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An Indie Author’s Strategic Guide to Self-Promotion

A PR strategy helps authors shape and frame the way their books are read. How can you as an author articulate the significance of your book? And influence how your book will be read?

Let’s ask Arisa White, a Cave Canem graduate fellow and the author of You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened.

Arisa White approached her book with the lens of an artist. You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened spoke to her at a deeply personal level. She wanted to use her book to connect with the queer community, particularly Black women and trans people.

The title of her book You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened widened her horizons and she visualized the concept as a celebration of beauty not just as an aesthetic but also a way of being and knowing – that could be accessing resources to creating a shield against all of the craziness in the world.

As she began articulating this concept and seeing the works of other artists in the Bay area, she chanced upon a photographer by the name of Nye’Lyn Tho who created portraits of Black people. Nye’s unique reimagining of their hair into fauna and flora associated with African-American culture caught Arisa’s attention. She saw it as a wonderful way to collaborate and celebrate Black lesbian and trans women alike.

So she, together with Nye’Lyn Tho, worked on a series of portraits of women that went on to becoming the central event of her book marketing strategy. Each woman selected a poem from You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened and talked about what that poem meant for them. Nye used her artistic instincts and captured its meaning in the form of beautiful portraits.

Arisa White’s PR strategy went beyond traditional book marketing. Her focus on connecting with a unique audience and making her book a poetic encounter in their lives created an opportunity to hold a space of beauty that made people feel good, loved, and cared for.

So we ask you, how can you align your marketing goals and recreate Arisa White’s strategy to promote your own book?



Shafeeka Hafeez

Shafeeka Hafeez grew up escaping into a world of books where she discovered a love for writing and a fascination with trees. When she’s not taking up a new marketing skill, or typing out a blog post, you can find her Googling the best therapy for abandoned cats.

July 6, 2022

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