Posts Tagged ‘query letters’

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Meet Teresa LeYung-Ryan, Book Marketing Coach!

1. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background in the industry?
My name is Teresa LeYung-Ryan and my clients call me Writing-and-Platform-Building Coach Teresa. I wish to thank Christy Pinheiro-Silva of www.StepByStepSelfPublishing.net for this interview, and, I encourage everyone to look for the core messages in my responses—which are:  Reach out, not stress out, to material your dreams;  and, wear your two hats as a writer and be happy (whether you’re writing fiction, narrative nonfiction, or prescription nonfiction also known as “how to” books/articles).

This is what happened to me, over ten years ago, and the choices I’ve made.

I had a dream—a dream of connecting with readers the way Maxine Hong Kingston touched me with her memoir The Woman Warrior.  My writer’s journey started with learning the components of a story in a ten-week course Writing Children’s Literature at the community center and forming a critique group with three classmates after the course ended.

Fast forward.  After seven years of writing and rewriting, showing up at critique meetings twice a month,  I received a gift from a friend—a brochure for the Jack London Writers’ Conference with an entry form for their writing contest.   Two months later, at the conference, I met members from California Writers’ Club and I received “Second Prize” in the Novel Category in the writing contest. I thought that by being a winner in a contest, surely I would attract mentors and be “discovered” by an agent the following week.  (Are you laughing?)

Fast forward.  After sending query letters and the first two chapters of my novel to dozens of agents over a year, and, receiving “rejection letters” and getting very depressed, I took a friend’s advice and registered for a workshop “How to Get Published.” Also, I got together with two other contest-winners (Luisa Adams and Martha Alderson) and we pledged to help each other on our writers’ journeys.

I took a six-week leave of absence from my job to perform the last big rewrite of my manuscript.  (Note: Surround yourself with people who really support your dreams. My husband and my friends were cheering for me.)

Fast forward.  My first novel Love Made of Heart (a mother-daughter love story) is used in college composition classes; available at public libraries; recommended by the CA School Library Association and the CA Reading Association; and archived at the San Francisco History Center.   October 2012 marks the tenth anniversary of Love Made of Heart.  The book is still in print, and, I continue to meet new fans.

For the past nine years, through my coaching  and my workbook Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days, I have been helping writers reach out, not stress out, to attract agents, editors, publishers, readers, and media attention.

2. What is your opinion on self-publishing vs. traditional publishing and represented by an agent?

The advantage of identifying the right agent who will pitch your intellectual property to the right publishers— agents have their specialties and their relationships with acquisition editors at publishing houses; established publishers have relationships with book distributors.

Note: An agent gets 15% of what the author receives from the publisher (similar to a finder’s fee). Agents are not publicists, marketing managers or promoters.  The publisher, not the agent, offers you the contract (to buy the rights to publish your book).

Note: Hire a literary attorney to interpret and negotiate the contract for you if your agent doesn’t have access to legal counsel. Know what rights you are selling to the publisher.

*
The advantage of being your own publisher—you have full control regarding:

  • rights to publish and re-print
  • how to promote your book, when, and to whom
  • publication date and publication format
  • book layout, cover design, jacket copy
  • cover price; discounts to booksellers
  • budget and profits

Consider Your and Other People’s Timetables:
It might take years to find your agent; it might take years before your agent finds the publisher.  By the way, my super-agent Stacey Glick tells me that only 2% of her clients would receive contracts from publishers.  When Stacey negotiated the deal with acquisition editor John Scognamiglio at Kensington Publishing Corp. New York (a publisher who releases 500+ new titles each year) for my  mother-daughter novel Love Made of Heart, my book title got onto the “conveyor belt” (it would take 18 months from when I sign the contract to when the book would show up in bookstores).

Note: A publisher could “fast track” a new title,  releasing the book within months or even weeks.  An example of releasing a book within weeks would be when a super-famous person dies and big publishers would forego some of the stops in the conveyor belt process.

How much attention are you going to get and give?
The bigger the publisher, the more new titles they release each year, the less attention each author gets.  Their best-selling authors, celebrity-authors, and new authors to whom they have given huge advances would get the most attention of course.

A decade ago when John Scognamiglio told me “You have six weeks to get on the radar”  I thought I knew what that meant.  You see, I was one of the lucky authors.  Kensington had bought “front of the store” shelf space at chain-stores for Love Made of Heart.  Chain-stores would rotate inventory every six weeks.  If a book sells during those six weeks, then the store would order more copies through their distributor.  Independent sales representatives (especially Nancy Suib and Anne Shulenberger) introduced Love Made of Heart to their accounts (independent booksellers).  “Indies” also had to rotate their inventory every few weeks.  What does this mean?  Unsold books are returned to the distributors (warehouses).  Publishers have to pay taxes on inventory—it is a costly business—selling printed books.

To stay on that “radar” meant making one’s name and the subject matter/issues/themes in one’s book visible in media attention over those precious six weeks. Which also meant having lined up interviews—in print, radio, television.  You’re probably saying . . . Wouldn’t the publisher handle all that?  Yes, if you are one of their best-selling authors, a celebrity, or a new author who has been given a huge advance.

Note:  Cyberspace magic provides opportunities galore for authors to broadcast ourselves (build our platforms and fanbases). What is a platform?  The definition is on page 1 from my workbook  Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days“Making your name stand for something—to attract targeted consumers—who are likely to buy what you have to sell.”

3. What do you feel is the most important thing that authors can do to promote their books?
The simple yet powerful tool is:  Making your name synonymous with the  themes/subject matter/issues in your literary works.

In my interview on CBS Channel 5, I talked about:  “What I care about … leads to my writing about those themes/subject matters/issues.  What I write about …   attracts my fans because they also care about what I care about.  Help your fans find you.”

Introduce yourself with your full name.  Then use these three words:  “I care about . . . ”

Example: (as a writer of fiction, narrative nonfiction, including memoirs )
I am Teresa LeYung-Ryan, author of Love Made of Heart (a mother-daughter love story).   I care about helping adult-children (of mentally-ill parents) speak openly about the stigmas and find resources for their loved ones.
Example: (as a writer of prescriptive nonfiction  a.k.a. “how to” )
I am Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan, author of Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW.   I care about helping writers thrive in today’s publishing arena.

I call these self-introductions my platform-statement.
Where to “show” your platform-statement? 

  • Your email signature-block! 
  • Your letterhead! 
  • Your website and blog slogan/tagline/description! 
  • Your bio! 
  • Your business cards! 
  • The caption for your photographs! 
  • Headline for press releases!
  • Social media pages! 
  • And, let’s hear it on your voicemail!

Even when I’m emailing my loved ones (my biggest fans), I show them my platform-statement in my signature block.  Help your fans brag about you with ease.

4. What are your feelings on Social Media? (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc)
I thank creators and users of social media.  How else could our fans from faraway places find us?  Be consistent.  Update your bio in all these forums to reflect your current platform-statement. A picture speaks a thousand words; be sure to rename photo-files (show your full name and book title, and even keywords from your platform-statement)

5. Do you feel that book marketing for fiction is different than book marketing for non-fiction?

No difference in today’s markets.
How do I choose books as a consumer?
As Teresa-the-consumer, I pay attention when:

  • friends recommend a book
  • I read about or hear or meet the author and I appreciate what the author has to say
  • I need information on a particular subject, so  I use a search engine (like Google.com) to find those books or I ask my favorite booksellers and librarians.

How would I help these consumers find me if I am an author?
Please see the answers to Question # 3—“What do you feel is the most important thing that authors can do to promote their books?”

6. What are some of the biggest mistakes that authors make when trying to promote their books?

  • One big mistake is misdirecting your energy pitching to book reviewers or radio or television producers who are not interested in the subject matter /issues/ themes that you are promoting.  Do your homework; seek advice from mentors, colleagues, and yours truly Coach Teresa; use The Book Reviewer Yellow Pages; listen and watch shows you’d like to be invited to, and, please study their format
  • Another common mistake is what my colleague Elisa Sasa Southard calls “killing a marketing moment.”   Her book Break Through the Noise shows you the 9 tools to propel your marketing message.
  • The third common mistake is tiring yourself out when promoting at events where there is traveling, schlepping, and setting up involved. I have lots of fun with colleagues/co-presenters at writers’ conferences, book festivals, and community events. Recently I shared a booth with Margie Yee Webb and Rita Lakin at the Sonoma County Book Festival.  Every year I join forces with co-presenters Sasa Southard and Mary E. Knippel at the San Francisco Writers Conference.  On December 15, 2012 I’ll be sharing a table with Margie Yee Webb (she’s the author of the gift-book Cat Mulan’s Mindful Musings) at a Local Authors event.  Please check my events page.

7. Do you have any other useful advice for beginning authors?

  • Get yourself a calendar (month at a glance) with big squares to write in, and, schedule time to work on your craft and your platform.
  • Get to know members in writers’ organizations (my favorite ones are California Writers Club and Women’s National Book Association)
  • Please read my blog post:  Wear Two Hats as a Writer and Be Happy


8. How can authors contact you if they have any questions?

I encourage you to ask me question by posting a comment on any of my blog posts. That way, my fans will see your name and questions (so, promote yourself).  To submit a comment: click on the headline/blue title bar of the post, scroll down to the end of the post, fill in the boxes, and press the [submit comment] button.

Here’s a blog post you might like to submit a comment/question:  Who Really Is the Most Qualified Person to Build the Author’s Platform and Fanbase?

My email address:   WritingCoachTeresag   at    gmail.com

You will find links to the organizations referenced in this interview on my “Writers’ Resources” page at  http://writingcoachteresa.com

In closing, I wish to reiterate my thanks to Christy Pinheiro and to say “I cheer for all writers!”

Reach out, not stress out!
Sincerely,

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan

http://writingcoachTeresa.com

Christy Pinheiro-Silva of www.StepByStepSelfPublishing.net  says:

“Thanks, Teresa, for a great interview!!!”

Hello Writers,

I am Teresa LeYung Ryan. My clients call me Writing Career Coach Teresa. Who are my clients? They are writers just like you:

• authors who have invested years writing their projects and needed to hook agents with a marketing pitch in their query letters.

• authors who have self-published their books, and deserve more readers.

• writers of fiction and nonfiction, tired of rejections, tired of publishers telling them that they don’t have a platform or fanbase.

What is a platform anyway?

Making your name stand for something—to attract targeted consumers who are likely to buy what you have to sell. Let’s hear that again.

Making your name stand for something (the themes/the subject matters/the issues in your writing)—to attract targeted consumers (people who buy the kinds of books you create ) who are likely to buy what you have to sell (your literary works).

Join the community of authors who write fiction (novels, short stories, graphic novels, novellas), narrative and creative nonfiction (autobiographies, biographies, memoirs, essays), prescriptive nonfiction (how-to books), poetry, speeches, and other genres . . .  and have gained a competitive edge with my workbook: Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW

What these authors have to say:

Ruth Silnes is a published author of three books, one of them a how-to book. Ruth says: “Thanks to Coach Teresa’s workbook I learned how to contact a star. Carol Channing wrote a review for my latest book.”

Kate Britton is looking for an agent for her novel; she’s also considering self-publishing.  She says: “Through Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days . . . you’ll find out some pretty interesting things about yourself and what your platform is really all about.”

Margaret Davis, a published novelist, says: “Instead of the usual pep talks, Coach Teresa’s workbook consists of a series of exercises which are thought-provoking, and always fun.”

Lynn Scott, author of narrative non-fiction (memoirs), says: “Coach Teresa is a whiz in the ways a writer can get noticed.”

Join these successful authors today!

Go to Amazon and search for Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days.  After you order my book, contact me through this blog post (click on the title bar of this post scroll down to get boxes, filled in the boxes, and click the “submit comment” button) and you will receive a free tip on platform building.

In the meantime, check out the resources at my website http://WritingCoachTeresa.com

I’ll see there!

And remember, “Reach out, not stress out.  Help your readers find you!” with Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days

Sincerely,

Writing Career Coach Teresa  Build Your Writer's Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days


“Make Every Word Count When Pitching to Agents or Acquisition Editors”
by Writing Career Coach Teresa

You have spent months, perhaps years, writing and rewriting your project/work.  And, you’ve decided to pursue either an agent (who earns his/her commission when he/she sells a client’s work to a publishing house) or an acquisition editor (whose job is to buy authors’ works for the publishing house he/she works for). Let’s say you’ve done your homework and have compiled a list of agents or acquisition editors who specialize in the kind of project (commodity) you wish to sell.

An agent or acquisition editor receives hundreds of pitches/query letters each week.  What can you do to catch these folks’ attention?  Use the right bait.  Make every word count.

Whether you’re pitching in person, over the telephone, through an E-Mail, or by old-fashion mail, keep this in mind—the pitch (bait) has three components:
•    who needs your project
•    the unique qualities about your commodity
•    why you are the perfect author for this work

Here are 4 examples:

Genre: Self Help / Relationship / Marriage

The 50% and 60% divorce rates, for first and second marriages respectively, are a wake-up call for the United States 55.2 million married couples.

Through my book, I empower couples to get the marriage they’ve always wanted.

The Marriage Meeting Program: 45 Minutes a Week to Guarantee the Long Term Relationship You’ve Always Wanted shows how to conduct a weekly meeting that increases intimacy, romance, teamwork, and smoother conflict resolution.

A proactive, preventive approach is crucial. Regardless of how good a relationship is, there is always a need to keep it on track and room for it to grow. The Marriage Meeting Program’s step-by-step approach makes it easy to conduct the meetings. Follow-up studies show a 20 to 80 percent increase in marital happiness for couples who implement the program.

I am Marcia Naomi Berger, a psychotherapist, writer, speaker, workshop leader, and instructor of a class for therapists and counselors at the University of California Berkeley Extension. http://www.marriagemaven.com

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Genre: Memoir

There are more than 38-million boom-generation women in this country.  Through my book, I show middle-aged women how to cope with family and social pressures while dealing with their own mortality issues.

My memoir, Oldham Street, is about my journey from east coast to west bearing the pain of a son in prison, the long slow death of my father, the end of my counseling career and a ten-year relationship.  I knocked on a lemon-colored door on a short block in San Francisco.  In the next twelve years, the woman who opened that door, along with the other quirky characters in the neighborhood, inadvertently joined me in a process that brought me home to myself and into a comfortable role as the matriarch of my tribe.

I am Lynn Scott:

  • author of A Joyful Encounter: My Mother, My Alzheimer Clients, and Me (a memoir about the abundance of spirit that I found among my Alzheimer clients).
  • contributor to eight anthologies of fiction, memoir, and poetry.
  • a guest on OPRAH and other talk shows .

http://lynnscottbooks.com

http://lynnscott.wordpress.com

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Genre: Women’s Fiction

Recent survey data indicates that 22% of the 55,000,000+ married women admit to having an extramarital affair. STAYING AFLOAT is the story of one of these women –although she wouldn’t have admitted it if she hadn’t gotten caught.

Crystal Scott is a stable and stalwart, stay-at-home wife and mother, aiming only to run an efficient home, care for her children and avoid confrontation.  Whatever her private thoughts are, she keeps them to herself.  But when her husband loses his job and shows no signs of looking for another, fault lines in their marriage are exposed.  She’s forced to re-enter the workforce, and when her dazzling, dynamic boss takes a personal interest in her, she slips into territory that most women have fantasized about, even if they don’t want to admit it — she morphs into a sex-starved adulteress.

I am Judith Marshall, author of the award-winning novel, HUSBANDS MAY COME AND GO BUT FRIENDS ARE FOREVER. I’ve been writing for thirteen years and am a member of the California Writers Club and the Women’s National Book Association. In addition, I am the President of Human Resources Consulting Services and a member of the faculty of the Council on Education in Management, for whom I teach a number of public seminars on a variety of HR-relates topics. I’m currently working on my third novel, BITTER ACRES.
http://judithmarshall.net/

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Genre: Women’s Fiction / Humor

39%  of the 68 million women employed in the U.S. work in management, professional, and related occupations. Through my book Katie Carlisle, I show women how to hold onto their integrity, humor, and vision . . . in spite of having to fight sexism in the corporate world.

Katie Carlisle has been lucky enough to have a mentor (her boss) who has taken her to a point where her promotion is pretty well guaranteed.  Only then everything goes wrong.  Her beloved mentor leaves the company under a cloud; his successor is a man whom Katie hates and fears; and a downward spiral in her fortunes starts.  This is the story of a smart woman’s struggle to hold onto her integrity, humor and vision in spite of the tumult around her—and her eventual triumph.

I am Margaret Davis.  I have a doctorate from Stanford University in Sociology, with a specialization in the structure and behavior of formal organizations.  I have had two non-fiction books published in my field.  Katie Carlisle, a humorous spoof on everyday life in a large corporation, is a work of fiction.  Yet, as many of my readers have commented, “Everyone who has ever worked in a big company will relate to and love this book.”

I am also the author of Straight Down the Middle, a family drama involving a young mother’s efforts to do what is best for her child while trying to come to terms with her own sexuality.
http://margaretdavisbooks.com/

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Writing Career Coach Teresa will help you practice your pitch
at WNBA’s  “Meet the Agents, Editors, & Publishers”
on March 27, 2010   http://wnba-sfchapter.org

Teresa LeYung Ryan is:
*   Board member at WNBA-SF Chapter since 2004
*    Author with agent and NY publisher
*   Writing career coach
*    Past president of California Writers Club-SF Peninsula Branch
*    Library advocate

Writing Career Coach Teresa is the author of  Build Your Name, Beat the Game: Be Happily Published (a 22-day workbook for writers to build their names and attract attention and fans before and after publication).   http://WritingCoachTeresa.com

As a community spirit, Teresa LeYung Ryan uses her novel Love Made of Heart to:
• shed light on stigmas suffered by immigrant women, men, and children
• advocate understanding of mental illness/traumas to the mind
• help survivors of violence find their own voices through writing
www.LoveMadeOfHeart.com

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Is there a Database of Literary Agents?

“Yes!” says Writing-Career-Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan.  Read on…

AAR is the Association of Authors’ Representatives.
http://www.aaronline.org/
Authors looking for agents can search in the AAR database by choosing genre/categories:
After you identify the agents who specialize in your genre, go to the agents’ websites and follow submission guidelines. It’s okay to
query more than one agent at a time.
Querying = asking an agent if he/she would like to read part or all of your manuscript.

When an agent asks to read your entire manuscript (“ms”) and you want this agent to do that, then you give this agent an exclusive reading time, typically 2 or 3 weeks. You cannot give exclusive reading time to more than one agent at a time since an agent would be investing her/his time in reading your entire ms. You do NOT send your entire ms. to someone who has not asked to see it.

Also, look at Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents – (available at libraries and bookstores)

Reach out, not stress out.

Sincerely,

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan

I am Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan who teaches my clients (writers, artists) how to reach out, not stress out, before and after publication — identify themes in their intellectual properties and create scripts for pitches, query letters, press releases, talking-points, one-minute videos, photo slideshows, and the all-mighty blog. Please visit http://WritingCoachTeresa.com  and http://LoveMadeOfHeart.com/blog for resources.

The workbook:
Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW – available at http://www.laurelbookstore.com in Oakland, CA and on Amazon – print edition and Kindle edition!

If you’d like to email me . . .   WritingCoachTeresa  then @, then Gmail.com

  • What email subject line will attract my attention?  Tell me where you’ve met me (which conference? which workshop? which community event?) or tell me who referred you.
  •  In the body of your email, please include your full name and your URL (website or blog address) so that I can see what you’re already doing to build your writer’s platform and fanbase. I like concise and gracious emails. Thank you so much.
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