Resources for Fact-checking Your Content and Manuscripts

Fact-checking as a rule is often taken for granted. Many authors and writers skim the surface of a point or event without verifying the specifics. Our credibility as writers and authors rests on accurate fact-checking. Here are a few resources to assist you beyond a Google search.

  1. Your public library has librarians who are adept at digging out facts and sources. Call them and even make an appointment with your local librarian to get the most accurate information available per your topic.
  2. Newspapers have fact-checkers on staff, if you’re a small publisher or a self-published author; consider hiring someone to go through your manuscript to verify information.
  3. Use this tool to comb Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations to verify authorship and direct quotations verbatim.
  4. If your story is set in a different time period than the current one, make sure products, media types, and other things we use now were also used then. For example, your character shouldn’t be playing with Frisbees in 1701.
  5. Ask your copy editor if they are also fact-checking your document. If not, ask them if they perform that as an additional service or know someone who can.
  6. Genius is a Wikipedia-like tool that gives accurate song lyrics.
  7. Your local colleges and universities have professors with expertise on topics that can help you tell your story better. Historians are great references.

All of this can seem like a lot of hard work involving details, but in this age of “fake news” writers and authors of fiction and non-fiction have to be more diligent. Plus, your readers deserve the integrity of your work’s facts.


Autumn Quotations You Can Share with Your Networks

Autumn is approaching, which means that change is coming. We will dress differently, eat differently, work differently, and even feel differently about the inevitable passing of another year. These quotations reflect that and more, and are good for filler content to share on memes and graphics with your social media followers.

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” 
― Albert Camus

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” 
― Lauren DeStefano

“Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring.” 
― Truman Capote

“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.” 
― Jim Bishop

“Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.” – Elizabeth Lawrence

“And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.” – Oscar Wilde

“A fallen leaf is nothing more than a summer’s wave goodbye.”Unknown

If you need beautiful FREE stock photos to accompany your quotations, visit Pixabay and Pexels.

Permissions and Other Legal Matters for Self-Publishers and Authors via Jane Friedman

This is a cheat post. Someone – book expert Jane Friedman – has already done the work in the flow chart below. The reason why you need this information is simple: to avoid being sued for copyright infringement. In this internet age, we create and share everything from photos to graphics to quotes without attribution, and authors even do so in their self-published works. Jane makes it plain and easy to understand.

We didn’t ask permission to share but we are going to attribute Jane properly. You can find this chart and accompanying information here: A Basic Guide to Getting Permissions + Sample Permissions Letter.

8 Pieces of Information about Your Book to Keep Handy for Vendor Sales

This is a think like a bookstore or vendor moment. If you’re planning to sell your books to bookstores – independent or chain – to libraries or to museums, you should always have these eight pieces of information nearby to help those entities sell your book.

  1. Your retail price and your wholesale price, including bulk sales prices.
  2. Your barcode scans saved as an image. Write the numbers down in a convenient place.
  3. Your ISBNs for each book with coordinating format (e-book/hardback/paperback).
  4. Sample pages to attach to your email request or query.
  5. A cover image.
  6. A brief comparison statement that begins with “If your readers loved ____, then they will also love ______.”  The second book title should be yours.
  7. The local story that is tied to the book’s story. That story could be you as the local author or a setting in the book or some historical information in the storyline. Keep a paragraph available to share with vendors.
  8. A promotional plan that you have to include the vendor’s brand in your book sales.

Technically, this is an organizational matter, but it is helpful for selling a book for big sales to vendors or organizations. Vendors like bookstores deal with efficiency and information that enables them to visualize the potential for sales. Help them by keeping this information nearby.

Tips for Preparing Your Books for Holiday Sales NOW

It’s not quite the holiday season but before you know it, it will be here. Will you be ready? As authors we have to practice preventative marketing so we are not caught off-guard, and in this case, be prepared to leverage the holiday season. These tips are both preventative marketing and pre-holiday season sales.

If you’re a self-published author, then take the time as well as invest in additional proofreading and copy editing of your work before publishing more copies. Clean up and tighten up grammar, typos, and punctuation.  You can also take the time to update your cover copy if you’ve won awards or made a bestsellers list. Or you can update your author photo and bio.

Create a pre-holiday sale as early as September or October. Sell your books as a pre-holiday gift bundle, if possible.

Use your Instagram and Facebook shop features to sell the book as a special pre-holiday promotion now. Have memes created for your social networks that advertise the promo.

Create an e-newsletter reminding your subscribers that this is a great time to purchase your books as holiday gifts.

Collaborate with other authors to cross-promote and even share the expense of buying Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter ads. Another advertising option can come from book marketers who have myriad ways to promote books with their own audiences.

Plan your pre-Thanksgiving Day sales and promos (now until November 21), post-Thanksgiving promos (Black Friday November 23, Small Business Saturday November 24, Cyber Monday November 26) and begin scheduling memes with the appropriate hashtags.

Utilize Amazon and Goodreads for book giveaways and holiday related contests and promos now.

The holiday sales promotions do not have to interfere with your ongoing promotions. They can work in tandem and should. Book marketing is hard, but it is necessary. Beginning holiday sales now will save you time later and you could be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

Writing Sensation September 2018 – La Rhonda Crosby-Johnson

A Dream Bigger Than I Ever Imagined

When I was eight years old and writing stories to amuse myself on scraps of newsprint given to me by my 4th grade teacher, I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would one day co-own a publishing company!  Yes, I always imagined a book, held in my hands, with my name on the cover, right below the title that would grab everyone’s eye.  I whispered thanks for prayers only my heart uttered each time an essay or poem was published.

In 2015, I took a leap of faith and published my first work of fiction; an e-book series.  “A Name That Sang,” “Buttermilk and Baseball” and “At Last: Jubilee’s Journey” were now available for all to read.  I had finally walked fully into my identity as WRITER. This had taken some time despite the fact that I’d been writing most of my life.  It took the words “you are a writer” from a colleague and friend to make me even consider that this might be the case. What came next surprised even me.  Ideate Publishing, LLC (which I co-own with an amazing editor, Tira McDonald) published its debut project in November 2017 – “Where’s My Tiara?” In the era that seems to draw its breath from the power of women, publishing an anthology of short stories by women seemed Divinely ordered.  I was over the moon, holding the book in my hands. Yes, there was still a lot to learn about the business side of writing/publishing. Yes, there would always be something I ‘might have’ changed later; but this was not “later.” This was now!

Writing has always been about NOW for me.  It is the singular activity that ties me to the moment.  A friend described it as the way I commune with God. I agree with her.  Characters seem to appear before my eyes, speaking gently and clearly as I take notes.  Most times I feel merely like a scribe who is giving life to stories that have been just waiting to be told.

I can hardly wait to see what comes next.  Where will this journey as writer lead?  What I’ve learned from writing is that I don’t have to know the end before I begin.  All I have to do is grab my pen and paper and make ready for the trip.

About The Author

La Rhonda wrote her first story, “How the Animals Saved the Forest” at the age of 8 years old.  She remembers fondly sharing with her class how forest animals fought the huge machinery that threatened their home.  She cannot remember a time when she hasn’t loved stories. Her early audiences were her mother and younger sister. At the urging of friend and mentor, Blanche Richardson, La Rhonda attended Tina McElroy Ansa’s  first Sea Island Writer’s Retreat on Sapelo Island in 2004. It was there that she began to “see” herself as a writer.

She is a contributor to the award-winning Life Spices From Seasoned Sistahs anthology series and has also published work in “Go, Tell Michelle:  African American Women Write To The New First Lady”, “Sassy, Savvy and Bold After 50”, “The Beauty of Darkness” (poetry) and an ebook, serial novel.  La Rhonda is honored to also be a part of the anthology “All The Women In My Family Sing” edited by Deborah Santana.

La Rhonda is co-founder of Ideate Publishing, LLC.  She and co-owner and editor, Tira Mc Donald, published Ideate’s debut project, an anthology of short stories titled, “Where’s My Tiara?” in the fall of 2017.  She lives in San Leandro with her husband and biggest fan, Ernest Johnson and is currently putting the finishing touches on her first novel, “Unveiled” scheduled for release in late 2018.  

Writing Sensation August 2018 – Terri Ann Johnson



Welcome back to Writing Sensation! If you tuned in last month, you will remember my introduction 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 released 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 and is also a contributing author to the new anthology Spice, which will be published by the Macro Publishing Group in October 2018. 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


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

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.