Latinidad - September 2004: Self-Publishing
- 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.
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,
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
publishingfrom full editorial services at the beginning of the
process to publicity, marketing and coop advertising once the book
is publishedat 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 l0,000but 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
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 itelevator pitch, sound byteyou 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 mediafree
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
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,
* 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
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
MULTICULTURAL ESSAY WORKSHOP
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
HOW TO GET ON HBO DEF POETRY
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.
MEXICAN LITERARY FICTION IN TRANSLATION
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; andthis is especially importantany 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. COLLEGE MAGAZINE SEEKS WRITERS
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 SEEKS FASHION AND BEAUTY EDITORS
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.
SCRIPT ANALYSIS FOR LATINO SCREENWRITERS
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 SEEKS COLUMNIST
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@....
WRITEGIRL SEEKS LATINA WRITING MENTORS
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.
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"If you want to get good service, serve yourself."
The Latinidad Newsletter © 2003 by Marcela Landres