Hugo House and I met in 1998, and it continues to be the Seattle literary meeting place with teachers and staff providing guidance, support, and inspiration for area writers.
While most of the classes here focus on the craft of writing, mine are more integral to students finding ways to increase their own publishing successes. Writers know they will bear the majority of the responsibility for alerting the media, booksellers, and the reading public and need to know what they can —and should do—to help the publisher and/or accomplish on their own.
Twenty years ago, when teaching my first—of 53—Hugo House classes, I never envisioned that Print-on-Demand, the Espresso Book Machine, e-books, etc. would be added to the information I would share. Everything has changed; nothing is new—because the function is the same. Today, there is social media, but marketing methods that I have taught—and used when publicizing Jean Auel’s The Clan of the Cave Bear 25 years ago—are still valid today. When I entered New York City publishing decades ago, writers pitched to agents in person; today it can also be “done” via Twitter.
In 2003, Kit Bakke took a two-day class that covered the basics of book publishing and marketing. Today she has published a novel for adults, a young adult novel, and her latest book, Protest on Trial (Washington State University Press; March 2018), which chronicles the dramatic story surrounding the arrests and trial of seven Seattle Liberation Front leaders.
I’ve lost the specific dates when Karen MacInerney entered my classroom, but today she is a prolific writer of mystery series, all by major New York publishers.
And five years before Elissa Washuta’s memoir, My Body Is a Book of Rules, was published in 2014, she entered my Hugo House classroom full of questions and eager for answers that would help her progress.
The new Hugo House will be a place where even more writers can find encouragement and even better services than before.
Alice B. Acheson is an independent book marketing and publicity specialist. She has worked for decades in publishing in New York City and on the West Coast, winning a Literary Market Place Award for Advertising, Promotion, and Publicity and publicizing numerous titles that landed on The New York Times bestseller list, including four simultaneously.