Mini Q&A with poet Kelli Russell Agodon

By Midge Raymond,

  Filed under: On Book Promotion, On Publishing, On Writing, The Writing Life

This is an excerpt of Kelli Russell Agodon’s Q&A in Everyday Book Marketing, in which she talks about unique book promo ideas and offers advice for new authors. For more book promo information, and to read Kelli’s complete Q&A, check out Everyday Book Marketing.


Kelli Russell Agodon is the author of Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room, Small Knots, and Geography. She co-edited Fire On Her Tongue: An eBook Anthology of Contemporary Women’s Poetry. Kelli is the editor of Crab Creek Review and the co-founder of Two Sylvias Press. Her third book of poems, Hourglass Museum, will be published in 2014.

Q: What was the single most successful thing you’ve done to promote your books?

A: Oddly, I’m not sure I’d have any idea what one thing it is, but probably a coming together of many. Having my poem on Poetry Daily ( was a huge boost because poetry readers visit there daily, so I connected with a lot of people outside my area.

Another thing I did was send my book to ten random people. These can go to anyone, like a reader who sends me an e-mail saying they liked a poem of mine, or I may mail a copy off to Garrison Keillor for his “Writer’s Almanac” radio show. I just like sending my book out into the world and seeing what happens—sometimes nothing, sometimes a lot.

From my ten-random-people experiment, my poem went on to be recited by Garrison Keillor on his radio show and then ended up in his Good Poems for Hard Times anthology. You never know what doors your book will push open, and it’s a fun way to connect with others and send your work into the world.

Q: What advice do you have to offer new authors?

A: 1) If you’re trying to publish your book, be persistent.

2) If you have a book published and are trying to market it, be polite and professional.

3) Use your newly acquired fame to help promote other writers you like. It’s wonderful to support others, and having a book will give you the platform to help raise others up and share their work as well. Remember, we are a writing community full of readers and writers. Share the wealth with others, and let that good karma come back to you twofold.

4) Remember there is no one way to be a writer in the world. Try new things (make a book trailer, start a Facebook page) and find ways to promote your book that make you feel good. If you like working with people, see if you can volunteer somewhere. Or visit someone’s book group. Find ways to share your book with others that you enjoy.

5) Don’t judge your success by your royalty check. We are artists first, and we can’t judge our work by a dollar sign.

To read Kelli’s complete Q&A, check out Everyday Book Marketing. And visit Kelli online at

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