Kelly Notaras On Helping Authors Write Their Nonfiction & Memoir

Mindy:             Today's guest is Kelly Notaras, founder of KN Literary Arts, an editorial book studio, specializing in self-help, personal growth and spirituality.

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Mindy:             You are the founder of KN Literary Arts. Tell us a little bit about what your organization does and how your offerings can help authors.

Kelly:               Yes, so I am a book editor. I've been a book editor for 20 years and KN Literary is sort of my, the answer to the changes that have happened in the book publishing business as far as I'm concerned, since I got into it 20 years ago. Everything has gotten so consolidated and as you know it's not impossible, but certainly harder and harder to get published by a traditional house and especially in the world of nonfiction, which is where I specialize There's a lot of opportunity to self publish and build a platform using your book that then will make you of interest to a publisher down the line.

Kelly:               What I wanted to make sure was that the people who were doing that had access to the level of editorial services that the book publishers are giving, the books that are traditionally published. So we offer everything from helping you figure out what the hook of the book should be, the pitch, what your idea should be, what the specific story is you should focus on. If you're writing a memoir, we also do fiction, but our definitely our bread and butter is nonfiction. What's the storyline? What's the wisdom? What's the step by step process, et cetera. Building your outline, coaching you through writing it, which is obviously always a bear. We do both proposals and full length manuscripts and then we offer all the editorial services that a traditional house would offer. So content editing, technical editing, interior design, cover design, and also what we call self-publishing coaching. Because while it is actually easier for people to self publish today than any other day, many of our clients are confused by the options and don't know kind of where to go. So we will walk you through step by step how to do it.

Mindy:             One of the things I hear people talk about in the industry when they talk about self-publishing, and I've heard this multiple times, that the great thing about self publishing is that anyone can do it. And the horrible thing about self publishing is anyone can do it. That's exactly right. And that's because so many people do it badly. That muddies the market and it makes it harder for people that are attempting to do it correctly with cover design, with understanding marketing, with caring about content, and making sure that they even have things formatted correctly for the interior. All of those things are so important and you can't just throw something together, which many, many, many people do. And so it sounds like you're offering not only the ability to set yourself apart from the badly self-published pieces, but also how to rise above and get noticed how to rise above that murk.

Kelly:               Absolutely. And I mean it is one of the great benefits of being alive today, I think. I mean, it's just funny when you look at it historically speaking, it is astonishing that anybody can write and publish a book today. And I love that. I genuinely love it. Depending on what your goals are for the book, really anyone can do it, and some of my clients, their goal is really to have what we call a glorified business card. They want to have a book. They don't expect people to necessarily read it. They want them to just remember, Oh, this person took the time to write a book. They must be an expert on this subject. When I need this, I'm going to go to them. And that's for the nonfiction personal growth, self-help wellness books that we do, but when you're really wanting someone to read the book, you have to honor that person's time.

Kelly:               There's so many things we could be doing with any minute of the day. Why am I going to spend it reading your book if you haven't taken the time and the financial commitment to make it really good? Honestly being kind to your end user, your reader, to make sure that the book is in as good a shape as it can be in. That is what we try to do and again, depending on what we're doing, we do a lot of ghost writing and when we do ghost writing I can be like this writing is going to be great. When we are editing we can only say we're going to make this writing as good as it can be, you know, so there's different levels and we serve all clients with all goals and we're really honest as well. If someone's like, I really want to have a traditional publisher, we will say your ideas are great but your writing is not strong enough. We need to pair you with the ghost writer and people like it. People don't like it. Some people decide to take us up on it, other people decide to try it and we're really on the journey with you wherever you are.

Mindy:             One of the things that I see often is older people who aren't necessarily tech savvy, wanting to get some of their life experience out there, wanting to get sometimes family stories and history or their own life story, like a memoir out there and they don't know how to do it because they simply don't have those tech abilities. So is that like has, have you had that experience with having --

Kelly:               Oh my gosh, yes.

Kelly:               We have a wonderful admin at the company and one of her roles is to walk people through when they don't know how to use track changes. For example, on Microsoft Word, which is how we edit all of our projects because we do everything electronically. We have people that can't even fill out the form on our website, find a phone number and call us and we walk them through. We will help everybody wherever they are. The one thing we will not do, I'll just say this, we will not take your longhand manuscript. I'm sorry, I love you. You've got to find someone to type it up. You know, we get that question a lot. You know, people or they want to send us a box of the last 30 years of their journals and have us sort of somehow cobble a book out of them. We won't do it. It's just too much. You know, it's handwriting is just, you know, something we can't really work with. But if we can recommend transcription services, we can recommend people who will type it out for you. Get it type written and then send it to us and we'll do what we can.

Mindy:             I come to the question just from the experience of being a published author for uh, you know, eight, nine years and being at festivals and book fairs and working my own table and having people come up to me and say, well, I've always wanted to write a book and I'm just like, that's cool. You're talking to the wrong person. It's like I write fiction and you know, you don't want an agent, you don't want to be writing query letters. Like that's not what you're interested in. You are 70 years old. Like this is a long game. You need a different service than the process that I went through.

Kelly:               And that is honestly our bread and butter is that client. So we do so much work with people who have a story, often times some sort of a triumph over tragedy, whether it was from childhood or the loss of a child or a spouse or some sort of a battle with an illness. And they've come through it and they want to share their wisdom. They may never have written a word in their lives. So they come to us and we help them figure out what are their different options because there are many, many different options for how to proceed. And this is one of the places where people I think get a little tripped up and they feel a little bad because they think, well, you know, everyone knows how to write. We all learned how to do it in school, so I should be able to write a book.

Kelly:               And the fact that I am not succeeding at doing it means that there's something wrong with me. And I always say no, that is completely not the case. Writers who are writing for a living being published by the traditional publishers, they have been working on their craft for a very long time. There is no reason why you who spent your life gaining this wisdom, doing something else should be able to sit down and just pound out New York times bestselling book about it. Get humble, ask for help. And then maybe you even need someone to do collaborative writing with you who can walk you through and who can actually take whatever it is that you are able to produce and rework it into something that's going to be digestible for a reader. Cause that's really the point when it comes to nonfiction, the information has to somehow get to that reader. And if your book is written in a non-traditional way, if your writing is an excellent, you're going to have a hard time actually allowing the reader to take in what you have to teach them. So you may need to work with someone for whom writing is their superpower. If you have a message or a story, there's a way to get it onto the page in a well-written fashion. And that's one of the things that we do.

Mindy:             I really have to tell you that I stand in awe of your patience and the patience of the folks on your team because I can tell you that my mother doesn't even ask me for help with tech anymore. It is not going to end well. Like it's just, it's such a struggle because, and it's not their fault, but it's, for example, my mother, she doesn't even have the vocabulary to tell me what the problem is, right?

Kelly:               Yes, yes, yes, exactly. 100%.

Mindy:             It's not working. And I'm like, what are you, what are you trying to tell me? Is there an error message? Like it's just not working. And I'm like, okay, I can't do anything with, it's just not working.

Kelly:               My Mom lives like 800 miles away and we definitely do FaceTime of her FaceTiming me from her phone to her iPad so I can tell her what to do to make the change. You know that. I totally understand that. Here's the thing that I'll say. All of the people who work for us at KN Literary, they are people who've had real publishing industry experience. You know that is one of the criteria whether they've been a writer, they're a published author or they've been a literary agent or they've been an editor. The thing that every one of them will tell you is that after working with highly successful authors who believe that they are entitled to help from an editor and it should be free. It is so lovely to work with people. You just tell them something that any assistant in the business knows and they literally think you're a genius.

Kelly:               It's really nice to be received with gratitude by our clientele. So that is something that I think that we, that all of the editors who work at my company really love, is that the people we work with are sort of ground zero, salt of the earth. They are so excited to have someone listen to their story and really, you know, reflect back to them that they, they do have something to share with the world. All of it is worth it. The tech et cetera is worth it to not have to work with the personalities that I used to have to work with. No names need be named.

Mindy:             I can tell you that I myself, like I said earlier when I am working at a festival or a book fair if it's slow and I don't have anything going on and I don't know the author that I'm sitting with, I don't have anyone to chat with. If you know an older person just stops and then they want to talk about their idea for a book, I will happily listen because I love to talk to older people because they're our history and they're our shared experiences.

Kelly:               We do a lot of memoir and right now. I'm actually doing quite a bit of sharing of information and you know, in terms of our blogs and my videos about memoir because we have so many people who want to write it and that is one of the things they don't get is like they might have an amazing story to tell, but for it to be a successful memoir that a lot of people want to read, it actually has to both be set up and to read like a novel. It truly does because it fits in the same category. It's entertainment more than it is cold, hard information someone's going to apply to their lives, although of course they're going to learn from your story, but it's not a step by step process. It needs to actually be compelling. And so that's one of the things that I'm trying to get people to understand is that you have to break down your life into scenes and you have to leave 99% of your life on the cutting room floor, which is really hard for people because their experience is precious. They want it all to be in there and I'm like, it's actually not about you.

Kelly:               Your book has to be about the reader. It just has to be about what their experience is going to be and that's one of the big mind shifts that our clients have to make if they want to write a successful memoir that might have a chance of being published by a traditional house

Mindy:             Coming up, the niche in the marketplace for a how to book on writing narrative nonfiction and memoir and how Kelly filled that with her release The Book You Were Born to Write.

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Mindy:             You've written a guidebook, The Book You Were Born to Write, which is focused on helping the nonfiction author get their transformational works onto paper. So we talked a little bit about memoir, et cetera. You mentioned that even nonfiction, if we're talking about memoir, does have to be working kind of in a narrative function. So I'm curious about why the focus on nonfiction. Did you see a niche in the marketplace that needed to be filled?

Kelly:               Yes, absolutely. So my career sort of started... I was in college. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I was doing a lot of writing. I was writing short stories, I was writing poetry and I was working at a bookstore and it was a bookstore that was highly focused on literary fiction, which doesn't even exist anymore - a bookstore that's focused on literary fiction. But anyway, we didn't even carry commercial novels. It was a gutsy move on the part of the owner, but at any rate, it was exactly my style. I was reading all the kinds of books I wanted to be writing and I decided to get into the book publishing business because I knew I needed a few years to just figure out what it was that I was going to write and I was gonna need a job during that time and I thought, well it would make sense for me to move to New York and figure out how this book business works.

Kelly:               I went to New York, got a job working at two imprints. One was a pop culture, but the other one was literary fiction and I was super happy. But as time went by I actually got less and less happy working in the big companies. It is a corporate America. I always said it was the coolest job you could have in corporate America, but it was so corporate America and it wasn't really my jam and I also was not happy living in New York city. I live in the country now. It's very quiet. There aren't very many people. This is really more my kind of speed. I was miserable and a girlfriend said, you know, you should read this book and it turned out it was the book, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, which is like one of the great best-sellers of spiritual books in the last 25 years.

Kelly:               It really changed my life. I mean I can genuinely say that and I started meditating and it was through my meditation community in New York that I got put up for a job at Sounds True, which is a smaller publisher in Boulder, Colorado that specializes in spirituality, personal growth, self-help, things like that. And so I was at the time doing fiction, I was doing celebrity memoir, I was doing all sorts of types of books at at Hyperion books, which is where I was working at the time and I had to make a decision, you know, am I going to take a leap and start working on the kind of books that I am reading? The ones that I actually am learning from and want to be learning from? I will be honest, it was a torturous decision. I took about a month to decide whether I was going to take the leap.

Kelly:               A good friend of mine, she was actually one of my first bosses in the business and she runs a division of Random House. She said, listen, I will hire you back if you don't like it, so you have nothing to lose. And that was what I needed. And so I took the leap and I will tell you I've never looked back and I still love reading literary fiction and I still probably will write a memoir someday that's a little more on the literary end of the spectrum. But in terms of daily satisfaction of working with clients who want to change the world in a positive way, it actually just feeds my heart. And so that is the reason why I focused on the nonfiction for the book. My clientele are primarily writing this type of book. This is another thing that I'm always telling my clients.

Kelly:               There really was not a book out there specifically for self-help writers for how to write a book. It was a niche. It was the niche that I already work in. It was the logical decision to make and again, like I said before at my company, we edit everything, we edit everything from wellness, cookbooks, children's books, YA fiction, adult fiction, all of it. But definitely our bread and butter is self-help, personal growth and inspirational memoir.

Mindy:             There are so many books out there to help people write fiction. Not like self-help nonfiction. No, it was definitely void needing to be filled, there's no doubt. When people purchase The Book You Were Born to Write, they also get a free course that is called The Organized Author. So tell us a little bit about what that is.

Kelly:               That is definitely one of the main complaints or concerns that I hear from clients is just like - I know I want to write a book. I cannot get my act together to do it. And so I personally am a highly organized type a person. It's a masterclass. It's about 90 minutes long and it really gives you my actual step by step process for what I do to get myself writing every day and comes as second nature to me because I'm an organized person. I'm a productive person. You can get that on my website. If you buy the book you just put in your receipt number and you can download it.

Mindy:             So it sounds like KN Literary is pretty full service. You also offer marketing advice and assistance, which you talked about before. A lot of authors know that writing the book is only the first step, but there are plenty that don't. They think that once you have written the book you're at the end of the journey and really it is just the beginning. What are some common misconceptions that you see first time self-publishers making when it comes to marketing? What are those mistakes that you see tripping people up constantly?

Kelly:               Well the number one is they think if they write it, the readers will come and it's just not the case. As you said. Really, I say 20% of the work is writing the book and 80% is getting the word out about it. If you want the book to sell beyond you, which honestly some people really don't mind that much. They want to put their wisdom into a book so they can hand it to people. So they don't mind that it's not going to be sold to people who've never heard of them before. They're okay with it being sort of hand to hand. If you do, there are so many people out there who can help you. There is excellent information. My book has a chapter on building your platform. You can really do it in your spare time. You do it like an hour a day.

Kelly:               Just you know, write yourself a Facebook post or write a blog. Start building an email list. One of my good friends from the publishing business has an amazing website. It's called Literally a turn key website building application specifically designed and geared toward authors and ones who are not tech savvy. Anyone. Really, anyone can build an author website on this site and the only fee is your small monthly hosting fee. So basically it's one of the least expensive, least intense ways to get a, you know, a home on the web and then from there, your side hustle, you're just getting out there letting people know, Hey, I've got good information to share, I know the problems that you have. I have this amazing story that you would love. Directing people toward it. And so you will have to do that if you want it to sell beyond the people who already know you

Mindy:             And that's something that I see a lot of people immediately balking at when they talk to me about wanting to be published and they're like, yeah, I've got this great idea for your book. And I'm like, yeah, that's really cool. But you need a website and you need Facebook, you need Twitter and you need all of these things. If you don't want to do that, then you are in the wrong business.

Kelly:               You know, I feel bad for people because I think we're in an interesting transition point of culture where in the past, it was more true that the publisher would be able to get your book into brick and mortar bookstores and that's kind of all you needed in order to get it sold. They paid a little money, got it on the front table. Someone came in having seen an author that they love has published their next book. They walk in looking for that book. They walk out with yours too. That was kind of sum total of the marketing efforts of publishers for a really long time. Nowadays, the way to market books is personality marketing, direct to consumer. It's like you're building friendships. You're building relationships with people. You're building your fans and then you're building your super fans and your super fans are the ones who love you so much that they are doing your marketing for you.

Kelly:               They're posting about your book, they're talking about you. They're like inviting you to their hometown. They're inviting you to their readers circle, whatever it might be. They're the people that are so passionate about you that they would do it for free because to them your book is that good and that's what you're trying to sort of start a hot burning fire. Just a couple of hundred of people like that and then it grows from there and yeah, if you don't want to do that, listen, I understand not everybody wants to step up to the mic in that way, but unfortunately the way that you are expecting it to happen, unfortunately times have changed. So there is a sort of like a wake up call that many people have to have and then I just send them away to sit with it and then if they're like, you know what, this book is yearning to be born in a bigger way, I'm going to do it. And I'm like, great, we can help.

Mindy:             I want to follow up on a couple of things there. One of the first things that you said was about the brick and mortar bookstores. Even as a traditionally published author published by Harper Collins, I have eight books out now. I have friends that'll be like, Oh my gosh, Mindy, I was in Atlanta in the airport and they had your book, how did you get there? And I'm like, I didn't get it there. I'm like, no, that's my publisher's job. That's what they do. And I'm always like, I'm a published author guys!

Kelly:               When someone knows you and you publish a book, this has been my experience with my book - they just assume you self-published it. Like they assume you couldn't possibly be published by a publisher. And I'm like, I'm actually, I was. People are quote, "launching their books on Facebook" all the time. And you know, in most cases they haven't done what they need to do to make it a good book. That's been one of the things I've noticed is that a lot of people that know me haven't bought or read my book because they assume it's probably not very good. So my fans are people who don't know me personally. Okay.

Mindy:             Totally. That's so true. That's so true. And I even had someone say to me, and I don't take it as an insult in any way whatsoever because I understand, but I had someone say to me one time, "I was really surprised that you're a local author and you are actually good." And then I have the other end of the spectrum where have people say to me, Mindy, I went into Barnes and Noble and they didn't have any of your books. Why not? And I'm like, well that's because publishing works as a season and I don't have a new release right now. And if you don't have a new release, you only have a shelf life of about three months. And sometimes they don't order back in. Like they'll get eight copies, all eight copies sell. They don't order it back in because they're keeping room on the space for the new releases that'll be out in a month. I explain all of that. And they're just kinda like, okay. And inside they're thinking she's actually self-published.

Kelly:               Also one of the things that was always interesting when I was working at the big houses, Barnes and Noble and Borders at the time -so RIP Borders- did a lot of what they called chick lit. So I was working with like kind of urban stories of women, you know, and the ups and downs of dating life and things like that. They almost always only put those in the big cities. So you could walk into a Barnes and Noble in New York or Chicago or LA and you'd find it, but if you were going in my hometown of Indianapolis or smaller town, maybe Houston or something, you wouldn't actually find the book. And it doesn't mean that Barnes and Nobles not stocking it means that that bookstore isn't, they go really based on what they think is going to sell out of that bookstore.

Mindy:             Yeah. And it is fascinating the way all of that works. I track my geographic markets and it is amazing, I sell in Ohio, Ohio is always my biggest seller. Hometown support is the best. And then New York because I'm known obviously in Ohio. Um, I was a librarian for 14 years, so I have all this educator and librarian support, which makes a huge difference. And then I am known in the publishing industry. I'm not like a household name by any extent, but I am someone that the publishing industry knows and that people in the industry like to read. My selling goes Ohio, New York and then Texas because of the library market.

Kelly:               Oh yes, totally.

Mindy:             I tracked the geographic because you can see the difference when you do an appearance. So when I go do appearances, my sales spike in that area, whether or not they actually bought it from me at the event, because I can do an event and maybe only sell six or seven books, but my sales spike in that geographic area because the bookstore has me sign books that are left behind. Uh, there might be an article in the paper, this author was here, people see me, I'll do a Facebook post and people are like, Oh, I didn't make it to that event, but what is this? Then you get out there and putting yourself in front of people, which I know is scary to a lot of people, but that shit works.

Kelly:               I know it really does. And people love other people. I have a friend who always says, if you don't like someone, it's because you don't know them yet. And there's a way that like people, they grow to love you. If they have taken the time and made the commitment to come and see you, or even to read your blog posts or to watch your video or whatever it might be, they grow to feel an affinity for you as a person and then they want to support you getting your word out. You don't have to touch every single person individually if you just touch a few people, but you touch them deeply. They again do your marketing for you.

Mindy:             No, absolutely. I agree. And I wanted to follow up with what you said about super fans as well. One of my books, A Madness So Discreet won the Edgar Allan Poe award in 2015 which is super cool and it's totally awesome. Yeah, it's huge in mystery circles. Beyond that, it doesn't matter because it is the only mystery I've ever written. I have so many super fans that are fans of that. I do have an idea for a sequel. That book was published in 2015 so as far as the life of a book, that was a long time ago. It is still being printed. It is still being churned out in paperback even though the hardcover sales were very disappointing. Those paperbacks keep moving and that is greatly due to the fact that I had so many super fans for that book.

Mindy:             They email me and they're like, Hey, I want a sequel, and I am totally honest with them and I tell them, this is how it works. You only have 40% of your readership move on from the first book to the sequel, and I have not sold enough copies of the first book in order for the second one to be greenlighted. I have an idea. I have an outline. It's not going to be traditionally published until I hit a certain mark of sales and they're like, great, I'm going to go tell all my friends.

Kelly:               We're going to do it for you. Exactly. Exactly. Yes.

Kelly:               It serves them because then they get to live in that universe. Having people really understand how it works. They are actually the ones who drive it. They are the ones that have the power, you know, if they can help you get the word out about the book. It's like anything is possible. When I was working at Penguin, I was working in the Plume division, which is a paperback division. You're not considered to be as flashy as a hardcover division, but we paid everyone's salaries. You know, like our backlist was so deep and so what we were always looking for, and this is what I always say to people is like, what I would like for you is for you to be selling 250-500 copies shipping a month. If that's happening in the background for the longterm, like three, four, five years out from your publication date.

Kelly:               The publisher loves you. I mean loves you. We would sit and look at those reports every week and be like, wow, that book just keeps fricking selling. We are so lucky to have that on our back list. So that is one of the things, obviously I wish everyone a New York times best seller slot. Great. I hope that happens for you, but it's actually better to miss the list entirely and be a backlist bestseller than it is to go the other way around, than to have a flash in the pan and not sell anything after that moment. So people don't really realize that.

Mindy:             No, it's a long game. It's a long game. And that's a career. That's a career when you're moving paper backs. Lastly, untangling the baby steps toward creating your author platform.

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Mindy:             So you've mentioned platform quite a few times and people are terrified of platform. And I get that. I actually wrote an article for Writer's Digest and it was all about platform and how to go about starting it and don't even use the word platform sometimes because people are so frightened by the word. And you already mentioned a website and a great place to go for people to get started on building a website, but what are some other first move baby-steps platform building steps that people should be taking?

Kelly:               Absolutely. Number one being the website because you need a place for people to come back to a home on the web where they can find you and find out more about you. So that's just first step, but it does not need to be expensive and it does not need to be fancy. It literally just needs to have information about you. If you offer any services behind the scenes that you'd like to help. Like I was looking at your website, Mindy and I saw that you offer editorial services and that's all on your website. So that's great to have that there. It's obviously where people are going to come to look for it. So if you have services like that, make sure they're on there. Have a blog and I always say this is like the first step. This is the first thing when people come to me and oftentimes I do marketing consultations and people will come to me and they'll send me all of their stuff in advance.

Kelly:               I review it and then I talk to them. The first thing I look for is do they have a really awesome giveaway, free giveaway on their website that's either in a popup or at least above the fold as they say, so you don't have to scroll down to see it and is it something that's genuinely valuable that people would pay money for otherwise because they're making you a valuable exchange. When they give you their email address, they need to be getting something back that's worth money cause that email address is actually worth money to you. That's like the first thing and that could be whatever you love doing. I saw you actually, didn't you have a short story or something that you giveaway?

Mindy:             Yes, I have a short story. You get a free short story and then the mailing list is monthly and you also get pictures of my cats and when I say free short story and people are like, okay, cool. And then I say pictures of my cats and they're like, sign me up. I'm signing up.

Kelly:               Totally. That's awesome.

Kelly:               I mean, people love to know people intimately and if you're really revealing yourself in your email newsletters, et cetera, then people are going to be more likely to read them. That is for sure every single time across the board. Every time I reveal myself in my newsletter, more people read it. More people click through. When I'm just giving information, it's less. So it's an interesting dynamic there. But yes, I want to make sure people have that thing that people that are coming to their website are gonna want. You know, folks who know you, they want to know you, they want free writing from you. Mostly they have to pay for it, right? So they want something free. For me, for many of my clients, it's like a guidebook, a short ebook. For us on KN Literary, we have two different giveaways. One is 25 publishers in the self-help personal growth wellness genre who will accept your book proposal without you having to have a literary agent.

Kelly:               Because so many of my folks are putting together a book proposal but they don't necessarily have a literary agent, don't want to go through the process of finding one they're with going with a smaller indie publisher. This list gives you all the submissions guidelines of my favorite top 25 indie publishers, and by the way, that information is not proprietary. You know, I took the time to go through and find submission guidelines and put the links into a PDF. It's not like it's hugely hard to do, but it saves my person a lot of time. One of our giveaways on our homepage of our website, literally since inception of the company in 2013 is three outline templates, for different styles of books. Because so many folks come to us again, they're like, I know I want to write a book. I don't know where to start.

Kelly:               So this has one for what I call prescriptive nonfiction, which is kind of how to self help wellness. That kind of thing. One for something that I made up, I made this up, it's called a teaching memoir because so many of my clients, they have a story they want to tell, but they also want to be able to speak directly to the reader in that sort of how to self help kind of way. So this outline bridges the gap between the two of them. And then the third outline is based heavily on the writer's journey or the hero's journey of, you know, Joseph Campbell fame. Um, that's really suitable for either a novel or a memoir. Now of course when you come to novel or memoir, everyone is radically different. So you can mix and match these different elements in whatever order you like them to be in.

Kelly:               But at any rate, those two giveaways, I can't tell you how many people have come back and said, Hey, I found a publisher, thanks to your giveaway of the 25 publishers or people who've said, I never felt like a writer until I was sitting with your outline in front of me. Those are experiences people would have paid for, but I'm giving them away because I actually want people to be incentivized to join my list and get the information and maybe someday down the line come and work with us at KN Literary. So when you're talking about content marketing, you're talking about building a platform. The website is number one and the awesome giveaway in exchange for email list is number two. As you know, I'm sure Mindy, what publishers are looking for is an email list. Happy if you have an Instagram following. Happy if you have a Facebook following, but they want to know how many people have accepted you into their inbox. These days it's a very intimate thing, you know, to accept you into their inbox. I continue to open your emails that that shows that they are really super fans and so that's what they're, the publishers are looking for

Mindy:             The email list for a long time, very long time. I was doing it wrong. I was doing it so wrong. I would only send out, when I had news cover reveal, release day, I was only asking for things. I was only saying, Hey, you need to go look at my new book or you need to go preorder this book. And I wasn't getting anything and I had just shitty, shitty, shitty open rates. Like they were awful. I had a healthy list but it was terrible, terrible open rates. And I was like, Oh my gosh, email lists don't work. I don't know why people push this. So then finally, I had a friend who's a fiction author, she just responded to one of my emails cause she was on my newsletter list and she emailed me and she was like, Hey, so you're doing this wrong.

Kelly:               Give four times. And on the fifth you can ask. But I do want to say, Mindy, the fact you were sending out a newsletter is a huge first step for most authors. So even though you weren't doing it right or wasn't necessarily generating the kind of return you were hoping for, just having a newsletter is a huge thing. And I just want to send kudos to anyone who's listening to this who has one. And there is a time that usually comes and for me it was knowing that my book was going to be coming out a year later when I realized I have to start sending a newsletter every single week. And even though I had no idea what I was going to write about and my first ones were a little bit like a little baby deer, that's like just trying to get his legs under it. I am a writer, I can write one of these every freaking week and I did and that has changed everything. I really will say now I actually do a blog alternating with a video because I also really love video and everyone should be doing what they love to do. I love to write and I actually love to talk on camera. Those are two things I'm really good at. I really liked them and so that's what I use for my content marketing. So that would be sort of the next step that I would suggest is figure out what you love doing and then do that.

Mindy:             I highly recommend the book Newsletter Ninja by Tammy Lebrecque. Seriously turned my newsletter around. My friend told me, she was like, buy this book. I got the book and I followed her advice. My open rates had been like 5% my click rates have been like 1% and now because I listened to what she said in this book, my open rates are 50 to 60 and my click rates are like 17.

Kelly:               Holy moly. That's huge. Yeah. That's like unheard of. I can't wait to find this book.

Mindy:             Newsletter Ninja man. I was just like Holy shit. Very last thing- tell listeners where they can find you and KN Literary online.

Kelly:               Yes. So we are KN and that's my initials, Kelly Notaras, All the info is right there. We also have a YouTube channel which you can just go to YouTube and search for KN literary and you'll find us. We are of course on all the other social media platforms at kn literary on Instagram, on Facebook, all the different places. And, um, yeah, we also have a really cool thing that where we will talk to you about any questions that you have and if you're interested in working with us, we can quote services, et cetera, but we have three editors. They are career book editors and all three of them are also published writers and they will talk to you about where you are in your process, what your next step should be, what genre you're working on, all the things. So you can just sign up for a call really easily on the website.