FTC 215 | Process Of Being Published

215: The Idea Of Mentoring: Shepherding Author’s Books Through The Process Of Being Published With Wendy Keller

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Are you an aspiring author looking to get your book published? In this episode, Wendy Keller, founder of Keller Media, joins Mitch Russo as they explore the process of being published and how Wendy has helped her clients benefit from becoming authors. Get to know Wendy’s background as she shares her journey from quitting as a journalist to have her first child to helping famous and newly minted authors publish over 1,700 books. Wendy talks about how she represents her clients and the importance of having a platform that distinguishes you from other authors. Tune in and learn how you can establish your true platform and become a marketable author that traditional publishers are looking for.

The Idea Of Mentoring: Shepherding Author’s Books Through The Process Of Being Published With Wendy Keller

Welcome to this moment in time when you get to chill out, tune in, and extract wisdom that you could use to grow your business with your first thousand clients. As you know, the world changes every day and in surprising ways. What doesn’t change is your need to promote yourself and generate new clients. I used some of my quarantine time to write a new eBook called Profit Stacking Secrets. It covers 28 different methods to get no cost or low-cost placements, publicity, attention, connections, and ultimately, new clients. I’m giving away the first part free and you can get that by going to ProfitStackingSecrets.com and it will be on its way to you instantly. Use it to get free press and even a new client.

Onto my amazing guest and her incredible story. She started her business cold calling movie producers from a purchase directory while keeping notes on a vintage Commodore computer. With an income goal of $250 a month, she set out to make a living and a name for herself. Since then, she has written 31 professional published nonfiction books under nine different names. Her work has been translated into five languages. She’s appeared on Dateline NBC, Dr. Phil, the CBS Early Show and has appeared in the LA Times, New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Playboy magazine. Her real business is shepherding author’s books through the process of being published. She’s done it for over 1,700 books, from the famous to the newly minted authors as well and no one knows this better than she does. Welcome, Wendy Keller, to the show.

Thanks for having me, Mitch. I’m excited to be here.

As I am, Wendy. You might guess that Wendy and I know each other. We met at a now-defunct event run by the famous Larry Benet. He has been kicking around our industry for a long time and he ran an event called SANG back then. That’s where Wendy and I met for the first time. Wendy, your life is incredibly interesting. Tell us how all this got started for you.

Thank you, Mitch. I needed to earn some money after I quit as a journalist to have my first child. I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom for him and I looked around for other jobs. I ended up taking a job as a reader for a literary agent who sold books and screenplays. In fact, on my first day on the job, he showed me this enormous wall of books that he had sold and he listed off the top of his head all the screenplays he’d been involved in. I would get the screenplays or the books and I would read them, write reports, call coverages, and give them back to him. I didn’t work in his office.

After about a year, I found out that he was charging people $1,500 for my coverages and he wasn’t pitching anything. He had lied to me about all the books and scripts, so I quit on the spot and decided to start my own agency. I thought that’d be a lot of fun, it looked like he was having fun and I loved reading stuff because I had a real intuition from my years as a journalist. I thought, “This is going to be great.” I started reading and I started thinking about how I could sell books and screenplays. Primarily screenplays in the beginning, although I don’t handle those anymore.

Eventually, I bought a directory of film producers and I started cold calling. I love cold calling. I cold-called like crazy and I wrote to the only other six agents in the entire world who were all conveniently advertising in the back of Writer’s Digest magazine. That’s all I knew to do and I ended up getting two of them to sponsor me and teach me, and they did. At the end of about 1.5 years for 1 and 2 years for the other, I was sending them more money at 20% of what I was earning than they were making in their entire company. I let them go and I started doing it by myself. I moved into just books because I got sick of screenplays in Hollywood.

It’s an interesting model. I haven’t heard of that in quite a while. “Sponsor me and I’ll pay you a percentage of what I generate.” The last time I heard about something like that was when I was interviewing somebody who was a professional Las Vegas gambler. He approached somebody on the blackjack table and said the same thing, “Sponsor me and I’ll give you a percentage of everything I make.” Apparently, his story goes that he had offered that to a dozen or so people. No one said yes until finally, someone did say yes. It was exactly the right person, of course. That’s the last time I heard of that model being used. Do you recommend that? Do you think that’s still a good way to go?

Everyone needs a mentor and sometimes, mentors need to be bribed. If you don’t know them and you have no way to get to them and they think there’s something cool about you or you’ve got a drive or you’ve got moxie that they saw in me back then, it’s free money for them. I took little of their time it turned out because I had more business knowledge than I thought I did. The agency was my sixth business. I started the first one when I was fifteen and I didn’t realize I had learned anything at all during those years. What they helped me with mostly was understanding how to pitch and how to read contracts. They also provided me with some people to represent that I sold.

Everyone needs a mentor, and sometimes, mentors need to be bribed. Click To Tweet

Those nuances are worth it and your money was well spent.

I do too. I love the idea of mentoring. I’ve turned my whole life into mentoring authors, and emerging speakers, coaches, consultants, and business people who would benefit by becoming authors because I find that that’s where my passion is. It’s in the teaching, even more than the selling, which at this point, after all these years, I can do in my sleep.

How many books a year do you represent roughly?

2020 is a COVID year so it’s different and publishing has changed a little bit, but I represent rights for books I’ve already sold. For instance, right when COVID was starting, I was selling books in Istanbul for eight of my primary clients. I sold rights in Turkish and other languages that were present there. I also bring on new talent selectively because publishers are quite selective now compared to how they were in the old days. I would say 20 to 30 projects a year is all I do. It used to be 60 to 100.

Everything has changed dramatically. Even an unknown author with the potential and a good manuscript could get a fairly sizable advance. Nowadays, that’s rare, wouldn’t you say?

They need what we call a platform, which is part of what your Profit Stacking Secrets teaches. One of my books, Ultimate Guide to Platform Building with Entrepreneur Press, teaches them. It’s important to have something. I had a pitch from a guy who said, “I’m the director of this organization and I want to do a book.” I looked him up and there’s nothing. There are only media that he’s put himself out there, his blogs, LinkedIn, and all this other stuff. No publisher is going to take that kind of chance. Those kinds of projects are not going to make anybody any money, including him. There are more than 22 million books on Amazon and most of them are self-published and because they’re self-published, the consumers are drowning. They can’t find anything specific unless you have the kind of platform that guides them to your content.

Years ago, there was no real talk of a platform. Either you were famous or you weren’t. Nowadays, this platform thing is everything when it comes to getting a good book deal, wouldn’t you say?

Yeah, 125%.

Tell our audience what a platform is. We can make some assumptions but when you speak to a publisher and you have a property that you like, meaning a book, and you’re trying to pitch this to a particular publisher and you’re about to talk about the platform. Describe to our audience what the true platform is.

FTC 215 | Process Of Being Published
Process Of Being Published: With traditional publishing, they’re going to spend time honing, developing, and pushing you to develop the best content you’re capable of.

 

 

I’m happy to answer that. Meanwhile, while I’m pitching the book, I have a system through how I pitch books after all this time, and part of this system is sending an email and then cold calling. It’s not cold anymore because they all know me. Calling them and then sending a follow-up email immediately. The subject line of my follow-up email is about the platform and not about content every time. Every book now is about that. A platform in publishing industry jargon is a large growing group of people who know you exist, know what your subject is, and like what you have to say enough to shell out some money.

If you can prove to a publisher, for instance, that you’re running $1,500 three-day seminars and you’re doing it ten times a year, publishers are going to calculate that with their special math and they’re going to say, “This person will sell a $25 book and we’ll make our money back, and they might even make some profit on the other side.” That’s how it’s looked at. The publishers take into account many things and many factors. How much does this author speak, teach, or gives retreats? What kind of companies he or she consults for?

As a consultant, are they likely to hire this person to stay on and therefore sell a copy to everyone in their C-Suite or give a copy to all of their employees? What kinds of things is this person doing? Are they an online teacher or trainer? Do they have a course? What does their website look like? On and on. I got a query from a guy who said, “I have 3,000 people following me on social media, Twitter plus LinkedIn plus Facebook.” The publisher is going to multiply that by 0.02% and say, “I don’t care what he’s writing about. I have no interest in someone who hasn’t started because I only get paid when the publisher pays the author for the product.”

There’s no value in not having a platform from the perspective of an agent. On the other hand, if someone is writing something that’s brilliant and they have the personality to build a platform and the willingness, then certainly we can teach, shepherd, coach, consult and guide them to building one. As that builds, they become more valuable to a publisher, and then we can sell the project. I spend a lot more time getting paid by my authors to build the platform than just picking cherries off the tree and selling them to publishers.

The responsibility has shifted dramatically. It used to be that publishers did all the marketing, selling, and publicity. What they’re saying is, “We don’t want to publish your book unless you do all of that which we used to do now.” Is that right?

I wouldn’t say that. After 2008, it happened that publishers who rarely did much marketing at all other than sending out galleys and hoping that journalists responded. As a former journalist, I can tell you, we used to get 50 or 60 galleys a week from publishers. That was when I started as a journalist in the ‘80s, so it’s worse now. Digital galleys especially are most often sent and the publicity department at a publishing house could be sending thousands of them to the same journalist in a year. That’s ridiculous.

The point is that it’s more of a partnership than at any other time. I’ve seen it in history, and it is that the publishers can supersize what you’ve got going on, but you have to have some things going on. That’s the real secret of publishing because authors would always say, “I’m ready to be famous. Let me know when Oprah sends the limo and I will get in it.” It’s much more that the publisher wants to partner with you in a more realistic way.

The level that the publishers participate in co-marketing with a marketable author who has already figured out the basics of their message, packaging, and whatever, is extraordinary. In fact, I’ve never seen it be more than in the last couple of years where the publishers are willing to go to exceptional links to help the author who’s already got something going and make it bigger. That’s true from everyone from Penguin Random House down to the midlist business publishers like McGraw Hill, and so on and so forth.

It’s still the same model that it was many years ago. More or less, the publisher publishes a book and they’re looking to make a profit on the number of books that they sell. Is that simple?

You have to have some things going on. Click To Tweet

Yes. Imagine this, to make the math easy. Let’s say the book is going to be $10. No books are $10 anymore. If they put it on Amazon, Amazon is going to take 50% to 55% right off the top. That’s their money for listing that book. The balance of that gets to the author. If it’s a $10 book, the author is going to make $1 and Amazon’s going to take 55%. You can start to see the numbers wither on the publisher’s side of the balance sheet because they have to amortize everything from their air conditioning to the cost of the editors to the people who digitize it, design the cover, typeset, and so on and so forth.

At the end of the day, the publisher’s percentage of profit here could be anything from 20%-ish on down. That makes it a big decision to acquire a book unlike how it was in the old days when any publisher would pay $5,000, $10,000, or $25,000. Throw it against the wall and hope that one or more of them make a profit. They’re making more careful decisions because it is the same old model but because there’s more for the audience to choose from, there are many ways for them to get content, then it becomes harder to get that consumer’s eyeball long enough to make a transaction. In fact, when I started in publishing, there were 32,000 nonfiction books published. That was in 1989 and in 2019, there were more than 7.5 million books published. Most of them are not by the industry. Most of them are self-published by these crazy companies that charge $15,000 and promise you it’s the best book they’ve ever written because you’re writing them a check.

I was at one point a first-time publisher and I know a lot of people are probably thinking about writing a book or about to finish writing a book. They said, “Good. Wendy Keller is on. We could picture her selling my book for me.” You know that you need a platform and that’s what Wendy has taught us so far. What I’d like to find out Wendy is, what is the positioning of self-publishing? How does it compare to a truly professionally published book? Other than the cost, why would people want to or not want to self-publish?

That’s a great question and one I hear fairly often. The whole trick of getting a book successful with however it’s published is differentiation. Differentiation of the content as a new different better or more than all the other billions of books out there on your topic. Also, being able to differentiate it so that the consumers know it exists and goes to Amazon or a bookstore, and find and buy it. In order to achieve that, you need certain elements. Most people think that the shortcut is to write the book and then self-publish it because all the agents are too stupid to recognize the greatness in it. Because the self-publishing company is getting your check, they tell you it’s brilliant or wonderful. However, confidentially, I hear that all the time. “They told me my book is wonderful.” If you write me a $15,000 check, I’ll tell you that too.

The moral of the story is that the book comes out and the chances of you getting truly edited when you self-publish are low because no one wants to be edited until their baby is ugly. Whereas with traditional publishing, they’re going to spend time honing, developing, and pushing you to develop the best content you’re capable of. That’s a process called developmental editing. Next, once that has been completed and you and the publisher with all their knowledge and all their experience have now been your ally and your agent too, probably, everybody has helped you create the best manuscript you’re capable of. They’re going to give it to a line editor who’s going to make sure it isn’t full of typos and then they’re going to send it for typesetting.

That process of grooming the author and the manuscript alone makes the publisher of a valuable contribution. You can hire some kid from the local junior college to do the line editing and the developmental editing but chances are if you self-publish, they’re not going to do much by telling you, “You need to improve this,” “Strengthen that,” or “This isn’t logical,” or whatever. Here’s why that matters. When you get to the other side and the book is out, if you’re a journalist, are you going to take a book from Joe’s Publishing House and Grill or are you going to interview the person who’s been honed by Penguin Random House or Simon & Schuster or St. Martin’s Press or whatever? Any smart journalist isn’t going to want to put some wacko or potential wacko on there and they’re not going to read the whole book, so your chances of getting media are higher with a real publisher.

The chances of even being noticed by the media are higher with a real publisher, no matter what any of the self-publishing companies say and there are exceptions but they’re quite rare. Further to that, the industry researchers RR Bowker for the publishing industry, says that the average number of self-published books sells is 117 in year one. That’s nothing compared to the money you’re going to spend and to your dream of it bringing in new clients or speaking engagements. Whereas on my side of the industry, the legitimate or traditional side of publishing, it’s 2,500. We’re looking at a difference in sales and impact, but we’re also looking at the quality of the product and its ability to be marketed and be appealing to journalists. Also, the ability to have a team of people helping you all the way through that you’re not paying for and that therefore are not beholden to tell you how terrific you are. Those are some of the benefits of working with a legitimate publisher.

The people who should definitely work with a self-publisher are people who are writing memoirs, autobiographies, or biographies of their grandma who moved from a trailer park in Wisconsin to Texas, and that’s the whole story. Definitely please go and self-publish and don’t clog the system with your manuscript. I’m not trying to be mean. I’m telling you the truth. Anyone who’s a poet needs to self-publish, and then if the book becomes hugely successful, you can maybe get someone to take your next book, not that book. I’m not trying to be mean. That’s the way it works and that’s what I see in the industry every day.

On the other hand, if you’re writing a business book, a self-help book, a science book, or something on which you have deep knowledge and a real passion, your only option is to go down the pathway and have an agent sell it to a legitimate publisher. Not only to bring people into your world and pay you for whatever your services or your goods are, but you want to share it with the greatest number of people possible. That’s the only path to create lasting, sustainable success for 99.9% of all the authors out there.

FTC 215 | Process Of Being Published
Process Of Being Published: If you can show a 100, 1,000, or 20,000 people are engaging, however that works best for you, the further you can go.

 

Wendy, the book about the grandmother who moved out of the trailer park, it’s fascinating. You missed that one. It was riveting, I can tell you.

If I have $1 Mitch for everybody who tells me, “It’s going to be a best seller and you’re an idiot,” I’m like, “Send me $1 when you prove I’m an idiot.”

I’ll send you an extra $1 if you could make $1. How’s that? Let’s compare some of the expenses because clearly what’s happening here is that, if somebody wants to self-publish, they could click upload and self-publish. For those people who spend money on third parties who helped them get self-published and then promised to turn them into Amazon bestsellers, those are $10,000, $15,000 to $20,000 bills. What does it cost to engage with a professional agent? I don’t mean just in fees, but I’m talking about the expense required to get everything in place. How does that compare?

I would love to answer that question, but it is a case by case basis. For instance, a typical book publicist that has a good reputation who is going to work with you, that’s going to cost you anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000, and it may or may not have an ROI. It’s whether or not you self-published or whether or not you were published by a reputable major mainstream house. If you’re a speaker and you get some television because of that publicist and you can put that in your demo reel, and then your demo reel goes up and your fees go up, that’s worth it.

If you are running a company that’s trying to sell something or service particularly and you’re going to use the prestige of this book to be able to say, “Look at me. I’m the only consultant you’re considering that’s been mentioned twice in the Wall Street Journal and twice in Forbes because I did a book and I got publicity and it got me there,” then that marketing is a smart investment. If it’s the story of your grandmother’s journey, then probably you don’t want to invest anything in publicity because it’s not going to sell anyway. There’s this fine line there.

The basics are you have to have a website and you have to have something going on. You have to be reaching out to the public some way other than just on a blog. Here’s the trick. You have to get the public to engage. Just like building funnels and many other people you’ve interviewed on this incredibly successful podcast, a lot of your other speakers talk about, “How do you build a funnel? How do you get people engaged? How do you get those first thousand customers? What do you need to do?” If nobody’s listening to you and you’re sure that your book is going to be great, no one else is likely to believe you. If you can show 100, 1,000, or 20,000 people are engaging, however that works best for you, the further you can go.

One of the things I do as a consultant is I help high-level people with great book ideas understand where their strengths are, where they want to delegate, and what they need to do because it’s not one size fits all. If I have a client who doesn’t want to go out and speak because he’s retired, he’s got a brilliant book and a CEO of a multinational company and he doesn’t even want to do anything but sit in his home office and consult people. We’re building the platform around his personal desires and that will cause publishers who say, “He’s getting $45,000 for three months of consulting.”

He’s getting it consistently for companies that have lots of employees and will buy the book for their employees to read. This is a way to get the publisher interested. Another woman I’m dealing with isn’t in the US and she’s got a generic self-help subject. I’m consulting her on building the platform that appeals to the masses, primarily women because that’s her market. It depends. It could be getting radio, starting a podcast, and getting on podcasts. It could include any number of things that show that people are responding to you and that you’re not writing in some ivory tower somewhere.

Wendy, you’ve been through this journey many different times with many different people. Once somebody publishes the book and the first year goes by, and whatever that first-year sales are. It’s water down the drain at that point, the time has passed, and the year is over. How does that author make money in years 2, 3 and 4?

You have to be reaching out to the public some way other than just on a blog. Click To Tweet

Mitch, that is insightful. There are many ways to make money in years 2, 3, 4 and 20. That’s brilliant. I love it. One of the things is often when a book has come out in the United States, the publisher has not sold out all the secondary rights or ancillary rights or things like audio, sponsorship, or foreign rights sales, where your book is translated into check and simplified Chinese and Japanese or whatever. All those rights are usually still resting in the property. At the end of the year, I can go back to the publisher and go, “You didn’t sell the first rights. Let me have the rest of them and let me clean them up.”

There are also opportunities to get sponsorship and become the spokesperson if you want that kind of job. There are ways to turn it into being a speaker. There are many fun ways to resurrect a book published or self-published that’s already been out for a while and burned off the cream. That’s a mixed metaphor, but you get the idea. There are many ways and it’s exciting to be able to take a book that’s been out for a while and show the author based on what they want, their objectives, and their personality, how to fix it. It can start to become a revenue generator that will far exceed the 10% or 15% off the list price you ever will get from a publisher.

I tell clients, “Two speeches, five speeches, you’ll make more money than you ever will from the book advance itself.” A midlist business book, which is what most of them are, or a midlist self-help book is unlikely to earn pass or what we call earn out the advance. It means if they gave you $25,000 or $50,000 upfront, it’s unlikely that you’re going to get more than that at your 10% or 15% or whatever it turns out to be royalty on the book itself. You’re getting $2 or something. This is a great question because it’s such an easy process to take a book, rethink it, and start to turn it into money. You can teach online courses. There are many ways.

When you publish this book, are you also giving away or trading off the rights to all of the content inside the book verbatim? Is it the concepts inside the book?

You’re giving away the book verbatim but because we don’t get paid for the secondary rights unless we sell them, many agents will give away the wrong rights to the book. In my agency, I work mostly with authors and speakers who are consultants, coaches, and a large number of scientists, but they don’t often know how much money there is sitting on the table. I often hold audio performances and dramatic rights, which means we can sell the screenplay or we can sell a book, eBook, workbook, or whatever, not the eBook based on that book, but we can sell other types of content. There are 332 particularly successful ways to parse any piece of content.

The publisher gets the primary rights depending on the contract, whether that’s the World English, North American English, or any language, assuming most of your audience is here in this country. It’s either the country, the state or the language. That gives them every other right to sell, so you’re giving away probably the right to the photo of the cover that you approve with your publisher. You have to get permission in writing to use that. You may be giving away the title, but if you pre-exist and you show up with the title of that book already as your website or you’re already using it in your speeches, then the publisher doesn’t own it. You own it because you had it first. There are all kinds of cool ways to take that content, repurpose it, and rebrand it. That’s a brilliant question.

What are the pitfalls of working with a professional publishing house if you have a platform and you are a substantial author?

Speed to market. If I sold your book in October, I would be looking to see your book come out probably in the late fall or early spring of the next year, so 12 to 18 months. People say, “It would take so long. I could get a book up on Amazon in a week.” Here’s what they’re doing that you’re not doing. Not only are they putting their time and energy into helping you develop the best product possible, but they’re also telling their sales team how wonderful your book is. Your sales team goes out and tells all the buyers from all the independent bookstores, the major bookstores like Amazon, and everybody else.

Those people are deputized out there pitching your book and that publishing house is pitching to journalists so that by the time the book comes out, you’re already hitting the ground running. Often people will look for publicity support if they self-published six months after the book comes out and you can’t do that. It’s too late. The publisher is laying the groundwork for your success during that time but the downside is it takes 12 to 18 months. For people who are not smart, don’t have a platform, and don’t understand the system because they haven’t researched it, then it’s hard to find an agent because you don’t know what you’re looking for.

FTC 215 | Process Of Being Published
Profit Stacking Secrets

I have a video on YouTube called Wendy Keller’s Rule of 30. Please go look at that if you’re at the stage where you’re ready to find an agent. It tells you precisely what it means, how to find us, and how to get us attracted to your material, and then you have a bidding war between agents because we are vicious when there’s a project we all like. We’re mean because most things are useless. We can’t sell them but when you see something you can sell, especially in the case of a person with a large platform, we will be elbowing each other politely to get the chance to represent you.

Wendy, this is some incredible information. I’m thrilled that you have a chance to share this with all of us. It’s fascinating to me. One other question, if I publish a book and it’s about a process and later, I take the process that’s in the book and create a course, does that have those rights reserved by the publisher? Do I have the right to do that? Is it based on what you negotiate in advance?

It depends on the publisher, but in most cases you have the right to build the course.

There’s no excuse not to go out there and create something fantastic. You better have a platform before you do or else there’s no point in it. Unless you’re dealing with that trailer park story, which I am interested in. Let me know and I’ll read your book. I’ll even buy it on Amazon.

It’s a lot of work, and building a platform can be daunting unless you have someone to help guide you or you have a knowledge of what you want to do or you have a team or whatever. I want to say that the benefit of doing the book other than bragging rights and your mom being proud of you, is if it’s done right, it makes an exponential difference in your lead flow in a way nothing else can. It also gives you access to media that you cannot get any other way on Earth. Those two factors and the smarts to use those to build your business or to build your reputation are astronomically better than any other method you can use. You can’t pay for the benefits that you will get from doing a book. You can’t pay enough to get that successful media attention, prestige in the world, and boost your speaking or consulting fees.

I can attest to that. My second book, Power Tribes, brought mid-six figures into my consulting agency. By all means, you’re absolutely correct about that. That’s one reason alone to do it even though your mom will approve of it I’m sure, so good to know. Wendy, we’re at the point in the conversation where the audience would like to get to know you a little bit better. The way we do that is by asking you some silly questions that are both fun to ask and awesome to know the answers for. Here’s the first one. Who, in all of space and time, would you like to have one hour to enjoy a walk in the park, a quick lunch, or an intense conversation with?

My answer would have to be my great-great-grandfather, Felix Von Keller. He was living in Berlin. He was quite a playboy and he got his mother’s seamstress pregnant. The family said, “We’re going to pay this one off too, but you need to stop doing this.” He has supposedly said, “Screw you.” They said, “We’re going to punish you and send you and the girl to Chicago.” They shipped them off to Chicago and my family’s been in the United States ever since 1881. I’d love to find out what the real story is.

That would be fascinating. That might even be a book. Who knows?

Only if he lived in a trailer park when he got here.

The benefit of doing the book is how it makes an exponential difference in your lead flow in a way nothing else can. Click To Tweet

It’s funny because I asked this question and I get a lot of answers. I won’t name names, but I do get many people saying the same person a lot. I love yours because it’s somebody that no one would have ever guessed and still related to you and your family, which is awesome. It tells the story of where your family originated. Chicago has been your family’s home base since the 1800s. Is that right?

Yeah. I have a cool thing. That she was pregnant with, her name was Bertha and she grew up to be one of the wealthiest women in Chicago. During the Depression, she owned massive amounts of downtown real estate and unfortunately, she had three husbands die, all of whom were landowners when she married them. They died of curious causes. She’s buried in an unmarked grave. I’m not kidding.

We call those people the black widows of society.

Nobody knows. I’m from her little brother’s family, but I love that story and I’ve been to the unmarked grave and heard all the mysteries but who knows? Somebody could have made all this up but it sure is fun to hear.

Here, Wendy, is the grand finale, the change the world question. What is it that you are doing or would like to do that truly has the potential to literally change the world?

If I had an option, I would definitely eradicate child brides from countries that still allow those practices. I contribute to them financially but the change that I’m personally making in the world is through my authors and my own books by allowing them to teach. Education is fundamental in both preventing child brides by teaching the men and women of those countries and then also the many millions of people around the world who’ve been affected by my books and my clients’ works.

Kiva.org is one of them and probably the first among them where I give money to female entrepreneurs in developing countries. They do a good job of monitoring their own expenses and they seem to be good people. I knew them from their first days. I talked to them personally. There are three others that I give to annually. I’ll give a big check or whatever big credit card annually and I’m happy to provide those. I don’t know them off the top of my head.

Wendy, for the promised free giveaway. Based on our conversation, what do you think would be the most appropriate thing of all for you to give away?

The most helpful thing would be to give a copy of the eBook, The Top 10 Mistakes Authors Make and How to Avoid Them, because that gives the general idea of how to keep yourself from falling into one of the many pitfalls that exist. There are a lot of charlatans in this industry, not in the publishing industry but in the periphery. Some of the self-publishers or hybrid publishers are doing disservices to authors. Some of the publishers are bad too, and we don’t send to them anymore.

FTC 215 | Process Of Being Published
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One of them, in particular, is famous and they screw authors every day and I hate that. They lock up every right and they give them $10,000. They force them to buy back more books than they paid for. They used to be good publishers. That document, The Top 10 Mistakes Authors Make and How to Avoid Them, is probably the most helpful thing I can give. We have all kinds of free stuff on KellerMedia.com because it is my goal to teach, help, and support people who are moving along the path until they’re ready to be published.

Wendy, thank you for the time you spent with me. It’s been such a pleasure and valuable.

Thank you, Mitch. It’s been fun.

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