Other Services

If you want the Book Engineer’s guidance on your publishing journey but aren’t ready to partner on a specific manuscript, here are a variety of general tools to help you with whatever your current projects may be.

Speaking and Teaching

Leila Sales, founder of the Book Engineer, regularly gives presentations about writing and publishing. If you are interested in booking her to speak at your conference, retreat, or school, please contact her with your specific educational needs, or consider one of the programs described below.

What Writers Need to Know About the Publishing Business

Being a writer is a craft, but being an author is a career. This presentation aims to demystify the inner workings of the publishing business for authors, both those approaching their first publication, as well as those who have books out and want a better understanding of the business side of things. Topics covered include how responsibilities are divvied up within a publisher (as well as what responsibilities are the author’s), how to understand the terms of your contract, how your books’ finances and rights work, how to interact most effectively with your editor and publicist, and much more about what to expect all the way from submission through publication.

Leila is a polished speaker with a detailed presentation. One attendee said about the class, “I feel like I got an insider’s view of the mysterious process of publishing, information I haven’t been able to find anywhere else.” Another said, “Leila directly addressed so many concerns I had with my publishing experience without me even having to ask specific questions.” Easily one of the best-received classes we’ve ever held.

Michael Noll, Program Director, Writers’ League of Texas

Remember that moment in The Wizard of Oz when Toto jumps out of Dorothy’s basket and grabs the green curtain in his teeth and pulls it back to reveal the ‘Great Oz’? The Great Oz is the publisher and Leila is Toto.

Meredith Davis, author of Her Own Two Feet
The Logic of Storytelling

How do you build a story that keeps readers engaged from start to finish? How do you create a character whose goals and motivations are so compelling that readers will follow her anywhere she goes? How do you give readers a conclusion that makes the journey worth it? In this workshop, we’ll consider these questions and more by breaking down the storytelling process into manageable pieces. We’ll tease apart successful published books to see the framework underneath, and discuss how that framework can be applied to your own works in progress. 

Revising Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels

It’s taken months or years, but you’ve done it: You’ve completed a draft of your middle grade or YA novel. Is the next step submitting to agents and publishers, getting a book contract, and planning your launch party? Not so fast. First comes one of the most important and non-negotiable parts of the writing process: revision. In this multi-week course, students will learn how to analyze and improve every aspect of their novels, including characters and relationships, world building, logic, plot, scene work, structure, pacing, writing style, and more. Writers will study editorial letters for successful MG and YA novels to learn how to essentially write editorial letters for themselves.

Publishing Coaching

A one-on-one coaching session can sometimes be just what you need to understand the inner workings on the publishing business. As an editor and an author, Leila is uniquely qualified to answer questions from both sides of the desk such as:
—How can I tell if an agent or publisher is the right fit for me? What questions should I ask in an initial agent or editor call, and what answers should I be looking for?
—How can I evaluate the quality of the marketing plan my publisher has given me? What else should I be asking for in terms of promotion, and how do I ask for it? What should I be doing in terms of my own promotion without stepping on any toes?
—How do I handle a difficult situation with my agent/editor/publicist?
—How do I interpret my book’s sales figures?

Leila has the unique insight to understand both the author editor’s perspective and the inner workings of the book market. She listened, helped me brainstorm, and gave me the insight and confidence I needed to go into my publicity meeting with clear hopes and empathy for the time and budget restrictions most publishing houses face. I recommend hiring Leila to get the multifaceted point of view that your house will appreciate, respond to, and take seriously. 

Rebekah Manley, author of Alexandra and the Awful, Awkward, No Fun, Truly Bad Dates: A Picture Book Parody for Adults

Articles and Videos

How to use comp titles to position your book for acquisitions and marketing.
Lots of basic guidelines to writing compelling picture books.
My all-time top three writing tips.