Michael Taeckens creates high-profile marketing and publicity campaigns for authors, publishers, and literary organizations and provides first-rate publishing and website consultations. His areas of expertise are literary fiction and narrative nonfiction (essays, memoir, hybrid work, cultural studies, contemporary issues, and natural and social sciences).
Michael has twenty-two years’ experience in the publishing industry. Since going solo in 2014, his clients have been featured regularly in top-rated national media, including three of his projects on the cover of the New York Times Book Review. New York Times bestsellers he’s worked on include Tom Perrotta‘s Mrs. Fletcher, Adam Grant‘s #1 bestseller Originals, Mary-Louise Parker‘s Dear Mr. You, Tim Johnston‘s Descent, Vikram Chandra‘s Geek Sublime, and Leslie Jamison‘s The Empathy Exams.
Recent and current clients include New Yorker poetry editor and NYPL Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture director Kevin Young; Pulitzer Prize finalist and American Academy of Arts & Letters member Luis Alberto Urrea; New York Times bestseller and PEN Award finalist Leslie Jamison; former Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Natasha Trethewey; Edgar Award winner and writer for HBO’s The Deuce Megan Abbott; National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Ada Limón; and Lambda Literary Award winner Nicole Dennis-Benn, a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award, and The New York Public Library Young Lions Award.
Michael 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.
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 (with Julia Alvarez), Anne Lamott, Judy Blume (with Tayari Jones), 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 independent 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, catalogs, and galley design; and worked closely with independent booksellers around the country, landing multiple Graywolf Press books on the ABA’s Indie Next list.
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, New York Times Book Review‘s Parul Sehgal, GQ‘s Kevin Nguyen, and O, The Oprah Magazine‘s Leigh Haber. 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 2009 he edited and collected the anthology Love Is a Four-Letter Word (Penguin/Plume), featuring work by Junot Díaz, Lynda Barry, Gary Shteyngart, and Kate Christensen, among others.