Keller Media Blog

By Wendy Keller, Literary Agent and Chief Talent Launcher

Most of the authors whose books are going to be sold this year are already under contract with publishers.

But here’s the good news: NOW is the ideal time to prepare to be part of the January buying frenzy.

Do you have a good nonfiction book idea in mind?

What will happen to your career – or your life – when you turn into a published author?

Here’s what you’ll need to make that happen:

  1. A strong idea on a subject you are qualified to write about
  2. A well-written book proposal

That’s all. Because with those two things, you will easily find a literary agent (I know because I am one!) and your enthusiastic agent will easily find you a publisher who loves your idea and wants to publish your book.

How to write a good book proposal:

Note: Only nonfiction books need proposals – not fiction. But no nonfiction book gets sold without a proposal, so you’ll have to create one to sell your book.

“A nonfiction book proposal is to the publishing industry what a business plan is to venture capitalists…and for the same reason. You’re trying to get a stranger to invest in your idea.” — Wendy Keller

A nonfiction proposal has five (5) basic parts plus one or two sample chapters. The parts look deceptively simple, which is why so few authors get an agent or a publisher. Don’t waste time! Do it right the first time! (Here’s a little extra help)

The Parts of a Book Proposal:

  1. The Overview – where you pitch to publishers how brilliant your idea really is.
  2. Your Bio – where you prove to them your credentials on this subject matter.
  3. The Marketing Plan – where you show the publisher what a great author you are because you are highly motivated to sell lots of copies of your book.
  4. Your Chapter Summaries – where you get to show off all the knowledge you’ve got and how it will benefit the readers because people only buy nonfiction books to get some result. Typical: Education, information or knowledge they can use.
  5. The Competitive Analysis – where you prove that your book deserves what we call “its shelf space”. How it is N.D.B.M.(tm) than the competition. That is, “New, Different, Better or offers the readers something More.”

If you’ve got lots of time to spare, are highly motivated and don’t really mind if the finished book proposal doesn’t actually attract a publisher, do it yourself. You don’t need to know much more than the numbered list above. But if you take the decision to become a successful author seriously, then get a full perspective on what’s really going on here, and how you can create a proposal that will be a winner right from Word One. To get FREE help from this literary agent, just click here.

Once your book proposal is perfect, your agent will present it to very carefully selected publishers at the most reputable publishing houses in the country and nurture the sale until you get a publishing contract. It all starts with a splendid proposal!

Wendy Keller of Keller Media, Inc. is the literary agent behind +1,500 rights deals around the world, including 17 New York Times best sellers and 9 international best sellers.

To know how to write a proposal that her agency may represent, click here.

To offer your excellent, already-finished proposal to Keller Media, click here.

To see some of the splendid, intelligent authors Keller Media represents, click here.

By Wendy Keller, Literary Agent and Chief Talent Launcher

If you own a business, want to start one or have a career you’d like to grow, here’s the deal: you need to consider writing a book.

Not just any book.

Certainly not the time-wasting pipe dream Great American Novel.

You need to write a real, practical book on the subject of your expertise, whether it is sales or dog grooming or starting a business or whatever else you happen to know a lot about…more than “most” people know.

Here’s why: If you do it right, it will sell to a publisher. (I’m a literary agent – I know whereof I speak)

A real publisher will hand you a check for the honor of publishing your book. (The size of that check will depend on what’s called your “platform”. To find out what that means, click here.) There’s your first $25,000.

Before the book comes out, you will use it to enhance your brand, increase your customers, expand your platform. The very fact that your book is in production with a legitimate publisher will, when done right, attract people to you and your business/career.

When your book releases (about a year after it was sold) you have a window of opportunity (3-9 months, usually) to go into a frenzy of book promotion and collect all kinds of cool things like TV and newspaper interviews, appearances on podcasts and radio shows, maybe speaking at events.

All of that will exponentially increase your personal visibility in the world and by default, grow your business, grow your career or help your new baby business take off fast.

When you do all of the book promotion stuff, which is a LOT of fun (seriously) you will get (in addition to all those new customers, consulting contracts and/or job offers), the 25,001st benefit: you’ll make your mom proud. Aww.

Here’s the catch: (You knew there was one, right?) To sell a nonfiction book to a publisher, you’ll need what’s called a “book proposal”. It’s a very specific document that most people can write themselves. It lays out the parts of your book and how the publisher will be brilliant for investing in you as an author. TO MAKE THIS EVEN EASIER for you, click here to learn how to put together a GREAT book proposal and get your ball rolling…and if you won’t do it for yourself, do it for Mom!

About Me & Why I’m Qualified to Tell You All This:

I am a literary agent for Keller Media in Los Angeles. I’ve sold +1,500 deals all over the world. 17 of them became New York Times best sellers. I am wildly passionate about using authorship as a marketing tool. Some clients build multi-million dollar businesses out of becoming published authors. Every single one of them started with a great book proposal. Click here to find out how to write yours.

By Wendy Keller, Literary Agent and Chief Talent Launcher

Thinking about writing a book but not quite sure whether it is a good use of your time? Have you heard “bad” things about self-publishing…about publishers…about literary agents?

If you have an inkling that you might want to write a nonfiction book on the subject of your expertise, here are the three biggest benefits our authors tend to get:

1. New Customers to Your Products or Services

A book is an almost magical process. The marketing spin you will get from a book is unlike anything you can get – anywhere else – no matter how much money and time you pump into social media or formal advertising.

A very successful author called me today. We’ve done two books together. (I’m a literary agent. I sell nonfiction books to publishers on behalf of authors.)

Dave said, “Wendy, I’m ready to write a third.”

I asked him why.

He said, “My company is launching a new product. There’s nothing like a book to give you that extra credibility and marketing boost. I plan to use the book to promote the next product to my existing clients.”

I expect to have it sold in January, if not sooner. His book proposal (the critical sales document that every nonfiction agent must use to present a nonfiction project to publishers) will be ready in about a month.

2. Extreme career prestige

Lots of people may know how to do some or all of what you do, but when you literally “wrote the book,” you put yourself in a rare category. What HR person or hiring committee can resist someone with that level of confidence and knowledge?

It’s a lot easier to get a legitimate publisher (read: one who pays you, not one you pay!) if you have a strong idea, a “platform” in place and a great nonfiction proposal. (Click here to find out how to write a proposal)

If you’re looking for work, looking to move up a level, or trying to set yourself apart from your colleagues or competitors, a published book could be your single best move ever!

3. Start a Business

Got an idea that you’d like to start a business one day? Do you want to found that new business on your expertise, your passion, your favorite hobby? Writing a book is a fantastic way to ease out of your day job (and get paid for it!) while you prepare.

Perhaps best of all, a book’s production cycle will give you a year to make the transition – but even a year is a deadline.

The Process of Getting Published

Excited by this article? Eager to transform into a published author with a book that will give you a tangible benefit? Here are the steps:

  1. Come up with 1-3 solid ideas for a book
  2. Write a terrific book proposal (Want some help with that? Click here.)
  3. Select a literary agent who has sold in the past and is still selling in the present books like yours. (Want some help with that? Click here.)
  4. Work with your agent to improve your book proposal, if requested.
  5. Let your agent sell it to a publisher while you watch the magic
  6. Hurray! Cash the publisher’s check!
  7. Write the book
  8. Promote the book
  9. Reap the benefits

Really, that’s all there is to it. There are plenty of people along the way who will help you.

The first step is your knowledge – and the courage to transform a good but fuzzy idea into action!

Wendy Keller is the “Chief Talent Launcher” at Keller Media, Inc., a leading US nonfiction literary agency.

By Wendy Keller, Literary Agent and Professional Speaker

Speaking can be your best marketing strategy ever!

Here are the three best ways to make money as a speaker:

  1. Speak for free, but convert a hefty percentage of every audience into customers, clients, patients or customers.

How This Works:

People buy from people they like and trust. When you stand in front of an audience and share your knowledge with a room full of people, they get a feeling for the kind of person you are from the way you talk and move – as much as from the knowledge you convey. As the minutes tick away, they come to like you more and more.

Even beginning speakers, or people who feel a bit nervous up there, can convert 30% or more of a room – turning them into paid customers.

A good friend of mine sells a $3,000 service-based product. He will speak to any group of business people as long as there are going to be at least 25 people there. He knows that even on his worst days (and there aren’t many of those!) he will convert 30% of the audience. For him, that’s just about $25,000 in profits!

What could speaking do for your business?

2. Speak for money – and still convert a percentage into customers!

How This Works:

If you are a subject matter expert, on anything from sales to overcoming adversity to parenting to party planning, chances are other people want to hear what you’ve got to say. Especially if it is a business-oriented topic, your message has value.

The meetings industry is worth more than $1 billion!

Companies, associations, hospitals, schools, churches, small businesses and all types of special interest groups are always looking for fresh speakers whose content is appealing to their people. This is how they stay relevant and in business themselves.

When you put yourself out there as a speaker (find out how by clicking here), you will find that this is an exceptionally lucrative way to make a living – or just a few extra bucks. Imagine getting paid $5,000, $10,000 or more for 45 minutes of talking! (OK, there’s more to it than that, but that’s the first layer).

I have numerous consulting clients and students I’ve trained who now make $100,000 or more a year speaking just 12-15 times, sometimes in fabulous locations. Imagine being feted by the CEOs of the companies you speak for, asked in-depth questions about the topic of your expertise, and building notoriety – maybe even some fame – all while being paid for it!

What could speaking do for your life?

3. Launch a movement, a membership program or an organizations

How This Works

This is something many people never even think about! You could use your knowledge of anything from how to repair vacuum cleaners to improving sales for people working in retail and build a content website – cheaper and easier than you think. (Thank you, modern technology!) Then you can use your speaking to encourage people to sign up to pay you to learn from your site.

My late friend Cavett Robert, founder of the prestigious National Speakers Association, started out with just gathering a few friends who wanted to get paid to speak. His association grew into a preeminent organization that grossed millions of dollars per year in dues and other revenue sources. The difference between what I paid for membership when I joined the NSA in 1995 and the dues now? Almost triple!

If you have something interesting, original, refreshing, helpful, valuable or useful to tell the world, the meetings industry will be glad to welcome you with wide open arms. To find out how to leap into the speaking business now, click here for full details.

Wendy Keller is the founder and Chief Talent Launcher at Keller Media, Inc. The team at Keller Media turns regular people (and a few superstars) into big deal authors, well-paid speakers and successful owners of content-based businesses. To start you own process, click here. To find out about private consulting with Wendy to help you launch into your own successful life as a speaker and/or author, click here.

By Wendy Keller, Literary Agent and Professional Speaker

Some “regular people”* speakers can attract $15,000, $25,000, even $30,000 or more for the same 45 minutes of speaking time that others are lucky get just a few hundred bucks for.

* = speakers who are not celebrities, famous athletes, presidents, etc. Basically, people like you and me.

If 45 minutes is the same amount of time anywhere in the world, then why are you not getting paid more?

The obvious question: What needs to happen so YOU can get higher fees when you speak?

The difference between one speaker and another comes down to 3 basic things:

1. Preparation

Of your speeches, of your mannerisms on stage, of your messages, of your marketing, of your content expertise, of your platform style.

2. Packaging

Speaking is a “Fake it ’til you make it” business. If you look low end, you will be paid low end. This includes your website, your handouts (if any), your slides (if you use them), your contract (which you should have), and…you. Sometimes, hiring an image consultant, a vocal coach or a movement coach can make all the difference in someone’s speaking fees.

3. Promotion

How you are promoted, whether you do it yourself or hire it out, whether or not your promoter has any skills, what promotion materials you display, who you promote yourself to, all that kind of stuff…makes a huge impact. (Assuming 1 and 2 above have been implemented properly).

People often tell me, “The most I’ve ever gotten was $1,500, but usually it’s just $500 or so…”

I refer them to the “3 P’s” above and point out that the reason they’re not getting more money per engagement is certainly one of the above reasons, most often #1 – Preparation. No one likes to hear that, but it is the first step toward actual success as a speaker, not just survival.

In most of our lives, when one of the basic ingredients is off, the whole result is off. It’s like using 1 cup of salt instead of 1 cup of sugar when baking a cake; it’s like filling your gas tank with mineral oil instead of gasoline: it might look similar but the results are disastrously different.

Tighten up the “3 P’s” and you’ll find your speaking fees perk right up. To get help as a speaker – whether you are just getting started or in raising your fees – you’re invited to our webinar “Get Paid to Give Speeches.

When I interviewed Christopher Gimmer, CEO of the (incredible) graphics app for my book “The Ultimate Guide to Platform Building” I had no idea a few weeks later, he’d also show up as an entrepreneur with good advice in this article from Preneur Digest on “top business strategies”.

Click below to see it:

Business Success: 24 Famous Entrepreneurs Share their Top Strategies is one of the smartest tools out there for impatient entrepreneurs who need a quality graphic header right this minute!



getyourfirstpaidBy Wendy Keller, Literary Agent and Professional Speaker

Are You Ready?

The most common question beginning speakers ask me is, “How do I get someone to hire me to speak?”

Honestly, the answer to that question is pretty simple: Promote Yourself.

The very idea of having to promote yourself is one that makes most new speakers’ knees shake, not standing in front of a room of 20, 200 or even 2,000 people. Maybe the real greatest fear of mankind is ” Fear of promoting myself as a public speaker“?

In the beginning of your adventure as a speaker, you will find it almost impossible to get a bureau agent to promote you and work on your behalf, because they work on commission and you are as yet of no proven economic value.  Read on! There’s hope!

That means you have to approach meeting planners – the people with the power to hire you – all on your lonesome.  SURPRISE! It’s easier than you think when you know.

Here’s the situation:  A meeting planner’s job is to bring in the “best” person for the event being held.  Realistically, “best” might mean, “We have $5,000 to spend on a speaker.  Who is the best in this price category?”

If you’ve been reading my series, you know that I teach new and emerging speakers the “3 Ps” of Professional Speaking“:

  • Preparation* (so you are sure your message will appeal)
  • Packaging* (‘cuz you gotta look the part)
  • Promotion (what we’re talking about in this post)

*Click on the words above to see the related LinkedIn articles

What will make YOU the best investment in the eyes of the meeting planner?

Let’s say you are prepared and packaged as well as can be. You’re ready to get booked – make money – in 90 days. It’s totally doable!  Do you have the guts to follow this plan?

How to find people who want to hire you:

1. Look Locally.  Are there companies, colleges, associations or their branches, or other groups that meet within driving distance of you?  Many of these will be eager to have you come to speak – for free – in return for exposure to their membership and maybe a chicken dinner.  Their members may include people with the power to recommend you or hire you for other events. Most speakers start on “the rubber chicken circuit”…because it pays off.

Don’t knock it til you try it! It will give you a good chance to practice.  A few of these completed and you will have a much better idea of how this all works together.

2. Leverage Connections. Chances are, you’re known in your field.  If there are events coming up where you have a contact – or know somebody who might know somebody who can put in a good word for you – pursue this relentlessly.  It’s an easy way to get started.  If you are speaking for a group that will have more than 50 attendees, it is fair to ask to be paid.  Normally, half of your fee to “hold the date” is customary.

3. Dial for Dollars. I know I’m a freak, but I love cold calling!  I started my current business by cold calling. I had learned it in endless telemarketing boiler rooms as a teenager. (Yes! I called you during dinner back when it was legal!)

If you don’t love cold calling as much as I do, here’s a trick: Set up an imaginary character.  Give yourself a name and a personality.  I’m pretty good with accents, so I used to call on my own behalf as “Elizabeth” – complete with a faux British accent. Only one person ever busted me for my fake accent!  Even without one, when “someone else” you are pretending to be is calling, you may find it is a whole lot more fun and easier to pick up that phone and pitch yourself.  (Really!)  You won’t take rejection personally.

To begin, select 15 people you want to to have pay you to speak. Write out a pitch script and practice it at least 10 times standing in front of a mirror, smiling like a psycho.

Pick up the phone.  Dial the number.  Leave a clever message or deliver your pitch with charm. Pause for a response.

It’s that easy. Call 3 people per day every business day for a week.  That’s 15.  Then do it again the next week. And the next.

Those who have the chutzpah to pull this off will be surprised to discover…it works. Within 90 days, you should have your first paid booking!