Behind the Byline With Publicist Kathy Daneman
Written by Sarah Scott
Kathy Daneman has been a publicist for more than two decades. So… what exactly does a publicist do?
“What I do is work with authors to get their books covered,” she explained. “To get book reviews, to get interviews, to place original essays, to get them on tv, to get radio interviews, to go on tour. And I help them come up with ideas for original pieces.”
She’ll even help authors with research and help them come up with interesting topics related to their books. You can hear our interview with Daneman on the Behind the Byline podcast page.
Starting in the Industry
Early in her life, Daneman’s goal was to write for Vanity Fair magazine. During her college years, she took a year off to work for the Unitarian Universalist Association and helped with their publications. After graduation, she worked for the UUA’s book publisher. She started doing editorial work, then moved on to publicity.
“It’s a lot of fun. You work hands on with the authors and don’t have to make them cut their work or anything,” she shared.
Daneman later moved to New York and worked for Soho press, which primarily published mysteries. She later on worked for Penguin Random House, then decided to go out on her own as a freelance publicist.
On Her Own
“I can work on the books I want to work on. I get to work with all sorts of different authors, different publishers, and make use of their resources,” she said.
She shared some of her favorite projects she’s worked on, including Role Models by John Waters, the short story writer Etgar Keret, and Flash Count Diary by Darcey Steinke.
What She Learned
Danneman is grateful for some of the skills she picked up as a scholastic journalist at the Shawnee Mission West newspaper – although she wishes she’d had networked computers while in school. She explained that she learned what makes a good story, which is useful in her current career when she’s helping writers pitch a good story. She even uses the basic design skills she picked up from time to time!
“It’s very good to get those building blocks in. Just learning AP Style and basic grammar is useful,” Danneman said.
Her advice to young people who might want to go inter her field: a journalism major is probably more useful than a lit major, and do your best to be well-read – and seek out books from all countries, and authors of different races, genders and walks of life.