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Latinidad - September 2004: Self-Publishing

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  • Marcela Landres
    Latinidad™ Newsletter – September 2004 Contents: 1. Saludos: Self-Publishing 2. Q&A: Editorial Director Diane Gedymin 3. Recommendations:
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 3, 2004
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      Latinidad™ Newsletter – September 2004

      1. Saludos: Self-Publishing
      2. Q&A: Editorial Director Diane Gedymin
      3. Recommendations: www.parapublishing.com
      4. Author Spotlight: Karen E. Quinones Miller
      5. Upcoming Workshops: How to Successfully Self-Publish Panel
      6. Writing Opportunities: Writer's Digest International Self-
      Published Book Awards

      For lists of agents and editors seeking Latino writers, visit
      www.marcelalandres.com and click on Writing Opportunities.

      1. Saludos
      Self-publishing has proven to be an effective method by which to
      launch a writing career for numerous African-American authors, such
      as Zane, E. Lynn Harris, and Michael Baisden. Latinos, however, are
      not actively self-publishing. This is a mistake. Having said this,
      there is a difference between simply self-publishing and
      successfully self-publishing. The purpose of self-publishing is to
      provide evidence to agents and editors that there is a market for
      your book. The only reliable evidence is sales. To be successful,
      you must be willing and able to personally sell at least 5,000
      copies of your self-published book in less than a year. While this
      may seem difficult, it is not impossible, as many writers have done
      this. If they can do it, so can you.
      I believe so strongly that Latinos need to self-publish that
      I, in conjunction with Black Americans in Publishing, have organized
      a panel on self-publishing. (See Upcoming Workshops for more
      information.) I urge you to attend; if you cannot, consider sending
      a friend on your behalf to take notes. If this isn't an option, then
      take advantage of the multitudinous resources offered on Dan
      Poynter's web site in Recommendations; learn from the self-
      publishing success story in Author Spotlight; and once you take the
      leap and self-publish, submit your book to the Writer's Digest
      contest in Writing Opportunities.

      Helping Latino writers get published,
      Marcela Landres

      2. Q&A
      Diane Gedymin is currently Editorial Director of iUniverse, one of
      the largest print-on-demand publishers in the United States. Before
      joining iUniverse, Gedymin was affiliated with Carlisle & Company, a
      Manhattan based literary agency. She was formerly Sr. Vice President
      and Publishing Director of the San Francisco division of Harper
      Collins, Vice President and Senior Editor for the Putnam Berkley
      Group, and Vice President of Subsidiary Rights at Putnam. She has
      worked with many bestselling authors such as Sidney Poitier, Johnny
      Cash and Sheri Reynolds. Below the respected publishing veteran
      shares some inestimable advice.

      Why is iUniverse a great home for Latino writers?
      iUniverse is a great home for any writer who wants to self-publish,
      but since there are so very few publishers out there today who
      publish Latino writers, either in a special imprint or on their
      general lists, it's especially important that these writers have an
      outlet. iUniverse is a true alternative in the publishing industry.
      First, it's fast and affordable. For a few hundred dollars,
      you can have finished books in four to six weeks! Moreover, we offer
      the same higher level services that you get from traditional
      publishing—from full editorial services at the beginning of the
      process to publicity, marketing and coop advertising once the book
      is published—at affordable, industry standard rates.
      Authors also save money when purchasing books; since we are
      a print-on-demand provider, writers don't have to stock large
      quantities of books in anticipation of sales. You can buy one copy
      or l0,000—but not until you actually need them! And authors get
      great volume discounts for personal distribution and sale.
      In addition, iUniverse titles are available through online
      retailers like Barnes & Noble and Amazon and customers can order
      books at over 25,000 booksellers worldwide. Latino writers would be
      eligible for the same coop advertising programs we make available to
      all authors and, in the future, we're planning ads in periodicals
      targeted specifically to the Latino market.

      Which Latino authors has iUniverse published?
      We have published over a hundred books by Latinos or about subjects
      concerning Latino readers.

      What kinds of manuscripts are ideal for self-publishing?
      1. When the author is interested in producing a book for a small
      audience (friends, family, or a local audience).
      2. When the book is designed for a niche or very targeted audience
      (special interest groups).
      3. When the author wants to have a book for professional reasons
      such as to gain recognition, to publicize a specialty, or to enhance
      speaking engagements.
      4. When an author is interested in a career as a traditionally
      published author but is having trouble getting started or getting
      5. When a traditional publisher puts a book out of print.
      6. Any time an author wants a professionally published book without
      making a big up-front financial investment in printing or inventory.

      Other than honing their craft, what is the smartest step writers can
      take to become happily published?
      Other than getting the best and most appropriate editorial services
      available, there are a few things I think are critical:

      * Competition and comparison: Read, read, read. Know your
      competition. Check that your idea for a book is unique and fresh. It
      can be the very best book on the subject, but if there are l00 out
      there already, no matter how good it is, it will be difficult to
      find a readership for it.

      * Title: A good title is everything. Bad books with great titles
      succeed but fabulous books with bad titles can fail. It is
      singularly the hardest thing to pin down. Work on your title to make
      it appealing, immediately understandable and fresh.

      * Keynote: Whatever you call it—elevator pitch, sound byte—you need
      to focus on how you describe your book in a few sentences. If you
      can't tell people what your book is about in a brief statement, how
      can you possibly expect others to know what it's about?

      * Platform: How well known you are and what you're doing to promote
      your book is so critical to its success. Nowadays, everyone from
      booksellers to the media wants to know what you've already done to
      promote your book. You have to start getting your name and your
      message out, even before you start writing your book. But you don't
      have to be on Oprah. You can start with regional or niche media—free
      newspapers, editorials, columns, articles, trade journals. Place a
      story in a literary magazine if you're a novelist. Contact
      colleagues and network. Try to get interviewed as a "local expert"
      on the radio or local TV. Give seminars. Address church groups and
      libraries. Join a book club and writer's group. Become a fixture in
      your local bookstore. Start a website. Create a database for
      mailings or e-mailings. And, if necessary and you're really serious
      about this, hire a media coach and personal publicist. In other
      words, become visible.

      Direct queries to general.inquiries@... or 1-877-288-4737
      iUniverse web site www.iuniverse.com
      Click here for more interviews with editors seeking Latino writers

      3. Recommendations
      Dan Poynter is a self-publishing expert and has sold millions of his
      books, including several best sellers. Many of his books sell at the
      rate of 10,000-20,000 copies per year, every year. Poynter shares
      his expertise on his web site, www.parapublishing.com, which offers
      an impressive amount of information self-published writers need,
      including: a list of attorneys who specialize in book publishing;
      postal rates for book shipments; and a wealth of review mailing
      lists for specific media, such as African-American magazines,
      magazines for librarians, and radio talk shows.
      www.parapublishing.com is the definitive resource for writers
      interested in self-publishing.

      Offer a recommendation marcelalandres@...
      Click here for more recommendations

      4. Author Spotlight
      Karen E. Quinones Miller self-published her first novel, Satin Doll.
      She sold over 24,000 copies, then found an agent, and shortly
      thereafter landed a six-figure deal with Simon & Schuster. She is
      now the bestselling author of four books, including her latest, Ida
      B. It follows three childhood friends: Brenda Carver, who wants to
      write a novel but doesn't know where to begin; Rosa Rivera, who
      aspires to be the next Nicole Kidman; and Sharif Goldsby, an
      activist who lives to make a difference. While they are devoted to
      each other and their neighbors in the Ida B. Wells Barnett Tower
      (the titular Ida B.), their dreams are both inspired and inhibited
      by their community. A tragedy tests their loyalty and integrity, and
      teaches them that a lie is sometimes more righteous than the truth.
      Like Gloria Naylor's The Women of Brewster Place, Ida B. creates a
      powerful sense of place, and presents characters whose imperfections
      are also their strengths.

      Which author or book inspires you, and why?
      Ralph Ellison and F. Scott Fitzgerald inspire me because of their
      beautiful writing style. Langston Hughes inspires me because of his
      simplistic way of writing, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez because of his
      fearlessness in writing. What I mean by fearlessness . . . many
      authors are willing to take chances, but most will wink at the
      reader as if to say, "you see what I'm doing? Are you following me,
      here?" Garcia just does it. He just plows through it. And you find
      yourself following in his wake. Following him wherever it is he
      deigns to take you. That's fearless writing, in my opinion.

      Self-publishing has proven to be an effective way for many writers
      to launch a writing career, yet Latinos do not seem to be actively
      self-publishing. Why do you think this is so?
      I'm not sure how to answer this question. I think one reason is that
      there aren't really many bookstores that are considered "Latino" and
      absolutely no Latino distributors that I know of. And having
      friendly and supportive bookstores and distributors is essential, I
      believe, to successfully self-publish. Because while you're out in
      the street giving out flyers, and selling books out of the trunk of
      your car (and anyone who has self-published knows what I mean) it's
      the bookstores and distributors who help sell the books on the
      inside. One of the problems that African-Americans had before the
      advent of black bookstores and distributors is that the white
      bookstore and distributor clerks didn't actually read their books,
      and therefore never hand sold them or recommended them. Word of
      mouth goes a long way in the book selling business, and it goes even
      longer when the word is coming from a bookstore or book distributor.
      Right now, Latinos don't have this kind of support, so I think
      that's one thing that hinders their self-publishing success. I do
      think, though, if there were one really successful Latino
      breakthrough in self-publishing it would open up the floodgates.

      How did you meet your agent?
      My present agent is Liza Dawson of Liza Dawson Associates in New
      York City. My first agent, though, was Delin Cornery of Peter Miller
      Associates. Delin was one of the many agents to whom I sent a query
      letter and later a manuscript of Satin Doll (my first book) and one
      of the many who turned me down. After I self-published Satin Doll,
      and had sold about 18,000 copies in five months, Delin e-mailed me
      and said that she was at a party the evening before and heard two
      editors at different publishing houses discussing my book. She
      advised me to get an agent quick, because the publishing world was
      hot for Satin Doll, and would soon be banging on my door to acquire
      the rights. I emailed her back and told her she was hired.
      Unfortunately, Delin left the business in 2002, but before doing so
      she recommended three literary agents to me. I lunched with all
      three and decided to go with Liza.

      What is your writing ritual?
      I wrote Satin Doll while working full-time and also being a single-
      mom, so most of my writing was done very, very late at night. Well,
      when I first quit my job to write full-time I really intended to
      write as if it were a 9-5 job. I thought I'd get up at 8:30 a.m. or
      so, shuffle over to the computer and do some writing until about 11
      a.m., then take a long lunch break and get back to writing about 2
      p.m., and then quit for the day about 3:30 p.m. Hah! I found out
      that I could do some editing during the day, but that my muse didn't
      sit on my lap until about 11:30 at night, and I did my best writing
      from midnight to 5 a.m. So . . . that's what I now do!

      Other than honing their craft, what advice would you give to Latino
      writers looking to land a book deal?
      To be fearless. You simply can't be afraid of rejection. You have to
      remember if someone tells you "no," it simply means you can't do it
      with that person, it doesn't mean you can't do it. You've got to
      push through the no's until you get to a yes. Don't let the no's get
      you down! And you have to network. Go out to book festivals and
      seminars, and meet people who have already done the same thing
      you're trying to do. Listen to them and learn from their successes,
      but also their mistakes. But whatever you do . . . don't give up!

      Read excerpt and author bio http://www.karenequinonesmiller.com/
      Obtain Ida B:
      Click here for more Author Spotlights

      5. Upcoming Workshops
      How to Successfully Self-Publish Panel, sponsored by NYS Democratic
      Majority Leader Senator David A. Paterson in conjunction with Black
      Americans in Publishing and the Latinidad™ Newsletter.

      WHAT: Noted best selling authors Zane, E. Lynn Harris, and Karen E.
      Quinones Miller all began their careers by self-publishing. Join us
      to learn how you, too, can self-publish a best seller. Topics
      discussed include: why publishers want to work with self-published
      writers; determining if self-publishing is right for you; how to get
      started; marketing, publicizing, and selling your book. Moderated by
      Marcela Landres, Publisher of the Latinidad™ Newsletter.

      WHEN: 6p.m.-8p.m., Tuesday, September 14

      WHERE: 2nd floor Gallery, Adam Clayton Powell Office Building,
      Harlem, NY

      * Karen E. Quinones Miller, bestselling author, Ida. B
      * Wanda Thomas, Publisher, JCW Enterprises, Inc. and self-published
      children's author of Beautiful Me and Handsome Me
      * Manie Barron, Literary Agent
      * Diane Gedymin, Editorial Director, iUniverse, Inc.
      * Earl Cox, President and Chief Executive, Earl Cox & Associates

      RSVP: Suggested donation is $10. The first 50 guests will receive a
      gift. RSVP to marcelalandres@...; mail checks payable to Black
      Americans in Publishing to: Dr. Hulan Jack, Jr., Treasurer, BAIP, PO
      Box 6275, FDR Station, New York, NY

      If you would like me to speak at your organization, click here for a
      Request a Workshop form http://www.marcelalandres.com/id49.htm
      Click here for a list of upcoming workshops

      6. Writing Opportunities
      For more writing opportunities, including calls for submissions,
      contests and conferences, visit www.marcelalandres.com and click on
      Writing Opportunities.
      Writer's Digest International Self-Published Book Awards
      Deadline: December 15
      Writer's Digest is searching for the best self-published books of
      the past few years. Whether you're a professional writer, part-time
      freelancer, or a self-starting student, here's your chance to enter
      the only competition exclusively for self-published books. The
      prizes include a $3,000 cash award, promotion in Writer's Digest and
      Publishers Weekly, and guaranteed distribution to bookstores and
      libraries through Baker & Taylor. For more information and to apply
      visit http://www.writersdigest.com/contests/self_published.asp
      Registration Deadline: Tuesday, September 7th
      From Here to There: Living in two, three, or more cultures can breed
      insanity, blessings, and lots to write about. In this class, we'll
      study the slippery genre of personal essay writing in relation to
      our cultural experiences and lives as people of color. The class is
      for beginners and the experienced. Come with the essay you've been
      working on or come for assignments that will catapult you into
      writing. Daisy Hernandez is Colombiana-Cubana lesbian and the co-
      editor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism.
      Her essays have appeared in the Crab Orchard Review and Ms.
      magazine, as well as the anthologies Sex and Single Girls (Seal
      Press, 2004), Without a Net (Seal Press, 2004), and Border-line
      Personalities (Rayo, 2004). To register and for more info visit
      Deadline: September 21
      For all those who wanted to get their chance to send in a tape for
      the upcoming season of HBO's Def Poetry here it is. Format for
      tapes/DVDs (no audio cassettes, please!) 2 poems performed in front
      of a live audience (no longer than 5 minutes in length for both
      poems). Name and contact info necessary; all the bio stuff is not.
      Send to: Shihan Van Clief, c/o Def Poetry, 5923 Willoughby Ave, #1,
      Los Angeles, CA 90038. Group pieces are also being looked at with
      the same time restraints.
      Deadline: December 30
      Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion, an anthology of
      contemporary Mexican literary fiction to be edited by C.M. Mayo for
      Whereabouts Press, needs translations of quality contemporary
      literary Mexican fiction with a strong sense of place (e.g., Oaxaca,
      Sierra Tarahumara, Guadalajara). Reprints welcome. Novel excerpts OK
      if can stand alone. Please include both translation and the original
      work; author's bio; translator's bio; contact information for
      translator, author; and—this is especially important—any other
      contact information that would be needed for securing permissions.
      Send to: C.M. Mayo, Editor, "Mexico", P.O. Box 58063, Washington DC
      20037. Please include a SASE for reply. C.M. Mayo (www.cmmayo.com)
      is the author of Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles through
      Baja California, the Other Mexico (University of Utah Press, 2002).
      Whereabouts Press (www.whereaboutspress.com) is the publisher of the
      highly regarded Traveler's Literary Companions series.
      iCaramba U. Magazine submits monthly assignments to writers
      nationwide and if we publish your work, you will get paid. All you
      need to do is e-mail two writing samples to aaldano@... or
      fax them to 212-792-5839, Attn: iCaramba U, and we'll contact you.
      Here's what we're working on for in our next issue: Interracial
      Dating; Amor de Lejos - LDD - Long Distance Dating; Campus Crawl:
      Los Angeles; Trendsetters; Salud; A la Moda (Beauty, Fashion, Art);
      Latino Greek Life - Pre-pledge, Pledge, Post-pledge, and Alumni
      Phases: Tell us your experiences. iCaramba U. College Magazine is a
      fresh voice intent on reaching college and high school aged Latinos
      all over the country. We currently have a circulation of 100,000 in
      100 universities nationally, making us one of the top 10 Latino
      publications in the U.S. For more information visit
      Cuerpo Magazine is seeking a New York and/or L.A. based fashion and
      beauty editor. We are in need of a talented and experienced writer
      in the area of fashion and beauty. Qualified candidates will be able
      to inform our readers of the realistic trends that Latina/ethnic
      women can relate to, and assist our readers with creating a personal
      sense of style that is realistic and complements different body
      structures. We are not asking for reports on couture clothing unless
      there are affordable options for our readers. Awareness of the
      diversity within Latino culture/women of color including skin, hair,
      body image, cultural sensitivity, realistic trends, affordable
      style, and beauty trends are topics that are important for both our
      fashion and beauty editors. We are a national print magazine that
      will premiere in the U.S. market 2004. We are focused on providing
      up-to-date information to our contemporary Latina/women of color
      readers. Some travel involved, new opportunity, intern option
      available for assistance with our editorial staff, pay rate $50-
      $300. For information please forward resume with any published
      clippings to: Cuerpo Magazine, Inc, c/o Fashion & Beauty, 980 N.
      Michigan Avenue, Suite 1400, Chicago IL 60611, Attn: Jeanette Cruz,
      or call 312-214-4922.
      Latino Screenwriters Network is a new script analysis service
      especially for Latino screenwriters. We will help you get to the
      heart of your story by offering analysis on key script elements such
      as originality, plot, theme, character, dialogue and formatting. We
      will also identify what is and isn't working in your script,
      pinpoint story problems and offer comments aimed at helping you
      communicate your vision onto the page. By offering support,
      encouragement and professional, affordable script analysis, it is
      our hope to empower Latino screenwriters in order to effectively
      compete in the market as well as foster storytelling that celebrates
      the Latino experience . . . Because YOU have a unique story worth
      telling! Visit us on the web at www.LatinoScreenwriters.com for more
      information, including a complete list of rates, services, and
      instructions on how to submit scripts.
      Literary Mama, A Literary Magazine for the Maternally Inclined
      (www.literarymama.com) is looking for a new columnist to join their
      amazing current group. Their columnists are all mothers, all writing
      about motherhood. They are particularly interested in mothers who
      have a unique take/view/situation in regards to their motherhood
      status. For example, one columnist writes about sex and motherhood,
      one writes about being a lesbian mother, one writes about being a
      mother in academia and so forth. They are looking for dynamic,
      diverse, exciting, mother writers who aren't afraid to put the truth
      out there. The best way to know what they are looking for is to
      scour the current columnists -- then send them an email with a
      writing sample and the idea you have for a column, detailing why
      yours would be unique. Columnists are expected to contribute columns
      bimonthly, for a total of 6 in a year. E-mail Heidi Raykeil Co-
      Editor, Columns at columns@....
      Are you cool? A writer? Latina? A Spanish speaker? Would you like to
      make a difference in our community but don't know how or where?
      WriteGirl wants you! WriteGirl is a nonprofit organization for inner
      city high school girls centered on the craft of creative writing.
      Through one-on-one mentoring and monthly workshops, girls are given
      techniques, insights and hot tips for great writing in all genres
      including poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, songwriting,
      journalism, screenwriting, playwriting, persuasive writing, journal
      writing, and editing. 70% of our participating girls are Latinas,
      yet the opposite is true of our mentoring and volunteer pool.
      Specifically, we are looking for women to assist with event
      planning, public relations, fundraising and communications. The
      minimum time commitment for ALL volunteers and mentors is two hours
      per week. To apply for membership, please download the application
      form from our website: http://www.writegirl.org/joinus.html. Once we
      have reviewed your application, we will contact you to invite you to
      an orientation and training in September or October. See our website
      for more information: www.writegirl.org. Questions? Email us at
      info@... or call 323-327-2555.
      Tomás Martínez's first novel is about growing up in a country under
      permanent socio-economical and political crisis, where the voices of
      the people for democratic change were always matched by the
      government's repression. Expect the unexpected in this confident
      debut of the author where his vivid and imaginative narrative won't
      disappoint. The book was released last June and information about it
      and the author can be found at www.antoniosquest.com.
      E-mail announcements about contests, calls for submissions,
      conferences, jobs, book publications, literary events, etc., to
      All back issues are available at
      If you wish to reprint portions of this newsletter, please credit
      The Latinidad™ Newsletter and include a link to
      If so, forward it to friends and colleagues. If not, take the
      Newsletter Survey on my web site
      http://www.marcelalandres.com/id59.htm and tell me what doesn't work
      and why. ********************

      "If you want to get good service, serve yourself."
      --Italian Proverb

      The Latinidad™ Newsletter © 2003 by Marcela Landres
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