As recorded by our secretary, here are the minutes from our most recent meeting on
October 12, 2013. You can read these minues below or download them as a PDF.
Agenda: 1. Raffle
2. Elevator speeches and self-presentations
4. Ted Witt's Tips of the Month
5. Guest speaker of the month: Writing Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan, author, coach, expert on “platform building.” Topic: “Build your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase in 22 Days.”
Present (27): Anderson, Andrews, Asay, Babka, Beyer, Biasi, Darrow, Edwards, Grady, Grimes, Harvey, Hoirup, Holden, Holmdahl, Joyce, Judd, Kakugawa, Kando, Lee, Lenson, Potter, Schlaepfer, Sheikh, Streiker, Thornton, Umbach, Yee Webb.
Vice President Dennis Potter, standing in for President Ted Witt who was on a business trip due to a book launching, called the meeting to order at 10:30 a.m.
- Raffle: several attendees won books and assorted sundries.
- Self-presentations: Self-presentations: Speeches were again limited to 30-second elevator speeches (by and large), efficiently timed by Dr. Umbach.
It’s membership renewal time. The deadline is December 31. Membership dues are $40 for a year or $99 for three years.
Dennis Potter reminded us that tomorrow was the 208th birthday of the US Marine Corps, an important thing to remember.
Ken Umbach spoke about the book Awards Competition and the April 27, 2014 dinner, organized by Rosa Umbach. We need $100 sponsors.
Laurie Hoirup gave a brief financial report. There is a balance of $2804 in the NCPA account.
Margie Yee Webb reminded us of the November 16 CWC meeting at the Rancho Cordova Cattlemens Restaurant.
Norma Jean Thornton asked whether the December 14 NCPA meeting should be a potluck. Several people felt that this would be too cumbersome.
Margo Lenson, the coordinator of the Book Awards Competition, mentioned various aspects of the event and passed out a hand-out. Entry forms are available on the NCPA website. The deadline for submitting applications is January 31, 2014, and the book(s) must have been published before December 31, 2013. There are five categories, including Design, in which only publishers may compete. It costs $67 to compete in one category, and this includes the dinner fee. Submitting in the “Design” category costs an additional $25. Only NCPA members may compete.
Laurie Hoirup reminded us that members should step up to the plate and volunteer for board positions, Book Awards functions, etc.
Dennis Potter talked about the next (December 14) NCPA meeting: There will be no featured speaker. It will be for networking and to display, exchange and buy/sell our books. It will be helpful if some participants bring some tables.
- Tips of the Month: Dennis shared Ted Witt’s Tips of the Month: One of these was advice as to how to create point-of-sales displays at book fairs and book displays. Another was about the proper use of punctuation, parentheses, ellipses, and quotation marks. Hand-outs about both tips were passed out.
- Guest speaker Teresa LeYung-Ryan: Teresa has published many works, including Love Made of Heart, Answer me Now and Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase in 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers and Media Attention NOW.” This last title is also the title of Teresa’s presentation to the NCPA on November 9.
Teresa began by pointing out the importance of connections and having fun making those. She mentioned several examples, how she met Margie Yee Webb, Rosa Umbach, Norma Jean Thornton and others at various book promotion events.
Why 22 days? Because all sorts of programs (e.g. weight-loss programs) start taking effect after three weeks.
To illustrate the necessary building of a fan base before even starting a book, Teresa invited six volunteers from the audience to play roles: (1) the author, (2) the agent, (3) the sales rep, (4) the publisher (5) the editor, and (6) the marketing manager. She demonstrated some of the complex relationships between these actors.
It is essential to have a platform.
The author must always be involved in promotion, even though she may have an agent and a sales rep.
If you are an independent publisher, you may feel that you don’t have a problem, since you are your own publisher, but that’s not so. Look at Amazon: 2.6 million titles. You are competing with celebrities and best-selling authors. You need fans, who then talk about you and promote your books. It’s okay to use friends and relatives, but you must also find fans who don’t know you. Your BRAND is your NAME, and this should be your FULL name.
Teresa passed out an exercise form where we could answer a series of questions: What themes do we write about, what are our beliefs and hopes, our uniqueness, books that inspired us, etc. In other words, an exercise to define and identify ourselves, so as to determine HOW others will notice us.
For example, Teresa’s own platform carries themes close to her heart, such as mother-daughter relationships and compassion for the mentally ill and for the victims of abuse.
Several members were invited to demonstrate how they could build their platform and a fan base on the themes in life that are special to them.
Another exercise form was handed out: Here, we were to fill in the names of some of our favorite celebrities, point out why they were among our favorites, and what we might have in common with them. For example, Teresa always liked Ginger Rogers a lot, because she symbolized some of her own important values.
Volunteers were invited to illustrate this idea. For example, one member was an avid admirer of John Gray, the famous author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, and an expert on social relationships. Thus, she would identify with John Gray and focus on such topics as “how do we choose our partners?” in her own writing.
In sum, we should always begin by developing our platform statement, and inspire and help our potential fanbase to become aware of our distinct issues.
Teresa also passed out and collected a form where we could enter our genre, our themes, and our projects.
This was a very interesting hands-on demonstration of how to develop our distinct identity as authors.
Past Meeting Minutes (PDF)