Meet Cristen Iris, Developmental Editor

This entry is part 9 of 1 in the series Book Industry Experts

This is the first in my 2021 series of book industry experts that will include editors, ghostwriters, book coaches, and other experts in the book industry. Cristen and I first connected a few years back when we both worked with the Nonfiction Authors Association.

Tell us a little bit about your business.Cristen Iris headshot 2

I’m a developmental and substantive editor and book proposal consult who loves developing long-term professional relationships with my clients and other publishing industry pros. I predominately work on nonfiction projects written by experts but am keen to work on well-crafted fiction with a literary bend.

Memoir with its nonfiction base and fiction-like narrative style is one of my favorite things to work on, but I jump at the opportunity to work on anything even remotely related to medical anthropology, sociology, sports, entertainment, or business.

My clients include a New York Times bestselling debut novelist, a GRAMMY Award ® winner, attorneys, researchers and medical doctors, competitive athletes, advocates and activists, and an international entertainment entrepreneur. I’m delighted to have worked with Linda K. Olson (triple-amputee, retired MD, and Parkinson’s advocate) on her recently released memoir, Gone: A Memoir of Love, Body, and Taking Back My Life, listed by Parade Magazine as one of the 24 best memoirs to read in 2020.

I love helping clients develop their writing craft and market acumen, so they can share important information and tell meaningful stories that attract the attention of literary agents, publishers, and readers. What I love most about what I do is the ability to partner with others to do work that has the potential to change lives and shape culture.

How would you describe your ideal client?

My favorite clients are Type As with a sense of humor, the type that are serious about the work but don’t take themselves too seriously. I also prefer working with clients who are multi-book authors and aspire to be traditionally published or published by a publisher that exercises editorial discretion. I also like working with authors who choose to indie-publish for strategic reasons.

Authors who are looking for a one-time, do-this-and-I’ll-pay-you-and-leave aren’t a good fit. The most fulfilling relationships for me are dynamic, collaborative, and strategic because they’re the most fun and get the best results.

How did things change for you in 2020 and how did you manage to weather through the year during the pandemic?

My pandemic year started the first week of January with the sudden death of my 42-year-old friend and brother-in-law. Another relative died suddenly in February, and in March, another one of my young relatives was hospitalized with COVID-19 and according to his doctor, “could have gone either way.”

By April, clients who’d booked large, multi-month projects had put their projects on hold or were moving at a snail’s pace due to interruptions in their lives and concerns about cash flow. The dip was brief. Within a few weeks, emails started flowing in. Lockdowns and layoffs allowed many aspiring authors to focus on their books. I haven’t done the math, but I’m sure I’ve done more projects this year than any other. Having said that, my income compared to last year is down because pricing and timelines got all out of whack early on, and I’ve done more lower-fee projects than high-dollar ones.

On the business side, I have to say that it’s been a great year. The pandemic exacerbated a project management and cash flow frustration I’ve had for several years and was the push I needed to eliminate the service related to it and start offering an hourly consulting rate service that’s been a surprising hit.

If I had to boil the change and the benefits that followed down into two words they would be “focus” and “efficiency.”

On the personal side, I’ve become more aware of how important my husband, sister, and children are to me. That’s given me perspective and a sense of belonging that I haven’t experienced in a while.

What is your favorite tip for using social media?

Well, first I want to encourage you to consider any tips I offer with a degree of skepticism because unless you’re an editor who works with clients like mine and share my goals, this is likely bad advice. But if you see yourself in anything I’ve said about myself, my tip regarding social media is to get off it as soon as possible.

Perhaps a better tip is to consider whether your ideal clients are hanging out on your favorite social media platform and if they go to that platform when looking to hire someone like you. Social media is a time suck. Each of us only have 24 hours in the day. If we want to succeed, we must keep customer conversion expenses low. Time and energy, like money, is limited.

I’m also an introvert (not shy, an introvert). Social media wears me out. My energy is best applied elsewhere. But when I started my business, I spent a lot of time on social media because that’s where authors who were willing to take a chance on a new editor hung out.

So, my tip is to remember that marketing isn’t a one-size-fits all deal. Marketing fiction requires a different approach than nonfiction and both require strategies that keep the ideal reader’s needs and habits top of mind. If you can afford to, hire an experienced consultant who knows your genre and understands your personality and goals and can help you develop a customized social media strategy that gets results. Sue has been doing this a long time and as an author herself can speak directly to what works and doesn’t. I’d start by talking to her.

What are your goals for 2021?

My goals for 2021 are the same as they are every year and are more strategic than specific, which allows me to take advantages of changes in the market and opportunities that always surprise me. In general, they are:

  • develop more high-value industry relationships;
  • stay connected to clients by celebrating their wins and promoting them whenever possible;
  • submit more of my own writing to literary magazines;
  • become even more effective and efficient, so I can serve more clients;
  • and get more outdoor time by taking walking breaks each weekday and hiking, biking, paddle boarding, and snowshoeing with family and friends on weekends.

Where can authors find you?

The best place to find me is at cristeniris.com.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I’d just like to encourage anyone who feels beaten down, inept, and bone tired. I feel that way most days, especially when I feel forced to choose between answering emails that keep piling up and doing the actual work.

Running a sustainable and growing business is hard. We must keep all the plates spinning at least fast enough to keep them balanced on the pointy sticks they sit on.

It’s o’dark thirty, and I’m sitting in my bathrobe looking like a two-year-old that nobody’s bothered to hose down lately. It’s easy to feel like we’re doing something wrong, like we have little in common with those real professionals we admire.

But never mind Instagram, photoshopped headshots, and holiday everything-is-wonderful newsletters. That’s all fluff. The meaningful work is ugly work, but it’s the only work worth doing and the stuff that produces results that prove to ourselves and others that we’re competent and resilient.

May your 2020 failures and triumphs propel you into 2021 and may it be your best year yet!

Bio

Cristen Iris is a craft-focused, results-oriented developmental and substantive editor and book proposal consultant. Her clients include a New York Times bestselling debut novelist, a GRAMMY Award ® winner, attorneys, researchers and medical doctors, competitive athletes, advocates and activists, and an international entertainment entrepreneur. Recently, Parade Magazine listed client and triple-amputee Linda K. Olson’s book as one of the 24 best memoirs to read in 2020. Cristen’s personal essays and business columns have been published by, among others, IDAHO magazine, Idaho Business Review, Unbound Northwest, and on the Nonfiction Authors Association blog. When her nose isn’t stuck in a book or her fingers glued to a keyboard, Cristen and her feet can be found anywhere there’s dirt, trees, or water.

iDigress Podcast with Host Troy Sandidge

This entry is part of 13 in the series Podcaster Interviews

1. Tell us about your podcastTroy Sandidge photo

iDigress Podcast is a fast-paced, energetic, value-packed podcast covering Marketing, Business, Strategy, and Social Media infused with culture. The podcast is very digestible, with all episodes under 20 minutes with key takeaways. This would be a beneficial podcast for SMBs (Small-Medium Businesses), Entrepreneurs, Start-ups, Sidehustlers, and even National Brands. I provide successful digital marketing tips, strategies, systems, solutions, and frameworks during each episode. A new episode is released every Wednesday.

2. Why did you start this podcast?

I didn’t see too many podcasts in my field that articulated things and connected culture from a BIPOC perspective. Not only that, I wanted to provide an audio experience that is different from the norm. I wanted the podcast to educate, engage, entertain as well as spark curiosity and provide insight that could be utilized immediately.

3. How long have you been podcasting?

I’ve been appearing as a guest (and even sometimes co-hosts) for the past 4 years on podcasts on Marketing, Social Media, Faith, Motivation, Business, Technology, etc. With everything going on in 2020, I thought it was time I created my own to connect and grow with my community in new ways.

4. What do you look for in a guest?

A guest would be one who can provide unique experiences no matter what industry they are in or phase of their career, as long as their story and insight can connect back to either Marketing, Business, Social Media, Strategy, or Culture. You’ll notice I currently don’t have guests on the show, as the podcast isn’t an interview-themed style show. But there is a list where guests can be added and will be part of the show at pivotal podcast episode milestones.

5. How can listeners find you?

Podcast – search “iDigress” (all one word) on your favorite place you like to listen to podcasts
Troy’s Social – social media is @FindTroy on all social platforms

6. Is there anything else you’d like to share?  

I’d like to leave my Marketing Philosophy for thought:
“Imagination is the Engine.
Content is the Fuel.
Social Media is the Roadmap.
Marketing is the Roadmap.
Sales is the Destination.
Culture is the GPS.”

Troy Sandidge Bio:

Troy Sandidge is a renowned marketing strategist who empowers brands to increase social engagement, elevate brand authority, and maximize revenue through his D.A.R.T. Marketing Methodology™ and C.L.O.V.E.R. Business Framework.™

As a former Vice President of a Chicago create agency and currently the Chief Strategy Officer of a national brand agency, Troy has over 10 years of experience navigating brands through the “digital universe.” He is also an international speaker known for his dynamic energy and frequent use of acronyms. 

Brands partner with Troy to build personalized solutions to their marketing problems and dilemmas. He leverages the power of social media, relationship marketing, community building  to achieve the results brands want. Troy is a Leading Source of Successful Social Media Marketing Solutions by the New York Weekly and a Los Angeles Wire’s 30 Under 30.

The marketing strategies, systems, and solutions Troy develops for SMBs to Fortune 500 companies have cumulatively generated millions in revenue and counting.

Engage for Success Radio Show Interview

This entry is part 2 of 13 in the series Podcaster Interviews

I asked the team at the Engage for Success Radio show to tell us about it:Engage for Success radio show

The Engage for Success movement is an inclusive movement committed to the idea that there is a better way to work by releasing more of the capability and potential of people at work. We spread the word about employee engagement and shine a light on good practice, inspiring people and workplaces to thrive. And we’re widely supported across the UK involving the public, private and third sectors. Our radio podcast is recorded live once a week and then available on our website and via all the usual routes. It was founded in 2012 and usually booked up 6 months ahead.

Why did you start this radio show?

To interview interesting people sharing content helpful to leaders interested in employee engagement.

How long have you been doing the show?

Since December 2012.

What do you look for in a guest?

Interesting people all over the world who are leaders in business and have something valuable to say about employee engagement.

How can listeners find you?

Apple podcasts, engageforsuccess.org. Blogtalkradio, Soundcloud.
Engage for Success radio is an award winning, long running podcast focusing on employee engagement, by the national movement Engage for Success.

Wei Houng, Host of The Money Lab Podcast

This entry is part 3 of 13 in the series Podcaster Interviews

Wei Houng, Host of The Money Lab Podcast

Tell us about your podcast

The current and most active podcast is called “The Money Lab” which is all about entrepreneurship and money stories.

Why did you start this podcast?

I started this podcast to help inspire listeners that struggle with bad money stories and money anxiety so that they can breakthrough their money blocks.

How long have you been podcasting?

I’ve been podcasting (and helping others produce podcasts) for close to 10 years now.

What do you look for in a guest?

What I look for in a guest are people who genuinely want to help and inspire others and are willing to be vulnerable with their unique money story and their journey around it.

How can listeners find you?

The podcast can be found here: http://the6figureacademy.com/podcast

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I’m in the middle of launching a few other podcasts: Tech Punks (technology based podcast about tech), Hey It’s Wei! (personal podcast around unlocking happiness), and Spiritual Theory (a more esoteric podcast around spirituality). There’s also a more local podcast (Southbay California) that I host for our local chamber but that may not be all that relevant.

About Wei Houng

Wei Houng has made it his passion, purpose, and goal to help people eliminate anxiety around money to achieve financial success and live a 6 Figure Lifestyle.

Success Starts From Within, is his personal mantra.  It came as an “ah-ha” moment while working with one of his own mentors.  The “ah-ha” was that most of his failures were due to him looking outwards for success instead of within.   Soon after, he discovered that to help his clients achieve the results THEY were looking for in money, it was more than just about helping them solely in the area of financial success.

With a background in Computer Science & Engineering and a cohesive minor in Business Management from UCLA, Wei has infused the rapid problem-solving engineering approach in a holistic way to the strategies at The 6 Figure Academy. The holistic side comes from him being a Certified Life Coach, Master Practitioner and Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Master Practitioner of Hypnotherapy, and Master Practitioner of Mental and Emotional Release® Techniques. He is also an ordained minister in spirituality.

Rachel Cooke, Host of The Modern Mentor Podcast

This entry is part 12 of 13 in the series Podcaster Interviews

Here is the interview of Rachel Cooke, host of The Modern Mentor podcast.Rachel Cooke

1. Tell us about your show.

The Modern Mentor podcast, is a weekly show designed to deliver “quick and dirty tips” to anyone looking to design and craft their own version of workplace success. It’s about getting clarity on what you want most, and then taking small, regular steps to achieve it. Each week focuses on one topic, leans into specific actions, and is designed to be put to use immediately!

2. Why did you start the show?

The show is part of Macmillan’s Quick and Dirty Tips network. There are shows on fitness, nutrition, finance, etc. There was a show on productivity that spanned both the personal and professional – but nothing that sat squarely in the workplace success realm. I thought it was an opportunity for listeners looking to grow and develop – and that’s my expertise – so we built it.

3. How long have you been hosting the show?

I’ve been hosting for 5 months so I’m still new and learning. I always welcome feedback and ideas from listeners!

4. What do you look for in a guest?

I look for guests that have a stand-out body of work in a lane that lends itself to success in the workplace. Work that has some research for sure, but that focuses deeply on the action side of things. What can my audience learn from you, but more importantly how can you help them do something meaningful for themselves with what they’ve learned?

5. How can listeners find you?

Listeners can find the show on the Quick and Dirty Tips page, or just search for Modern Mentor wherever they get their podcasts. I’m on the socials as @qdtmodernmentor. They can also find me at my professional website Lead Above Noise. 

6. Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Workplace success is what you make of it. So if you ever find yourself grumbling over not getting a promotion or frustrated by your boss who doesn’t listen to your ideas – give yourself space to feel sad or angry – but then quickly shift focus to what you can do about it. There is always something. Modern Mentor can help!

About Rachel:

Rachel’s work is grounded in creating success – for individuals, teams, and organizations.

In her work as the Founder of Lead Above Noise, Rachel facilitates experiences – executive offsites, workshops, talks, and consulting engagements – that provide leaders with the tools and insights to build thriving teams: teams that deliver outstanding ideas, service, and results.

As the host of Macmillan’s Get-It-Done-Guy podcast, Rachel shares her tips and insights – extracted from her years of organizational practice – designed to empower individuals to find and create their own workplace success.