Meet Deborah Riley-Magnus, author and Author Success Coach with a 27-year background in marketing, advertising, and public relations.
If you had a time machine, where and when would you be right now?
I would be 24-years-old again! Instead of spending my down time learning to ski, traveling, and enjoying my friends, I would have spent every single spare moment writing, writing, pitching, proposing, and writing more. I would have started earlier and not smugly told myself, “There will be time to do that, later.” However, I will say that at this age my life experience, marketing chops, and writing expertise are to my advantage. The question poses a real dilemma. Can’t I have life experience and youth at the same time? Nah. I think I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be right now, and thrilled to be here.
What advice would you give a younger self?
My younger self wouldn’t listen to an old bat like me! I would have told her to take care of her body, that she’ll need it later. That sitting at a keyboard ten hours a day is hard on the back, and the knees, and widens the bottom.
What is your favorite resource for writers?
There are so many resources, online and live, but I have always felt that watching people tells the biggest story. That lifting my eyes and looking around creates the best settings. That listening deeper opens doors to braver and more courageous plots and characters. Facts, details, and truth are vital and no writer should pass over those things, but the real story is in the guts of our living, breathing surroundings.
What has been the most satisfying aspect of your literary career?
As many of you know, I’m a fiction writer and an Author Success Coach. Most of my focus and time is spent helping authors understand and expand their ability to successfully market their books. Receiving requests for a full manuscript is always exciting, being signed with an agent and publisher is right up there, too. But my calling seems to keep drawing me back to the faces of authors desperate to sell the wonderful book they wrote, and sell WELL. The most satisfying aspect of my coaching career is so simple. It’s when I speak and look out into the crowd of listeners and see—actually see—that light bulb brighten over their heads. I once saw that over the head of our own Pennwriters President’s head when Hillary Hauck’s eyes widened and she jumped up and said “OH, YES!” It had something to do with her book’s unique hooks being wine and wineries, as I recall. Moments like that, when I reach the true creative depth of an author and connect the dots between creative writer and marketing author, those are gems I never forget!
What is your favorite tip for writers?
As writers, be succinct, be sharp, take your scenes or concepts as far as you can, never be afraid to turn the reader around and make them think. As a marketing coach, I tell authors to watch for the many unique-hook diamonds you are writing into your story. Cultivate them and use them when it’s time to gain visibility and create sales. You are selling more than a book, you are making connections and building a loyal fan base. That takes more than just posting “Buy my book!” on your Twitter and Facebook accounts. It takes an understanding of what people love and how to connect with them through that commonality.
What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
As a writer, it’s most challenging to always seek the new direction, the unique approach, and the matchless point of view to make my stories different. There’s a thin line between the absurd and the plausible, I like walking that tightrope. As an Author Marketing Coach, my biggest challenge is to pull authors out of their distaste for marketing, and drag them, kicking and screaming, into the light. Marketing is as creative as writing, right in an author’s wheelhouse, and deserving of the time required to do it well. It’s not about writing OR marketing—especially if the author wants to be a successful selling author. It’s about writing AND marketing. You can’t sell a book well if you don’t write it, and you can’t sell a book well if you don’t market it. They are two sides of the same coin.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
This one is kind of like choosing your three wishes when you find the magic lamp, one must think very strategically. A laptop without extra batteries or wifi can stop you dead, and that would be all three of my wishes! So, I’m going to take a more practical road for this question. 1) Clean underwear, because Mom always said to pack plenty of clean underwear. 2) Lots and lots of chocolate. And 3) My imagination, because the fact that someone actually found a way to strand me on a desert island will make one hell of a story!
Coaching Website: http://theauthorsuccesscoach.com/
Fiction Website: http://drmagnusfantasy.com/
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/deborah.rileymagnus
To register, click here: 2017 Pennwriters Conference Registration.