Updated 9/16/17: This post now includes the text transcript of Miri’s interview. During this insider interview on our literary agent blog, Miri Leshem-Pelly, author of the children’s picture book Scribble and Author, shares her best tips for authors of all genres about how to write, publish, and/or promote a book.
Miri got multiple offers from agents, followed by a publishing contract with Kane Miller/EDC publishing. Her deal was announced in Publishers Weekly and her publisher made her book a lead title. They printed a 20,000-copy first print run, created a promotional video trailer, and committed to a book tour in the USA (even though Miri lives abroad). The publisher’s sales reps sell to all major retail outlets, including bookstores, gift stores, museums, etc. and they have a direct sales division with nearly 18,000 independent sales consultants who sell their books to schools and libraries, as well as at home parties, fundraising events and school book fairs. Miri was also recently notified that she’s the winner of a SCBWI financial grant and award for marketing and promoting her book.
During this special interview, Miri shares her best tips for authors. She also talks about how she worked with Mark Malatesta (a former literary agent and former AAR member turned author coach) to improve her manuscript and pitch materials, which helped result in her success. Scroll below now to: 1) Listen to the audio interview and/or get access to the text transcript, 2) Read Miri’s success story, 3) See a description and Kirkus review of Miri’s book, 4) See the publisher’s promotional video trailer, and 5) See an additional interview with Miri on her publisher’s blog. Of course you can also click here to get a copy of Scribble and Author and click here to visit Miri’s website.
Audio Interview with Miri Leshem-Pelly
Author of the Picture Book Scribble and Author
Press the play button below now to listen or click here to download the file (left-click or right-click the link, then select “Save Link As”). This recording is 67 minutes.
Click here to view and/or download a free PDF transcript
of this audio program!
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“AHHH! OMG, it happened!
I’m really excited to tell you that my literary agent got offers from multiple publishers and my book deal was announced this week on Publishers Weekly! I can hardly believe it.
I signed with Kane Miller, a division of EDC publishing. Their sales reps sell to all major retail outlets, including bookstores, gift stores, museums, etc. They also have a direct sales division made up of nearly 18,000 independent sales consultants who sell their books to schools and libraries, and at home parties, fundraising events and school book fairs. Yay!
As you know, I got three offers for representation from top literary agents in the United States, even though I live abroad! When I woke up and found the first offer for representation in my email in box, I wanted to scream. But my family was still asleep so I couldn’t. 🙂
Just 8 minutes after I sent a query letter to one of my favorite agents, she replied and asked to see my manuscript. A short time later we had a lovely conversation. She was interested in representing me and sounded very positive and enthusiastic about my book.
Since I also got offers from two other agents, I had to turn two of them down. One of them was upset and it felt like I was breaking her heart, but you just have to do it. I kept reminding myself that this is a good problem to have!
The whole process of getting a contract only took 18 days from the time I started sending out queries. It would have even happened a lot sooner but, for some reason, my agent didn’t get the manuscript when I sent it the first time!
I tried to get an agent before, without Mark.
Now I know why. I would never have written anything close to what Mark suggested in my query letter. He says things in the most attractive way, very convincing. Working with Mark also gave me the confidence I had what it takes. That was very helpful.
I put everything into the process because I trusted Mark’s procedure. I just kept going and going and never looked back no matter what. Even when I got rejections I didn’t care, they didn’t hurt me because they didn’t hurt my confidence.
Without Mark I would have kept taking one step forward and two steps backwards, thinking it wasn’t going to happen. That’s what I did before. I would send out 6 or 7 queries and get rejections or nothing coming back. Then I’d think, okay, I probably don’t have a chance. I stopped. I was stuck.
Mark also helped me make small, but important, changes to my manuscript. For example, I realized that my main character needed to solve her own problems instead of having someone else solve them for her. I also got clearer about the message in my book, and the best way to talk about it in the query.
Researching agents can also be overwhelming. When I did it on my own in the past, I didn’t know how to choose the best agents. There are so many. Mark created a list just for my book and divided the agents up into different groups and showed me how to choose. This was a very important part of the process because it’s personal, and it really helped me.
I also appreciated how much Mark communicated with me. He was helpful every step of the way, someone I could rely on through every little situation. Many times I was confused and not sure what to do and Mark answered me quickly and knew what I should do.
The most surprising thing about working with Mark was how fast I got an agent, and the fact that I got several agents interested. I saw other people saying that in the testimonials on Mark’s website, but I didn’t really think it was going to happen to me. So now it is my honor to add my success story to the long list of testimonials I’ve read on Mark’s website. 🙂
Those testimonials helped me decide to work with Mark. I saw different people in different stages of their career and different situations and they all ended up very satisfied with a lot of success. This was very inspiring and reassuring. They also said that Mark is a nice person to work with and very encouraging, which is completely true.
Mark also came into my life at the right point in time, as I said before, when I was stuck and not moving. For several months I didn’t do anything but my dream wouldn’t let go. It was nagging me and I couldn’t just continue to do nothing.
Thank you so much Mark for everything!”
Author/Illustrator of the upcoming Scribble and Author
and many other children’s books
KIRKUS REVIEW – Scribble and Author by Miri Leshem-Pelly
An unseen author guides a scribble through the elements of story creation.
A paintbrush dabs a pear-shaped orange blob onto the page, then pencil lines are added, making a face, arms and legs, and voilà: Scribble. Author, appearing only as a disembodied voice, announces that the scribble will be given the opportunity to make a journey. The text and illustrations are completely interdependent. Although Author never appears, digitally collaged-in photographs of a sharp pencil, a brush, and an eraser, later joined by lined paper, a sharpener, and cellophane tape, all play a role in the evolving story. Author’s voice takes the form of narrative text in a type reminiscent of an old-style typewriter, while Scribble interacts with faux hand-printed dialogue in speech balloons. The scribble must make all the decisions, passing along a curvy yellow road through gates that lead to the beginning, middle, and end of the story, all rendered in softly hued watercolor with a bit of black line for definition. Author encourages, exhorts, challenges, and offers suggestions, while Scribble makes inventive use of the accouterments provided by Author. Leshem-Pelly endows Scribble with a childlike demeanor and the willingness to go along on this new adventure. At times Author can be annoying, didactic, and pushy, but Scribble valiantly carries on, finally arriving at an imaginative happy ending.
You can also click on the following two links to see an additional 2-part interview that Miri’s publisher posted online at their blog:
Miri Leshem-Pelly is an Israel-based author and illustrator with 14 published children’s books published that she’s written and illustrated, along with another 14 children books that she’s illustrated for other writers. Miri’s works have won awards in Israel and have been shown on several solo exhibitions and many group exhibitions. Miri is also the Regional Advisor of the Israeli chapter of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators). In the past, she has been the chairperson of the Israeli Association of Illustrators. Miri Leshem-Pelly is currently represented by Anna Olswanger Literary Agency. Click here now to get a copy of Scribble and Author and click here to visit Miri’s website.
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