Tag Archives: publish

Author Rick Brambrink: a Victorian Lover and Publisher

Rick Brambrink started his self-publishing career in 2010 and already has seven books with more on the way.  He has a passion for touring Victorian style homes and meeting with the owners.  Rick is currently the president of the James J. Hill Society and will be holding a presentation at the Princeton Depot on November 13.

Another event coming up is ‘The Titanic’s of the Great Lakes’.  It is about the two passenger ships that James J. Hill had on the great lakes. There will be one model ship on display along with all of the photos and blue prints of the ships.  James built two passenger ships that sailed only on the great lakes, North West and North Land. They were sister ships and they were the largest and fastest ships on the great lakes at the time they were built and many years later.  Please comment if interested in more info on event.

Let’s welcome Rick Brambrink,

Rick Brambrink image

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

Rick:  I decided to publish because I think that it is important to record history. The first book that we published was in architectural style. We wanted to record historic fences and gates of historic mansions. Then we went into coloring books but also kept that on the historic side. Recording history is very important no matter what form it is in.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Rick:  Grand Fences and Gates of the James J. Hill House, Summit Avenue Coloring Book, Cathedral of Saint Paul Coloring Book, Glensheen  the Historic Congdon Estate Coloring Book, Minnesota North Shore Coloring Book, Twin Cities Coloring Book and Summit Avenue Mansions. 

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

Rick:  We do books on locations that have a good customer base. We make sure that before we do a book that they are willing to sell it. I have a good relationship with all of my customers so that they are willing to keep selling them.

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

Rick: I know that having a good website is very useful. But I have did not research publishing books before I got into the business. My business partner already had some background experience with publishing a book, I just had to be the front guy and make things happen. I have not read any books on publishing.

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

Rick:  Getting the word out on a new book.

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

Rick:  Don’t think that all you have to do is publish a book and watch the money roll in, you have to work long and hard at it to get your book to sell. You have to stay in contact with the book stores at all times and make sure they don’t run out of your book. It’s not easy.

 

Check out my previous author interviews and blogs on prelaunch marketing, cover/manuscript setup and working with a printer.  If you are not following, just click the follow button on the right hand side to be emailed when new blogs are posted.   If you would like to be included in the author interview series and get some (free) book exposure – just email me at jill@mirabooksmart.com

As always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions or feedback. If you have a blog topic you want me to cover – send it over.

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

 

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Author Mark Tierno: Turning Tragedy into Triumph

Mark lives in his home town of Monrovia California, the recipient of degrees in Physics and Math, and a lifelong reader of fantasy and SciFi.  The son of loving middle class parents, he spent 25 years of his life caring for them and watching his Dad’s health deteriorate from Parkinson’s Disease.  It was during this time that he discovered his talent for, and love of, writing stories.   The result was joy brought to the Tierno household as well as an epic that spans 13 novels.

“A world beyond time… an adventure beyond imagining.”

Let’s welcome Mark Tierno,

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

Mark:  Well, my old publisher who shall remain nameless (cough_PublishAmerica-cough) simply did not look out, or care for, its authors.  Their idea of marketing was to nickel and dime their own authors instead of trying to sell to the general public.  Since 100% of the work of marketing, selling, and distribution was left up to the authors, then why not publish it myself and get 100% of the profits.  After all it IS my hard work and creativity.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Mark:  “Maldene” is my big fantasy epic, with the first novel out as a two-volume set due to sheer size and my lack of notoriety.  It is a story of epic fantasy that also blends in some Sci-Fi in future novels in the series.  Seeing as how it’s a 13-novel series, I really need to get this first book selling first before I bring out the others.

Mark Tierno cover

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

Mark:  Right now I’ve been looking into Social Media Marketing through Facebook.  It’s the cheapest alternative that I can currently find, doesn’t require a really big marketing firm, and is something I can do while still at home working on my next story.  As far as results, it’s still too early to tell yet.

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

Mark:  Definitely!  LinkedIn is a great treasure trove of contacts just waiting to help you out.  I have seen people on there where I’m thinking, “Hey, I’ve seen the movie this guy wrote!” It’s where I got into contact with a couple of helpful people as well as a group of other authors that I am currently working on a set of stories with.

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

Mark:  Letting the world know that you exist, finding out what to do after putting your own label on your book, and interacting more with the real world.  A lot of us writers aren’t really on great terms with the real world.

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

Mark:  Don’t give up!  Some people may tell you that you only have a one in a million chance of making it as an author, but you have a ZERO chance if you give up.  If writing is your passion, if you start to go through withdrawals if you’ve been away from the keyboard for too long, and if you have some stories that you REALLY need to get out, then just keep on trying.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark lives in his home town of Monrovia California, the recipient of degrees in Physics and Math, and a lifelong reader of fantasy and SciFi.  The son of loving middle class parents, while Mark had a good enough childhood that allowed him to develop both intellectually and creatively, in the middle of High School his father developed Parkinson’s Disease. What followed was 25 years of watching his Dad and the family finances get worse and worse, helping out his mother with his Dad while finishing up his MS in Physics. A lifelong reader of Fantasy and Sci-Fi, when added tragedy, in the form of his grandpa’s old house burning to the ground, struck, the resulting insurance money eased off the collective burden enough to allow Mark to start writing a series of books that he had been developing in his head for the previous 15 years.

The result was some joy brought into the Tierno household to offset the bleak circumstances that an ailing father can bring. Caring for his father up through his death became a full-time job, but even so he was able to pen an amazing series of books that have few- if any- equals. This creative effort became the light in the darkness, bringing back some hope and joy and turning the house back into a home.

His father never lived to see it published, but his mother lived long enough to see it first published and a chapter or two read in a library before a small audience. Now his goal is to see his life’s work bring pleasure to the world outside his own.

In total, Maldene spans 13 novels, 5.2 million words, 250 characters, many worlds and dimensions, thousands of years, and is a unique blend of both Fantasy and Science fiction, coupled with skillful prose and realistic characterizations that put it head and shoulders above everything else out today. You will get lost in a story that will have you wondering if- somewhere out there- the world of Maldene just might exist.  Maldene is the first book in a series that will redefine the word Epic.

 

 

 

 

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Author Mary Young: Retired Kindergarten Teacher self-publishes 3 books.

Through my years in publishing, I have worked with some really great authors.  All of these authors approach self publishing with their own agenda and expertise.   Since the whole point of my blog and book is to look at the reality of self-publishing, I thought it would be nice to do a series of author interviews.  Welcome to ‘Word on the Street’.

My author interviews will consist of 6 questions about them, their book and their experience.  You will get the good, the bad and the ugly.  It is interesting to read the varying responses from each unique author.

Mary Young is a retired Kindergarten and Special Education Teacher. She enjoys volunteering at elementary schools where she can share her stories and encourage children to become writers. She lives with her musician husband Rusty Young of the band POCO and their dog named Zog. Mary finds much of the inspiration for her stories through nature and the surroundings of their log cabin which overlooks a river deep within the Mark Twain National Forest in rural Missouri.

Welcome Mary Young,

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

Mary:  I chose to publish my children’s books mainly because it’s fun! Also, it opens doors for my team of illustrators who share in the profit from book sales. I have another ten stories still waiting to be illustrated and make their way from my computer to printed books and then into the hands of children. Actually, as a retired Kindergarten and Special Education Teacher, my style seems to lend itself to books that entertain the adult reader as well as the children listening to the story. When a child says, “Read it again!”. I think it’s important that the reader enjoys the story too.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Mary:  I recently launched my own self-publishing company this past spring 2013, so to date I only have two books in print. My first title is ‘DREW DROP’ about a water droplet’s adventures through the water cycle. I have since written a sequel titled ‘SARA SNOWFLAKE’. The other book in print is titled   ‘ZOG THE DOG’ – it’s the rescue story of how we found our dog. My third children’s book which is ready for the printer, is titled ‘BIG SHOT’ it’s a bully story, but I used fish instead of kids.

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

Mary:  Currently, I am marketing my books through my own website: www.puckyhuddlebooks.com and my books are also available on my husband’s band website: www.poconut.org . I’m in charge of merchandising for my husband’s band ‘POCO’ and many of his fans are friends and grandparents, so they are my biggest customers so far! In addition, I am hoping to have good results by scheduling readings through school librarians where I will visit schools and donate a book to their library. The students bring home a special bookmark which has the ordering information.

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

Mary:  Before I made the decision to begin my own publishing company, I researched dozens of self-publishing websites. I purchased and read several ‘how to’ books including ‘The Fine Print of Self-Publishing’ by Mark Levine. What I found was — there are many options right at our fingertips. With the internet and social networking, authors like myself can learn to pick up these tools and build our own success with the books we write.

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

Mary:  Definitely, the most challenging issue for me has been preparing files to be PDF ready for printing. The good news is; with the right programs and a little practice, I can learn how to do this myself. However, if formatting files would be a deterrent for aspiring authors, it’s good to know that nearly all printing companies including Mirabooksmart offer this service for a fee.

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

Mary:  The best suggestion I can share with aspiring authors is the same advice I follow, and that is to ‘Write What You Know’. It’s the stories that just flow from your own imagination or life experiences that write themselves. It’s like a new song that just comes to a musician. There’s nothing like the feeling of smiling while all alone in front of your keyboard and whispering to yourself, “This is really good!”

 

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A Misanthropes Interview

If you have been reading my author interviews, then you understand that authors come from all sorts of backgrounds and approach self-publishing in their own way.   This particular author credits himself on being a ‘Misanthrope’.  I like people to read every side and this one happens to be very honest, to the point and kind of mean.  I actually find the honesty refreshing.

Bruce “The Misanthrope” Gary

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

Bruce:  I had no choice; I can’t not write and I think I have something to say.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Bruce:  Exoplanet Observing for Amateurs, First and Second editions, The Making of a Misanthrope, A Misanthrope’s Holiday, Quotes for Misanthropes,  Essays From Another Paradigm

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

Bruce:  Word of mouth. It worked for my astronomy book, but not the others.

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

Bruce:  None.

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

Bruce:  Getting the money to pay for printing.

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

Bruce:  Don’t, unless you can’t not!

FROM THE AUTHOR

Sorry, but I can’t varnish the truth. Life is too short for pretending to be nice.  Your last Q reminds me of something Richard Feynman wrote: “Teaching is a funny proposition. You can’t teach the dumb ones, and the smart ones don’t need to be taught.” I have the same thoughts about advice for would-be writers: Don’t! There are already 1/3 million new books published every year, and the median level of their intelligence is sinking along with everything else in America. The writer with something to say will ignore that advice, and maybe someone with nothing to say will heed it.
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Word on the Street with Josh Frank

Through my years in publishing, I have worked with some really great authors.  All of these authors approach self publishing with their own agenda and expertise.   Since the whole point of my blog and book is to look at the reality of self-publishing, I thought it would be nice to do a series of author interviews.  Welcome to ‘Word on the Street’.

My author interviews will consist of 6 questions about them, their book and their experience.  You will get the good, the bad and the ugly.  Not all real self publishing stories are full of rainbows and butterflies – it can suck sometimes too.

Josh Frank is an author, trainer, and consultant with 20 years in the federal space.  He is a leading authority on small business government sales and speaks nationally on small business acceleration.

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

Frank:  It started as a concept back in 2003. Before I ever considered the value of publishing, I recognized that my success in business had been the result of an academic approach to how I worked with colleagues and clients. Having worked for both Fortune 500 and small business, I found myself studying the techniques and strategies used by other professionals, identifying gaps, improving those strategies, and successfully using them to win new business. For ten years, I captured and developed thousands of techniques and strategies that simplified processes and accelerated the federal sales cycle. Then in 2006, I tailored these processes into what I later called ‘Realignment Solution Methodology’ (RSM), which became the name of my company two years later (RSM Federal).  I knew from talking with other authors that you don’t write a book to make money. In the consulting industry, my peers published in order to brand themselves and to increase their perceived level of credibility. So in 2008 when I decided to start my company, I made sure I had an emergency fund (one year’s living expenses) and I started writing the book. The first three months were focused on planning and organizing my thoughts. Like most industries, there are competent professionals and those not so competent. In the consulting industry, there are equal good stories and horror stories. Every client we’ve had the last several years was hesitant to hire a consultant because they had previously hired a consultant that provided little benefit. As a result, communicating the value of RSM Federal’s services was competing against the memories of past consultants.

 I realized that in order to differentiate myself in the market, I had to successfully communicate that my expertise and the expertise of my company was proven, valuable, and an industry leader. This also required that I communicate a highly ethical approach and that I do not simply work for clients, but actively partner with them. To achieve this vision, the thousands of techniques and strategies were communicated in a way that shifted the consulting paradigm. In effect, my book was designed and published to provide a level of credibility that facilitated instant trust and communicated a high level of thought leadership.  Of course, it always sounds easier than it is. It took a year to write the book while consistently asking the question ‘What value do my clients require and does this technique or strategy provide that value?’ Today, the manual does not simply provide credibility. It serves as the foundation for every client engagement. Why did I decide to publish? I published because it facilitates personal and organizational credibility while simultaneously differentiating the value of RSM Federal’s services.

I had to ask myself one simple question. Am I selling the book to make money or am I selling the book to differentiate and position in the market?  For me, writing the book was about value . . . not revenue. However, value leads to revenue. . .

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Frank:  I have published two works. The first is only known in the US Intelligence Community and within the United States Army; Techniques and Strategies for Virtual Teams, March 2000. I then published the 450 page federal sales guide, The Government Sales Manual in April 2009.

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

Frank:  Marketing any product, let alone a book, is a difficult undertaking. I should point out that The Government Sales Manual is more expensive than your average book. The cost of printing a single manual costs twice as much to print as what it would cost you to buy a book on Amazon. The retail cost of the manual is more than a hundred dollars. As a result, when I first tried selling via Amazon, I found the price too high to compete with the average book. Without knowing who I am or what my company does, why would someone spend seven times what it would cost to buy what appears to be another similar book? I have two graduate degrees including an MBA and no matter how much content I included in the description or how I positioned that content, I realized that I was priced out of Amazon. I also tried Google Ad Words. However, the only way to generate sales required that I pay expensive pay per click rates. For my market and industry, I simply could not sell enough manuals to cover the cost of an extended Google campaign. Some months it paid off but there were more months where it did not.

It took four years to identify the best marketing strategies. As an example, I spoke at the National Veterans Conference this year.  Several hundred business owners attended my sessions. Unlike most authors, I didn’t simply put the book on the table in front of me and refer to it throughout my session. Conference attendees really dislike sessions where the speaker is consistently making a sales pitch. Instead, I took a very strategic approach. I spent two months preparing my sessions – based on a small subset of what is included in the manual.  When speaking at a conference, I don’t actively sell the manual – the credibility and trust that is generated from my session sells the manual. It’s also important to note that how I market the manual at a conference is a multi-tiered and integrated strategy. Similar to business cards, I developed a card with a picture of the manual and a dynamic QR code. I then created a landing page on the company website for this specific conference and session and linked the QR code to this page. The QR code was also integrated into each presentation on the last slide.  Additionally, I required an emotional trigger so in supporting the Veterans Business Resource Center, donated $20 from every sale to helping Veterans.  Additionally, and this runs contrary to today’s best practices, but I do not provide a digital version of the book. To obtain the most value from the book, it needs to be a true desktop reference. When you read the book, the average customer wants to take notes, tag pages, and be able to quickly find those techniques and strategies that will add value to their company. Furthermore, a hard copy becomes a sales tool and we make sales simply because one business owner saw another business owner using the manual. Finally, my web development team spent eight months redesigning our website in 2013. We had professional pictures taken of the book in a conference room overlooking the New York skyline and these pictures were used to develop modern and professional graphics for the website. There are another dozen strategies we employed to facilitate our multi-tiered and integrated marketing strategy but that’s for another time.

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

Frank:  Actually, no. I found my network and colleagues to be the most beneficial. Of course I researched this online. I looked at several hundred websites and purchased several dozen books. They all provided some level of value but none provided as much value as talking with other authors and colleagues.

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

Frank:  My greatest challenge has been the cost of goods sold (COGS). Ordering and printing fifty manuals would cost thousands. That’s several thousand dollars in cash flow sitting on my shelves waiting for orders. So my greatest challenge remains identifying a way to decrease COGS.

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

Frank:  I guess the answer depends on the type of book. I can’t answer this question for non-professional works. But if you’re a business professional looking to differentiate yourself and brand yourself as an expert, self-publishing a book is an excellent project. But before you go down this road, get feedback from your colleagues. Not your family. Not your spouse. Not your friends. Ask your colleagues if what you plan on writing is needed by the market? Are you truly qualified to write about your subject? Do you have at least half a dozen clients or past clients who will write a testimonial saying you are one of the best in your industry? This is why you want to bounce your ideas off your colleagues. And when you’re ready to start writing and you plan on six months to complete it – it’ll take twice as long! At the end of the day, the book is just a tool.

 

AUTHOR INFO

Author, trainer, and consultant with 20 years in the federal space, Josh Frank is a leading authority on small business government sales and speaks nationally on small business acceleration.  Mr. Frank specializes in the development and implementation of techniques and strategies for sales, marketing, and teaming activities. These techniques and strategies facilitate improved positioning, competitive advantage, and sales cycle acceleration to win new contracts and increase revenue. His seminars are consistently rated as being real-world, highly educational, and thought provoking.

Principal of RSM Federal (www.rsmfederal.com), Mr. Frank is author of The Government Sales Manual, one of the most comprehensive and educational resources on the market for small business government sales.  Since 2003, the manual has helped small businesses win more than 180 government contracts with more than two dozen contract wins in 2013.

Mr. Frank also serves on the Board of Directors for the St. Louis Veterans Business Resource Center (VBRC).  In this role, Mr. Frank provides oversight, mentorship, and recommends operational strategy in support of the Center.

An avid outdoor enthusiast and Boy Scout leader, Joshua lives in St. Louis, Missouri with his wife and daughter. A former Military Intelligence Officer, he is a graduate of the University of Missouri with a degree in English and post-graduate degrees in Management Information Systems (MIS) and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the Webster University Walker School of Business.

For more information on Josh and the RSM Federal, please visit http://www.rsmfederal.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Word on the Street with Cory Harris

Through my years in publishing, I have worked with some really great authors. All of these authors approach self publishing with their own agenda and expertise. Since the whole point of my blog and book is to look at the reality of self-publishing, I thought it would be nice to do a series of author interviews. Welcome to ‘Word on the Street’.

My author interviews will consist of 6 questions about them, their book and their experience. You will get the good, the bad and the ugly. Not all real self publishing stories are full of rainbows and butterflies – it can suck sometimes too.

Tell us about it, Cory Harris:

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

Cory: To help parents protect their children, its always been a goal of mine.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Cory: Zipper LE Series One: Outlook on Leadership and Liability in the Criminal Justice System and The Child/Adult Safety Bible.

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

Cory: The internet is how I market and has yielded the best results so far.

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

Cory: Amazon is usually pretty useful in searching for books I have found.

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

Cory: Marketing is very difficult and expensive.

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

Cory: Take your time and give the reader your best output.

AUTHOR INFO
Cory B. Harris was born in Camden, Arkansas, and has over eighteen years of combined military and law-enforcement experience. He has served with the United States Air Force, Little Rock Police Department, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the United States Marshals Service. He has training and experience in field training, crime prevention, criminal and fugitive investigation and apprehension, operations, firearms instruction, threat investigations, and judicial and dignitary protection, just to name a few areas. He is also a recipient of the Medal of Merit (LRPD) and has a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and a Doctorate Degree (DBA) in Business with an emphasis in Healthcare Management.

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Word on the Street with G.P.A.

Through my years in publishing, I have worked with some really great authors.  All of these authors approach self publishing with their own agenda and expertise.   Since the whole point of my blog and book is to look at the reality of self-publishing, I thought it would be nice to do a series of author interviews.  Welcome to ‘Word on the Street’.

My author interviews will consist of 6 questions about them, their book and their experience.  You will get the good, the bad and the ugly.  Not all real self publishing stories are full of rainbows and butterflies – it can suck sometimes too.

Tell us about it, Greatest Poet Alive (G.A.P.):

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

G.P.A.:  I had written enough poems for other people that I felt it was time to put them all together.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

G.P.A.:  The Confessional Heart of a Man, The Book of 24 Orgasms, The Mind of a Poetic Unsub, and Revenge of the Orgasm. Plus, I have appeared in many anthologies.

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

G.P.A.:  I am a guerrilla marketer. Whatever methods will help spotlight my books, I use them.  Similarly, it is great to perform Poetry where it is. But the outstanding thing is to perform Poetry where it might not be.  And that is same with my books.

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

G.P.A.:  Facebook is a wonderful tool if used correctly. Otherwise, I just surf for opportunities.

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

G.P.A.:  The greatest challenge in self publishing has been doing it as an author of Poetry. I say this because some regard Poetry as a “dead art”. Also, with the advent and movement of spoken word, the written art is looked over, unless you provide some sizzle to it. This may come with the personality of the individual Poet, title and/or cover of the book, or material that invites attention.

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

G.P.A.:  Write the way you want to and do what makes you feel good. If it touches many people and makes money, it is even better.

AUTHOR INFO

G.P.A hails from the south side of Chicago, IL. He has written four books of Poetry, participated in several anthologies, released one cd G.P.A. Experience, and has another on the way, GPApocalypse Forever.   G.P.A. has recently added acting to his repertoire of talents with stints in independent films “Persian Version” and “Animals” and tv shows “Chicago Fire” and “Crisis”.  Also, he won the Moth Storytelling Championship on two occasions, won all medals in the Poetry Pentathlon, and was a semifinalist in the Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Awards.

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