Community Member Q&A: Kallisto Gaia Press

“Be true to your craft but share your vision and your work with your tribe. Community will give you an anchor.”

-Tony Burnett

Kallisto Gaia Press is a nonprofit literary organization and publisher focused on supporting writers at all stages of their careers. They don’t shy away from experimental or unusual approaches to literature, and their goal is to promote finely crafted writing with an expressive and meaningful voice.

In addition to supporting and promoting authors, Kallisto Gaia Press is a proud Community Member of the Writers’ League of Texas. Read the interview below with founder (and WLT Board President) Tony Burnett to find out more.

Scribe: Tell us a little about why you founded Kallisto Gaia Press, the meaning of its name, and its mission.

Tony Burnett: Formed in 2013, Kallisto Gaia Press was originally intended as a hub for emerging writers of any age to find a venue for publication. In late 2016, with several other scribes and literary enthusiasts, we incorporated as a nonprofit and modified our mission statement. We seek to publish and promote writers from underserved communities alongside established voices while insuring that our authors are compensated for their art.

The name, Kallisto Gaia, originates in Greek mythology. Kallisto, loosely translated, means “most beautiful” and Gaia means “earth.” Of course, as in most myths, there’s a lot more to the story and it’s a nail-biter. On our website (www.kallistogaiapress.org) there is enough info about the origin to send you down that rabbit hole.

Scribe: What is the Ocotillo Review?

TB: The Ocotillo Review (TOR) is a literary journal in print format that publishes in summer and winter. Our desire is to give voice to an international sampling of journalists, storytellers, and poets from viewpoints that reflect diversity of culture and open lines of communication. Oh, and did I mention we pay? Details can be found on our website.

Scribe: How can writers submit to the Ocotillo Review?

TB: We take all submissions through Submittable. We charge a $3 reading fee that we split with the Submittable website. That allows us to receive an unlimited number of submissions and the software enables our all volunteer staff to manage the submissions effectively. It also helps pay the writers we publish. Submissions for TOR are open August 15th through October 31st and January 15th through March 31st. Guidelines are listed on our website and occasionally change.

Scribe: What is the Texas Poetry Calendar?

TB: Betty Davis and Lianne Mercer founded the Texas Poetry Calendar in 1999 as a planner/calendar/journal containing poetry from Texas-based poets and poems with Texas as their subject. It has featured work from Texas Poet Laureates and other award-winning poets along with emerging poets from many backgrounds. To my knowledge we will be the third publishing company to produce the TPC. We were fortunate enough to be chosen by Dos Gatos Press to continue this iconic Texas tradition. We are grateful to have Cindy Huyser agree to edit the first edition under our imprint as she has edited six of the previous ten Calendars. Submissions of Texas related poetry for the 2019 calendar will open December 1st 2017 and close February 10th 2018. Watch our website for further details.

Scribe: As a writer yourself, what is one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring writers?

TB: Be true to your craft but share your vision and your work with your tribe. Community will give you an anchor.

Scribe: What’s important to you about supporting the Writers’ League of Texas and being a community member?

TB: The word “community” says it all. I work with a number of writer-focused organizations and I can say from experience that not only is the WLT one of the premier writing organizations in America, it also serves statewide as an umbrella organization. The WLT works with other writer groups, universities, schools, and libraries to maximize the impact of its members’ focus, be it on craft, community, or the business aspect of our chosen art form.

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?

TB: That’s a tough one. This last year has been a banner year for Texas’ writers. One book I remember reading in one sitting is Owen Egerton’s new novel, Hollow. After reading it I took a short nap and started back at the beginning to grasp how he’d pulled it off. I’ve followed his career for years and each book seems to eclipse the previous masterpiece. I’m a fan.

Thanks, Tony!

Click here to visit Kallisto Gaia Press’s website.

Are you a business or organization interested in getting involved?

Community Membership is a great way to connect with the Writers’ League’s membership base and share news and information about writing-related services and events. For more information on Community Membership click here or call our office at (512) 499-8914.

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Community Member Q&A: The Authors’ Assistant

 

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 The Authors’ Assistant provides editing, publishing, and promotional services to writers of almost every genre. Based in Austin for almost two decades, the Authors’ Assistant’s tagline: “Do you want to be read?” has been a resounding yes for scores of authors who have seen their publishing aspirations become a reality.

In addition to being a successful business devoted to the success of authors, The Authors’ Assistant is a proud Community Member of the Writers’ League of Texas. Read the interview below with Danielle Hartman Acee to find out more about them.

2015-2Scribe: Danielle, the Authors’ Assistant is, to quote your website, “a one-stop shop for writers.” What motivated you and Mindy Reed to create The Authors’ Assistant and describe the value in offering a “one-stop-shop” to a writer?

Danielle Hartman Acee: I must give all the credit to Mindy for The Author’s Assistant business model. She had the foresight back in 1996 of offering aspiring authors a chance to have their work professionally content and copy edited so they could submit immaculate, well-crafted manuscripts to agents, publishers, and provide publishing house caliber editing services for those who decided to indie publish when the term was still very taboo.

I joined The Authors’ Assistant in 2009 when Mindy realized the indie authors she worked with required a system to help them upload their print and ebooks to Amazon. She also noticed new prospects of connecting authors with readers through social media. Mindy and I are passionate about educating ourselves on the latest editing, publishing, and promotional gold standards in the rapidly changing publishing industry. The value in a one-stop shop is that our clients are guided by professionals through every aspect of publishing, while steering them away from predators who too often want to capitalize on aspiring writers’ dreams.

Scribe: The Authors’ Assistant offers half-hour consultations for free. What can a writer expect from a consultation with you and what’s the best way to schedule one?

DHA: During a consultation with Mindy and/or myself, an author can expect to receive a brief overview of the services we offer, how we work together, and how our services might be customized to their specific needs. The sessions allow us to obtain the information necessary to prepare a list of recommended services and an estimate.

Scribe: Your bio states that you believe in “building readership by targeting an audience via organic social media use.” Can you elaborate on this?

DHA: It has become common practice for marketers to recommend authors purchase “likes and followers” in order to look attractive to agents, publishers, and potential readers. The Authors’ Assistant realized the majority of these pay for follow strategies aren’t marketing to the authors’ readership, and sometimes not even to real people! What The Authors’ Assistant strives to do is teach and assist authors in how to build a social media platform that will attract actual potential readers and also how to use the latest tools and techniques offered by each social media platform in order to connect and grow a genuine audience.

Scribe: What do you see are the one or two biggest challenges facing writers who are just getting started?

DHA: Developing an entrepreneurial and networking spirit, and balancing a writing and marketing life.

Scribe: What’s your biggest piece of advice for meeting these challenges?

DHA: BEFORE you publish, use your writing to develop your readership. If you look at any current authors’ success stories you see three commonalities: 1. The author typically starts out indie. 2. The author built a huge social media community that begged the author to publish the work the author previously and willingly gave out for free through blogging and social media networking before. 3. The author was discovered by agents and publishers because of their huge indie presence and strong following.

Scribe: Pick one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down.

Mindy Reed: Those Bones at Goliad: a Texas Revolution novel by Judith Austin Mills.

DHA: Too often, Texas history is focused on events surrounding the Alamo. This novel follows settlers from Georgia and Mississippi who find themselves drawn into the turmoil of the Texas Revolution. The author’s ability to put fictional characters into the historically accurate telling of Goliad makes for informative and riveting reading. This is a must read for anyone interested in Texas history.

DHA: The Monkey House by Boyd Taylor. The story is the third in the Donnie Ray Cuinn series, which follows a young Austinite from UT graduate school, up to the Panhandle to practice law, and then back to Austin to help old Austinites fight new development in Austin. Taylor’s satirical writing style makes me laugh aloud at the self-deprecating and lovable characters. I am a native Austinite who loves to reflect on the changes happening to the city and I know I’m not alone.

Scribe: What’s important to you about supporting the Writers’ League of Texas and being a community member?

DHA: The Authors’ Assistant’s underlying mission is to not only ensure well crafted writing, but educate authors on current publishing trends. The Writers’ League of Texas offers invaluable courses in writing technique and development, which helps Texas produce some of the best writers in the world. How could we not support such an integral program that mirrors our own?
Thanks, Danielle!

Click here to visit The Authors’ Assistant’s website.

Are you a business or organization interested in getting involved?

Community Membership is a great way to connect with the Writers’ League’s membership base and share news and information about writing-related services and events. For more information on Community Membership click here or call our office at (512) 499-8914.

 

Community Member Q&A: Wild Horse Media

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Founded by Billy Huckaby in 2005 and based in Fort Worth, TX, Wild Horse Media Group is a multi-media company that includes imprints Eakin Press, NorTex Press, and Wild Horse Press as well as a retail company Cowboy Bookworm which specializes in books and other merchandise about the West.

Wild Horse Media Group is also a proud Community Member of the Writers’ League of Texas. Read the interview below with Billy Huckaby to find out more about them.

wild horse media headshotScribe: Wild Horse Media Group is made up of several imprints specializing in books about Texas and the West. Can you give us a little background of how your company came together and how you got into the book business?

Wild Horse Media: I have always been a bit of a book nut, dating back to elementary school. I am an old newspaper and magazine editor and publisher, so book publishing seemed a pretty natural progression. I started Wild Horse Press and Cowboy Bookworm in 2006 and in 2013 we formed Wild Horse Media Group and acquired all of the assets of Sunbelt Media, which included Eakin Press and NorTex Press. Ed Eakin was a legend in Texas book publishing and I am honored to be able to carry on what he started. He got started in book publishing back in the 1950s with Clarendon Press. In the 1960s he launched NorTex and in the mid-70s Eakin Press.  I was amazed at the number of titles Eakin published and the variety of titles. There are well over a thousand titles in print and you can name about any subject and Eakin published a book on that topic at one time or another.

Scribe: On your website it mentions you offer “Custom Book Publishing.” Can you tell us more about this service and how interested readers should get in touch?

WHM: NorTex Press was the custom publishing arm of Sunbelt Media and they published a lot of county and city histories. They also did a lot of church histories. We have taken on a couple of custom publishing projects since acquiring NorTex but we are still tweaking the business model. Our primary focus at the moment is traditional book publishing. But anyone that is interested in book publishing is welcome to contact me.

Scribe: You taught a workshop at Texas Christian University on Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing in February of this year. What’s one way the industry has changed in the past few years that writers should be excited about?

WHM: I start every discussion on the current state of book publishing by saying, “The great thing today is that anybody can get a book published and the worst thing is that anybody can get a book published.”

There is a lot of junk being published and unfortunately all of those books flood into the market and it makes it harder for the better books to break out and be successful. But a couple of great aspects of book publishing today are the Internet and print-on-demand. The Internet allows us to sell and market books worldwide and is vital to the book publishing process. Print-on-demand has been around for some time and Ed Eakin was a pioneer in the process with probably the first print-on-demand system in Texas. The technology today provides a quality product and for a reasonable price. We are a great example since we have more than 1,000 titles.  When I started in book publishing print-on-demand was not available and you had to print roughly 3,000 copies of a title for the cost to be economical. That means we would need warehouse space to store roughly three million books. That is just not economically feasible. Print-on-demand also allows us to print and distribute books worldwide, without having to print books in the United States and then ship them to Australia or Great Britain. There are certainly book projects that require a traditional printer, but print-on-demand is a viable option for most books and all of the major publishers are using print-on-demand for some of their books.

Scribe: What do you see as the one or two biggest challenges facing independent publishers today?

WHM: The biggest challenge for an independent publisher is competing against the big publishing companies, just as it has always been. The other issue is Amazon and how they dominate the industry in several different areas. They have killed off many of the brick and mortar bookstores and with their CreateSpace and Kindle publishing platforms, they are by-passing publishers all together.  Amazon has also tried to meddle with the relationship between authors and publishers in the past trying to dictate royalties and book pricing. It is no secret that Amazon wants to and tried to dominate and control the book industry in every way they can. But at the same time the book publisher needs Amazon since they are the primary outlet for selling books. I guess you could call it a bit of a love/hate relationship or a necessary evil. But I do think the tide will turn and we will see more independent or mom and pop bookstores. There are great independent bookstores out there like BookPeople and Brazos Bookstore, so they can obviously be successful.

Scribe: How is Wild Horse Media adapting to meet these challenges?

WHM: Since we acquired Eakin and NorTex it has been an almost three-year struggle getting those imprints back on-track and making sure all of the titles are available and in-print. In 2016 we intend to focus on marketing and sales at the grassroots level. We have more Texas and Texana titles than any other publisher and we are going to focus on Texas and the Southwest as our marketplace.  We are also going to be highly selective in the titles we print and focus on quality book projects.

Scribe: Pick one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down.

WHM: Unfortunately since I spend so much time reading manuscripts and working on book projects, I don’t get to read a lot of outside books. But we recently published a book titled, “Black Holocaust: The Paris Horror and a Legacy of Texas Terror.” It was written by E. R. Bills and recounts one of the darkest times in Texas when people of color were not only tortured and ultimately put to death by fire, but often for crimes they did not commit. It is a tough read due to the graphic text and photos, but it is riveting and should make people stop and think about race relations and how cruel seemingly normal and average men could be to their fellow man. The entire time we were working on the book we kept commenting how timely it seemed considering the current state of race relations. As soon as the book was released it got to number one on Amazon’s Hot New Releases list in African American history. The book has also been placed on the recommended reading list for African American scholars by The Journal for Blacks in Higher Education.

Scribe: What’s important to you about supporting the Writers’ League of Texas and being a community member?

WHM: It is important to have organizations like the Writers’ League of Texas that can represent not only authors, but also serve as a conduit to keep everyone involved informed about what is going on within the industry. I have always been impressed with the educational opportunities they provide to members and the public. It is important that companies such as mine support the organization financially so that they can continue the work and expand the services to members. There are a lot of companies and associations out there that promise people the world and they fail to deliver. I think the Writer’s League of Texas not only delivers, but is an organization that the more you put into it, the bigger the return.

Thanks, Billy!

Click here to visit Wild Horse Media’s website.

Are you a business or organization interested in getting involved?

Community Membership is a great way to connect with the Writers’ League’s membership base and share news and information about writing-related services and events. For more information on Community Membership click here or call our office at (512) 499-8914.

 

 

Community Member Q&A: Stephanie Barko

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Stephanie Barko’s award-winning clients include traditional publishers and their authors, small presses, and independently published writers. She promotes nonfiction & historical fiction exclusively.

Stephanie Barko is also a proud Community Member of the Writers’ League of Texas. Read her interview below to find out more about her company.

Web-Stephanie_Barko-4699Scribe: You were in high tech marketing before becoming a literary publicist. What drew you to the publishing industry?

Stephanie Barko: An editor in a writing circle I frequented ten years ago noticed that I had a keen interest in promoting the group’s writers. Later that year I realized that there always seemed to be something I was promoting, even as a kid. When I looked for a post-corporate professional direction, the dynamic nature of the publishing industry felt exciting to me. Indie publishing was barely getting started and I was curious to see how it would play out.

Writers and professionals I knew in the publishing industry embraced a cooperative business model and that appealed to me too.

Scribe: What do you like most about working with authors?

SB: I’ve always loved working with creatives. I like the author who trusts my advice and appreciates my results. Likewise, I expect authors to deliver solid craft. Authors like to work with people who appreciate their writing, and publicists like to work with authors who appreciate their messaging.

Scribe: What do you see are the one or two biggest challenges facing authors today who are working to market their books and attract a readership?

SB: The first challenge I see is the bounty of competition out there in any given subcategory, and the second challenge is motivation. Competition can be dealt with using clever positioning, but motivation is personal. The motivation it takes to connect with readers, on top of everything else an author is expected to do, is significant. However, when an author’s motivation to connect is present and genuine, you will see a loyal band of followers trailing behind that author.

Scribe: What’s your biggest piece of advice for meeting these challenges?

SB: Get help with book marketing so you can keep writing and do the things that only you can accomplish, like autographing books and appearing in chat rooms.

Scribe: You’ve recently created an app called DIY Book Platform to help new authors market their book. What motivated you to create this and how does it work?

SB: I created DIY Book Platform to help writers who could not afford to work with me. I wanted writers on a tight budget to have a quick and easy way to document their own platform. DIY Book Platform is an interactive web-based app. With the app’s help, authors answer questions that illustrate a forum and following for their upcoming release.

Authors pay $99 for 45 days of access to 49 questions. Although some authors get through the sequence in a single session, there’s plenty of time and helpful notes to support writers along. At the end, users download, print, and then use the platform they’ve created to acquire an agent or publisher.

Scribe: Pick one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down.

SB: Mayhem:  Three Lives of a Woman by Elizabeth Harris

Scribe: What’s important to you about supporting the Writers’ League of Texas and being a community member?

SB: Not every state has a statewide writing association, but Texas does. An organization like WLT can provide a sense of comradery and shared purpose. The way I see it, WLT and Stephanie Barko, Literary Publicist are united in keeping Texas authors in the spotlight at state and national levels.

Thanks, Stephanie!

Click here to visit Stephanie Barko’s website.

Are you a business or organization interested in getting involved?

Community Membership is a great way to connect with the Writers’ League’s membership base and share news and information about writing-related services and events. For more information on Community Membership click here or call our office at (512) 499-8914.

Community Member Q&A: Yellow Bird Editors

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Yellow Bird provides a wealth of editing services as well as private writing coaches to writers of fiction, nonfiction and children’s books. Founded by author Sara Kocek (Promise Me Something) and based in Austin, TX, Yellow Bird editors are an accomplished band of editors of varied literary backgrounds.

Yellow Bird is also a proud Community Member of the Writers’ League of Texas. Read the interview below with Sara Kocek to find out more about the services they offer.

Sara-Kocek_blue-shirt_low-res-200x300Scribe: Yellow Bird offers an array of editing services for writers–manuscript critiques, content editing, first chapter critique and query letter review & edit, to name a few. What’s some good advice for a new writer deciding what type of editing service to choose from?

Yellow Bird: If you’re uncertain about which editorial service to begin with, I almost always recommend our standard manuscript critique. This usually gets you the biggest bang for your buck, since you’ll receive feedback on a range of issues, including plot, structure, character development, dialogue, narrative flow, transitions, and even how your book fits into the marketplace. Another great option is a First Chapter Critique & Line Edit. In addition to a feedback letter addressing the strengths and weaknesses of your first chapter, your editor will also provide comments in the margins and suggested line edits directly into the text. It’s a nice, affordable way to test out an editor and make sure you have good chemistry before committing to working together on the full manuscript.

Scribe: How do you match a client’s project to a Yellow Bird editor and how does one get in touch?

YB: Prospective clients should fill out the inquiry form on our website, which asks for key project details (e.g. manuscript length and genre). Most importantly, we ask for a brief description of your project and the type of help you think you need. The more thorough you are in your answers, the easier it is for us to determine which editor on our list would be the right fit for you. If you already have a synopsis (or even jacket copy) written out, please feel free to include that—we love synopses! Our Project Coordinator reviews each inquiry and reaches out to the editor(s) she thinks would be the best fit for the project. From there, she makes an introduction so that the client and editor can be in touch directly to discuss details. Our Project Coordinator also takes care of issuing contracts and invoices so that our editors can focus on the work they do best.

Scribe: Yellow Bird offers college essay coaching for teens and creative writing tutorials for both kids and teens. Can you tell us more about those services?

YB: Absolutely! We work frequently with kids and teens, though we require a parent to be the primary point of contact. For kids between the ages of 8 and 15, we offer one-on-one creative writing tutorials via email on a weekly or monthly basis. The student receives a fun creative writing prompt, writes a short story or poem in response, and emails it back. We critique the piece of writing, noting both what we love about it and how it could be improved. The critique consists of a 1-page single spaced letter. This is a fun, affordable way for motivated students to receive one-on-one attention from a published author.

With regard to college essay coaching, we do more than help applicants improve individual essays; we guides students through shaping their entire collection of essays and short-answer questions to hone the overall message they send the admissions office. We are available both for coaching (guiding the student through the writing process) and editing (improving existing drafts). Most coaching and editing sessions are conducted via email and phone.

Scribe: What do you see are the one or two biggest challenges facing writers in the editing process?

YB: Being too close to your own work can be a huge challenge. If you’ve read your draft (or even your first chapter!) a dozen or more times, it becomes very difficult to see it objectively. That’s why bringing an editor or a smart critique partner into the process is vital. And once you’ve decided to work with a professional editor, half the battle is knowing what kind of editing you need. So many writers come to Yellow Bird looking for copyediting or proofreading when they would be better served by more holistic feedback on plot and structure, usually in the form of a full manuscript critique or developmental editing. There’s no point in spending money on line editing if the big-picture elements of your story (plot arc, character development, etc.) need work! You’re better off investing in a standard or extensive manuscript critique, doing a round of revision, and then moving on to line editing.

Scribe: What’s important to you about supporting the Writers’ League of Texas and being a community member?

I love The Writers’ League! Every time I teach a workshop or attend an event like the annual Agents & Editors Conference, I know I am surrounded by “my people.” Also, having worked for the League (currently as the Contest Manager and formerly as the Program Director), I know first-hand how dedicated and hardworking the team is. The Writers’ League gave me a sense of community when I first moved to Texas, and now I am excited to give back as a community member.

Thanks, Sara!

Click here to visit Yellow Bird’s website.

Are you a business or organization interested in getting involved?

Community Membership is a great way to connect with the Writers’ League’s membership base and share news and information about writing-related services and events. For more information on Community Membership click here or call our office at (512) 499-8914.

 

Community Member Q&A: Editor World

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Editor World offers editing services for books (fiction and nonfiction), academic works, resumes and other business-related materials. Founded by Patti Fisher, the company is based in Newport, Virginia, and employs editors with backgrounds in academia, published authors, and other writing professionals.

Editor World is also a proud Community Member of the Writers’ League of Texas. Read the interview with Patti Fisher below to find out more about them.

editor worldScribe: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and the philosophy behind Editor World?

Patti Fisher: While completing my doctorate in family finance, there were many international students in my program.   I started editing papers for other graduate students and then started working for a few companies that offer online editing services.  I continued to work for these companies while searching for a faculty position and started to think about creating a new online company.  I used the strengths of those companies but also focused on providing quality customer service and having good communication with editors.  I then worked with the local Small Business Development Center to get things started and launched the company in 2010.  Editor World’s strengths are the quality editing services our editors provide and the firm turnaround times that clients can rely on.

Scribe: You offer a free two-page sample edit to new clients. How does a potential client take advantage of this?

PF: To use the free sample edit feature on the Editor World website, individuals first need to register with a name and valid email address.  The list of currently available editors can be viewed on the site, and most editors offer a free sample edit.  If they do, there is a “Free Sample Edit” button at the bottom of their profile.  Clients upload a page or two and can download the sample document from the website after it’s edited and uploaded by the editor.  Editor World asks editors to return free sample edit documents within 2 days.  We have a variety of experts offering editing services through Editor World, so this feature allows clients to pick the editor whose style is the best fit for their project.  Registered clients can also use the message system to communicate with editors.

Scribe: What advice would you give a writer who is searching for an editor for the first time?

PF: I always recommend that clients use the message system to contact potential editors and to utilize the free sample edit feature before submitting a document for editing.  This helps the client know what to expect from the editing process.  When working with any individual editor or a larger company, the client should look for feedback from previous clients and ask about both quality and the editor’s ability to meet deadlines.

Scribe: What do you see are the one or two biggest challenges facing writers in the editing process?

PF: One of the biggest challenges writers face in the editing process is finding an editor who is a good fit for the project, understands what the writer wants, and will meet deadlines.  We get many calls and emails from writers who are looking for a new editor because they aren’t happy with a previous editor, and it’s generally because (1) the quality wasn’t good, (2) the editor changed the writer’s voice, or (3) the deadline wasn’t met.

Scribe: What’s your biggest piece of advice for meeting these challenges?

PF: As with any relationship, communication is crucial.  The writer needs to provide relevant information to the editor so he/she can work on the document accordingly, and the editor needs to answer any questions the writer may have.  Clearly stating the expectations is also important.

One of the benefits of using a company that provides editing services, whether it’s Editor World or another company, is that the company generally oversees the quality of editors and makes sure that editors are meeting deadlines.  In addition, online ratings and reviews of editors and companies can be helpful for writers trying to choose an editor.

Scribe: Pick one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down.

PF: The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate

Scribe: What’s important to you about supporting the Writers’ League of Texas and being a community member?

PF: I first heard about the Writers’ League of Texas because of the Agents and Editors Conference.  After attending the conference in 2014, I went to the 2015 Summer Writing Retreat, and was so pleased with both.  The programs benefited me as the owner of a company that offers editing services and also as a writer.  No organization in my area offers the same selection of workshops, retreats, and conferences for writers, which is why it’s important for me to support the Writers’ League of Texas.

Thanks, Patti!

Click here to visit Editor World’s website.

Are you a business or organization interested in getting involved?

Community Membership is a great way to connect with the Writers’ League’s membership base and share news and information about writing-related services and events. For more information on Community Membership click here or call our office at (512) 499-8914.

Community Member Q&A: PR by the Book

PR by the Book

PR by the Book is a boutique publicity firm based in Austin with another office in Nashville. The firm specializes in traditional & online media relations, social media services, and book tour support for both new and seasoned authors of just about every genre. Founded in 2002 by Marika and Doug Flatt, PR by the Book has worked with clients such as Patagonia Books, HarperCollins, Thomas Nelson, Rex Pickett (Sideways), Debbie Adler (Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats: Allergy-free & Vegan Recipes), and Dr. Darrell Bock (Truth Matters) to name a few.

PR by the Book is also a proud Community Member of the Writers’ League of Texas. Read the interview below with Marika Flatt to find out more about them.

Marika FlattScribe: You founded PR by the Book over 13 years ago. What are some of the changes you’ve noticed in the past few years for authors in the world of publicity?

Marika Flatt: We work hard to stay ahead of the curve because book publicity changes every year. Some of the most recent changes include: shortening pitches (via email), utilizing an Experts Page online for each of our clients, and working to make the social media platform of the client sync up with their PR effort.

Scribe: You offer Social Media Coaching for authors. What aspects of social media do you focus on and what can an author expect from completing the training?

MF: We have a Digital Media Coordinator who handles our social media & the platforms of our clients. The basic service offering is a coaching session where she will review what you’re currently doing online and find where the holes are, what you’re not currently taking advantage of or accessing and give you homework to strengthen your social media platforms. For those of us who aren’t social media experts, it’s just impossible to know how to make your presence as robust as possible.

Scribe: How important is it for an author to build a brand? And is it equally important for fiction as it is for nonfiction?

MF: It’s absolutely important for authors of any genre. You have so much competition in the market—for readers, for media attention, for publishing opportunities. That’s what folks are looking for—an author who is crystal clear about who they are and what they deliver. Don’t ever try to be all things to all people— it won’t work out in your favor.

Scribe: What are the one or two biggest publicity mistakes you see authors make?

MF: The most common these days is not taking advantage of utilizing a strong social media presence to fully push out the media hits they’re getting through traditional and online PR. First and foremost, you need to be appealing online to a media outlet. We can get their attention but the first thing they’ll do is look up the author’s website and social media platforms and if they’re not contemporary enough (website), thorough enough, or lack a following, our opportunity might be dead with that outlet.

Another common problem we see with self-published queries is a lack of understanding when it comes to media expectations and poor book cover design.

Scribe: What’s your biggest piece of advice for avoiding these mistakes?

MF: A. Get trained on how to create a more robust social media platform. B. Don’t expect a first-time self-published author to catch the eye of top-tier media. C. Spend time and money on a cover design that can compete with major publishing houses.

Scribe: Pick one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down.

MF:  I loved Austin author Clara Bensen’s No Baggage which comes out in January. I was able to review it for Texas Lifestyle Magazine’s winter issue (also out in January).

Scribe: What’s important to you about supporting the Writers’ League of Texas and being a community member?

MF: We’ve been supporters of the WLT way back when I was at a different book publicity firm in the late 90s. We believe in helping our own and we’ve given away hundreds of hours in free advice over the years. We are happy to “pay it forward,” and do so on a regular basis. There’s a lot to know about this industry so it’s important to listen to the experts in the various areas. We enjoy working with Texans and know there’s a great deal of talent in our state.

Thanks, Marika!

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