Friday, May 19, 2017

Finding the Right Home for Your Memoir: A Success Story

I first met Elisa Korenne in one of my online classes.  Elisa is a professional singer/songwriter with several CDs to her credit.  She was writing a very intriguing story--about moving from downtown Manhattan to the wilds of northern Minnesota, for love.

I followed her progress in subsequent classes and saw such a blossoming of the story.  It's a simple tale, yet unique:  the integration of cultures, the finding of oneself and home, all around her profession of music and storytelling.

Elisa's memoir, Hundred Miles to Nowhere:  An Unlikely Love Story, has just been released from North Star Press.  Click here to find out more.  I interviewed  Elisa to learn more about the process of finding the right home for her book. 

Why did you decide on this press?  How did you find out about them?  Did you research others? 

I decided to pursue North Star Press because two writers I knew and respected, one a friend and the other a writing teacher, had been published by them.  I had done a lot of research about traditional publishers, small publishers, and agents, and had already gone down all of those roads.  Amazingly, I had neglected to put North Star on my list despite what I thought had been exhaustive research.

When I finally thought about North Star, I recognized that it would be an ideal press for me and my story.  For me because I am a first-time author and a small press would give me more attention.  And for my story because North Star is based in outstate Minnesota, and my story is about moving to outstate Minnesota, so they would have the network to appeal a good portion of my target audience.
What made you choose this avenue over traditional publishing?
 
It was more that this avenue chose me!

I started trying to get my book into the world by pursuing literary agents.  I had initial success--a good 30-40 percent requested full manuscripts after I sent them my query letter.

From their responses, it became clear that my story, about a singer-songwriter moving from New York City to rural Minnesota for love, did not have enough appeal (read: potential book-buyers) for agents to approach their contacts at larger publishers.

This led me to start reaching out to smaller publishers.
   
Tell us what kind of support you got during the publishing process.
North Star offered me a writer-friendly contract that included an industry-standard royalty package and a connection to a national distributor.  They asked me to commit to buying a number of books at wholesale price up front.  They were willing to work with me on adjusting their standard contract to be the right fit for me.

They provided editing and all the backend work of getting my book into the world, in both print and electronic format.
 
I was not expecting marketing support and was not offered it.  From the beginning of my pursuit of publishers and agents, I was aware that I would be in charge of most of the marketing for the book no matter what press published my book, big or small. 

I worked with a literary publicist to start my marketing campaign six months ahead of the publication date.
   
Anything else you think might help readers make good decisions about finding the right homes for their books?
   
One of the hardest things for me was to figure out where my book belonged in the publishing world. 

My book was not the literary blockbuster of my grandiose imaginings. It was only when I looked at the realities of my story, the book market, and who I am as an author, that I was successful in finding a publisher.

I am very happy to be with a smaller, Minnesota-based publisher, as I know they have the connections that are the best fit for my book.
     
To learn more about Elisa's memoir and order a copy, you can check out her website at www.elisakorenne.com or find it at North Star Press or on
Amazon.