How does the whole thing work?
That’s the #1 question that everyone wants to know!
In actual fact, there are two questions bundled in this first question:
1) How does the publishing process work?
We’re creating the first holistic how-to guides, and we’re particularly interested in Life Coaches, consultants, niche consultants, and other solopreneurs as authors—because the book publishing industry has changed dramatically and people who benefit most from published content are people looking for leads or clients, product sales, and events (see our “What Kinds Of Authors Are You Looking For?” FAQ below).
As a So Smart author you will be empowered not only to write a book on your niche topic quickly, using our Writers’ Guidelines, but also empowered with the tools to market that book to increase book sales and generate leads. Journey Grrrl Publishing provides authors with the ability to network, share stories, and help each other through the process of writing and marketing their books.
2) The second question, “How do you get selected to be a Journey Grrrl Publishing author to write a book?” is easy to answer—it all starts with the submission process. See the next question!
What’s the submission process?
Once you have reviewed this website and the FAQs—and if you believe you have a book like this inside you—you can submit your idea by going to the Submissions page and submitting a query letter. The format for this query is listed in the submission guidelines. You should be aware that the submissions are evaluated on the following criteria:
- Writing style of query letter: We’re looking for personable, easy-to-read, but not simplistic writing styles
- Marketing platform: What is the size of your current audience and current marketing efforts? We’ll look at what you’re doing now online with social media and gauge what we think is your ability to market the book
- The demand for your area: We’ll look at market desire for right/left, mind/body, head/heart solutions to the problem you want to address.
After that, all proposals are reviewed and prioritized by our literary director, and decisions made from there.
What titles are you looking for authors for?
We are releasing five inaugural books in June 2011. You can see working versions of those titles on the right. After that, for the rest of the series, it will depend on market and author submissions.
The book covers and authors’ names you see on the home page are merely examples/samples for illustrative purposes. If you’d like to suggest a book, it should be a topic that is close to your heart and with which you have experience.
Who will own the copyright?
Because this isn’t a self-publishing endeavor, and as with other book publishing agreements, Journey Grrrl Publishing will own the copyright to all material. However—and here is one of the unique factors in our approach—Journey Grrrl Publishing will have non-exclusive use of the material. What this means is that you can repurpose your work and use it with attributions.
Another unique aspect of Journey Grrrl Publishing: Unlike other publishing houses, we will hold the copyright for only two years.
How long should the manuscripts be?
Ideally around 60,000 words, after editing—give or take 10,000. Word count must be based on final, edited manuscript. Which begs the question…?
Who edits the book?
Manuscripts must be independently edited by a third party before final submission. The author is responsible for this process.
Is any topic ok?
All the topics in this series need to address a problem that seems like it should be easy (e.g. to lose weight you need to eat less and exercise more), but that has surprising emotional challenges. It’s not as black and white as it may seem, so a standard how-to guide won’t get you to the goal. Each book in the So Smart Series offers a holistic guide that marries advice for the head, heart, mind, and soul.
What about the title?
The title of your book must begin, If I’m So Smart … There can be no alteration to this four word phrase. The rest of the book title must be short—ideally 4-7 more words max.
Here’s a tip: as you think about these additional words, think about what someone trying to solve the problem you are addressing. What would someone type into a search engine (e.g.: lose weight, get pregnant)? Just a couple of words!
Just a thought: clever titles often sound nicer, but we have discovered that they are often lousy marketing catches. For example: “Conquering Clutter” sounds cuter than “Get Rid of Clutter” but as it turns out, no one searches for “conquering clutter.” Instead, “Get Rid of Clutter” gets more organic searches.
What’s the demographic?
We target women 29 to 59. Your work can be relevant for other age demographics, but the main target is key. We focus on high achievers, left-brain, type-A personalities, who usually have high income, advanced degrees, and are literally stymied by the fact that they solve so many other problems on a daily basis, so why not this one?!
From the outside looking in, most people would think that our ideal reader “has it all,” but we know differently!
What makes these books different than other self-help books?
First, all our books are written by active Life Coaches and active experts who have viable followings. That means the books are very action oriented and very future-focused. Books in the series marry very practical left-brain advice with the feeling tools and thought work that makes taking that practical advice possible. They are “self-love centered” without being airy-fairy…
What guidelines do writers have to follow?
We have a detailed set of Writers’ Guidelines. What you’ll notice about these guidelines is that they provide a structured outline while still giving you the liberty to express your personal style. The well-researched structure makes it easy to write the book quickly, but leaves room for your personality to shine through! This makes for a strong combination of uniformity and uniqueness.
What kinds of authors are you looking for?
What’s most important is having an expertise and a following in the area about which you want to write. We are specifically interested in and have received proposals and inquiries from people who identify as:
- Life Coaches
- authors and writers
- subject matter experts
- people who own yoga studios/who teach yoga
- social workers
- metaphysical practitioners
- personal trainers
- health experts
- Other Solopreneurs
Although we are open to other authors as well, the main factor here for everyone is marketing potential. Email lists, authority, experience, and credibility are key.
Is Brooke Castillo affiliated with the project?
The short answer is no. Brooke Castillo wrote and self-published her groundbreaking book, If I Am So Smart, Why Can’t I Lose Weight?, in 2006. Angela Lauria, Journey Grrrl’s founder, read the book a year later and coached intensively with Brooke for the next several years. The So Smart Series was inspired by Brooke Castillo’s book and her Coach-in-a-Box product. Neither Brooke nor her company are profiting from, endorsing, or contributing to this series. She does, however, have an amazing new Life Coach School which Journey Grrrl Publishing endorses and highly recommends. In our opinion, there is no better coach or teacher than the amazing Brooke Castillo!
Will these be hard-copy books or e-books?
We will be publishing soft-cover books, as well as making the product available as an eBook. Journey Grrrl Publishing will also have versions available on Kindle and iPhone. Within six months of the release of the print edition, an audio book will be released.
How will they be distributed?
Of course, the no-brainer will be that we’ll be up on Amazon! But we’ll also make books available to sell in your own store, on your website, or on our forthcoming consumer-facing website, to which you can link from your website. In addition, we’ll partner with you to get in-store distribution deals.
In our research, we have found that books like ours don’t do overly well in bookstores, but do sell really well in niche-related shops. For example, placing a “clutter book” in stores that focus on organizing materials, or a pregnancy book in fertility offices, allows for greater word-of-mouth and viral marketing. Of course, this requires a certain amount of creativity, but creativity is our middle name!
That having been said, we will have definitely have distribution deals with traditional bookstores to make it possible for people to order your book that way.
One other thing: You’ll be able to buy multiple copies at a discounted rate to sell at your events or to your own list.
What marketing obligations do I have as an author?
Good question! As with any publisher/author relationship, the person most likely to be successful selling your book is you. Therefore, the amount of marketing you do will directly determine the number of books you sell.
At a minimum, when you sign the contract, you’ll be obligated to host up to five events to help market your book. A book release party is one of the events, as well as a chapter-by-chapter workshop where you teach the material in your book. We’ll then provide the funds for you to have this workshop professionally video recorded, which will become a Coach in a Box product. Also, you’ll be required to send at least one email blast about your book and post info about your book on your website and blog, through social media, and through an online presence in general.
Finally, we will also make available other fee-based marketing tools and opportunities, such as: press interviews, spin-off products, website optimization, and more!
Who else are you talking to?
Currently associated with the project are some of the top-of-the-world Life Coaches around today, including Susan Hyatt, Terry DeMeo, Koren Motekaitis, Elisabeth Manning, and Sallie Felton. Dozens of other Life Coaches at varying levels of experience and number of followers have expressed an interest to write for the series as well.
Am I just writing a chapter?
Nope! We’re looking for book-length authors, whose works will range from 50,000 to 70,000 words or 200-250 pages. Co-authors are welcome as well for full, book-length projects.
How long do I have to write the book?
In general we find it takes 2-4 months to write these books. Your specific deadlines will be negotiated and finalized during contract negotiations.
Do you share your business plan with authors once a proposal has been accepted?
Yes. Journey Grrrl Publishing has a strong culture of transparency.
What resources does Journey Grrrl Publishing offer to writers?
As with most if not all publishers, writers are responsible for doing their own marketing. Of course we are trying to sell books too. Our focus will be on online distribution as well as bulk sales to retail establishments that are a good fit for each book. We will also be arranging media for the series in general. We’ll have a reader-centric site that is SEO-focused, and we will do some paid search and affiliate marketing. We’ll also provide each writer with a marketing tool kit which will include tips and tricks for getting yourself free media and for creating a website that’s conducive to book sales. In addition, we will offer courses on book marketing at a preferred author rate.
I know some other people who should write books for this series. What should I do next?
Awesome! If you know someone who would be a good author, send them to the site. It all starts with a submission, and our submissions are easy. All that’s required is a single 1,000 word max email!
What sort of assistance is available to non-coach Journey Grrrl writers who might need a bit of backup figuring out the best tools for their subject area?
We don’t really offer backup in creating tools, but we do recommend you read other books in the series in order to re-purpose tools for your book and/or to partner with a life coach who has a toolbox full of tools.
Can you check out a sample of my writing and see if you think it’s the kind of writing you would accept for your series?
While we’d love to read everyone’s writing, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. We are sure if you are writing from your heart you are a lovely writer. We will read your query letter submission which will give us an indication of your writing style and you may choose to attach a book proposal or writing sample to the query (which may or may not get read, but more likely than not we’ll give it a look!).
Are the covers on the right side of this page the actual book covers?
No. The covers you see in the right hand column were “first draft” covers we had developed in late 2010. The “authors” are all made-up names, as we were still looking for actual authors. Now, as the books are being completed, the design for the series is closer to being finalized. Here is what the final covers will look like: