~Welcome to my journey~
During 35+ years in the publishing industry,
I've designed projects for Better Homes and Gardens,
launched and managed a publishing company,
presented keynote speeches, taught continuing education classes at UCLA, and led workshops for industry giants,
national associations, and major institutions including:
Check out my synopsis and first page tutorials on the virtual shelf at MolliMart.
These learning tools are crafted to help you master the learning curve between completed manuscript and agent acquisitions.
COMING in Dec 2018: 101 Hungry Agents
From John Wayne Wanna-bee to Malibu Molli~
Raised by wild bookworms in the reference section of the Kalamazoo Library, I cut my reading teeth on the Encyclopedia Britannica, Rudyard Kipling, and Dr. Seuss. My favorite movies were action-packed Westerns. I decided to grow up to be John Wayne. But dratz, he had a lock on that job!
When my human parents decided they'd had enough of winter, we migrated to Southern California, and I became Malibu Molli: Queen of surfin', sun, and skin cancer.
College, Babies, Slipcovers, and The "Other" Man
After college (UCLA), I married my high school sweetheart and settled into suburban life with first one baby, then a second.
Diapers, dishes, and dialogue with little people who possessed limited communication skills, drove me to craft and quilting classes. After reupholstered everything in the house that didn’t move, I began to sell my handiwork at at local art and craft fairs.
Then, my husband introduced me to the “other” influential man in my life, Dale Carnegie. After graduating from his sales, marketing. and communication courses, I went national (the 80s equivalent of “going viral").
Crafting led to teaching which led to writing . . .
I branched out to design and write how-to instructions for gifts, ornaments, toys, quilts, and furniture: projects featured in Better Homes and Gardens and McCalls, and other magazines, then wrote a book about Bakers’ Clay, a clay-like concoction of flour, salt, water, and love.
This led to editing a Time-Life series on family crafts, which expanded to projects and books for other publishing companies.
What could be better? I worked (in sweats and bunny slippers) in my home studio, and designed everything from Christmas ornaments to quilts to furniture, and was being paid to do it.
But then, determined to explore additional creative venues to satisfy my my love of story telling and writing, I enrolled in the Master’s Film Program at USC. My first script landed an agent, and an option from a major studio, but instead of pursuing a career in film, I turned in another direction because . . .
Suddenly, it was the 80s and the New Age~
Inspired by teachers like Jane Roberts,
Dr. Peebles, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer,
and the Course in Miracles, my husband
and I began a spiritual quest that enriched
our lives beyond measure.
We partnered with Academy-Award
winning illustrator, Gary Lund, to launch
Spirit Speaks magazine and share the “spiritual psychology” that had helped us transform our lives.
I wrote a little book, The Guerrillas of Goodness Handbook (published by Workman) to motivate children to perform random acts of kindness. We published two books in partnership with Beyond Words (a division of Simon and Schuster). Healing the Whole Person, the Whole Planet won a best-in-class, “Ben Franklin Award” at the American Booksellers Expo.
And then, when the costs for paper, printing, and postage skyrocketed, that door closed and another one opened.
Helping writers flatten the learning curve from manuscript to agent to book contract to shelf space at Barnes and Noble.
Writers, aware of my Time-Life and publishing experience, sought me out, asking for assistance to engage the attention of the dragons at the gate of the publishing world . . . meaning hyper-critical agents or acquisitions editors (like I had been). This led me to hit the speaking trail to conduct "how to get published" workshops at writers' conferences coast-to-coast. Combining my experience as an acquisition editor and story telling coach, I've developed techniques that encourage, prod, and guide writers to shift into the digital age and create agent-and-device friendly submission packets. I also offer online pitching assistance to writers prior to "pitch fests" with agents seeking clients. Click here for testimonials from writers I've helped move through the publishing maze.
I also continue to work with writers as they move along the path toward publication. If you need assistance with any aspect of your journey from writer to author, CONTACT ME.
May the words be with you. WRITE ON!
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The following interview was published September 1, 2016, in "The Write Tribe” blog in Sydney, Australia
Tell us a little about your background and what brought you to become the Publishing Wizard and start Submission Central.
I’ve been an avid reader and creative “junkie” my entire life. When our children were small, I was a stay-at-home mom, and embraced the world of crafts, quilting, and upholstery. After I’d slip covered everything in our home that didn’t move, I decided to submit designs and how-to instructions to Better Homes and Gardens. My involvement with the publication expanded to include editing “how-to” instructions. This brought me into the publishing world, first as a Time-Life editor of craft books, then an acquisitions editor for non-fiction and fiction submissions, and next (for 12 years), a publisher of spiritual psychology.
My experience in multiple phases of the publishing biz attracted writers wanting to know how to break into the business. I opened my first “virtual office” in 2001, and began speaking and teaching the submission process at writers’ conferences. This led to the development of getpublishednow.biz and most recently, of Agent/Query Submission Central. This one-stop membership site teaches writers everything they need to know to advance from completed manuscript to agent acquisition.
You’ve had over 30 years in this industry and boast a diverse background in writing, editing, presenting and in publication. What’s been your favourite role?
Above all else, I love to coach writers. I enjoy helping them make the transition from “telling” to “selling.” My reward is following their progress as then create engaging submission materials and land agents to move them closer to their goals of becoming published.
What is your background in writers’ groups?
From 2001 to 2014, I presented how-to-get-published workshops at state and national writers’ conferences including SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and the ABA (American Booksellers’ Association). Eventually, I shifted my presentations and workshops into the digital world to reach and teach larger numbers of writers.
There’s a lot of talk of critique and writers’ groups moving online. What are your thoughts on managing writers’ groups online versus in the ‘real’ world?
I’ve taught writers’ groups live and in person, as well as live in virtual classrooms online. Zoom’s software-based technology allows anyone to open a meeting room, invite participants, and share screen documents in a similar manner as if they all were in the physical location. It’s more effective for me to expend time and energy working online with writers, then traveling to their locations to accomplish the same goal.
The challenge of critique groups is that while the support is great for writers, groups are limited by the knowledge/experience of the leader.
What do you consider to be the greatest challenges for writers today?
Competition for attention has intensified beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. In 2014, when the publishing business embraced the technology of the digital world, 95% of agents in American opened their inboxes to the world. This has resulted in a tsunami of project submissions, most are not quite ready for prime time.
Writers seeking agent representation must learn how to craft a digital submission “package” and format it to be agent-and-device-friendly. The most important portion of their submission is the email SUBJECT line. In 10 words or less, the writer needs to engage agent interest so they will “click” and open the email to read (at least) the query first paragraph.
NOTE: the query first paragraph frequently is the only one ever read. If it doesn’t reveal the story core (who wants what, why, what stands in their way, and the terrible “or else,” that could occur if they don’t get what they want), the submission flies off to delete-ville.
The role of giving and receiving feedback is central to many writers’ groups and when approaching agents and publishers, writers need to be prepared to receive feedback and deal with disappointment. What is your advice for writers in dealing with this aspect of writing life?
Agents and publishers are business people, first and foremost. They constantly search for projects that are publication worthy and will increase revenue for the publisher, agent, and the writer.
Rejection is not personal. Even though it feels like it. Rejection from agents and publishers can mean that the project isn’t what they are looking for, or might require too much editing and restructuring to make it economically feasible.
Non-acceptance, more often than not, occurs because the writer hasn’t crafted a submission package that proves they’re the real deal: a skilled writer with a saleable manuscript. Agents are time-pressured and will not take the time to figure out exactly what any writer has to offer.
My suggestion for writers who are ready (or about ready) to launch their agent quest, is to welcome the new, brief but intense, learning curve. Celebrate the fact that you’ve completed a manuscript and can do the same for a submission package that will engage agent interest. That’s been the goal all along.
Many writers are able to make the transition from telling to selling. Especially with coaching from an industry professional (that would be moi) to guide them through the necessary steps to get what they want: agent, publishing contract, and shelf space at Barnes and Noble or Amazon bookstores.
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