The Power of Prayer: Sonja Crockett

Sonja Michelle Crockett was born and raised in Chicago, IL. She attended the Academy of Performing Arts in Chicago, IL majoring in Theatre, and Dwight D. Eisenhower High School in Blue Island, IL. She interned at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. She earned a Bachelor’s in Speech and a Master’s in English from Chicago State University.

Sonja Crockett

RARA: Why did you decide to publish?

Sonja:  I decided to self-publish, because I was dealing with serious health issues, educated, and unable to work. Prior to becoming seriously ill, I wanted to write a children’s book after I lost my baby in 2003. I set the idea of writing a book to the side to fulfill other obligations, such as work and maintaining my household.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Sonja: Christianna, From Test to Testimony: My Memoir, Meriah Goes to Church

Meriah Goes to ChurchChristianna Test to Testimony

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Sonja: s Network (CBAN), book signings at various events, libraries, radio and internet interviews, and Facebook (www.facebook.com/sonjamcrockett.author).  I also have bookmarks I give away for all three of my books.

Additionally, my books may be purchased through many websites, including  www.amazon.com, and www.barnesandnoble.com.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Sonja: I have found google to be the most useful.  There is a lot of information out there and it is important to educate yourself on the process of publishing.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Sonja: My greatest challenge in self-publishing was in the beginning when I was in the learning process and was looking for the right company to print copies of my first book entitled, Christianna. I discovered Mira Digital Publishing and they printed the first copies of my first book.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Sonja: The best advice I can give a new and aspiring author is do not give up on your dream of becoming an author. “Nothing beats a failure, but a try.” Do your research and ask the appropriate people, such as other authors questions. Join a group for authors, such as the Chicago Black Author’s Network (CBAN). Last, but not least, keep writing.

Thank you for taking the time and reading about one of my favorite authors, Sonja Crockett.

Crockett’s résumé includes being a full-time provisional teacher, associate editor, freelance writer, and case manager to name a few. She was also a volunteer for Chicago Commons AmeriCorps.

In February 2006, Crockett became paralyzed. Refusing to be confined to a wheelchair, she returned to walking three and a half months later.

In December 2006, Crockett became paralyzed again. This time, her speech and vision were impaired.

Crockett was diagnosed with a rare disease called Neuro Myelitis Optica (NMO), an auto immune disease likened to Multiple Sclerosis.

She credits GOD for allowing her to walk and talk again. She is still waiting for the full manifestation of her healing.

Her testimony is so that GOD may be glorified, that man may be exhorted and come to CHRIST, and to let people know that GOD still heals.

Meriah Goes to Church is Crockett’s third book. Her first book is a children’s book entitled, Christianna ©2010 and her second book is an adult, non-fiction book entitled, From Test to Testimony: My Memoir ©2011.

Currently, she lives in a south suburb of Chicago.

To read about more self-publishing authors, please check out my previous blogs.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Marketing, Book Media, Book Printing, Self Publishing Author

Reflections of Liberty: a Memoir by Barbara Post-Askin

Barbara Post-Askin was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She married the love of her life, David Askin, and their lasting love brought them three beautiful children, to carry on their legacy. After the birth of their children, Marc, Shelley and Lawrence, Barbara became an accomplished estate planner in the state of New York. She currently resides in Tampa, Florida.

Website: www.facebook.com/BarbaraPostAskin

author

RARA: Why did you decide to publish your book?

Barbara: I wanted to showcase the brave and resilient America our relatives immigrated and assimilated into. Their sacrifices and accomplishments became part of the dreams that served as a magnet for freedom seekers throughout the world. 

I recently retired at age of 82 years young and I have always wanted to write this book. While I still have my wits, my hope is that my story of growing up during the depression and World War II only one generation ago, will never be forgotten! 

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Barbara: This is the only self-published book I have written so far, “Reflections of Liberty” memoir by Barbara Post-Askin.

Reflections Cover

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book?

Barbara: I have just started a Social Media campaign by partnering with Bluehost, Social Media Guys for my Facebook and Twitter. My EBook distribution is through Book Baby and my outlets are in Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Apple iBook, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker & Taylor, ESentral, Scrbd, Page Pusher

Print platform is with Mira digital Publishing.  I will be on many social bookmark sites to cross promote Reflections of Liberty. In addition, PR Web will be useful for my media distribution.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Barbara: The most useful, was my education and life experiences in the course of my 82 years.

The internet allowed me to verify my sources and provide me with a great sense of…. I’m not so old after all! This confirmed that my memory IS a computer chip!

The world of tech has offered an outreach like no other. This IS the only thing I like in the tech world! Where one voice can make a difference –just in the click of a button! Most useful: Facebook, Twitter and most social media platforms.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self-publishing?

Barbara: Not knowing the industry and how much it has changed, was my greatest challenge. Because the author doesn’t have to sign up with a big publishing company to self- publish, a whole new world opens up for the reader and the writer. The ability to share your voice couldn’t be easier, but its also harder because you have to stand out from others and the content must drive the audiences desire to listen.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Never say: “I wish I could’a, should‘a would’a”…. just do It!!!

 

Thank you for taking the time to read about one of our new authors.  If you would like to be included in our author interview series, please email me at jill@mirabooksmart.com

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Marketing, Book Media, Book Printing, Self Publishing Author

A Young Inspirational Writer: Vincent Wolf

Following his previous inspirational children’s book, Do Your Best and Forget the Rest, Vincent Wolf has created The Boy with Hearts for Hair. His work is largely inspired by his love for comic books and his appreciation for philosophy. Wolf is a rising motivational artist who enjoys practicing Tai Chi and traveling. He is available for speaking engagements, book exhibitions and other opportunities. To find out what Wolf is up to now, visit www.llagetsdrawings.com.

Vincent Wolf image

RARA: Why did you decide to publish?

Vincent: I decided to publish because I wanted to help inspire children’s creativity.  I’ve always loved drawing and art growing up.  Now that I’m a little bit older, I have tons of stories I want to share via my artwork and imagination.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Vincent: Two motivational children’s books: Do Your Best and Forget the Rest (2012) and The Boy with Hearts for Hair (2013).

Vincent Wolf Cover 1Vincent Wolf Cover 2

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Vincent: To be honest, I’m still working on marketing strategies.  I attend different events in Georgia and draw caricatures as a professional artist so I’m able to put my books on display and sell a few copies at each event.  School events and book festivals have given me the best results.  I’m currently in the process of throwing a book launch and I’m looking at different news outlets to get the word out.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Vincent: Yeah.  I use to read a bunch of different blogs and websites, but when it came to being practical and useful, I relied on a certain interesting blogger/author.  His name is Chris Guillebeau and his book is called The $100 Start Up.  It’s primarily focused on business in general but there’s a lot great information an independent author can take away from it.  His website is: www.chrisguillebeau.com

(And I’m assuming you already know my other resource if you’re reading this on www.realanswersrealauthors.com)

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Vincent: Marketing and getting myself out there – hands down.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Vincent: For aspiring authors: WRITE THE BOOK!  I meet an aspiring author at every event I go to and they all have had a “book” in their head for some time.  The thing is that, it’s not really a book until it is out of your head.  Just write the book.  Again, just write the book.  After that, Jill got you covered.😉

For new authors: Congratulations, on your new book!  Now let people know about it and try to have fun with the marketing side of things.  I find that having fun with it all makes it a lot easier.  I wish you all the best! 

Thank you for taking the time and reading about one of my favorite authors, Vincent Wolf.   You can contact Vincent through his site, Facebook and Twitter.

Website: http://llagetsdrawings.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/llagetsdrawings

Twitter: @LlagetsDrawings

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Book Marketing, Book Media, Book Printing, Self Publishing Author

Win Charles: Author uses Art to cope with Cerebral Palsy

My name is Win Charles. In 1987 I was born in Aspen, CO where I continue to live. I am a self-taught artist and became interested in doing artwork as a way to cope with having cerebral palsy. My inspiration for my artwork is life in general as well as roses, orchids and the flora and fauna of the Bahamas.

At age 24 I decided to tell my story. Writing this autobiography gave me the opportunity to pay tribute to my family members who are passionate about life and have instilled this passion in me. My parents’ extraordinary support, encouragment, and pure love were my foundation as I navigated life, overcame obstacles, and achieved successes as a young woman with cerebral palsy. I have to pay full tribute to my mother, who died in August 2010. From her I learned to listen to my own voice as a guide to making life choices. She taught me to always expect the best from myself.

My hope is that this book will provide insight into the extraordinary
possibilities that those who live with disabilities have. I also hope that
those without disabilities– rather than putting a focus on our differences –
will come to understand what we all have in common. This book is for my mom, with love.

Win Charles photo

Win: I did my first book after losing my mom but the concept of that book came to me at age 18.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Win: ‘I, Win. The View From my Heels’ coming out in April.

Win Charles cover

RARA:  How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Win: Facebook and Google plus Twitter all social media Facebook has really helped me.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Win: Joanna Penn website the CreativePenn.com

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Win: My greatest challenge wasn’t actually self-publishing my but it was writing a full manuscript due to my disability. I had to use Apple’s silly speech dictation to write.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Win: Interact with your fans every day

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Book Marketing, Book Media, Book Printing, Self Publishing Author

A Story of Midnight Madness

Dr. Nancy Nichols has worked in education for over thirty years. She is experienced in teaching preschool through high school and college. She has also served as a juvenile facility administrator and director of therapy.

Dr. Nichols has authored original research related to reading, confidentiality in schools, academic underachievement, and bilingual issues. She holds multiple lifelong certifications in education, administration, and the helping professions. Dr. Nichols is a highly qualified and motivated counselor and educator, and a gadfly for educational causes.

Dr. Nichols has authored many educational resource materials, including the Elements Curriculum, a high school curriculum for seriously at-risk students who are reading at a second grade level. She is also the author of over 60 educational quick-reference “wheels,” including the RTI Modifications and Accommodations Wheel, the Intervention Strategies Wheel, and the Learning Styles/Multisensory Wheel.

When not working with children in the classroom or presenting educational seminars throughout the U.S., Nancy can be found tending her farm in East Texas and enjoying the fruits of her labors. Along with being the mother of seven and grandmother of nine, she enjoys spending time with her greatest supporter, her husband Michael Nichols.

Learning is a lifetime adventure! Dr. Nancy Nichols

nancy_photo_for_rti_bk_USE_ME_(Medium)

RARA: Why did you decide to publish?

Nancy: This is a story of midnight madness!

It was a dark and lonely night . . . in the wee hours one winter morning I found myself writing recommendations for a teacher to use with her struggling student. This was the umpteenth time I had written modifications over the years. Suddenly, I went berserk! I found myself climbing in the kitchen cupboards searching for a 10″ plate, and then typing like a maniac. Just before dawn, I woke my husband with, “Mike, oh Mike, are you awake??? I need help!” With Mike’s ingenuity, we had a finished prototype by noon. The Modifications Wheel is a simple tool, a spinning wheel (hence the need for the plate) with hundreds of strategies that address challenging behaviors and academic hiccups.

We showed the Mod Wheel to a group of educators, and they literally jumped out of their chairs to grab the wheel! No more thick books to read to figure out what to do with a problem situation. Here was success at their fingertips!

Within a year, the Mod Wheel and its companion, the Intervention Wheel, generated more than $1.5 million in sales. That was quite a beginning, right?

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Nancy:

  • The Elements Curriculum, which is high school curriculum written at a grade 2—4 level. That’s 13 books + practice books, tests, and projects for each subject.
  • The EduREALM Math and EduREALM Reading Language Arts books, which are for grades K—8. That’s 16 books + the tests. These are now on Interactive CDs too.
  • RESPONSE TO INTERVENTION: WHAT ABOUT BEHAVIOR?  A Teacher’s Guide is an easy-to-read book for teachers and parents. It explains how behavior affects success in school, how to address challenges, and the formal intervention process.

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Nancy: Firelight Books markets all of my books. Firelight Books has sales representatives in almost every state. Catalog drops, website and email blasts, and conference exposure are marketing strategies.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Nancy: Not really.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Nancy: Proofing, proofing, proofing.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Nancy:

  • Expect the proofing process to take 10 times longer than the composition.
  • Expect the overall cost to be more than expected!
  • Take time to pat yourself on the back when the book is completed. It’s an accomplishment to be proud of!

Thanks for taking a break and reading about one of our authors.  If you would like to be included in the series, please contact me at jill@mirabooksmart.com.

And in case I don’t see ya… good afternoon, good evening and good night.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Marketing, Book Media, Self Publishing Author

Interview with Library Buyer

I had the opportunity to participate in an author event in my hometown of Effingham, IL.  I thought this was a great time to do an interview with the buyer and get some feedback for my authors.  I hope this is helpful for anyone looking to get into the library system.

Q: I understand that there are different size library systems.    How do you adjust your approach for each one?

A: Since my experience within libraries has been with small and medium sized libraries, I will respond from that perspective.  Most of the buyers within these libraries are easy to locate and chat with.  A phone call and brief introduction (always respectful of the librarian’s time) may seem like a long shot, but when followed by an email linked to a way to purchase the book most people will take the time to at least check out the item.

Q: What is the best way to approach a library: personal contact, email,  letter, sample book in mail?

A: Personally, I’ve never turned away an author.  I have had some that were much too pushy, and I’ve made it a point not to purchase their titles.  I appreciate when an author takes the time to stop at the library and show me a copy of his/her work.  Email is welcome, but without a phone call or letter – I usually don’t follow up.  There simply isn’t enough time in my day.  I don’t know that I would invest in sending a sample book in the mail.  The expense of mailing would deplete any profits.

Q: What do libraries look for in a book before they accept into their system?

A: For our library, I look for books that reflect our community’s interests.   I also look for books that have been vetted by someone – whether it is a professional journal like Library Journal or Publishers Weekly or another author.  I also read reviews posted by readers at Amazon.com and GoodReads.

Q: Is there a more efficient way to have a larger reach in the system or is it best to approach one library at a time?  Authors might consider contacting Illinois Library Association or ILA to ask about being one of the Illinois Authors featured at the ILA conference.  There are also two library systems within Illinois.  SHARE and RAILS – both of these systems have annual conferences for their members and with the right connections and planning, an author might be able to be part of these events too.

Q: Is it best to donate to a library or is it okay to expect them to purchase a copy?

A: Personally, I like to purchase copies from authors, but I understand that some authors really want their work to be “in” a particular library – and there is the argument that unless a book is in the library, people won’t find it.  So I would be comfortable with either option.

Q: Do libraries always welcome book signings or not so much?

A: Our library welcomes book signings, but we sometimes struggle to get a good turnout for the author, and that can make for an uncomfortable feeling.  I really appreciate it when the author does as much as he/she can to help promote the event, too.  Using social media as well as putting out your own press release can go a long way in making sure people know the event is happening.  I always ask authors if they are comfortable presenting or teaching others to write or publish.  Not everyone is comfortable in this role, but being able to offer this additional program to the library may help sell your book signing.

Q: With the amount of books published each year, libraries have to be choosy.  I understand that a review from a journal would help get in the door.  What journals do libraries typically read and rate as a good source?

A: Library Journal, Publisher Weekly are both the gold standard.  Other resources that are good include:  GoodReads, Amazon.com, People Magazine

Q: How do libraries view self-published books vs books that are traditionally published?

A: With the tremendous variety of publishers and platforms available to authors, I know librarians are looking at all formats.  Self published books can raise “red flags”, but when the title is relevant to your community’s interests and well-edited, it can be a welcome addition to your collection.

Helen Matthes Library

http://www.effinghamlibrary.org/

Thanks for taking the time to read my interview with Johnna Schultz with the Helen Matthes Library.  Please follow my blog to receive more information on self-publishing and author interviews.

5 Comments

Filed under Book Marketing, Book Media, Book Printing, Self Publishing Author

Children Are Precious – Angel Violet to the Rescue

I am pleased to introduce Bonnie Snyder to our group of authors.  Bonnie has a background in counseling and coaching. Currently she is a life coach who, through her business, Diamond Pathways, helps people develop the tools to create a more balanced lifestyle. She often works with women striving to manage family, work and personal issues. In her book, Angel Violet’s Magic Wings, Bonnie has created a safe place where children and their caregivers can identify the patterns and beliefs that keep them stuck in unhappy, unhealthy situations; tap into their self-healing abilities; and move forward. Bonnie is based in Tampa, Florida.

With the New year upon us, this is the perfect time to create the space and energy for your heart’s desires. Step into “dreaming your dreams and bridging the gap” to live your dreams by drawing on your heart and Soul’s guidance: Trusting Your Dreams into Reality (telegathering) 

Contact Bonnie Snyder at www.AngelVioletsMagicWings.com.

Her book is available on Amazon: Tinyurl.com/AmazonAngelViolet

Bonnie Snyder

Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Bonnie: I believe our Children Are Our Legacy for a Different and Better Planet. I had a deep desire to use my gifts in a way that allowed parents and children to cope in an often stressful and scary world.  I created a children’s book and parent guide to support both children and parents in being able to communicate their feelings while respecting others and yet preserving their own “sparkles” (gifts and strengths) in the process.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Bonnie: This is the first book I have written as a solo author and my first children’s book. I am a contributing author in an anthology titled Live Every Day Motivated, Successful and Happy.

Bonnie Snyder Cover

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Bonnie: I am just beginning to market but the best results have come from using social media and my network. I reached out to everyone I know telling them about the book while it was in development and now since it has been published. I had “tester” families read the book and give me feedback. These were not all people I knew, so the families became ambassadors for the book.  Those families have shared the book with the schools their children attend thus expanding my circle of influence.  I am also connecting with blogs and organizations that are my target audience asking them to review the book or if I can be a guest author on a blog.  I have set up a small advisory board of my target market parents on a private Facebook group.  These women make suggestions of sites and organizations that they believe would be interested in the book. This is a win/win as the resources are also beneficial to them.  I talk to everyone about my book because you never know who may be interested or could connect me to group that might find my book beneficial.  Interest may be sparked when I least expect it.  I am connecting with other authors of children’s books and we are sharing and promoting the others’ books, as well.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Bonnie:  Yes, one of the most helpful books is Real Authors, Real Answers by Jill Mettendorf because the authors have tried the strategies they share.  I also like BookBaby.com, MIRA Digital Publishing, and Ebookhttp://ebookarchitects.com.  I found everyone to be very helpful at these three sites.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Bonnie: The digital part was the most challenging because the book is a fully illustrated color children’s book.  I wish I had known previously the process of what happens to the images when converted to digital and the nuances required for the different digital readers.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Bonnie:  It is important to understand the digital formats if you are publishing in that realm. Children’s books or books with a lot of illustrations are going to look different on each reader.  I found the best way for my digital products to show up the way they were designed was using ebooksarchitects.com so they could individualize the book to fit the Kindle and MOBI files as well as do a fixed layout for iBook. Trust your heart that what you are doing is important if you love doing it then share it.

Thanks for taking a break and reading about one of our authors.  If you would like to be included in the series, please contact me at jill@mirabooksmart.com.

Some of my next blogs will be about getting your book into the library system and marketing your book through Amazon.  Click the follow button to be notified as soon as these are posted.

And in case I don’t see ya… good afternoon, good evening and good night.

1 Comment

Filed under Book Marketing, Book Media, Book Printing, Self Publishing Author