Wikipedia defines a publicist as one whose job is to generate and manage publicity for a public figure, especially a celebrity, or for a work such as a book, film or album. At the age of 30 Dawn Michelle Hardy launched Dream Relations, PR & Literary Consulting out of necessity. The boom of urban fiction aka hip-hop lit opened doors for the former author assistant to help promote the works of debut novelists who penned highly entertaining tales of what they saw as their harsh realities living in the “hood”. Today, Dawn has carved a niche for herself in publishing where she is serving writers in multiple capacities including, being a literary agent for non-fiction writers, consulting those who choose self-publishing and promoting quality content for an impressive lineup of storytellers.
How does your business empower others to succeed?
I think the work that we are doing at DRPR is helping people develop and share their creative work. The passion and desire that so many people have to write a book is endless, but the know-how and professional support often falls short. While Dream Relations is a PR agency, we have a consulting arm for the sole purpose of educating authors on the real process of publishing. It’s challenging whether you opt to query publishers and literary agents or if you choose to self-publish. The more you know the better you can strategize on what will work best for you. I’ve consulted with writers who are now onto their second book or have started small presses. It warms my heart to see those who I’ve consulted 2-3 years ago being featured online and hosting events.
What inspired you to want to start your agency?
Well, I think this is where the empowerment is about to come in. I was fired in 2004 and the rest is history. I had $2,000 in the bank and it was 2-weeks before Christmas. To say, I was shocked would be an understatement. I understand that it was God’s plan. The work I was doing for one author I now do for dozens of authors a year. I attend conferences nationwide and teach on memoir writing, book publicity and the publishing process. The ceiling to my success was removed when I left my last full-time gig. God knew the space was too small for my purpose. Here I am 13-years later expanding into management and film. God did that!
Who empowers you?
I am empowered by my belief in God, who says I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength. Remember, I was fired from my job prior to entrepreneurship. I didn’t have an immediate plan. Faith has brought me this far. That’s why my company was named Divine Relationships in Entertainment and Media (DREAM Relations). The clients and colleagues that I worked with over the past 13 years have been divinely led to me. I have a client referral rate of 90%.
Additionally, I’m empowered by the ones who left their jobs on their own terms or those like me who were given a pink slip and moved forward despite the hardships that followed.
3 empowering tips to achieve goals.
- Ask for help, no one knows everything. We all have varied talents, so don’t be afraid to ask someone for help.
- Build a network of likeminded individuals that you can exchange ideas and resources with. I am a member of a few PR groups and it has made being an entrepreneur much more enjoyable. The network should include those who have varied professional interest as well, graphic designer, lawyer, etc.
- Take care of yourself. I know many live by the “get rich or die trying” mantra, but I do not believe in that. While the work you are doing as an entrepreneur is important to you and will impact many, I don’t think you should sacrifice physical and mental health for the “work”. I took up running two years after starting my business. It helps relief stress and activates my creativity. Establish a self-care routine, whether that be biking, running, yoga, playing outdoor sports, monthly spa services, prayer or meditation. Just take care of yourself and do get some sleep at least 7 hours 4 nights of the week, you can burn the midnight oil at least 3x week. Sleep is vital.
Connect with Dawn via social media Instagram @DreamRelationsPR and Twitter @DawnMichellePR.
Up next for Dawn, her Speed Mentoring (TM) series heads to Charlotte and Atlanta for intimate publishing brunches.
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Felicia Smith is an Empower Magazine columnist, inspirational speaker and marriage and family therapist. Her books are available for purchase on Amazon.com.