Are You Okay? Authors, Writers and Mental Health Awareness

The number of suicides of notables and celebrities always alert us to the fact that people are dealing with any number of mental health issues. Writers and authors are no exception. Those of us who write with deadlines looming as real-life makes its demands are living under stress, whether we admit it or not. We tell ourselves this is the nature of the beast and it’s only temporary, but truth is, the stress still can take a toll on our overall wellness.

Here are some tips to guard your mind and spirit:

  1. Stay in-tune with the signals your mind and body are sending you. If you’re tired, do not ignore it. If you find yourself prickly or moody, do not ignore it. Ask yourself the hard questions, and be ready to accept the answers. Be ready to make adjustment to keep your sanity and health intact.
  2. Schedule recreation for you. Go for walks, swim, ride a bike or do something like go to the museum or to an exhibit, just go. Do something just for you. Do something for you for at least five minutes every day.
  3. Watch what you eat and how you’re eating. Carb-loading with no physical activity can lead to weight gain horrors. Prepare your snacks in advance and when possible do the same with your meals. Sitting at a computer for long stretches of time and eating is a recipe for lethargy and irritability.  
  4. Sleep. Take naps and go to bed at a scheduled time every night. A lack of sleep affects heart health and the vital organs in our bodies. It also affects the ability to think straight.
  5. Get counseling. There is no shame in making a confession of being overwhelmed or stressed out and needing help to manage it all. Find a licensed counselor who will give you the space to talk and learn how to cope.

Writers and authors are at the mercy of our imaginations and a world of facts and figures. That alternate universe can affect daily decisions and exacerbate stress. We need to take care of ourselves. We also need to look out for our colleagues. Ask someone if they are okay. Check on your friends. Check on you.

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Does Anyone Use Classmates.com to Market Their Books?

Perhaps the question is: Does anyone use Classmates.com at all? Admittedly, beyond connecting with classmates from grade school to college or even look through old yearbooks, Classmates tends to be an under-used social network. Here are a few ways you can use it?

  1. Invite classmates to your events – book launches, readings and signings – by posting a graphic and announcement.
  2. Invite classmates to your social media events on Facebook and Twitter by posting a graphic and announcement.
  3. Post news about your book or project. Your classmates will receive notification via e-mail.
  4. Post photos of your book cover(s) in your photo album section with links to purchase sites.
  5. Invite some of your classmates to become beta readers or reviewers.

There are many free features on Classmates.com and there are features available for those who pay the subscription costs. Subscriptions can be paid monthly for those sporadic occasions you wish to post and market your work.

This is a great way to keep up with your friends and classmates but also apprise them of your activities and growth. It doesn’t have to be braggy or pretentious.

Do you use Classmates.com for marketing? If so, let us know in the comments.

Writing Sensation July 2018 – Terri Ann Johnson

TERRI ANN JOHNSON - PHOTO

 

Welcome back to Writing Sensation! If you tuned in last month, I introduced you to fellow Brown Girls Books author, Terri Ann Johnson. In support of her debut novel Faith Alone, here is a second reminder that her book will be out on Tuesday, August 7, 2018. Congratulations and many blessings, Sister Scribe!

Terri Ann Johnson is a national bestselling author for her contribution to the anthology All I Want for Christmas. She has always had an enthusiasm for reading which blossomed into a desire to write. Terri is a mom and loves to travel with her family and friends. She is a finance professional in Washington, D.C. and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Please visit her website at www.terriannjohnson.com/www.browngirlsbooks.com

 

Faith Alone

PAB – Tell us the title of your new book and what it is about.

TAJThe title of my debut novel is Faith Alone. It is in the Christian fiction genre and I added some romance. One of the themes is overcoming challenges. How do we respond? What do we lean on during challenging times? My main character, Lachelle, is coping with a life-threatening pregnancy while she is in the midst of unsurmountable grief. She experiences some dark days, emotionally, which gives us a glimpse into what depression looks like. In terms of physical health, I hope Faith Alone raises awareness on a medical condition called preeclampsia which is a life-threatening hypertensive disorder of pregnancy that occurs in about eight percent of all women.

PAB – Give us some insight about your main characters in the story.

TAJ – Brian and Lachelle have been married for twelve years and have accepted that they won’t have children. But, unexpectedly they find themselves pregnant. This pregnancy is life-threatening for Lachelle. After tragedy occurs, Lachelle struggles emotionally, mentally and physically, but her best friends are there to help her come to terms with some challenges of her past so that she can let go of some baggage.

PAB – What inspired you to write Faith Alone?

TAJ – Many parts of this story have been on my heart for years. I pieced those parts together to write Faith Alone. One of my closest friends has experienced preeclampsia for the majority of her life. I’ve dealt with various levels of depression as many of us do. And my sister/friends are an important part of my life. You’ll see these themes run through the book.

PAB – Tell us what helps you stay on track with writing and completing a book.

TAJ – I live by outlines, deadlines and an accountability partner that keeps me on task.

PAB – What kind of research did you have to do to write your book?

TAJ – Well, I wanted Lachelle’s pregnancy to be as authentic as possible. I spoke to OB/GYNs, survivors of preeclampsia and I read numerous articles about the disease. I spoke to law enforcement professionals and attorneys regarding sentencing guidelines. I’m a fiction author but I want my facts to be correct.

PAB – How has writing impacted your life?

TAJ – Writing brings me happiness. There is just something about getting your stories on paper and into a book. It is an extreme sense of accomplishment. But, writing is not easy. You have to create time to get your thoughts out of your head.

PAB – What advice can you give aspiring writers to help them finish their books?

TAJ –My biggest piece of advice would be to write one word each day. My mentor gave me this piece of advice and it helped. When you begin typing you won’t want to stop until your thoughts are out.  And don’t edit while writing your first draft, just get it out of your head. I’d also recommend taking writing classes to gain confidence in the technical aspects of writing.

PAB – Tell the readers how they can learn more about you and your work?

TAJ –  Please visit my website www.TerriAnnJohnson.com

PAB – What’s next for Terri Ann Johnson?

TAJ – I’m currently writing my sophomore novel, Switched, which I hope will be released in the summer of 2019.

 

Hootsuite Adds Pinterest Integration

Part of the fun of Pinterest is pinning to boards almost mindlessly. You pick your topic and look for interesting pins, and then you just pin away. It can be soothing as well as functional to marketing your business and books. If Pinterest is pivotal to your business marketing but you find yourself with little time to pin original content to your boards, then Hootsuite has just made it easier by allowing you to schedule pins.

This is what you need to know:

  1. You can also use Hootsuite to create new boards.
  2. Pinterest scheduling can be managed as a team.
  3. You can delete boards and pins from your Hootsuite dashboard.

It is really easy to post and schedule, and you can use Hootsuite’s new-ish composer to post, schedule and publish to Pinterest too.

One last thing about Hootsuite: If you use the composer tool, then you have access to a couple of really great features. One feature is the ability to schedule to a Facebook page and create an album right in Composer. And you can add emojis to your posts.

Sage Advice from a Book Buyer for a Major Book Chain

If one digs hard enough, one can dig out useful information to assist them in doing almost anything of value. For example, a “found” item was the advice from a book buyer – the person charged with choosing book titles for a store’s inventory – for a major bookstore chain. The advice below is strictly for self-published authors and contrary to popular belief, some self-published books can compete with those published by a publishing house.

  1. If your book is non-fiction, then having a well-crafted, professional index increases your chances of being purchased by the store.
  2. Non-fiction books with professional commercial photography are considered for purchase. Bad photography and artwork are dismissed.
  3. Are the fonts readable and good for readers’ eyes?
  4. Is the topic timely and interesting?
  5. Is the title interesting?
  6. Does the back cover copy (information) match up with the quality of the content and the topic?
  7. Is your cover art, and that includes the spine, enticing and exciting?

Some of this seems like common sense information, still people jump head first into creating their books without regard for what the people who select books for chains consider buyable works. Now you know.

5 Things to Know about Creating a Wikipedia Page

We’ve gone from side-eyeing people who cited Wikipedia as a source to going straight to the online encyclopedia to verify information. It is becoming a trusted resource even some of the entries are questionable. Wikipedia has taken great steps in improving the quality of its entries called articles to the point instituting lots of rules to insure credibility and reliability.

Here are a few things to know before creating a Wikipedia page:

  1. Your page must link to at least one other Wikipedia page. Strong pages are linked to at least several.
  2. Reliable sources and citations are the footnotes on a Wikipedia page, and are important to having a page pass review for publication beyond the draft stage. Reliable sources are: news · newspapers · books · scholar · HighBeam · JSTOR · free images · free news sources · The Wikipedia Library · NYT · WP reference.
  3. Wikipedia has a visual editor that is useful for people who have no patience for html coding. Write out your entry in a Word document first, and then paste it into the visual editor. (Adding links to other Wikipedia pages and citations to external sources comes after this step.)
  4. You must create an account to add an entry that is eligible for review and to become an article.
  5. Take time to study all of their rules and watch tutorials before embarking on the creation of a page. Or you can hire someone to do it.

Wikipedia wants you to verify everything written on your page, which should be written in neutral language and not in first-person.

There’s one last thing: Once your page is approved to become an article, it is open to editing (adding additional facts and information) by anyone.

Have you ever wanted a Wikipedia page? Do you have one? If so, share the link to your page in the comments.

Engage: 10 Observances that You Can Celebrate on Social Media Right Now

Summertime engagement with followers can be sketchy. People have their summer activities involving families, work, and fun. You can still engage them with these observances.

June

  • National Black Music Month (share music, ask followers to share their music, post lyrics in graphics and memes)
  • National Soul Food Month (everyone has a favorite dish and most black women who cook have a brag dish)
  • Juneteenth (June 19) is the celebration of the last round of emancipation of the enslaved in Texas but is celebrated nationwide
  • Alzheimer’s Education and Awareness Month
  • Rebuild Your Life Month (talk to your followers about their hopes and dreams and second acts, share yours)

July

  • National Ice Cream Month
  • National Minority Mental Health Month
  • Cell Phone Courtesy Month
  • National Black Family Month
  • National Child-Centered Divorce Month

These topics are engaging and timely. You can schedule Facebook events to round up your followers for scheduled discussions. Whatever you choose to do, have fun.