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BRANDING

In addition to her creative writing, Courtney Maum has 20 years of experience working as a brand strategist, namer and copywriter for a vast array of clients. 

Courtney started off in trend forecasting in Paris, France at the heralded “Nelly Rodi” and “Alchimie” agencies, where she proved to have a sixth sense for the needs of her fashion and beauty clients. Accordingly, Courtney struck out on her own to collaborate with fashion, fragrance and cosmetic clients such as Thom Browne, Victoria’s Secret, L’Oréal, Dior, Proctor and Gamble, Lancôme, Sephora, Shu Uemura, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, MAC Cosmetics, and many others. Although she specializes in beauty, Courtney is equally versed in the pharmaceutical, insurance, banking, tech and automotive industries, where her clients include Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft, Aflac, Target, American Express and Bloomberg. For the past ten years, Courtney has consulted regularly for top naming agencies across the country, including Interbrand, Landor, CBX, Bloomberg, Futurebrand and Lippincott. A native English speaker, her fluency in French and beginner-level Italian and Spanish make her particularly adept at naming products and companies that will be released worldwide, and she knows how to navigate the legal hurdles clients face as they enter the trademark phase in their respective industries.

Selected naming hits include: "Mystikol" eye liner for Jane Iredale cosmetics; "Little Shelf" children's reading program for the Book of the Month Club; “Trellis” fertility services; the social media program "Heed" for IMG; the news outlet "Vocativ"; the personal and home fragrance house “Maison d’Etto,” and "Riley Rose", the new cosmetics brand from Forever 21. 

Specialties: Naming, Naming systems, Taglining, Concepting, Pitches, Brainstorms, Positioning statements and manifestos, Voice guidelines, Copywriting, Press Releases, Speeches, Artist statements, Manuscript consultations, Project synopses, Loglines, Agent query letters, French to English translation, Trend forecasting, curation and direction of creative leadership retreats.

Languages: English (native), French (bilingual), Spanish (beginner), Italian (notions)

Because of the confidential nature of the work that Courtney takes on, she does not maintain a portfolio. Work samples can be provided upon request, and selected testimonials are below. You can reach Courtney about a potential naming or copywriting opportunity at cbmaum at gmail dot com.

Testimonials

I have absolutely adored working with Courtney. The consummate professional, she consistently delivers thoughtful, highly creative, fresh, innovative content under extremely tight deadlines with expert results. One of my most reliable writers, she is always up for a challenge, tackling a diverse array of tones and subject matter and spinning out evocative product and shade names time and time again. Her work has a real punch, and I am always thrilled with the high energy and positivity she brings to the table. An extraordinarily hard worker, it's a rare gift to be able to hand off a project to a writer confident I'll receive something brilliant back. I can't recommend Courtney, or the quality of her work, highly enough.  -Amanda Aldinger, former editorial director at MAC Cosmetics

Courtney Maum is an unrivaled partner to anyone who needs a smart, creative solution to a business problem. There is no one I trust more highly to manage a naming project and create delightful and surprising names; write beautiful copy that is still, somehow, strategically sound; and handle the twists and turns of brand projects with total grace. I have worked with Courtney for close to seven years, and she is always the first person who comes to mind when I need a creative writer or namer. – Caitlin Barrett, former director at Interbrand, founder of DoubleBit Narrative

Courtney is one of those very rare writers who understands the ins of culture and who can also communicate it with absolute clarity to a larger audience. She’s a contributor for Interview Magazine, most recently interviewing a conceptual artist for us, and delivered the piece with wit and depth. I wish she’d write for us constantly; she’s professional, lightning-quick, and brilliant.—Christopher Bollen, Editor at Large at Interview Magazine

 Courtney and I have collaborated on several projects involving international clients whose brand story needed to be "translated" to an American audience. As someone who is bi-cultural herself, Courtney really brings a lot of sensitivity and experience to what different cultures appreciate, in addition to her brilliant editorial talent and creativity. She would be a real asset to projects of any scope. – Franca Zanovello, founder of Zanovello Consultants

Courtney stands in a category of her own - her ability to capture the essence of the voice and positioning behind a brand, and articulate in words that perfectly reflect that - and in record time. To call it just copywriting would be an insult. She gets it from a holistic standpoint and is a valuable asset to the process. -Liz Friedland, founder of Liz Friedland Consulting

 

WRITING SERVICES - THE QUERY DOULA

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Writing agent queries doesn’t have to hurt…

While writing is a joy, even the finest writers fall apart when they have to summarize their manuscript in an agent query letter. If writing your project’s summary makes your brain feel like it’s passing gallstones, the Query Doula’s here to help.

It isn’t enough to write a book today—modern authors need to understand how to promote their work and build an appealing brand. Maybe you have no idea how to transition from being your book’s author to its publicist, or you just don’t want to. Maybe you’re so close to your manuscript, you can’t see the forest for the trees. This is all okay! Regardless of the genre you’re writing in and the contacts you have (or don’t have) in the industry, novelist and brand strategist Courtney Maum will help you craft the kind of query letter that wins manuscript requests— and she’ll make sure your first pages are ready for those all-important eyes!

The Query Doula Just-Make-The-Pain-Stop Starter Package includes:

  • 1 thirty-minute phone conversation about your aspirations, background, passions, and future project(s)

  • 1 big-picture e-mail consultation on the first 15 pages of your manuscript up to 2,500 words. (The first pages of a manuscript are crucial—have you given an agent any reason to put your writing down? Let’s fix that, ASAP.)

  • 1 complete overhaul of your agent query letter

  • 1 fifteen-minute concluding phone conversation about your revised query letter

  • Boosted confidence, improved sanity, new reasons to hope

Cost: $500 USD

Can the Query Doula Starter Package guarantee you a book deal? No—but it will give you an entirely new perspective on the value of your work. You’ll learn how to pitch your writing and promote yourself from a marketing standpoint in a way that won’t make you want to upchuck. (Promise.)

The Query Doula is also available for pitches, artist statements and other headache-inducing distillations of your creative work. With twenty years experience in communications, brand strategy, and public relations and four book deals to her name, Courtney knows what she’s doing. Email thequerydoula at gmail dot com to discuss!

QUERY DOULA TESTIMONIALS:

“Working with Courtney was like making a dress and then later having someone reveal to you your own seams—a fascinating process. She's insightful, capable, and a total delight. I'd recommend her to anyone.” - writer, actor and director Bodine Boling in Brooklyn, whose second feature film, BEHAVE, is getting ready to meet the world.

"Courtney was more useful than the actual doula we used to help me deliver twins!" - writer Rebecca Moon Ruark whose historical novel, LOW HEAVEN, is on agent submission now.

“Self-promotion, even for talented writers, is one of the hardest jobs an author faces. For my debut novel, Ever So Silent, I wrote an insipid and lackluster pitch. I knew it when I read it, and, after multiple rewrites, I couldn't seem to make it better. That's when I turned to Courtney. With a fresh eye, she transformed my pitch into something truly special. Now, it entices. Now it has all the seductiveness a novel's pitch needs. Courtney has a special gift for marketing any author would be making a mistake not to use. How's this for her closer? "A bustling thriller with a whip-smart female protagonist, Little’s debut offers moxie and menace on every page." —Christopher Little, writer and photographer, whose first novel is heading to the printer.

"Courtney Maum possesses deep, hard-earned knowledge of how to navigate the publishing industry. She shared this wisdom with our students in a friendly, honest, and insightful manner, offering detailed, personal advice that was also useful to every writer in the room. If you've got a pitch in need of polish, there's no question that Courtney can offer the constructive feedback you're seeking." - Susannah Felts, director of THE PORCH writing center in Nashville, Tennessee

“If you've completed a manuscript, but become paralyzed by the unwieldy next steps, Courtney will catapult you through your haze. Courtney listened to me carefully and earnestly. She analyzed all of my input (and jabbering), foiled against her extensive knowledge of the complex publishing industry. Courtney took my thousands of words and distilled them into a coherent, cohesive, relevant one-page pitch. But, more than that, she helped me make sense of my work, my message and my mission. She gave me concise exercises and next steps, and the confidence I needed to take them. Working with her gave me relief from ambiguity. Dollars spent were worth at least 10 times the amount in peace of mind. Do not hesitate to invest in your work and yourself by hiring Courtney.” -Bree Cox in Kansas, whose young adult sci-fi novel HYBRID is getting dressed up to meet agents for the first time.

FAQS:

Does the Query Doula do full-length manuscript consultations?

No, not at this time.

Can I use Courtney Maum as an endorser of my project when I contact agents?

No.

How many drafts of the query letter are included in the starter package?

One.

Will the Query Doula work with international writers?

Yes. Courtney is fluent in French and speaks beginner Spanish, if that helps.

I need a draft of an agent query letter to start working with Courtney?

Yes. Even if you feel like it’s riddled with flaws, it’s important for Courtney to see how you pitch your own work so that she can identify whether you’ve missed opportunities to share what makes you—and your writing—unique. Writing that first draft and seeing how it can be rendered more “saleable” will teach you how to do the same thing—on your own—for your future pitches.