Meet Meg LaTorre.
Welcome Meg! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.
Thanks for having me! My name is Meg LaTorre. I’m a writer, AuthorTuber/BookTuber, developmental book editor, and former literary agent with a background in magazine publishing, medical/technical writing, and journalism. On my YouTube channel, iWriterly, I geek out on all things books—from the concept to the bookshelves (and everything in between). I also launched Query Hack, a query critique platform where writers can submit their manuscript queries or Twitter pitches for free feedback. Query Hack is hosted on my website, where I’ve also started a blog on writing-related topics. I’ve written for publications such as Writer’s Digest and SavvyAuthors on topics related to writing and publishing and can be found teaching online classes throughout the year. In my free time, I enjoy reading, running after my toddler, and sleeping. To learn more about me, visit my website, follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook, sign up for my monthly newsletter, and subscribe to my YouTube channel, iWriterly.
What is the origin story of iWriterly and how did you first get involved with the book community?
I initially joined the book community on Twitter, which is where I’ve met so many amazing writers and industry professionals. iWriterly started as a YouTube channel in March of 2017. At the time, I was on maternity leave from my job as a magazine editor, but I was also working at the Corvisiero Literary Agency on the side. I learned so much during my time at the agency and, because I’m also a writer, I wanted to share what I learned with other writers. When I first started my journey toward traditional publication, I remember being so frustrated about the lack of (decisive) information on how to write a book well, how to get an agent, or even how to be traditionally published. AuthorTube didn’t exist back then (in the format it does now) and there were plenty of blogs, but many had conflicting information. My husband suggested starting a YouTube channel, and I quickly became convinced it was the information-sharing medium I had been looking for to help other writers so they didn’t have to experience the same hardships I went through. Gradually, the iWriterly videos have gotten out there (starting a channel today is tough with YouTube algorithms). After receiving similar questions in the video comments (and on my other social media platforms), I decided I wanted to create a secondary resource to my YouTube channel and launched the iWriterly website, posting supplementary blogs to the videos and answering popular questions.
From journalism to medical and technical writing to being a literary agent and now a jack of all trades in the book community, how do you balance the roles you play and played and how have they influenced or clashed with each other?
At heart, I’m a writer—regardless of genre or style (novel writing, technical writing, etc.). When I first graduated college, I started out as a program manager for a medical communications company and worked my way up the ranks to medical writer and eventually the lead editor of a (technical) magazine. Those experiences give my blog and platform a business twist. I’m a huge proponent for treating your passion with the serious attention and dedication you’d give to your job. It’s also impacted the way I approach potential opportunities, such as teaching online classes or webinars. I’d say the biggest clash they’ve had is simply for my time. While working as a full-time editor, I also worked at a literary agency on the side while also writing my own book and freelance editing. Now that I’m a mom, that level of multitasking is much harder to maintain, and I’m very selective of where I invest my time. Because time is precious!
Is an “AuthorTuber” very different from a “BookTuber” and how do you use them to connect with your followers?
I go into this on my website, but AuthorTube and BookTube are two communities on YouTube. On AuthorTube, published and yet-to-be-published writers post videos on writing-related content. This could be anything from vlogs of their personal writing journey or how-to videos on the craft of writing. BookTube is another community where creators post videos related to books, and they aren’t necessarily writers (though they can be).
For me, AuthorTube has been fantastic for connecting with my followers because my platform revolves around the craft of writing and navigating the publishing industry. I’ll do occasional BookTube videos, such as book reviews or book hauls, because I acquire quite a lot of books throughout the year at industry events or at local bookstores. All writers are readers, so (for me) having a hybrid AuthorTube-BookTube channel has been a very natural one.
Query Hack sounds like a great service you offer. How did you decide and then define the services you offer from Query Hack to development editing?
To clarify, Query Hack is not part of my freelance editorial services. It’s a free query critique platform where writers can submit their queries with the chance to receive free feedback. I specify “chance to receive” simply because I’ve received hundreds of queries and it’s physically impossible to get to every one (though I wish I could!). I launched Query Hack as a way for writers to see how a publishing industry professional would look at their query—identifying what’s missing, what parts of the story are unclear, how important the metadata is (word count, genre, age group), etc.—without the need for a financial investment. (Let’s be real, so many of us writers are broke!) My developmental editing services, on the other hand, are opportunities where writers can pay a fee for me to review their work. I offer query, synopsis, first five pages, first chapter, and full manuscript critiques as well as video coaching. The latter I added on as an option later because I noticed a lot of writers asked pretty personal and in-depth questions either on social media or sent through the website. These questions were often ones related to the direction of their book or writing career. Thus far, it’s been a great way for me to help coach and encourage writers who are at a crossroads in their journey and want advice on where to go next.
You do book reviews too! Phew. I can only imagine the crazy schedule you have split between books and family and personal care. Any tips on how to step away from the workload without feeling guilty?
That’s a great question! And one I’m still working on. Personally, I love my work (and I love to work). As time is going on, I’ve become far more selective with the projects I take on so that I still have time to spend with family or doing things I love (like sleeping). For example, I often will turn down time-consuming opportunities or opportunities that lack financial compensation (because we all have to eat!). Once you get to a certain place in your career, people will ask you to do things all the time (such as family members asking you to edit their book for free), and I constantly remind myself that it’s okay to say no. I think the next phase in my career will be shifting to a scalable career/income. I’m also huge into scheduling. Once I’ve worked my allotted number of hours each day, I’ll stop and do personal stuff.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?
Although many of us want to turn our writing into our career, make sure you’re still writing for yourself. Don’t be afraid to hustle and work hard (something we all have to do as we’re launching our platforms and careers), but make sure you’re filling your creative well and writing for the enjoyment of it. On the flip side, be prepared to put in a lot of hours to get your platform and author website off the ground. Work hard to learn things like SEO and algorithms so that eventually your platforms will do the work for you.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions Meg!
Thanks for having me!