How to Get into Publishing: Publicity

By David Adams

Christine Mykityshyn, Celadon’s Director of Publicity, reveals how she went from magazine to book publishing and details some of her successes along the way

Growing up in Holmdel, New Jersey, Christine Mykityshyn was a “big time” reader—all thanks to Little Women. In first grade, she received a copy of the Louisa May Alcott classic as a gift from her mom, and the book quickly became a prized possession. “No joke, I brought it in for show-and-tell and was appalled when other kids weren’t excited about it,” Christine remembers. “Book nerdom starts early!”

It was her immediate connection with Little Women’s central character that made the story so special for Christine. “I saw so much of myself in Jo March: the second of four kids, opinionated and fiercely independent, loved to corral my siblings into performing with me, etcetera. I remember feeling so comforted by that sense of camaraderie with her. It turned out to be a gateway into countless other worlds I could inhabit through the power of fiction.”

Naturally, Christine majored in English at Boston University. After graduating, she “dabbled” in magazines for a year, but quickly discovered that the “Devil Wears Prada lifestyle was real, and it wasn’t for me in the slightest.” So when she landed a job as a publicity assistant at Random House, it was like winning the lottery. “Without working out any of the logistics,” she says now, “I’d always had a strong vision of myself living in New York City, drinking lots of coffee, and having a new manuscript in my bag at all times. Check, check, and check.”

As she moved up the ranks at Random House, from associate to senior publicist to publicity manager, Christine had the privilege of working with some of her favorite authors, including bestelling memoirist and former editor-in-chief of Gourmet, Ruth Reichl. “Ruth’s memoirs were important to me in college,” she says. “I revered her writing, her career trajectory, and often daydreamed about what it might be like to be her. To become her publicist felt like a twinge of fate. I was so gratified to play a part in landing My Kitchen Year—her first cookbook in over forty years—on the New York Times bestseller list and at a career high for her.”

The publicity campaign for Jon Meacham’s biography of President George H.W. Bush, Destiny and Power, was a vastly different experience, but one that Christine enjoyed just as much. “The book’s breaking news dominated the headlines for a few days,” she recalls. “It was thrilling to be in the center of that level of attention.” She credits her mentor, Barbara Fillon, with creating a team atmosphere that made the campaign so special. “When she could’ve taken all the credit, she was gracious to me and my publicity partner in wanting us to experience the ride with her and letting us run with the ball,” says Christine. “I’ll never forget how good that felt.”

Christine had already read the New York Times profile about Celadon Books when co-founders Jamie Raab and Deb Futter called her in to chat about an opportunity to lead their publicity department. “I felt so inspired by Jamie and Deb’s vision for this team,” she says. “We shared a sense of how to best publish our broad list of fiction and nonfiction and how to best collaborate. I was thrilled when they asked me to be a part of it.”

The rare opportunity to grow a division from the ground up is what most excites Christine about her role as Celadon’s Director of Publicity. “I’ve been so encouraged,” she says, “by all the journalists, producers, and booksellers who believe in this first list of authors and are rooting for the success of this team.” As she builds campaigns for Celadon’s inaugural titles, including Alex Michaelides The Silent Patient and Abby Wambach’s Wolfpack, she’s also striving to create the same collaborative atmosphere for her team that her mentor did for her.

And although she’d never play favorites, Christine admits that she can’t wait to publish chef and cookbook author Erin French’s memoir Finding Freedom: “Her restaurant in Maine is on my life list!”

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