredible book NOT ON ANY MAP by Margie Smith Holt. This is about the disaster of back to back major category 5 hurricanes that hit the BVI and USVI-- Hurricanes Irma and Maria. It is a fantastic read and important to me because I have spent so much time in the BVI professionally. Those hurricanes did an enormous amount of destruction and hearing first hand accounts of what happened from ground zero is so tragic but important to hear.

How do you choose what you're working on? When do you know it is the next thing you want to write all the way to THE END?

I thrive in a structured and deadline-driven environment, which can be a great motivator for productivity and creativity. Having contests, deadlines, and revisions to work towards provides me with clear goals and keeps me focused on moving forward with my writing projects. I'll often write a manuscript for the editor I am pitching to or heavily revise a previous manuscript based on their specific MSWL and work towards those deadlines.

If I am not working on something, I get very stir-crazy and will find a prompt, a contest, or a class to take. Seeking out new opportunities and prompts to keep myself engaged and productive during downtime is key to growing my craft and knowledge of writing.

Where do you find inspiration?

Oh my goodness, what a question! I find inspiration everywhere- and when I least expect it! Ideas pop up in every corner of my life, whether it's when i'm in nature, with my kids, having conversations with others, or experiences. Ideas pop in my head more frequently when my mind is at ease and this happens a lot when i'm by the sea!

What is the best piece of writing wisdom you've received that you can pass along to our readers? How did it impact your work? Why has this advice stuck with you?

Expect rejection but still put yourself out there! This is essential for growth and success in this industry. Every rejection is an opportunity to learn and improve, and it only takes one acceptance to make all the difference. Keeping a positive attitude and persistence in the face of rejection can lead to unexpected opportunities and successes in the long run. So, keep writing, keep submitting, and keep believing in yourself and your ideas!

What is your favorite book to recommend on the craft of writing? Why this book?

Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Hall. This is a great resource for picture book writers because you can jump around to different sections that you need to refer back to. I use it all the time!

Bonus question: What’s your teaching vibe

Expect a really energetic class with a touch of salt.

Learn more about working with Blair:

Learn more and sign up for Blair's upcoming seminar, PR Like a Rockstar: Unleash Your Inner Publicist in the World of Book Publishing.

 

Blair Northen Williamson, who worked as a sailing captain and scuba diving instructor in the British Virgin Islands and Southeast Asia, where she witnessed the pervasive issue of plastics in our oceans, leaving an indelible mark on her commitment to change. Who knew that these paths would prepare her to be a leader in the children’s literature industry? Blair is a Book Excellence Award Winner and Amazon #1 new release author of Island Girls: Free the Sea of Plastic. She has an upcoming traditional debut titled Birthday Bash (The Little Press, 2025), in which a tiny bug creates chaos for an uptight, disaster-prone mouse as she prepares for her birthday party on her houseboat, illustrated by Taylor Woolley. Blair is represented by Karen Kilpatrick at East West Literary Agency.

 

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