Overcoming fear–Guest Cheryl Yeko, Author & Acquiring Editor

Cheryl is a wonderful inspiration with a great sense of humor. I’m thrilled to have her as my guest today. Please welcome her to Magical Musings!

Hi, Mary. Thank you for inviting me to visit with you at Magical Musings. I thought it’d be fun to talk about my editor experiences with Soul Mate Publishing, and how it led me to join Toastmasters to overcome my fear of public speaking.

pic0I signed my debut novel with Soul Mate, Protecting Rose, in 2011 and it went on to win the 2012 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence in Romantic Suspense.

Shortly after, Debby Gilbert, Senior Editor and founding member of Soul Mate, approached me and asked me to come onboard as an editor, which I agreed to. I started out as a copyeditor, but moved quickly to an acquiring editor.

Today, I’m a senior acquiring editor, and still occasionally take on a copyedit here and there, depending on my workload. I also have my hands in the administration side of Soul Mate, including Newsletter creation and Cover Art Coordinator. It all keeps me very busy!

I love what I do!

pic1As an acquiring editor, I have attended conferences and taken pitches. Although I was at first very nervous, it became easier and I signed some really good authors from these pitch sessions. Here’s a photo of me at my first editor panel. I was so not prepared for this, and had no idea I was even on the editor panel until I walked into the room. Let’s just say I was scared shitless. But everyone told me I did okay. LOL. I’m taking them at their word.  {Mary says: She did great!}

I also routinely conduct pitch sessions on blogs and at Savvy Authors online pitching. Recently, Debby asked me and Senior Editor Char Chaffin to attend RT, to not only take pitches, but also hold a Soul Mate Spotlight. I decided it was time to perfect my public speaking skills (or lack thereof) and overcome my stage fright. So, I joined up. My first six months I just sorta sat there, too nervous to do any speeches. But I was learning nevertheless just listening to the wonderful speakers.

I felt totally out of my element in this setting with these highly trained business professionals who were looking to become more proficient in their careers. Before I quit my job to write and work full time with Soul Mate Publishing, I was a legal assistant. A great job, yes, but it required no public speaking. So, this was quite a change for me.

After a good, long while, my fellow members began to gently nudge me to step forward and take a chance. Although I’d completed some member rolls, such as vote counter or word master, small things that didn’t require me to stand in front of the group and talk, I hadn’t done any speaking per se. Unless you counted Table Topics. That’s where they ask you to stand, giving you a question you’re supposed to answer in a story format, lasting between 2-3 minutes. Well, let’s just say I did not excel in this role. LOL. I hated it, and was always nervous.

I continued to attend the meetings, determined to succeed. I even managed to walk away with the best Table Topics ribbon once. But, of course, the question was, “You’ve been given an award. Roleplay your acceptance speech for this award.”

This was easy. I just pretended I’d won the RITA. It was great!

After about eight months of sitting on the sidelines, learning, I finally gave my Ice Breaker Speech and walked away with my first Best Speaker Ribbon. I was super thrilled. It took a while before I worked up the courage to do another speech. But right before I went to the Romantic Times convention, I practiced the Soul Mate Spotlight presentation on them, with PowerPoint visuals, and it went very well. I received a lot of great feedback that helped me perfect the presentation for RT.

Then, just last month, I gave two more speeches, and again walked away with a Best Speaker Ribbon on one of them. Seems everyone loved my speech on Sentence Structure and Punctuation. Who knew English grammar could be so entertaining!

I’m feeling more comfortable now, and have actually begun to look forward to attending the meetings, instead of dreading it. Now it’s just a matter of finding the time to prepare the speeches. Oh, yeah, I forgot. Since I’m a writer they asked me to write the introduction for their website, and somehow that escalated, and now I’m Vice President of Public Relations for my club. They recently approached me and asked if I was interested in considering this position on a national level…I’m thinking about it.

So, I’ve gone from knee-knocking afraid of public speaking, to taking Best Speaker awards, and holding a leadership role with the club. How’d that happen? Crazy! But, I’m having fun…and isn’t that what life is really about.

pic2When I’m not working for Soul Mate, I’m writing. I have two new releases coming up. A steamy short story, Christmas Eve Surprise, is due for release in November, along with seven other stories from outstanding Soul Mate authors titled, Sizzle In The Snow.

I created a fun little book trailer for this anthology and would love to share it with you.

pic3I just completed my ninth novel, Between Midnight and Dawn, and it’s due for release in early 2016. So look for it! 

Where Love Always Wins: http://www.cherylyeko.com/
Soul Mate Publishing
About Me
My Book Trailer Playlist
My Audible Playlist

About Mary Hughes

Who am I? A lover of stories that crackle with action and love. A mother, a flutist, a binge-TV-watcher of NCIS, Sherlock, and Agents of SHIELD. Most of all, a believer in grand passion. Mary's online and would love to hear from you! Website http://www.maryhughesbooks.com/ Blog http://maryhughesbooks.blogspot.com/ Group Blog http://www.lustwithalaugh.com/ Group Blog http://magicalmusings.com/ Facebook http://www.facebook.com/MaryHughesAuthor Twitter http://www.twitter.com/MaryHughesBooks Newsletter signup http://www.maryhughesbooks.com/index.html#MHNewsletter
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5 Responses to Overcoming fear–Guest Cheryl Yeko, Author & Acquiring Editor

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Cheryl, congrats on overcoming your fear of speaking in public! And for going from author to acquiring editor – and still find time to write your own books. And you even make trailers! I looked at your Christmas trailer, and it’s fun and Christmassy. (Not sure how to spell that.) You have to be very talented and versatile to do so much.

  2. Cheryl Yeko says:

    Thank you for the invitation to visit Magical Musings. :mrgreen:

    Cheryl Yeko`s last blog was …SIZZLE IN THE SNOW – Countdown

  3. Mary Hughes says:

    Cheryl, thanks so much for being here today! I love reading about your journey. I have stage fright and manage to perform anyway by practicing my parts until my fingers bleed. But speaking off the cuff just terrifies me. What you’ve done is inspirational!

Comments are closed.