Saturday, June 25, 2011

SORMAG's ONLINE BOOK FAIR - Meet The Author Panel - Day Four


Click on the comments and leave a comment or question for our panel. Unless noted, the authors will drop in through out the day to answer questions or post comments.

MEET THE AUTHORS PANEL - The Paths To Publication


Rose Jackson-Beavers is a veteran social services administrator, and publisher. An advocate for children, teens and families, she spends her time working with various age groups to encourage their literary interests. She believes reading increases comprehension, which increases the reader's ability to do better in school and in the workplace.

To ensure aspiring writers have the information they need to understand the book business, this social-worker-turned-publisher hosts at least two free workshop each year to teach her often-requested seminar on self-publishing. She has written six books and published the works of 27 authors, with 4 winning awards for their work.

To encourage readers, her company has donated thousands of dollars in books to schools, churches, and afterschool programs. In addition, she founded a St. Louis nonprofit, The Family Enhancement Center. For the past two years, the center has donated school supplies, computer items and cash to high school graduates who receive The McKinley and Sylvester Jackson Scholarship. The scholarship is named for Jackson-Beavers’ late brothers, who succumbed to cancer before their 40th and 43rd birthdays. The scholarship reflects the brothers’ desire for their siblings to complete school and pursue further educational pursuits, while calling attention to the many African Americans who die from cancer each year.


Dr. Linda Beed is an author, educator, speaker and youth minister. She earned her Master of Theology (Magna Cum Laude) and Doctorate of Religious Education from A. L. Hardy Academy of Theology where she is now faculty emeritus.

As a conference coordinator and facilitator she has shared in the success of local and national conferences that include literary and social organizations. Her blogs, Let Us Bear Fruit and Reading Our Stories are places where you can find the best in book reviews, author dialogues, industry information and online workshops.

Dr. Linda is the founder of The Damascus Road Authors a collective of Christian authors with the common goal of ministering through the arts. She is also the founder and president of The Write Plan a course for those seeking to become writers and to learn the business side of the craft.

In support for others she has shared her articles at Shades of Romance Online Magazine and Blogging In Black.

Dr. Linda is a member of the Seattle chapter of the Professional Women of Color Network and the Black Dollar Days Task Force.


Adora Bennett is the pen name for an international business executive whose career encompasses experience as a copywriter at a world-renown New York advertising agency, fashion writing for a major department store, global marketing for a Fortune 500 company and a masthead position at a major metropolitan newspaper.

She has travelled around the world extensively, lived in several cities across Europe, and divides her time between homes in Boston, MA and the South of France.


Desiree Day has worked in the banking, telecommunication,and information technologies industries, as well as in academia.

Her fiction has appeared in Woman's Word magazine and on the Internet.

She is presently working on her next novel.

She lives in Georgia.


Ja'Nese Dixon is an Oklahoma native living in Houston, Texas. As a child, she spent most of her days reading anything she could grab. Her love for writing gave birth to a large collection of poetry and short stories. She continued to nurture her love of reading and writing until entering graduate school. As a wife and mother of two small children, she found little time to write but her reading continued.

In late 2004, she decided to quietly pursue her writing career by entering contests and ghost writing articles. After ranking in several contests, she began writing her first novel, Black Diamond.

Ja'Nese Dixon is still an avid reader, she loves to write, run, cook, crochet, watch romantic comedy movies, attend live concerts, volunteer in several ministries in her church, and most importantly spend time with her family.

Ja'Nese Dixon spends her days marketing small businesses and her nights writing African Emerald (Fall 2011), the much anticipated spinoff from Black Diamond. To learn more visit


As an Award-winning author, Bible teacher, Ordained Minister and Evangelist, Cheryl’s books, CD’s, and devotionals are not meant to only entertain, but to also minister to and encourage others.
Cheryl Donovan has developed a unique voice that manifests itself through her literary endeavors. Her newest contribution, “Women What in Hell are You Thinking Now: Transform Your Thinking to Transform Your Life arrives in bookstores March 2011. It compels women to look at themselves and their lives and take inventory. If they don’t like what they see then it’s time to clean the clutter.Welcome to the world of Cheryl Donovan.


A retired salon owner and hair stylist of more than 25 years, Elaine Flowers always dreamed becoming a published author, creating stories with interesting characters, and in 2004 it was realized when she released her first novel, Black Beauty.

In 2007, this bestselling author signed with Hollygrove Publishing joining the literary team headed by national bestselling author, Brian W. Smith releasing It’s Morning: Torn Lovers and Their Stories (2008) is her second book, comprised of two novellas and one short story The long-awaited Broken Appointments, and sequel to Black Beauty, is Ms. Flowers’ third work of fiction and was released in February 2011.

In the interim, this eager writer is having great success with her non fiction title. I Wouldn’t Mind Having a Husband, I Just Don’t Want to Be Somebody’s Wife: The Single Woman’s Guide to Self-fulfillment is a self help e-book designed for single-never-been-married women who are egregiously seeking a husband.

Elaine Flowers is a divorcee of 20 years with 2 adult children. She is a full time writer and discussion leader It is her desire to create a dense body of work for those who enjoy her writings.


After having 10 contemporary romances and 6 works of women's fiction published the traditional way, Bettye Griffin is now doing her own thing and telling the stories she wants to tell, bound only by the limits of her imagination and not publisher guidelines. In 2009 she formed Bunderful Books and to date has published two contemporary romances, Save The Best For Last in 2009 and The Heat of Heat in 2010. This year will see the eBook release of a revised, updated version of her classic, long-out-of-print Arabesque romance, A Love of Her Own, as well as her first interracial romance title. Bettye is also hard at work on her first women's fiction offering through Bunderful Books.

Bunderful Books...because good writing is always in fashion.

Trice Hickman’s love affair with books began at a very early age, setting the backdrop for her writing career. As a student, Trice excelled in literature and creative writing classes.

After graduating from college, Trice worked in a variety of industries and management positions, all the while continuing her love of books and her dream to write one of her own. Her literary window opened with the release of her self-published debut novel, Unexpected Interruptions, in November 2007. The book received high praise from reviewers, won two literary awards, and was selected as a Black Expressions Editor’s Pick for Dynamic Debut Feature. Trice’s much anticipated sequel, Keeping Secrets &; Telling Lies, quickly became a hit with book clubs and readers. Her third novel, Playing the Hand You’re Dealt, made the AOL Black Voices list of “The Top 15 Books That Mattered In 2010.”

Trice recently signed a three-book deal with Kensington Publishing Corp. for the publication rights of her self-published novels. Kensington re-released, Unexpected Interruptions, April 2011, and it received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

Trice holds a BA degree from Winston-Salem State University and an MA degree from Wake Forest University . She is currently working on her next book.


TL James graduated with an MBA from LeTourneau University . At LETU, James cultivated an interest in biblical studies and research. Little did James know, but her love for research would become an integral thread in her writing style.

After many sleepless nights, James began writing her first speculative fictional book, with her newly born son tucked comfortably at her side. She developed the family drama storyline that showcases her love of research, biblical studies and literary classics (i.e., Chaucer, Shakespeare and Mythology). The MPire Trilogy was born.

In 2008, TL James revived PHE Ink, a Writing Solutions Firm, after discovering a number of gaps in the publishing industry. She later established The Quill Lab for all authors. James works with aspiring writers, one-on-one, to develop their literary voice. PHE Ink and The Quill Lab, also, assist entrepreneurs with transforming their literary business dreams into defined objectives and business plans.


Tina Martin is a fiction, romance novelist. In 2007, she published a collection of poetry entitled Love Like Yours. She is the author of the romantic suspense novel, Secrets On Lake Drive and Another Man’s Treasure. Her newest novel, The Baby Daddy Interviews is due to be released December 2011. Read more about Tina at her website:


Lisa G. Riley’s work has been called “character and issue driven; exciting, passionate and thought provoking.” Ms. Riley writes in several genres including romantic suspense, erotica and paranormal. Her next novel, After the Morning After, a contemporary, comedic sexual romp comes out August 9th, 2011 from Loose Id. Her last stand-alone novel, Give Yourself to Me, is a paranormal contemporary suspense, and came out in August 2010. Stolen, her second foray into historic paranormals was written with Roslyn Hardy Holcomb and has been available since November, 2010. The first in the series, Given, came out in February 2010. A romantic suspense novel, Do Me Right, was released in April 2010. All are available at Loose Id. Other books by Ms. Riley include:
• Simply Wicked
• At Last
• Caught Up in the Rapture
• Big Spankable A**es (anthology)
• Bound to Ecstasy (anthology)

Ms. Riley resides in Chicago where she is hard at work on her next project. Please visit her at  or at
 for more information about her work.

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LaShaunda said...

Thank you ladies for being a part of our panel today. I’m excited to learn more about you. Below are a few questions to get you started.

1. Tell us what path to publication you chose, and why?

2. What surprises you the most about the publishing business?

3. What’s something you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?

4. What advice would you offer to someone interested in publishing their book?

pkloret said...

LaShaunda: Thanks for inviting me to be a part of the panel today.

So, your questions:
1. I have been writing for many years and it was only about five years ago that a former classmate encouraged me to try writing a novel. I was working at the time and didn't have much time to think about it. A few years ago, I took a break from work and started writing in earnest. I wrote things in a variety of genres and turned to romantic fiction because I had a good idea and also because I thought it might be easier to get published since I was not represented by an agent. It worked!

2. The publishing business remains pretty traditional in the way it works--much like the newspaper business I used to work in. I am surprised that the process really is much as it was 100 years ago in spite of the technology and lifestyle changes of writers and readers.

3. I wish I'd realized that in the end, I'd have to give in to most everything as a first time writer. It would have saved me a lot of time and money.

4. Don't give up. Analyze the market and look for publishers or even genres to write in where you might have the best opportunity to get published. And, I know I said it once before, but don't give up!

Linda! said...

Good morning and thank you for allowing me to participate in this wonderful panel. I pray that my answers to these questions will be helpful.

1.Tell us what path to publication you chose, and why?
Most don’t know that I had been offered three contracts before I chose to open my own publishing company. The decision to do so during a time when this was severely frowned upon stemmed from what the ‘Houses’ wanted to turn my novel in to.

2.What surprises you the most about the publishing business?
There are two things that surprise me about the publishing. The first—the constant push for everyone except the creator of the work to receive a reasonable portion of the financial reward. The second surprise is how many authors don’t understand that writing is a business and therefore have no plan of action beyond publication.

3.What’s something you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you time/frustration in the publishing business?
I believe that if I had known to be more selective in terms of a support team I would have saved myself much time and needless frustration.

4.What advice would you offer to someone interested in publishing their book?
The best advice I can offer to those interested in publishing their book is to study the industry and then create a Write Plan for your literary business.

Unknown said...

the 2011 Daughters of Thunder what a great line-up LaShaunda..OUTSTANDING!!

Authors its wonderful seeing you here and I thank you for you vision and stories.

{{{Elaine and Trice}}} hugs to you both!!!

Trice Hickman said...

Hi LaShaunda!

What a wonderful way to honor your mother, Ms. Brenda Turner! She's looking down and smiling with pride!

Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate in the 2011 SORMAG Online Book Fair! I appreciate being invited to be a part of this meaningful discussion. Here are my answers to your questions.

1. My road to publication has been an interesting journey. After I completed my manuscript I submitted my story to literary agents, publishers, and editors in hopes of getting a book deal. Well, everyone I submitted my work to turned me down. It was very discouraging, but, I was determined to achieve my dream so I decided to publish my book myself. I did lots of research, attended literary conferences, networked with other authors and industry professionals, and I set out to learn everything I could about how to properly publish a book. After nearly three years of preparation I released my debut novel, Unexpected Interruptions, and never looked back. After publishing three novels on my own, Kensington (Dafina Books), contacted me and offered me a contract. Hard work, preparation, and patience really does pay off.
2. The thing that has surprised me most about the publishing business is how difficult it is. Most people don’t realize the uphill challenges and amount of effort it takes to successfully write, publish, market, promote, and sell a book. Technology (e-publishing) has greatly leveled the playing field and removed many barriers to entry, allowing new voices to be heard. But, it comes with a blessing and a burden. The marketplace is flooded and standards have been lowered.
3. It’s hard for me to name one thing I wish I had known earlier that would have saved me time and frustration. I say that because even though I had done a lot of research, I approached the world of publishing as a sponge, ready to soak it all up; the good along with the not-so-good. I knew it would be challenging, but honestly, I had no idea it would be as difficult as it was. And honestly, I’m glad I didn’t know how hard it was back then—the daunting task may have derailed me!
4. I have two pieces of advice for aspiring writers. The first: Do your research and learn as much as you can about the publishing industry. Don’t rely on others to give you all the answers because every person’s journey will be different. What worked for one author may not work for another. Get advice when you can, put chart your own path, network as much as you can, and attend industry events. Get out there and make yourself visible—your readers will appreciate that! Second: Build a solid relationship with book clubs! Book Clubs are the life-line of an author’s career. These avid readers support, promote, and help authors to sell their books. They are invaluable!

Thanks again for allowing me this opportunity to connect with readers and writers through the online book fair! Happy Reading!

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F. D. Davis said...

Hello LaShaunda,

My condolences on your recent loss.

Ladies, good morning. Some of you I'm familiar with. Linda, I so agree with your answer to the second question.

Lisa, I'd heard that you have a new book coming out soon. What's the title and if you can do that here, could you please tell me a little about it? Thanks


Trice Hickman said...


Thanks so much for always supporting!! Missy is a member of Readers Paradise Book Club, and yet another example of why book clubs are such an important part of an author's literary life! THANK YOU for all that you do! Love you!

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Ja'Nese Dixon said...

1. Tell us Wharton path to publication you chose, and why?

Life placed me in a situation where I was surrounded by authors, some with independent publishers and others with traditional publishing houses. After researching I knew I wanted to have control over my end product (my debut novel "Black Diamond"). Thus, I knew I wanted my first book independently published. I wanted to have control while learning more about the publishing industry.

2. What surprises you the most about the publishing business?

I'm not sure whether it was a surprise but writing, marketing, and attending events is exhausting. (smile)

3. What's something you wish you'd known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?

I would have developed more relationships with independent bookstores.

4. What advice would you offer to someone interested in publishing their book?

Have fun but remember its a business.

Lisa G. said...

Hi, all. I'm so sorry to be so late joining the panel.

My first book was published by Genesis Press and I chose them because they were the first ones to offer me a contract. I was really inexperienced and didn't know the ins and outs, but I've learned since.

I think I, like a lot of people, was left flatfooted by how quickly traditional publishing began to wane while e-books began to pick up momentum.

If I'd realized sooner that I should always have representation when conducting a business deal, then my first few years in the industry might have been a bit more carefree.

As for advice, I'd say make sure your manuscript is as clean and error free as possible before submitting it to anyone.

Lisa G. said...

LaShaunda, I'm sorry. I should have done this earlier. Thanks so much for inviting me to your panel. Please accept my condolences on the passing of your mom.

Lisa G. said...

To answer your question, Dyanne. I do have a book coming out on August 9th from Loose Id. It's called "After the Morning After," and it's a light, comedic romp that I had a blast writing.

Here's the blurb for the book:

Men. After another spectacular break-up that totally blindsides her, Dr. Victoria Howell has had it with them. She can’t trust her own judgment when it comes to the male of the species, so she’ll just put her overactive libido on hiatus. That’s her story and she’s sticking to it. The story is slightly altered, however, after a night with former colleague and suspected corporate thief Sanjay Banerjee, the walking, breathing aphrodisiac. But it was just one night and one night is all it will ever be. And though she’s sure he didn’t steal from the company, she’s going to make sure he keeps his sticky fingers away from her!

Sigh. Victoria with all of her over-thinking simply makes his head hurt, and Sanjay wishes she would lighten up and admit what they both know: she was meant to be his sex slave and obey his every command. Okay, totally joking. But they’re meant to be together, and if she would just get her head out of her butt long enough, she’d see that. Proving that he’s not a thief is minor compared to convincing Victoria. But convince her, he will. And then? Simple. Then he’d have everything he wants.

bettye griffin said...

Good afternoon, LaShaunda, other panelists, and readers.

LaShaunda, thanks for including me. I admire your dedication for continuing on with the Book Fair after your loss. God has blessed you with strength, and there will be nothing you cannot endure. I just wanted to tell you that you were as good a daughter to Brenda as she was a mom to you!

As for your questions:

My path to publication was the traditional one, but with a non-traditional ending. At the time it was really the only way for me to go. Self-publishing, as it was known at that time (late 1990s), was very different in those days, and I'm going to say that most of what was self-published wasn't very good. I needed both the validation of a publishing house and writing experience. Even if I was ready to, I wouldn't have been interested in self-publishing, which required authors to keep large stock of books on hand.

My original love was for women's fiction. I found it easier to get in with a publisher that only put out one genre, specifically romance. Six years later I moved into writing the bigger stories I'd dreamed of, and for three years I did both.

Then the bottom started to fall out. I was dropped by my romance publisher, and a few books later the women's fiction publisher dropped me as well. I now independently publish my work. I'm now an experienced writer and no longer need the validation of a publisher.

What surprises me the most is how quickly things are changing! Just this week it was announced that megasuccessful author J.K. Rowling will be publishing the eBooks of her Harry Potter franchise herself, bypassing the publisher and bypassing Amazon. This is staggering news.

I'm sure there's something I wish I'd known earlier, but nothing comes to mind. I'm just constantly learning.

My advice to an aspiring writer is to do your homework and decide which path you want to pursue. Independent publishing can be difficult for someone without an established audience or large Internet following, unless they write in a genre that is wildly popular. Understand what is involved from you in both traditional and independent publishing.

Readers, panel this afternoon.

bettye griffin said...

Shucks. My answer to the questions disappeared as I was editing it...I hope to heaven it posted and didn't get lost in cyberspace!

RO said...

Hi everyone.

A couple of you mentioned the transition that's occurring in publishing. Independent publishers, epublishing, and self publishing have created opportunities, but do you think the proliferation of publishing options make it more difficult for authors to break through in the market?

Also, do you think authors can be successful (however it may be defined) in one of these alternate paths or is a traditional big publisher necessary?

Lisa G. said...

Hi. Ro. Yes, I think the proliferation of new publishing streams can make it difficult for an author to break through and make a mark.

Yes, an author can be successful without going the traditional publishing route, but you have to educate yourself and be willing to work hard.

bettye griffin said...

I do believe it has become more difficult to break in to traditional publishing. I'm not sure editors even know what they're looking for. I would advise that no writer sign a contract unless they have the guidance of an agent or a contracts attorney who is familiar with publishing.

Ja'Nese Dixon said...


I agree with Lisa. I also believe the increased accessibility to the various publishing options can help authors significantly.


Adora Bennett said...

I agree with everyone. It is the two-edged sword. It is easier to publish something but much harder to get momentum and to build an audience. In my last job, I was responsible for our books division and even though the group was affiliated with a large newspaper company, all but one of our books struggled to get the kind of publicity that makes books huge sellers. (NOTE: my last post was listed as pkloret)

TL James said...

1. Tell us what path to publication you chose, and why? - I chose to create an indie publishing company to publish and promote my books. This path allows me to control my projects, budget my dollars and let me choose my relationships with people in the industry.

2. What surprises you the most about the publishing business? - The lack of integrity when it comes to editors, promoters, publicists and other publishers. I do realize that publishing is a business but within our segment of publishing, it is a very small world. I have heard many horror stories and help a lot of people remove themselves from situations.

3. What’s something you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business? - I think if I had more confidence in my work in the beginning rather than listen to people I thought were more "estblished", I would have made different decisions. With that being said, if I had to choose to not publish and save some of the heartache... I wouldn't change a thing.

4. What advice would you offer to someone interested in publishing their book? - RESEARCH, ASK QUESTIONS, AND RESEARCH!

F. D. Davis said...


The blurb sounds delightfully funny. From Simply Wicked I know you do a fantastic job with with humor. I can't wait to read book. Good luck.


F. D. Davis said...


I have to tell you that your feelings were mirrored by hundreds of authors before and after. You'd be surprised to learn how many authors are now deciding to publish their own work.

And some of it has to do with SOME publishers wanting to give authors almost nothing on electronic rights. The way it's looking most publishers will follow suit into
the electronic publishing and they all need to know that Authors read. LOL. Better deals are being had by doing it differently that what was once thought.


Trice Hickman said...

Hi Ro! Thanks for joining us during the Online BookFair, and thanks for your question.

I believe that technology (e-publishing) has made it easier to get published, but more difficult to get noticed. Everyone and their mama is publishing a book nowadays. Publishers Weekly reported that in 2009, 1 million books were published in the US. Of those 1 million, only 249,000 were published through a traditional/major publishing house. Two things are clear about those figures; 1)it's hard to get a book contract with a major, and 2)self-publishing has skyrocketed.

I attended a book signing for a New York Times Bestselling author two years ago and she said that if she had come on the scene today, she more than likely would never make that list as a bestseller. The landscape has changed so much, and there are simply an enormous number of titles out do you make yours stand out and get noticed?

Do I think an author can be successful without a major publisher backing them? Right now it's hard, even if you do have one of the major houses backing you. I think a key component to "commercial" success today depends on how far you can carry your brand. Authors have to not only produce a superior product, they must know how to effectively market, promote, and sell themselves as well as their book, regardless of whether they are an indie author or are signed with a major house. It takes a lot of talent and skill, but also a tremendous amount of HARD work to make your book into a bestseller in this changing climate.

Thanks again for your question and have a great weekend!

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Lisa G. said...

Thank you, Dyanne. As I said,I had fun writing the book and I think it's likely funniest one I've written.

Unknown said...

Thanks Trice and a thanks to all of you here. Ms. Griffin I brought Trouble Down the Road, as soon as I can get to a personal read it will be yours. I cannot wait to find out whats the deal with the Betancourt family.
Thanks again one and all...

Evangelist Donovan said...

Thank you so much LaShaunda for letting me participate in this Online Book Fair. You always have such wonderful ideas. Love you and everything you do for the publishing industry.

Finally, I want to send condolences to you on the passing of your mother. Your strength and courage can only come from above. Stay encouraged and know that I am praying for you.

Now to the questions at hand :)

1. Tell us what path to publication you chose, and why?

My first book was self published which afforded me the opportunity to learn alot about the publishing industry. This knowledge proved to be invaluable when it was time for me to go the more traditional route because I understood what it took to put a book together and get it out on the market and into the hands of the reader.

2. What surprises you the most about the publishing business?

It surprises me that so many authors have no plan of action. They believe writing the book is the only thing necessary to become a bestseller. They have no insight into the industry whatsoever and yet expect to sell a million copies overnight. You really have to be an authorpreneur; the whole package. You have to learn to develop a presence, a platform. Eventually, you learn to develop additional funding streams that propel you to the next level, but all of this comes with time, effort, and a plan.

3. What’s something you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?

Well, I am an avid researcher almost to a fault,. So thankfully I didn't have a lot of frustrating moments. I soaked up as much as I could before I ever started. The rest I learned along the way.

4. What advice would you offer to someone interested in publishing their book?

The advice I would give to someone interested in publishing a book is to make sure you do the research. Without it you will waste alot of time and money. Understand your journey is your journey. Take it all in stride and learn all you can about your craft.

Evangelist Donovan said...

Hi Ro,

thanks for the question. Regardless of the route you take hard work will be in order. Having a major house behind you does not necessarily mean success but it can help. The bottom line to all of it is you the author. No one can sell you like you can. So, more work you do to that end the better the chance you have at becoming a best seller. You must become an authorpreneur.

Here's a link to a workshop I did here on Sormag a while back about developing and author platform.

Also, feel free to visit my websites

bettye griffin said...

Thanks, Missy! I'm sure you won't be disappointed...Trouble Down the Road pleased a lot of readers (and has them asking for a third installment)! I am in the process of publishing my latest novel, a re-release of my 1999 contemporary romance A Love of Her Own that has been updated for the 21st Century. It should be available within the next few days on Amazon and and is already available at I wish you good reading!

Toni said...


Condolences, your mother is looking down on you today with a smile on her face, saying that's my baby.

Ladies, I enjoyed all of your conversations and advice, for those who want to be published, please take heed these ladies know the ropes.

Lisa, I'll be looking for your book. Just where is your picture? LOL

As an avid reader who owns a Kindle, I still buy books. I enjoy being able to hold a book in my hand when home, and having the ease of have hundreds of books with me when I travel.

I just attend the Sunday School convention for my church going and coming there were flight delays. I was the only one of the six of us who didn't have to run to an over priced book store in the airport. Three cheers for my KINDLE!!!!!

As long as you ladies keep writing readers will buy in one form or another.

Lisa G. said...

Thank you, Toni, and yes, a Kindle is a thing of beauty! So convenient!

I did send LaShaunda a picture because I generally don't take them. Thanks for reading!


Tina Martin Publications said...

Thanks LaShaunda...

1. I chose self publishing first, then I ventured out and sent out query letters to publishers.

2. It surprises me how many authors there are out there.

3. I wish I known more about the publishing industry and literary agents.

4. My advice - be patient when looking for a publisher and never give up. Be prepared to face rejection, and never let anyone tell you that your work is not good enough.

Tina Martin Publications said...

Thanks LaShaunda for including me today.

Congratulations to all the authors on the panel today!

Readers, visit me online:



Ja'Nese Dixon said...

Thank you Toni! That's fantastic to read. I must agree, I keep my Kindle loaded.

LaShaunda said...

Wow, you ladies have had some amazing experiences. Thank you so much for sharing. As Cheryl says everyone has the own journey.

I will say self published authors are dear to my heart. When I first started SORMAG I told myself I would always help promote those who step out and decided to publish their own work. The self published author is the stepchild of the publishing industry. However now it seems they are becoming the number one child instead of the last resort.

I admire you for stepping out and believing in your work. I know from my own experiences it’s hard not to not want to be validated by this industry. Over the years I’ve learned you have to validate yourself because if you don’t you won’t make it in this business.

I remember many years ago when I was in RWA and the ebook was a baby. I thought it was a wonderful idea for our writers because we had so a hard time to get into this industry.

Unfortunately there wasn’t a kindle to help our cause. I waited because I knew this would be a good thing one day.

I will admit I’m a big fan of the kindle, lugging three and four books around in your purse or bag, can be hard. lol

The kindle, nook or sony reader are perfect for the avid reader and perfect for the new writer to start a readership.

You just need a good book to get your name out there and the readers will come.

LaShaunda said...

When I came up with this idea, it was a way to learn more about the writing business and hopefully promote some good books and their writers.

I never dreamed it would be the last month of my mother’s life.

Everyone asked me why I continued when I was at the hospital every night and then planning her memorial. The book fair kept me sane. I was able to work on the posts and eblasts and get away from the pain and tears. Each Saturday, my life was normal for a few hours.

I wasn’t able to post they way I wanted because I was at the hospital, but each post I received on my phone, helped ease the day. I could sneak a peek at your words and move forward, knowing my life wasn’t completely over.

This week probably was the hardest week I hope to ever experience in my life. My online community lifted my spirits daily and helped me see there is a sun at the end of this tunnel.

My mother loved books and that love was passed on to me. We loved talking about the books we enjoyed and attending the Slam Jam together. We had so much fun at slam, and she was always trying to convince me to host one in St. Louis. I told her she was crazy. I know how much work goes into putting a conference together, I like being a participant instead of a host.

My mother always worked through the pain and I guess she passed that on to me. I know now why she worked, because if you don’t work, you’ll wallow in the pain and pity.

My mother never wanted pity or ever wallowed.

I’m so grateful for the 44 years I had her in my life and that she was able to a great grandmother to my children. I know her spirit will forever live in me and my children.

I thank you all who supported me through this difficult time. Know that you are appreciated and loved.

LaShaunda said...

I want to thank everyone who participated today. Thank you to the ladies who asked questions. I hope those who lurked learned a lot today.

I know you lurkers are out there because my stats say so. Unfortunately I can’t give prizes to silent people, so if you don’t see your name on the prize post, you will know why.

Thanks again for stopping by and supporting SORMAG.

See ya on the net.

Rose said...

Hi LaShaunda. Please except my condolences for the loss of your mom.

Thank you for inviting me to participate on the panel. Wow today is almost over and I’m just returning home from a long day of family activities.

Hi Everybody!

Tell us what path to publication you chose, and why? I decided to self-publish because of the stories I’d heard of people being rejected. Some authors told me they had been rejected up to a hundred times. I could not imagine that happening to me so I chose what I felt was a safer route. Plus I felt that it would be more financially wise to cut out so many hands in the pot. I also did not know a lot of about publishing and figured that taking the self-publishing route would be a wonderful lesson. It was and still is. Unfortunately, there are still many struggles with this route.

2. What surprises you the most about the publishing business? Nothing surprised me! When you don’t have any expectations, you don’t expect much.

3. What’s something you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business? I wish I had known how difficult it would be to get books distributed. Other issues like receiving payments, working with small bookstores and not being paid, juggling roles like publicist, marketing & advertising, setting up book signings, mailing and packaging books, writing press releases, completing reports, creating press kits, maintaining websites, and so much more leaves no time for writing.

4. What advice would you offer to someone interested in publishing their book?
Self-publishing is useful because it allows you to learn how to publish a book, because you are your own publisher and you must be in control. You handle all aspects of the publishing business, from writing, proofreading, editing, layout, interior design, printing, promotion and marketing. It’s a great way to have insight to help you understand the industry first hand.
•The advice I would offer is to: research the subjects you are interested in writing about
•Study the market
•Edit, edit, and more editing. Use a person with book editing experience
•Make sure your book is professional from the cover to the inside. You would be surprise how many stores will not put your book on the shelf because it is not professional and the covers are not professionally designed.
•Take care with your fonts. There are some books I will not read no matter how good because the font is too small.
•Start marketing early

Visit me at and and

Linda! said...

Ro, I first thank you for stopping by.

Regarding the process of publishing options, I believe it gives the author much to think about. It all comes down to having a plan and working that plan to the best of your ability.

A traditional publisher like other options of publication brings its share of pros and cons. If self-published authors hadn’t made such an impression on the reading public, they would not have been offered contracts. Many would define that as executing a successful plan of action. If you run after everyone’s definition of success you’ll never have peace. Success is what you define for your writing career.

Hope this answers your questions – Linda!

Trice Hickman said...


Thank you again for providing such a wonderful experience for readers and writers! You marshalled on, and your mother is smiling about that right now--while reading a good book! I can only imagine what you must be going through, but please know that you and your family are lifted in prayer by many whom you know and lots who you may never meet--through prayer groups such as the one at my dad's church. May comfort and healing be with you and your family.


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