Kristen O'Connell

Kristen O'Connell - Marketer

Jersey City, NJ, USA

20 year veteran of Big 5 pub dedicated to helping authors with publishing strategy, platform building, and creative campaigns. Let's talk!

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Building on twenty years of experience in digital marketing, social marketing, content strategy, book marketing, and publicity, I'm passionate about building meaningful connections between authors with audiences who love--and buy--great books! ​I spent my career in positions at Penguin Random House, Penguin USA, Simon & Schuster, and DK Publishing where I created and managed innovative marketing initiatives, oversaw email communications to millions of readers monthly, developed engaging acquisition campaigns to help grow author and program platforms, booked author tours of all sizes, and launched web and social properties for fiction, nonfiction, self-help and children's books. ​

As an independent marketer and agency owner, I'm devoted to connecting books, authors, and readers to stories that matter. My process always kicks off with a complete reading of your book. In order to o accurately target your audience and find unique, creative, opportunities it's critical to get to know your writing and have a deep understanding of your work. We'll start our collaboration with an in-depth conversation during which I can hear from you about the work you've done, discuss your goals, and understand your strengths as an author/marketer. I love collaborating with writers and am available for questions, calls or video meetings throughout our collaboration.

My strengths are in commercial fiction, literary fiction, women's fiction, memoir, self-help, contemporary romance, romantic comedy, young adult, picture books, and middle grade. I work with a mix of traditionally published, hybrid, and indie authors and can offer any of the following to help with your project:

Market research and competitive title research for careful positioning

Price analysis

Book blurb

Author bio

Categories and keywords

Author platform building

Email marketing

Social media marketing

Social advertising

Low price campaigns

Website content and SEO

Influencer marketing campaigns

Press release, media kit, and pitch creation

I'm ready to put my skills to work for you. I believe that marketing a book is a marriage of science and heart--and I'm uniquely positioned to use my experience creating marketing moments led by data and insights to create a compelling strategy for your book.

Biographies & Memoirs
Parenting & Families
Political Science & Current Affairs
Self-Help & Self-Improvement
Contemporary Romance
Literary Fiction
Mystery & Crime


  • Member of the Women's Media Group

Work experience


February, 2021 – Present (over 1 year)

In 2021 I launched a full-service author and book marketing shop designed to help authors build their platform, connect with readers, and sell books. Specializing in web, email, and social media strategy and campaign management, I'm available to help you meet your readers where they are and create meaningful, lasting connections.

Sr. Director Content Marketing and Strategy

Penguin Random House
January, 2018 – February, 2021 (about 3 years)

Sr. Director Consumer Engagement

Penguin Random House
January, 2016 – January, 2018 (about 2 years)

Director of Online Marketing

September, 2008 – March, 2013 (over 4 years)


Mother of All Fights

Metadata analysis and suggestions on this terrific memoir has positioned the book as the #1 new release in category on Amazon 6 weeks prior to publication.

Read To Sleep 2020

In January of 2020, I worked with the team at Penguin Random House to launch a campaign with luxury home textile company Parachute to drive subscriber acquisition, build positive brand sentiment, and promote reading as wellness. Encouraging readers to swap their phones for a book at bedtime, the team created a campaign landing page, sweepstakes, and 5 part email series featuring bedtime routines and author reading recommendations. The campaign included bestsellers The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Fleischman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson, Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, and Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano.

Campaign coverage included the New York Post and The Drum.

Book the Vote

Timed with the 2020 election this multi-author campaign for Penguin Random House featured bestsellers Deepak Chopra, Khaled Hosseini, Jasmine Guillory, and Jeff Tweedy, and partners PEN America, When We All Vote, and Out of Print. Weekly author videos were featured on-site as well as in email campaigns.

Penguin Random House Books Connect Us

In 2020, at the start of the pandemic, I led my team in the launch of the Books Connect Us campaign to help readers find solace and connection in books during a time of separation. This campaign featured multi-channel communications across web, email, and social channels and reached millions of readers throughout spring and summer 2020.

Coverage for this campaign included articles in Esquire and Publisher's Weekly

Portfolio (18 selected works)

Hungry Hill

Curran, Eileen Patricia

Dead or Alive (A Jack Ryan Novel)

Clancy, Tom, Blackwood, Grant

Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition Fully Revised and Updated

Rombauer, Irma S., Becker, Marion Rombauer, Becker, Ethan, Becker, John, Scott, Megan

Ken Follett The Kingsbridge Novels Stories Collection 3 Books Set (The Pillars of the Earth, World Without End, A Column of Fire)

Ken Follett, The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, 978-0451222138, 045122213X, 9780451222138, World Without End by Ken Follett, 978-0451224996, 045122499X, 9780451224996, A Column of Fire by Ken Follett, 978-0451477996, 0451477995, 9780451477996

Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story

Chuck Klosterman, Patrick Lawlor, Tantor Audio


Jimmy Clifton

"A mysterious author delivers the comical tale...a raucous adventure around the globe." -KIRKUS REVIEWS A sudden windfall – and the money to make every dream come true… With finances and marriage strained to the breaking point, Rose and Henry Ball dream of new lives filled with romance and adventure. Then Fortune takes a hand. Against all odds the couple win a record Powerball lottery. The sud... read more

"A mysterious author delivers the comical tale...a raucous adventure around the globe." -KIRKUS REVIEWS A sudden windfall – and the money to make every dream come true… With finances and marriage strained to the breaking point, Rose and Henry Ball dream of new lives filled with romance and adventure. Then Fortune takes a hand. Against all odds the couple win a record Powerball lottery. The sud... read more

Evan Wycliff Mysteries

Jones, Gerald Everett

Milo's Moonlight Mission

Blasi, Kathleen M., Dostalova, Petronela

Kristen has 28 reviews

Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Craig Heath
Kristen was giving me valuable advice from the first minutes of our consultation. I've read a lot about self-publishing, to the point of becoming confused. She cut through the fog and offered her best practices advice for every question I had - and some I hadn't thought to ask. I look forward to further collaboration with Kristen and recommend her highly.

Craig Heath, May 2022

Bridget Erica
Working with Kristen has been the absolute highlight of my self-publishing journey. She was patient, clear and an invaluable marketing resource. I highly recommend hiring Kristen and look forward to working with her again on my next book release.

Bridget Erica, April 2022

David Tanderup
Kristen did everything I expected and more. She definitely delivered on the blurb writing and metadata analysis. Kristen was very responsive and willing to go the extra mile. Her attention to detail was impressive and I will definitely be hiring her to help me with my book launch.

David Tanderup, April 2022

Peter Eliott
When I began this collaboration, I was looking for a marketing professional who knew all the ins and out of the publishing world. That describes Kristen to a T. She is super knowledgeable and has tons of hands-on experience with every aspect of publishing. She also prepared extremely clear, professional materials for me, so that I could grasp the order of events, timelines and assorted prioriti...
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Peter Eliott, April 2022

David Unger
Kristen is easy to work with, very knowledgeable and responsive to my concerns. I know finding someone who is value added that you can trust is not easy so let me reassure you about her - she won't let you down.

David Unger, April 2022

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