Maria Whelan is among the 2023 Publishers Weekly Star Watch honorees

Congratulations to Assistant Promotions Director Maria Whelan, who is a 2023 Publishers Weekly Star Watch honoree. The annual Star Watch list recognizes “rising talent in publishing” who are “moving the industry forward and helping great books come into the world.”

Whelan—among 35 honorees from across all facets of trade, independent, and scholarly publishing and bookselling—joined Princeton University Press as a promotions manager in 2019 and was promoted to Assistant Promotions Director in 2022. Prior to PUP, she held publicity positions at Penguin Random House’s Dutton imprint, Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone imprint, and the indie publisher Other Press.

With experience promoting books across genres and working for publishers of all sizes, Whelan brings deep industry knowledge and endless creativity to her work. Earlier this year, she spoke with writing coach and PUP author, Laura Portwood-Stacer, to share advice on how authors can best collaborate with publishers on marketing and publicity for their book (read the full interview here).

At PUP, she oversees publicity campaigns for trade books, directs publicity strategy for the Press’s trade paperbacks program, and works closely with Promotions Director Julia Haav on administration and strategy for the Press’s North American publicity operations. In her nomination of Whelan for the 2023 Star Watch list, Haav praised Whelan as, “an incredible advocate for books, authors, and her peers” who “infuses her campaigns with energy, excitement, focus, and care, working adeptly to find just the right angle for engaging authors in public conversations.” Asked by Publishers Weekly about advice she would give “to new-to-publishing-you,” Whelan shared:

“Confidence is such an integral part of your work; build it by asking questions, working early hours in the morning when you are at your best, and devoting time to develop close connections with colleagues and other young publishing professionals.”

Whelan’s colleagues at PUP congratulate her on this well-deserved celebration of her inspiring work and admirable collegiality.