Michael Taeckens has twenty years’ experience in the publishing industry. He was the longtime Publicity Director at Algonquin Books, where he executed the publicity campaigns for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s debut novel, Purple Hibiscus, Pulitzer Prize finalist Laila Lalami‘s first two novels, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits and Secret Son, and numerous New York Times bestsellers, including Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Robert Goolrick’s A Reliable Wife, Amy Stewart’s Flower Confidential and Wicked Plants, Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods, Tab Hunter and Eddie Muller’s Tab Hunter Confidential, Lauren Grodstein’s A Friend of the Family, Lee Smith‘s The Last Girls, and Caroline Leavitt‘s Pictures of You, among others. (See TESTIMONIALS for feedback from these authors.) Additional New York Times bestsellers he’s worked on include Leslie Jamison‘s The Empathy Exams, Mary-Louise Parker‘s Dear Mr. You, Adam Grant‘s Originals, Tim Johnston‘s Descent, and Vikram Chandra‘s Geek Sublime.
During his tenure as Algonquin’s Publicity Director he launched and managed Algonquin’s social media presence, growing its Twitter fan base to over 110,000 followers and its Facebook fan base to over 10,000 followers. In his role as Algonquin’s Online Marketing Director, he created the “Algonquin Book Club” series, pairing well-known writers from other publishing houses with Algonquin authors for live events/live webcasts; the authors he scheduled for this series include Stephen King, Edwidge Danticat, Anne Lamott, Judy Blume, Terry McMillan, Kathryn Stockett, and Garth Stein. He also revamped Algonquin’s website and implemented several online series, including “Booksellers Rock”—monthly interviews with prominent booksellers from bookstores around the country—and the “Algonquin Talks” series, wherein he interviewed the book reviewers/producers for NPR’s Fresh Air, the Today show, the New York Times Book Review, USA Today, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Washington Post, and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Michael also worked as the Marketing Director at Graywolf Press, where he oversaw Graywolf’s dynamic publicity team, launched Graywolf’s new website, revamped Graywolf’s logo, and worked closely with independent booksellers around the country, landing multiple Graywolf Press books on the ABA’s Indie Next list, including the aforementioned The Empathy Exams.
Michael pens the “Reviewers & Critics” column for Poets & Writers magazine; book reviewers he’s interviewed for the series include the New York Times’ Dwight Garner, Bad Feminist author Roxane Gay, the Washington Post‘s Ron Charles, the Chicago Tribune‘s Jennifer Day, Buzzfeed‘s Isaac Fitzgerald, freelance critic Michael Schaub, the New York Times Book Review‘s Pamela Paul, prestigious poetry critic Steph Burt, Slate‘s Laura Miller, and New York Times Book Review‘s Parul Sehgal. He has spoken about marketing and publicity at many book conferences, including “Poets & Writers Live” in Chicago, Grub Street’s “The Muse & the Marketplace in Boston, the Decatur Book Festival in Atlanta, and multiple appearances at Book Expo America, as well at various universities, including Macalester College, Hamline University, the University of North Carolina, and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Before launching his publishing career, Michael received his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
In May 2015 Michael co-founded Broadside PR with his esteemed colleagues, Kimberly Burns and Whitney Peeling; together, they write the “Ask the Publicists” column at LitHub. Please visit Broadside PR for more information.