Sunday, January 22, 2006
FEATURED AUTHOR -Tamika Johnson
SORMAG: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.
Tamika Johnson: Well…let’s see. I am a professional speaker specializing in the areas of bullying, dating violence, domestic violence, and discovering one’s personal best. I am the founder and CEO of Leading Lady Enterprises which is an umbrella organization to four different sub-divisions: Leading Lady Publications, Miss Christian United States Pageants, Forever A Conqueror Productions, and Worship Café (coming 2006).
Most important, I am a mother of one special little girl named Andraya (means Courageous), who was my motivation for getting out of a very unhealthy marriage and work on my self-esteem issues. It is because of her that decided to really look deep within myself and attack the issues that kept leading me to destructive relationship.
I am also very excited to be engaged to an incredible man who is supportive and loves me just because I breathe. Isn’t that what we all dream for ladies?
Tamika, the writer, is someone who has always been an avid reader! I love Romance! Beverly Jenkins is one of my all time favorite authors; I have all of the books she has ever written.
SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?
JOHNSON: “He Loves Me Not, but I Love Myself!” is a young woman’s guide to understanding and conquering dating violence. At the age of fourteen I found myself in an abusive dating relationship. A relationship packed with verbal, emotional, sexual, and physical abuse. Yes…I was only 14! I am from a good home and background as both of my parents are preachers, but I still found myself in this destructive relationship.
Each chapter specifically targets an area of dating violence: verbal and emotional abuse; sexual abuse, and physical abuse. Each chapter begins with my own personal story and then gives factual information on how to deal with a certain aspect of abuse. The book also includes a Parent’s Discussion Guide at the beginning of the book, as well as space for reflection after each chapter. There is also a relationship inventory, dating bill of rights, and listing for all of the domestic violence coalitions in the country.
“He Loves Me Not, But I Love Myself!” is written for the young woman 13 and older who feels that there is something in her relationship that just isn’t right; this book is for the parent who wants to be proactive and talk to her daughter or other loved one in her life about dating violence. This book is for someone who has a friend in an unhealthy relationship and you want to know how to talk to her. This book is for the church group or school book club who wants to shed some light on this growing issue. This book is for ANY woman who may be in an abusive relationship.
SORMAG: What would you like your readers to take away from your book?
JOHNSON: Statistics tell us that for every three teenagers you know, one of them with be a victim of dating violence before they get out of high school!!! It’s a lot to swallow, I know, but the great thing is that statistics are always changing. I pray that parents and other concerned adults will be inspired to converse with the loved ones in their lives; that the young women who read this book with say “HE doesn’t have to love me, because I love myself!”
Once we open up the lines of communication and send the message that “Love Shouldn’t Leave Bruises!” statistics will change for the better!
SORMAG: What do you do to make time for yourself?
JOHNSON: I escape through good books! After I put my daughter down to bed, I try to give myself a good hour of quiet reading. I am also a performer, having worked professionally as an actress, dancer, and choreographer, I love to put on some good gospel music and dance before the Lord.
SORMAG: Do you do anything to promote family literacy?
JOHNSON: Absolutely!!! Literacy is so important. I created a program called “Spotlight: Learning on Center Stage!” which is a Performing Arts based program designed to promote reading and interpersonal communication skills among elementary school age children.
SORMAG: How did it feel to hold your first book?
JOHNSON: The first thing I did was drive over to my mother’s place of employment to show her. Don’t we always call mama first? The moment was surreal. I would compare it to holding my daughter for the first time, I’d spent nearly nine months cultivating this incredible project and when it was finally in my hands….it was just beautiful. My publishers, Neshee Publication did an amazing job with the cover.
SORMAG: What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
JOHNSON: I love getting lost in the story. I have just completed my first Christian Romance Novel entitled, “Meet Me At the Altar,” which will be available in September 2006, and I couldn’t wait to get to my computer each night and get lost in the lives of my characters! I view my stories like a movie, I can hear the character voices, see their facial expressions…it’s great!
What I hate most, is the editing process. It can be so tedious reading and re-reading one’s work to make sure the grammar is correct and that the storyline flows. Oh my…it be so painful!!!
SORMAG: What’s something you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?
JOHNSON: Oddly enough, I would say take your time and create a marketing plan. I was so excited to have my first book published, and after it was in my hands I realized that I had not done much to promote the book. No one knew about it! Creating the marketing plan has so many benefits as it makes you think about who are going to sell your book to, how you are going to inform them of this, and your budget. Here are some good books to add to your personal library:
Bestselling author Mary Morrison has written a very comprehensive and FREE self-publishing guide on her website: www.marymorrison.com. It is a good starting point.
Kimberley Brooks, Author of “He’s Fine…but Is He Saved?” also has a self-publishing article on her website: www.kimontheweb.com.
How to Self-Publish and Market your Own Book by African American Authors Mack and Sara Freeman: http://www.sarafreemansmith.com/books.html
Christian Writers Market Guide, by Sally E Stuart
Publicize Your Book, by Jacqueline Deval (Dedicates a whole chapter to creating a marketing plan)
Also, make sure you file for a Library of Congress Number. It’s free and must be done before your book is published. If you think libraries would be interested in your book, you have to have one of these numbers!!
Distributors are another thing I would tell self-published authors about. If you want to get your book into major bookstore chains, libraries, etc. You will want to get a distributor(s) to help you do this. Some distributors that I have seen used over and over again are the following:
Midpoint Trade Books
(includes Ingram, Spring Arbor, and Baker & Taylor)
27 West 20th Street Suite 1102
New York, NY 10011
Lushena Book Distributors
1804 W Irving Park Rd
Chicago, IL 60613
African World Book Distributors
2217 Pennsylvania Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21217
SORMAG: What should a new writer know about the publishing business?
JOHNSON: In addition to the information I just gave, I would say to believe in the work you publish. You’ve got to believe that what you are publishing is great, if you don’t you won’t be able to sell it.
I would also advise a new author to talk to other authors in the business. I have obtained so much valuable information just by emailing a best selling author. You may not get a response right away, but if you are patient you will make some great connections with those who have already made mistakes and want to help you avoid them.
SORMAG: How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
JOHNSON: Websites: www.tamikajohnson.com; www.misschristianunitedstates.com
Mail: P.O. Box 35, Worton, MD 21678
- I believe in promoting authors and their books. Let me introduce you and your books to online readers.
I'm also a happily married mother of three who's trying to break into the Christian writing field. The writing road can be rocky.
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