First Editing Publishing Power's Guest Speaker Randy Peyser, Get a Book Deal with a Publisher



welcome to publishing power this is Joe Allen and I am with Randy Peyser today Randy pitches books to top literary agents and publishers and she works primarily with first-time authors her clients books have been featured in Oprah Magazine Time magazine on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list in Airport bookstores in the officemax and FedEx office doors on hallmark TV and in other prominent media outlets some have received six-figure book deals which is what we all want and randy is the author of the write a book program crappy to happy as featured in the movie eat loved prey which is quite amazing and the powerful miracle thinking welcome Randy I am very happy to be here os – I met you at the Book Expo this year and I just think it's great what you're doing out there and I just wanted to get your insight into how to put your book and how to do all those magical things that can get us on the bestseller list etc so can you tell me what topics are hot and what's not okay what's selling right now are a lot of books on actually on human trafficking is very very big so you think about what's in the media hmm I sold the book last year that I edited and I each did to publisher a slave a human trafficking survivor finds life nominal story is the book came out last year and there are three Hollywood movie losers considering it for film so think about what's happening in the media if you can be current with what's happening that's really important one of the things that problems that I see is that people often are writing the market that's really glutted for example weight loss relationships but there listen listen endless books on these topics but what does it take to get the kind of deal that you want need to bring something that's like your own secret sauce there's a conversation that's already happening publishers are very savvy and so are readers so what is it you can bring the table to the conversation that's already happening that's really really going to enhance publishers are looking for so we see a year like you mentioned this book Expo is called Expo America and I call this I'm gonna put little air quotes here the feeding frenzy for the publishing industry in the United States right there are three huge book fairs in the world there's the Frankfurt Fair in Germany the London Book Fair in the UK and Expo America typically in New York once a year this is really the feeding frenzy that's where I go every single year and sit with all these agents and the top losers and pitch and so any single year there's a different this word that I just hear and I don't know how it gets through osmosis in the airwaves but I'm gonna I want to share with you and this is really really critical for anyone writing nonfiction when I heard this year and actually last year as well assistant Lee what I'm hearing that publishers are looking for are now get this outcome given titles given content and so what this means is I was sitting in on a zoom video call with one of my clients with the mcgraw-hill acquisitions editor acquisitions editors are the people who are basically the ones are gonna say oh I love the book I'm gonna pitch this to my editorial team we're gonna to the port and these are the people who are making that frontline decision about whether this book is a yes or no and so I'm sitting with this acquisition on zoom' who's just like this but sitting with this acquisitions editor from mcgraw-hill and she said he said you know not only are they looking for outcome driven titles but they want and bleed the reader in practical steps from point A to point B so that book isn't just not fun picture don't go through a broad picker Vittoria lysing opinions they're not interested in that take a reader specifically from point A to point B throughout that book with steps or whatever it takes to help that reader actually achieve something goal and have a potential winner wow that's that's quite amazing that's quite insight for everyone out there writing you need a lot of fails tool to to sell a manuscript to the publisher can you tell us a little bit more about what tools you're using there yes yes you know I tell people there's two parts to the conversation about getting a traditional publisher one part is about your content you've got to get the content right it has to be positioned correctly we could speak about that and a little the other part that what you're talking about JoEllen is what I call the miss of publishing because you're giving out these book kills from the publishers it's not just one person in a little mom-and-pop operation very often unless you're going with a smaller pusher but kinds of publishers I'm dealing with you know the human Random House mcgraw-hill level of pushers whether it's mind/body/spirit Hay House or any of them what they're looking for our real numbers and I want to give you an example of what real numbers they're looking for I have one project I was pitching just when I saw you to Ellen at this past show I was pitching this project it was her business book and the man had new LinkedIn profiles one profile had and thousand followers for his company the other profile had 1,000 followers for his personal three top agents who I wished that project do individually in separate meetings but they all said the exact same thing is what I mean exact I mean exact same words they said delete the personal profile the numbers are too small I was shocking to me you know to me a thousand people it's a thousand people why would you want to delete that it's like no have to build real numbers so what publishers are looking for in terms of real numbers they tell me different things and everyone always ask me well what numbers do I need so for example anyhow three mind/body/spirit author who comes to me says can you get me Hay House let me tell you exactly what Hay House wants because this is very helpful helpful information for you to grow that publicity platform which is the big buzzword in the publishing industry isn't it platform basically means eyeballs how many eyeballs do you have on you many people are following you how many people are you engaging with I never heard this before born I was meeting with the VP publisher of Hay House New York last month just what she told me he said we're looking at every I said all the numbers related to a person in social media the only only number at the author really has total and complete control over that is not controlled by an algorithm anywhere is their personal email list but it'll stop there they're not looking just at your personal email list because you can have hundreds of thousands of people on it looking at the open rate it's important for you to know so they're publishers for example Angels McNeil a lot of people they're going who's Andrews know they don't recognize the name you will recognize the name Calvin and Hobbes doonesbury and Garfield so they're you know a major publisher they approached me about three years ago to come be an acquisitions editor for their company eventually they hired in-house and that was fine with me because I really didn't want to move to Kansas City Missouri so it worked out but in that interview I got to ask them what is it you look for yes social media numbers all your social media numbers are important however gave me a piece of information I hadn't heard before said we're looking for the amount of engagement the author has with audience not just the numbers they're collecting well your numbers are important and so is engagement so how do you create more engagement ask questions more people will respond to questions and they will to statements start asking questions another thing that I found really interesting is that we're sitting with Angelina Jolie is literary agent and I was pitching a project to him purply he kind of looked away and he went like this and he pulled out a cell phone and I thought yes is he good at like just interrupt me be answering you know a call no he had was actually looking up person when I was pitching on YouTube and looked at in Sedona his numbers are way too small so top agents to get up their phones and so other publishers they will look you up on Google gonna do searches they are looking at your Facebook page at your LinkedIn profiles where ever you're getting visible so there's some pieces of advice for you stay professional stay positive spell things correctly because when you're dealing with editors and publishers we always have our red pen in our hands all the time you know we're just constantly editing in our head and festivals and counts you seen people like on my you know website or like author one-stop or for my facebook page and they'll say things you know I've been looking for a publisher but I haven't found anybody and they're coming to me and they'll put a frowny face they don't know that my literary agents I work with they're my friends too and they're gonna be on my Facebook page in a bassy frowny faces is that gonna be attracted to them no you never know who's looking at your content online so keep it professional spell things correctly stay positive stay up I'd say those you know there's that's some like little outside you know inside our advice right is really important no I think that's super important I mean the I they want you to do all the work now and it better be professional and clean and beautiful from the stuff that's first start that's you know yes when you say you know they want you to do all the work I also wanted to talk about difference between self pushing and getting a traditional publisher a lot of people they're not sure which way to go I like methods I've done methods with my own books and I like them for different reasons so I want people to be clear on the reason especially if you don't have enough people eyeballs on you yet you still may want to work to achieve that they may want to go self-publishing and not worry about it I want to just clarify the difference very very simply in very general terms so in very general terms I tell people you want to make more money first publish if you want speed to market self publish be much quicker to get your count will make more money per book if you're going for national national attention you want media you want to be on bigger stages this is your career and you are growing a career definitely try for a traditional publisher why Media will respect you more you can be seen as a to expert constantly seen magic and miracles happen through traditional publishers that you can't even believe what happened I'll give you some examples my first book was called crappy to happy small steps to big happiness now so I went through just I I published her to me for years this was many years ago to get my first publisher it wasn't until I have lots of eyeballs on me but also my got a publisher interested but I did things I had those eyeballs on me and I'm sitting in a movie theater the opening night of the movie Eat Pray Love there's a bookstore scene before Julie Roberts goes on her venture to Europe and Asia she's in the self-help section of a book store the book she actually he's up off the shelf the self-help section is crappy to happy holds it up it's a big picture of you know there's pigs on my front cover gets a big audience laughs she brings it to the register they show the cover again they get like a second laughs and I had no idea they were gonna use it I'm just sitting in a movie theater opening in 90 people of the recirc alive eight friends who went out to dinner hey let's go out to the movie there's my book in a major movie Wow I mean just like my authors who have wound up in prime Magazine on home or TV all these chords all kinds of things that have opened up for them but two of my authors were featured in FedEx stores like FedEx about 3,000 copies of their books nationally how many books is FedEx Office have in their store like 15 and a handful of books two of them at the same time where my authors books Wow those kinds of opportunities for book sales sometimes for furn writes or audio book writes a lot of that is negotiated in a contract no word a lot more doors can open for you you have to do publicity yourself besides yes absolutely do you need to be a bike up a partner on this publishing journey tell people you want to make more money per books self-published feed to market self-published but it's very very clear this is for your career we tried for traditional publisher when I have my authors in airport stores publisher right right so I mean that things up another thing you're when you're doing self-publishing or when you're trying to get your big book and you're trying to get those endorsements the endorsements maybe you don't know famous people how do people get those onto their book covers not how I have a secret formula for endorsements and this is how it goes it's a question in which you which you ask yourself what is that I can give rather than what can I get because all these you miss people who you might want to go after everybody's coming at them you know constantly help me you know endorse my book endorse my book it's typical when you're asking for an endorsement the endorse yourself because people don't have time to read your book truthfully so if you want to go after a big-name person they have an event where you can volunteer what can you do to get on their radar and living who them can you give then what can I get what can I get right that's a critical piece another thing is notice like the amount of people who you might attend their webinars or you have friends who are writing books you can endorse one another's books right and the way you can do that let's say if the other person doesn't have their book out yet it can be under their endorsement the name could be name author of the upcoming book then just put the title there and that works just as well yeah that's great some ways to get some endorsements and I want to say something else about self-publishing before we total you here you know we've left the subject by but I think this is important so a lot of people come to me when they've already soaked Alysha book and they wanted no beer here's catch your a beer book hasn't sold a lot of copies then you're a bad investment from a publisher's perspective I want to give you the real number as I heard it from three top agents in New York but I was sitting with them recently and I had one self-published book I thought I think this book is going to do really really well the author has so fifteen hundred copies and about seven months I'm going I think these are good numbers but what did I know let me tell you what the agents told me when I brought this book to them three agents independently said the exact same thing he said an author needs to have sold ten thousand books before Lister will consider it so if you're looking for a traditional publisher both self push your book first it's so much harder now get the book deals why the competition is so high you know I'm sitting with one publisher who told me he gets 10,000 submissions a year it's about five years ago can't even imagine what he gets now doing simple math that's like 860 manuscripts a month and it's my job and what I do is get my people to the top of that pile that's what I do so but I'm giving people in like real numbers don't be discouraged you know we have ways that we can work person Oh following things like this is this is the truth what they're looking for Wow I mean 10,000 that's a huge number it's like a particular book I was pitching it to the one agent and she was like so disappointed she goes oh my god I could have brought this book and when Random House and Jim's named Simon it's just you're all he said why did this person so she was so like harp looking about it but there's not the thing she said that she can do Wow who makes who makes the buying decisions you don't agent does it it's the publisher so that's why we're trying to meet what their requirements are hope the authors get there so if you're interested in the traditional publisher please don't self publish first copies in a year right right so I mean is this the biggest mistake or there are other ones that we need to be looking out for I'll share with you some mistakes that people make in terms of their writing in general a lot of times people are they're doing things well one they're doing things out of sequence they're sending something to an agent or something's been really polished it did and it's really ready to go or they're sending a query letter without having the proposal completely I was ready and edits and edited and ready to go or even knowing what a proposal is right so they're doing things a little bit out of sequence or they think that the agent is going to help with their book rustle or edit their book and that's not the way this way it works anymore just know the agents time to do that agents are here to project when I send something to an agent stellar ready to go we've analyzed that we did it you know I Alastor written the book proposal and I'm a master of the proposal I did a proposal for this that just got a six-figure deal no mcgraw-hill acquisitions editor on our meeting she said who wrote this book proposal she goes it contains absolutely pretty specific detail I need to present this project my team like I said you know I understand after selling so many books seeing them and sell me am I understand what they're looking for that's great I mean you can't that's you know there's certain things that you just can't do without other people you don't know what you don't know and I tell people again again you just don't know what you don't know so there's so much you can do and then the other part you've really got a team up with the experts who can save you time and money but mainly frustration frustration and and you know keep the hope alive because it doesn't it doesn't change the path it still takes a long journey but you know to have somebody holding your hand and and they've been down this path before is a really big difference on how you feel and how much energy you have when it actually happens you know how to handle the next step because don't burn yourself out on the on the journey it's right it's a lot it's a very important point you're making very important meaning I want to share something you know some feedback I got from one of the top agents who I pitch to okay when I was sitting and pitching her like a couple years ago and she was really excited about a project and as soon as I got back home to my desk you know I sent her the project cuz I'm their pitching verbally cuz they don't want to take when I'm at these shows they don't wanted agents of publishers they don't want to take the manuscripts there it's too much to you know slip around so I sit at her and I didn't hear anything back I followed up via email and I didn't hear anything back and I followed up again and I didn't hear anything so when I sent my point with her the next year and they got together with her I said you know you were really excited about this project what happened you know and she said Randy getting like a thousand emails a day I can't even come I can't even keep up this can't keep up so when you have something for me text me it's like after shows you know the amount of overwhelm that's happening with people and thank God I have 19 years of relationships built with agents and publishers where I can text somebody but for example if you are one of you know the people you're helping a wrote a query letter and they wrote this whole page describing everything and my guys might text someone and say I've got a hot one for you hmm the hole that's the conversation is happening at a whole other level because the agent Linda who just did the six-figure deal for my client in a war between multiple pleasures and negotiated that she knows if I say I had a hot one heard that it's hot she's going to trust me because of what I'm gonna send very discerning you know like we start out with an analysis of every manuscript because I want to know I think this is potentially sellable I'm not gonna you know something if I don't think there's real strong possibility for sale all right so what are the things that I mean what did what do you have to do to make your book stand out when I bring it in to you and I mean I know what you're doing you're just doing what I don't but how do I make a stand out from the beginning as an author in the beginning you know can you say about your book if you were gonna start your first sentence of your book Wilson with these words my book is senior title but not the words my book my book the first book to fill in the blank if you have a first positioning it's really really strong okay that's very strong look that's one of the strongest things you can do mm-hmm in terms of problem solution I don't know there is whatever the out there is in your world right right no what are the pain points that people are dealing with you can absolutely help with now that's true basically you're in discovery mode then you're the the explorer who landed yes Antarctica so that's great I'll show with you like you know I wrote a couple books I wrote happy – happy I wanted to learn how to be happy in this lifetime it wasn't like I knew how to do it I wrote a book called the power of miracle thinking is I wanted to learn miracles and why is there a secret sauce to miracles regardless of religious or spiritual background so then Explorer when I'm writing a book you don't know the answers I'm on a journey to find out the answer and I interview people I get my own ideas my own wisdom collates with all of it mm-hmm so that's that's kind of the way that I explore topics Wow wow that's great way of doing it you know I'd like to share a little bit of a memoir a lot of people are writing memoir everybody wants to write their life story I feel like everybody's story is really important equally important because our lives are important to us and usually people are writing them are because they've overcome some very difficult horrific or horrible experience and they want to empower others who are going through that journey of loss or or whatever the tragedy whatever the experience the problem is is that everyone's writing their memoirs there are a lot of people and so you know I just had a conference where the CEO of the conference's my client she invited me to come to her conference and there's like 400 women in the room 395 of them are writing the memoirs and their abuse my house oh so your words are and have to think of it in terms think of your book in terms of you're not from your own perspective so the way you do that have to answer the question in the readers mind what's in it for me one of the best ways to write a memoir if you really want to sell it just one thing to tell your story and have a cathartic experience which is great I think that's awesome do it you can add steps after each of your stories they're either insights or action steps you're gonna have a much stronger petitioning your book and better sounds for example when I wrote crappy to happy my first book mm-hmm yes but I put four steps after each of my stories they were called four steps to happiness now I wrote the power of miracle thinking I interviewed all these people had all these different kind of miracles there are three miracle thinking tips following each story some some of those particular stories and action sights and steps are insights based on those stories mm-hmm so when people approach me with memoir which happens like constantly because the market is so bloody with already memoir my first thought in my own mind this that's all about me or what's in it for me from the readers perspective but don't think of your book from your own perspective if you want sounds or if you wanted to this little publisher how to think of it from the what's in it for me but for example regional title of my book was from happy to happy a journey out of the pizza into the fruit life I thought you know that's really witty however when the marketing department the publisher got a hold of the book it already but it he took up the from away with the preposition it became crappy to happy small steps to happiness now why because it answer the question in the readers mind what's in it for me him one of their seasonal bestsellers which was great ran for like five years yeah that's great I mean those are big mistakes that you learn about and you figure out on the way so you know I'd like to also address if I may hitting mechanics themselves yeah so the things that I see repeatedly where authors are making mistakes aren't one and I know these are things you would know JoEllen but like weak words what does God had have made who did went oh I mean these are very common little words it doesn't mean you can't use these words try to use more interesting language not stilted though like in when I'm when I'm editing or I'm writing something myself mumble it to myself no and I'm just sitting here like I'm a crazy person that's a good thing I'm doing this at my desk in my own room but I'm you know the stories I mean I'm just like I'm hearing I'm hearing the dialogue in my mind so it doesn't sound stilted it has to sound just you know easy flow this better language and watch out for repetitive words or repetitive phrases like you know I was working on and all of a sudden appeared all of a sudden you know I had a one last year where person used the word bus constantly well we don't even use that in our language anymore you know we're maybe we're in a courtroom I don't know I don't even know they need to use it in the courtroom so just this repetitive words and then the other thing that I noticed is that tend to have at words or phrases I had there's one book I was working on where the woman was having stomach the things that were happening in her life or causing her like she was vomiting pukey and I so I had to do a search on the words throw up and see you know just change out that language smooth it out we don't want to keep reading so just notice you know panics before anything is submitted anywhere you know right I mean just you know you do that's what we do as possible because what did they say it was like a million books were self-published last year something like that with some unbelievable number having been around for over a decade myself he's just wow are we really there but yeah it's just I mean if you are going to self-publish one of my rules about self-publishing well there's I have two rules one is have your book edited it would just certainly can do and no cheesy covers you can look at books there you go oh ma oh my god you know were they thinking and one of the things that I'm hearing now is that you're putting your face on the cover of your book unless your famous books not going to go and it's not going to go into the media will see it as the big discard it's fine if you want to do that kind of book it's not going to go for example you know I program called bedside reading where we place books and five-star luxury hotels right by the bedsides of influencers and on these top top hotels all over the US we won't take any books that have the author on the cover unless they're really famous personality right this will do you know I mean it totally makes sense so what are the biggest questions publishers ask before they make a buying decision on the books that they want to they want to get their things they're asking themselves are do we have another book in our pipeline like this is your book Ferengi ated enough it's really really important when we do book of Moses one of the sections is called the competition we have to show different books and are already out there that yours would be comparable to and years ago this was really tough to do I had to go into a Borders or Barnes and Noble and find the Shelf your what's it on you see what other books were in there and you know just and start reading through them now Amazon makes this process so easy you just plug in some keywords related to your book find some books that are current and relevant that are by really good publishers not like selfish greed space or Amazon digital publishing because the publishers aren't going to notice it in those copper comparable books so just you know see if you can find some the book see what those books are put out and then you write how yours differs from that you don't even have to pay those folks to read them you're just reading the text in their editorial description and I tell people just copy and paste their text you know the title the publisher your pleasure the author's name up you paste their text then write your text underneath it like three or four sentences about you may show how your book differs sometimes if somebody hasn't written a word of their book yet I'll say weren't you to start with your competition section right no we want to make sure that you're really differentiated if you want to traditional publisher so what the publishers ask you know are you addressing something their audience needs I tell people you know this book you want to write in a book of publishers gonna buy your readers gonna buy in the same book so you know I'd love to do a positioning Chason with people or you know anybody who's coming to me I'm gonna be looking at that book this is a book I wanna buy right for goals yeah I mean that's a that's a big deal there and what's gonna be the difference what's gonna make it all so so when they come to you because I mean obviously you're one of those people that you definitely want to get on their radar how do you select the people that your you're dealing with I mean obviously quality and book but do you have a process here how does this work for somebody yeah so the process is let's say you know are you fed it to the book we're gonna read it I have a team of editors who work for me who've all worked for publishers mm-hmm events in many books that have sold to the big publishers because when I assembled my team which I did years ago I know my people working with me for years I just wanted to cream in the crop just top top editors who really understand what publishers is that's really the differentiator right so we're gonna do an analysis you know we're gonna look at the manuscript in a word document and comments in the comments are like are there any places where you can watch the publisher because something in that book or is there writing strong enough I mean we're gonna be analyzing this book or our examples missing or whatever we feel that needs to happen for this book to rise up might be fine you know I don't know but usually where we start with an analysis and I rely on all my editors to tell me is this book strong enough for me to be right if it is that you know I can help the author the proposal and I can go pitch right then the man in my car I love to get people book deals that's joy for me don't we all look I know I'll share with you you know what's really important to me and this is my guarantee everyone will never waste anyone's time or their money I am not about that at all and passionate about helping people get their books got to be the right I have to believe it's sellable right that's amazing amazing and so let imeem you you've got everything set up here and I think we got a lot of great insight your your website is called author one-stop calm so they can learn a little bit more is there tell us a little bit about what they're gonna find there and how to get what's our next step okay so author one-stop the one is spelled out an e author one-stop com so I help people find agents and publishers depending on the usually I'll take fiction to agents and usually I will take nonfiction directly to publishers so I pitch books my body spirit publishers publishers who sold paranormal fiction young adult children you know just as a variety I've had historical fiction literary fiction under contract with agents just as a wide variety of books and so services that we offer an analysis fitting if it's necessary proposals and pitching to agents and publishers and I live and I via email all year long or humane industry events that I go to live and you know I just preset my appointments in advance and I'm sitting with you know twenty five different publishers and this is like button it's really my point that's great it's great well I encourage everyone to please reach out to Randy she's got the ability to pitch I was impressed by her energy I met some of your authors there that was also very exciting and they had great things to say about getting their book out there and it's a very exciting journey but you do need the right guide to to get you to the right space and they need to have that experience behind them to to get you where you want to be and to evaluate if you're gonna make it so to save all that time and energy so thank you Randy it's so great is there any last words you want to share with our know I feel like the most valuable thing that I can give anyone is my time so anyone comes from you and they'd like to know is this a book that I think is potentially saleable you'd be happy to speak with anyone you like fifteen twenty minutes my time long as I'm available I'm happy to I traveled quite a lot because I pitched quite a lot and I speak a lot I'm available I'm happy that's crazy alright well everyone reach out to Randy stop by the author one-stop that's Oh any one-stop comm author one-stop and thank you for joining us and I'm sure we'll have more questions and I will send them on their way to you as our authors respond here and thank you for joining us today at publishing power welcome thank you

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