Dawn Michelle Hardy, President of Dream Relations, PR & Literary Consulting Agency has been described as a “literary lobbyist” by Ebony magazine for her ability to help authors reach their readership using strategic and creative promotions, award recognition, along with national and local media attention. She is an active member of WMG (Women In Media Group) a New York-based nonprofit association of women who have achieved prominence in many fields of media, The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and has served as PR Executive Director for both Love Fellowship Tabernacle under Pastor Hezekiah Walker and Body Sculpt of New York, a Brooklyn based 501 (c) 3 that produces community fitness programming and events to combat child obesity.
Additionally she uses her business acumen to guide and develop the writing careers of an assortment of authors in her role as literary agent with Serendipity Literary Agency a member of A.A.R. (Association of Author Representatives). Hardy facilitates workshops on platform building, writing book proposals and the art of creating a memoir at conferences nationwide. She has been interviewed by The Network Journal, Black Enterprise and a host of other outlets about her dual role in publishing and her experience with entrepreneurship.
The Long Island, New York native received both her Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing: International Trade and her Associated of Applied Science degree in Fashion Buying and Merchandising from The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.
KG: I love your rebranding as The Literary Lobbyist. What prompted the title?
DMH: Thank you, Kisha! Some years ago, I was interviewed, and the writer surmised from my bio that I was a literary lobbyist. As a professional who can help writers navigate the terrain of book publishing in all its many forms (print, audio, hybrid, self-publishing, e-book, etc.), it made complete sense. I’m often pitching and persuading editors, readers, producers, and event curators on the importance and value of an author’s work. I have even battled with magazines that have no dedicated space for books but cover music and movies regularly. Books matter, and in my world it’s not a hashtag— it’s the truth.
KG: Please explain what exactly does your company Dream Relations PR do for clients?
DMH: The services offered by Dream Relations are for aiding authors through their publishing and promotional options. As a consultant I offer workshops, webinars and 1-on-1 consultations to educate authors on a variety of aspects related to publishing including, proposal writing, publicity, querying literary agents, writing a memoir, idea generation and vetting editors and designers. We help debut authors plan book tours, garner media attention and submit for awards. We review publishing contracts from major houses for self-published authors who garner mass market or e-book deals. We advise authors on the process of working with a literary agent. We try to bring clarity to the overall process regardless of the position the author is in when they come to us. We are here to help writers make sense of the business of books.
KG: What has been your proudest moment in public relations?
DMH: I’ve worked on so many books in the past 16 years, I can’t say I have a moment that is above the rest. I will say that when a self-published or a debut author wins an award or is featured on a national bestsellers list, that makes me happy and very grateful to have been a driving force in that manifestation of recognition. Garnering press is great, but there is something about winning an award that sings an octave higher in my ear.
KG: What is the biggest myth people have about what you actually do?
DMH: There are so many. I think many self-published authors think that garnering press is not without challenges. Media outlets fold, start-up and lay-off staff every month. Using a variety of platforms and angles, publicist work to help their clients get discovered. There are no guarantees in which media outlets will pick up your story and often the most obvious platforms aren’t interested.
A book is judged by the cover! It’s very important to produce an attractive and marketable graphic and a captivating book description This will be the lead visual and copy for your book promotion and media outreach. Everything doesn’t have to be so literal either. If it’s a romance novel, we don’t need to see a heart on the cover or even two people kissing. If it’s a crime novel we don’t always need to see blood and weaponry.
There are no overnight successes in this business. When you read about a book to screen adaptation deal with Netflix or a 7-figure deal for a new author, know that it took the author and team more than 30-days to make that happen. I choose to work with self-published and debut authors because I know they need the most help, but they should understand that the work will take more than a season or two of commitment from everyone.
KG: Where do you see yourself in five years?
DMH: Speaking, teaching and producing television shows and films inspired by the work of authors I have represented over the course of my career.
KG: What advice do you give to authors seeking representation?
DMH: Take a consultation whenever a business offers it. You want to come to the table with clear and manageable expectations before you make a commitment. Never embellish the work you have done to convince someone to represent you.
KG: How can people contact you?
DMH: I offer 1-on-1 consultations on a monthly basis and request can be made via email at query@DreamRelationsPR.com
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Follow me on Instagram at @TheLiteraryLobbyist