It has been a very long time since I reached out to your inbox. Since then, we are still dealing with a pandemic, and now our hearts also go out to those dealing with the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
To restore your faith in humanity, I wanted to share this very inspiring story with you about my writer friends Kelly and Pamela. It is truly inspirational and amazing.
I’m also excited to make a special book recommendation that hits close to my heart based on my background having deaf family members, teaching high school students at the New York School for the Deaf, and teaching sign language in the community over the years. Check out my review (in American Sign Language!) below of Sara Novic’s upcoming book, True Biz.
I’m thrilled that I’ll be connecting with writers in person again this fall! I will be attending the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) annual retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico this September. It has been years since I last attended in 2017 and 2018 and I can’t wait to be with my writer peeps in person again. Then in October, I will be a speaker for the 2022 Permian Basin Writers’ Workshop in Midland, Texas. I’ll be presenting two sessions: one on author platform and branding, and the other on author websites, newsletters, and social media. See below for more info: https://permianbasinwritersworkshop.org
Looking for a fabulous presentation for your writer conference or retreat, or for your writing organization? Check out the topics I offer on the Speaker page of my LMW website. https://lisamontanarowrites.com/speaking/
Cheers - Lisa
In its seventh year, the 2022 Permian Basin Writers’ Workshop annual event will feature writing coaches and agents from around the country. Don’t miss this once-a-year opportunity to move your writing career forward.
This two-day event will be in Midland, Texas on October 8th-9th, 2022. Join me as I present two sessions: one on author platform and branding, and the other on author websites, newsletters, and social media.
Do your writing journey a favor, and save the dates.
Low Down for Writers from a Literary Agent: A Conversation with Literary Agent Nikki Terpilowski of Holloway Literary for Women’s Fiction Day
On June 8, 2021, I had the pleasure of interviewing literary agent Nikki Terpilowski of Holloway Literary for the Women’s Fiction Day events hosted by the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA). What a treat! It’s not everyday that you get to spend quality time with a literary agent and get a glimpse into their unique corner of the publishing industry.
During our intimate chat, Nikki provided valuable insider information on the landscape of the publishing industry, how the pandemic has affected the industry, her definition of women’s fiction, some of her favorite recent books in the genre, what agents look for in a query letter and manuscript when considering representation, and other words of wisdom. Now you can be a fly on the wall for our conversation and watch the entire interview. WFWA made it available to the public because it’s just too good to keep on the down low. So instead, you can now get the low down.
Wherever you are in your writing journey, Nikki’s insight is bound to educate, inspire, and motivate you to keep writing!
A Life-Saving Gesture of Friendship & Bravery: An Uplifting Tale of Two Writer Pals
Want an uplifting story that gives you faith in humanity? I am so proud to know these two amazing women, and humbled to witness a beautiful expression of humanity, friendship, and bravery. One needs a kidney and the other is donating it! Click here to read their inspiring story.
True Biz by Sara Novic – Video in American Sign Language
I believe in boosting books by diverse authors. Along those lines, I want to share something special with you.
I was sent an advanced reader copy (ARC) of a fantastic book that is publishing in the next month called True Biz by author Sara Novic, who is deaf. The book brought back so many memories of my time years ago teaching at the NY School for the Deaf.
Sara does something really unique in the book where she incorporates sign language into the dialogue. Hard to explain but it feels revolutionary. I also know that she is signing the parts where a character is using ASL and they are incorporating it into the audiobook so you can “hear” the sign language if you are a hearing person. Really cool!
I was delighted to see that the NY Times gave True Biz a fantastic review. Check it out here.
Transcription of video book recommendation in American Sign Language.
Hi! My name is Lisa Montanaro. Sign name: L going down wavy hair. I’m hearing, but I have an aunt and uncle, friends, and former students who are deaf. I studied sign language years ago and worked as an instructor at the New York School for the Deaf, which is named Fanwood and is in New York State.
Today I want to recommend a fantastic book to you named True Bizby author Sara Novic. True Biz is about a deaf school with one character who is a teacher and two characters that are students. Well actually, there are many students in the book! The book covers many interesting and important topics such as cochlear impacts, communication, ASL, deaf schools, and it’s a really good book. I want hearing people to read this book for sure because deaf culture is fascinating and you will learn a lot. And it covers important topics. Please look for this book. I think it’s an important, interesting, and wonderful read.
You will love it! Thank you.
My Word of the Year: Resilience
The pandemic provided me with time to do a major rewrite of my manuscript, which I hope to be (correction: will be!) my debut novel. I’m now processing the feedback from my four beta readers and will do a final round of revisions over the next few weeks/months. I am very grateful for their assistance. Being a beta reader means they read your entire manuscript and offer macro-level feedback. My task now is to look for patterns and trends in the feedback and decide which I agree with. Then I dive back into revisions — hopefully the final ones (well, at least until the gatekeepers get their hands on it if I am lucky — agents and editors). Yes, it prolongs the process of getting the book out into the world, but it also helps strengthen the manuscript.
After the final round of revisions, I have a three-part plan: first, to query agents like gangbusters. If there doesn’t seem to be any interest and the rejections keep piling in, I will then look at small presses. Small presses are really stepping up their game these days. They are filling a much-needed hole caused by the mergers of traditional publishers, and how tough it has become for writers to get their books published. I published my nonfiction book, The Ultimate Life Organizer: An Interactive Guide to a Simpler, Less Stressful, and More Organized Life, in 2011 with a small press in New York called Peter Pauper Press (try saying that five times fast!), and it was a great experience so this route is very appealing to me. If I don’t find a small press that wants to partner with me, I will go the indie route and self publish. Self publishing has become an even more viable option in recent years and no longer has the instant stigma it used to have (and never truly deserved in my opinion). As an entrepreneur for the past 20 years, I am very familiar with running a business and marketing, two things that often create a barrier to writers choosing the self publishing route.
So there you have it: my three-part strategy to getting this debut novel out into the world. And it can be summed up in one word — Resilience. Good thing I selected that as my word of the year.
Basically, I am getting this book published! It is not a matter of if — it’s a matter of how and when. So stay tuned!
Embrace Your Unique Thumbprint as a Writer
I love working with writers to help them bring their words into the world. To do that, you need to peel back the layers of the onion and get to the core of who you are as a writer and what you write about, and then share it with the world. In my experience, a lot of writers make the mistake of starting with marketing but they don’t really know who they are as a writer yet. So I like to focus on branding first and then the marketing. I think a lot of times when people talk about Author Platform, they’re jumping the gun and going straight to the marketing without focusing on the underlying branding. Writer branding is really deeper -- it’s the core of who you are and how you show up in the world. Think of it as the through line that goes through all of your writing and books and the way you show up in the writing community.
Do yourself a favor and figure out your unique thumbprint!
If you need help, I’ve got you covered. Reach out for a coaching session and we will discover your unique thumbprint as a writer together and how to share that with the readers of the world.
"I would absolutely, without reserve, recommend Lisa as a writer coach — she’s part tactician, part cheerleader, part psychologist — and all in when she’s your coach. I feel more confident with her in my court and know that I won’t miss a step because she’s aware of all stages and processes to branding and going to market. She’s also an attorney, although that isn’t part of her offering, that does give her added gravitas. I am singing her praises!”
~ D.K. Silver, http://dksilver.net, author of debut novel The Weight of Flowers, publishing in July 2022