Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Blythe Daniel of The Blythe Daniel Agency


Tell us about The Blythe Daniel Agency.



We are a literary and marketing agency. We work with our clients through consulting and collaboration to build the right book idea and book proposal and then place our clients with the best publishers for their book. We also do publicity campaigns for authors. We’ve placed clients on Fox News, The Washington Post, CNN.com, Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, CBN, Christianity Today, Guideposts, Inc., Business News Daily, and others. 



This is year 20 for me working in publishing and writing – I started in marketing at Thomas Nelson Publishers, now part of Harper Collins Christian Publishing. And for seven years I directed their publicity campaigns and then marketing campaigns before leaving to work for New York Times bestselling authors John and Stasi Eldredge. I opened the agency in 2005 to help writers find their voice and write the books they were compelled to write.

We’ve worked with hundreds of authors on publicity campaigns and agent representation. In 2015, we started our blog network, which now has over 300 bloggers, reaching into the millions with their networks. We conduct blog campaigns for publishers and authors as well as businesses.



Our clients come from nationally known businesses, churches, ministries, and media outlets. Some of these include: North Point Community Church, International House of Prayer, Focus on the Family, Proverbs 31 Ministries, Women of Faith, Dollar General, JP Morgan Chase, The Huffington Post, the Today Show, the Hugh Hewitt Show, Houston Chronicle, Christianity Today, and other popular blogs and websites.



We have done blog campaigns for FamilyLife Today, Zondervan, Thomas Nelson, Revell, Tyndale, and other publishers for authors: Ann Voskamp, Karen Ehman, Jennifer Rothschild, and others.

  



Who do you hope to meet with during appointments?


I will meet with anyone who has a book in the categories that we acquire. We are not acquiring young adult or adult fiction so it won’t be helpful for anyone who has this genre to meet with me. The children’s books I would look at are from authors who have published children’s books and have a strong following.



We are acquiring in Nonfiction:



Topics:

Christian Life, Spiritual Growth, Current Events, Inspirational/Narrative Non-Fiction, Business/Leadership, Church Leadership, Marriage, Parenting, Apologetics, Social Issues, Women's Issues, Cooking and Gift books concepts.


We will look at up-and-coming voices that fit these categories: ministry leaders, business leaders, pastors, journalists, counselors, and others who have an established organization or one they are a part of.



Devotionals: Will look at uniquely themed and creative devotional concepts from authors who have a strong following.



Children’s: Looking at picture book concepts that fit the Christian marketplace. Author needs to have a good-sized platform for these books.



We are not acquiring fiction, Bible studies, poetry or short stories.   





How can a writer best prepare for an appointment with you?



Writers need to see if what I’m acquiring fits their genre and book category. If so, I want them to tell me in an “elevator pitch” what their book is about, who the book is for, and how they are connected to the audience for it. I want to see how they are building their audience even if it is small. We look at blog or website unique visitors per month, online outlets the writer contributes to on a regular basis, social media presence, an active speaking schedule, and your network with other authors, bloggers and speakers.



I will meet with writers who don’t have all of these things established yet but am mainly able to help those who have built this type of platform. Even if you don’t have all of them but have some of them, show me what you have built and what you have done – not what you are planning to do. I want to see that you have already started this process of building your audience and how you are building your audience (i.e. gaining new subscribers, building your email list). Doing all of this work ahead of time really puts you at an advantage for having a sellable idea and platform from which to speak on the topic.



Come prepared to talk about what you are saying in your book that no one else is saying. You need to have a distinguishable book hook that is unique and stands out from the same topic written in other books. Do searches on Amazon and in book stores and compare the topic of your book to others that are already published. There are always at least a couple of books that are similar, and I need you to have a paragraph of how your book compares to the ones already in print. I need to see how you have developed your concept in a way that makes me say, “I haven’t thought about that before” or “I haven’t heard anyone say it like that.”



Just relax, be yourself, and come ready to talk about what you are passionate about and how it’s built into your book idea. Even if you don’t have a proposal completely ready, come and share your book idea and just be ready to talk about what stands out in your concept and how you will help reach the intended audience.   



I would like to receive a printed book proposal at my meetings, but not a one sheet.






Please give us a snapshot of your classes.



Four Questions Every Writer Should Ask



There are four cornerstones that I believe every writer should address as they write a book. Without these, the book falls flat. With them, they help make a clear presentation to the reader and have a greater chance of being picked up. They are:


1 - What is the felt need you are addressing? 

2 – What is your unique approach that hasn't been done before? 

3 – What is the practical takeaway for the reader?

4 – What are you asking the reader to consider or do that will improve his or her life?



Not sure how to make sure you are doing all four (or even one of these)? We’ll talk about how, when, and where to incorporate these into your nonfiction book projects and what happens when you don’t have them. Four questions = for your success!



What’s In and Out in Publishing?



Marketing and publishing preferences change yearly, even monthly, in what publishers want to see from writers. This is your chance to find out what’s “in” and what’s “out” in publishing topics, formats, and promotional tools. From building email subscribers, to how to utilize an online platform, and popular forms of media like podcasts, this workshop will look at: How do you stay current with technology and content? What attracts publishers and readers to your content? And more. Building this is key, and doing it effectively to make yourself marketable is essential. This will help you streamline your efforts, not duplicate them and feel overwhelmed. Understanding = utilizing best practices!





Blog to Book: How and When to Take Your Blog Content to a Book



There’s a trend of writers developing a blog and testing book ideas on it and using the blog to build a platform to eventually turn blog content into a book. How do you do this and what is attractive about this to agents and publishers? Similarly, some writers build a blog as a business and for them a book deal might come later. How do you effectively build a blog as a business or from which to write a book? How much content can you use on your blog in a book? We’ll cover all of this with examples of writers who are doing this successfully, why it’s a good idea for branding purposes, and how you can do this too.



Read more about The Blythe Daniel Agency

Write-to-Publish meets June 14-17
in the Chicago area. 










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