Joyce Brewer, 39, of Atlanta, GA is a TV Journalist with an MA in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism and a BA in Communication Arts from Hofstra University. She is the author of ‘Use What You Know: A Business Idea Guide for Moms’, a 70-page non-fiction E-book/PDF featuring interviews with work at home moms, published in December 2011. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or buy her book through MommyTalkShow.com and Amazon.
When did you get the idea for a book, and why this particular genre? When I started my parenting talk show, people kept asking me how did I come up with the idea for it and how did I turn my journalism skills into a show for moms. I answered that question in this book and featured other amazing Atlanta mompreneurs who turned their skills into a business.
How long before you got around to working on the book, what kind of research did you do? I asked each mom that I featured to complete a survey, then I used their best answers in the book. They shared everything about balance, free business resources and how to handle child care while working from home.
What was the most challenging part of the writing process? My son was about 1 ½ when I finished the book and I was still feeling overwhelmed by motherhood. So I really had to focus and not get overwhelmed by the magnitude of what I set out to do.
When did you do most of your writing, did you have a schedule? No, I didn’t have a schedule. I worked in the morning before my son woke up, in the afternoons when he was napping and after he went to bed. Every spare moment I had was devoted to getting it done. I was also blogging and hosting my parenting talk show.
Did you have any collaborators, editor, designer, co-author? What technology did you use to write your book? I relied on three people I trust to read the book over and edit it for me. I also hired someone to do the cover image and layout. I used my Macbook and Word to write my book.
What methods of publishing did you consider or had plans for? I always wanted to do an e-book, so I could control the price and format.
What was the process after that, once you had your book ready to be published? I uploaded it to e-junkie and started promoting it.
What has the response been to your book? I’ve gotten rave reviews from fellow bloggers and people who bought it.
How did you market it? I did a lot of pre-promotion and pre-selling on my blog to build interest in the book. I also reached out to a local news reporter about the book and how it featured local moms. It turned into a story on Good Day Atlanta.
What are you planning on writing next? I have no idea. I think I’d like to focus more on building my parenting talk show brand, as well as producing videos for clients. So I may write something short and for free for entrepreneurs who want to produce their own videos.
Your advice for aspiring writers planning to publish in the near future? E-books and self-publishing are amazing ways to go. Yes, it’s a lot of work. But you can keep more of your profits and control your message.
To Yukon Valley :) My flight leaves this morning and I cant contain my excitement. It will be my first time on Air Canada, to Canada, and in Canada. You wont hear from me until the end of the month but I hope to have a lot to say about my first press trip soon. Have a lovely weekend ahead...you know I will!
Many outlets I write for, both print and online, ask me for accompanying images for articles. Which is great if I have taken some of my own but if not then asking around for images or resorting to a stock photo library seems like a good deal. One such library I recommend is Bigstockphoto.com - their weekly free image is something I look forward to. This one featured here is what I received this week. Can never say where I can end up using it so I have an ongoing library of their free images. Their monthly plans I have never needed to use but for an emergency, I have checked out their credit packs and those are pretty reasonable. Do you use this service? I'd love to know your thoughts, or are there other websites you use for stock images? Do share your inputs :)
Timeliness and urgency in pricing and purchase - oy! That is a hard core topic right there, focus of this month's chapter in this course. Got me thinking. Dont know that I have all the answers to the questions he threw at me though so I'm going to have to put on my thinking cap and really put some thought into this. I make notes in my Year of Profit workbook - I am taking this serious! And this chapter is the one with the least yet! He wasn't kidding when he mentioned exercises at the end of each chapter :) Check it out here and let me know if you join so we can work on this together! (Pls note that I do earn a small commission if you click through the link shared on this post. You don't have to if you don't want to but if you do, its a few extra bucks for me that I will be happy to receive PLUS you can join in on the referral program yourself and Chris is pretty good about things like referrals and payouts!)
I have been trying to break into travel writing for a little while now so it should not come as a surprise yet I was terribly excited when I received the email confirming me on a press trip this month to Yukon Valley in Canada! As a guest of Yukon Tourism, I will be part of a group of writers and bloggers travelling to Whitehorse in the Yukon and doing a roadtrip that will include a drive to Alaska. Our itinerary reads very exciting so I hope we get to do everything they have planned for us. I already have interest from a few publications I have pitched to so hoping I can spread the word about this little know destination that (from all my online research) looks beautifully breathtaking. I will have links to future articles here and will hopefully have more in-detail information on my travel website which is taking longer than expected to publish but I hope will be well-worth the effort and time I put into it. Cant wait!
If you found out about the Ed2010 event through my blog here then thanks for attending. We had a cosy handful of guests and that made the session very interactive and casual. Our speaker Nicole Williams of Little Pink Book was all about digital and shared tons of information on little tricks and techniques. She answered a flurry of questions from eager to learn guests and was available for the networking before and after her presentation. I have to thank our food and beverage sponsors - Yum Bunz, Sinless Cocktails and Buko Sugar. We also had giveaways - copies of the leadership management bestseller DARE by local Atlanta author Scott Weiss. As always, the folks at Hypepotamus (thanks Michael and Scott) were a pleasure to work with. Our next event is October 10th 6.30pm-8.30pm at Hypepotamus. Other details TBD but feel free to join us on our Facebook Ed2010 Atlanta page to stay current on that last event for this year. Happy weekend!
Brian Thompson, 37, from Covington, GA, is the author of Reject High - a 270-page trade paperback available as e-book (.mobi and .epub) in the Young Adult/Sci-fi thriller genre. You can buy it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Brian has a B.A. in English from Morehouse College and M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Temple University. He is the Managing Partner of Great Nation Publishing, LLC, and a high school teacher. You can read more on his website and blog and connect through Facebook, Twitter , LinkedIn and Pinterest.
When did you get the idea for a book, and why this particular genre? I loved Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series, it served as a major source of inspiration and sci-fi is my first love. After teaching teenagers for seven years, I know what a tough audience they are to please. But if you can capture their interest and attention, you can get anyone. I pitched the idea for Reject High to Heather, my wife. An ADHD kid gets sent to an alternative school and finds radioactive gems that give him powers. Cool, he's super-strong, right? Wrong – he also has rage blackouts, which are scary without superhuman powers. A weakness like that added layers to his character. I wanted a person of color in the lead role, so he's black and so is his love interest, Sasha…His best friend, Rhapsody, is Cape Verdean and Panamanian. My fiction usually has a multicultural cast. Then, I build the world around them.
How long before you got around to working on the book, what kind of research did you do? Once I got the idea, I started writing. I can't keep ideas floating around in my head very long. I have to get them out and down on something. As far as research, my beta reading team is made up of a few teenagers. They help me add realism by researching their attitudes toward a number of issues – bullying, sex, death, etc.; after all, it's been a while since I was a teenager! The radiated jewels are actually derived from a real life incident – the Carrington solar storm of 1859. It was the biggest solar storm in 500 years. I thought, “What if the high energy proton radiation given off by the sun affected certain minerals?” Then, “What if those radiated minerals only affected a small section of the population?”
How long until you felt you had a finished book to take it to the next step? What was the most challenging part of the writing process? I finished Reject High in three months, but since it's a series, I went back and tweaked it even after my editor had seen it. Getting into the mind of a 15-year-old boy with major issues was challenging. Writing in first person was a different experience for me. You have to watch out as your verb tense shifts more. In third person, you use mostly past tense. It took time to get used to that. Also, writers have a tendency to rely on two senses (sight and hearing) when they write in first person. I had to remind myself to have my characters describe smells, touch, and taste.
When did you do most of your writing, did you have a schedule? Did you have any collaborators, editor, designer, co-author? My writing habits are a little nuts. I may not write anything for two or three days and then sit down and write 20 pages. It was a little easier last year because my wife Heather was still pregnant. Now, we have a five-year-old and a ten-month-old. That means my writing schedule is “whatever time I can grab.” My wife is very understanding and helps in that area. My editor is Mary Marvella and I have a fantastic cover designer who's done all three of my novels and a spectacular interior designer, Elaine, who's done my past three books.
What technology did you use to write your book? What methods of publishing did you consider or had plans for? I used my laptop and desktop for the writing and the internet for research. In 2010, Heather and I started Great Nation Publishing so that we could independently publish and control our intellectual property, so that's the route I've gone and continue to use.
What was the process after that, once you had your book ready to be published? When was it published? My manuscript went to Mary, who did it pretty quickly. Thankfully, I didn't have to rewrite much, just a misplaced comma here and a lot of incorrect verb tenses there. I added a few scenes and deleted one or two. I published it online, through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing program, on May 12 to build advance buzz. The paperback was published on the actual release date, June 13.
What has the response been to your book? How did you market it? Really positive so far. My faithful readers seem to love it. I started with a Kirkus Indie Review and petitioned a few of my past reviewers, Charles Clark of Brotha Online and Cyrus Webb of Conversations Live Radio. Then, I did a FIRST Wild Card Online Book Tour and asked some of my mentors to give me a push online. There was the online early release, which helped me get some advance reviews, and I did a limited release to my faithful readers to help spread the word. I've been doing social media promotion ever since.
What are you planning on writing next? Currently, I'm working on the second draft of the sequel to Reject High called Sophomore Freak and the third instalment, tentatively named Forgotten.
Your advice for aspiring writers planning to publish in the near future? Really, the best thing I can tell an aspiring writer is just to do it. I come across people who love to say “I have been meaning to write a book,” or, “I'd like to write a book,” or even, “I have a book inside of me.” That's the worst thing to me. You might have a great idea and let it sit there and rot in your head. Get moving and write it down!
Thank you Brian for sharing your writing and publishing experience. Good luck!
I work as a copy editor along with being a writer and it annoys me no end when writers tend to forget what they are submitting is an article for an established and respected publication, and not a personal text message to their best friend. It is true that many abbreviated versions are accepted and might even be familiar terms for many but it is simply not acceptable to publish it that way in a print or online publication. I am a writer too and might be guilty of many a slip in the process of writing my piece (I am famous for typing faster than I think!) but I would never do that to another editor/ copy editor - submitting my piece with abbreviations used in texts and messages. So next time you want to use pls in your article remember it is please, and thru must be spelled through and your editor will appreciate you for it!
It is true you get rejected plenty in the process of emailing editors what you think are perfect pitches for their magazines and writing letters of interest of wanting to work and be published with other outlets so developing a thick skin for it and knowing it isn't a big issue is a good start. I spent the longest time starting out writing the perfect pitch only to find out half the time that I missed my chance to even pitch it and other times it would be rejected anyway after all the effort I had put in. I felt dejected and promised to give up on writing each time and the next day I'd see another mag and have an idea and start thinking of how to pitch to the editor. Then one day I tried something different. I couldn't think of an idea to pitch for a certain outlet but I did want very much to be able to write for them. so I went ahead and just wrote to them asking for any writing opportunities. Lo and behold, they replied yes, asked to see samples, liked it, and next thing I know I have an ongoing gig with them. Since then, I have tried not to break my head over a perfect pitch every time. It is okay not to always have a story idea and just tor each out. Many a time, editors simply have many stories waiting in the lines and just not enough writers to assign them out to so I've learned now not to feel dejected each time the rejection hits me, I just turn around and reach out to another publication, and move on. I hope you will to. Have a fabulous July 4th weekend!
The next Ed2010 event is here! Well, almost. Join me and some budding Atlanta writers, editors and bloggers as we get together for the next quarterly speaker session. This time, the guest speaker is Nicole Willams who is senior editor with Little Pink Book. She will talk about digital journalism and current trends in that industry. The event is July 10th, 6.30pm to 8.30pm, at Hypepotamus, which is the venue for all Ed2010 events this year. We have some fun food and beverage sponsors - Sinless Cocktails, Yum Bunz and Buko Sugar, as well as giveaways - copies of the book DARE by Atlanta's Scott Weiss. Join us? It promises to be a great session, and we always network before and after the event so you could make some great connections here. Looking forward to meeting you at the Ed2010 session...deets here!