April: Using Your Social Media to Promote Black Women’s History Month

First of all, you don’t have to be a black woman to promote or even understand the significance of black women’s contributions globally and historically. Join in on the celebration and appreciation using your social media accounts.

1 – Share information and articles from these sites. Each of these articles contains wonderful profiles of black women, some you know, some you do not:

2-Brainy Quotes has an extensive catalog of quotes about and by black women. They also have picture quotes, beautiful memes like these for Maya Angelou. Goodreads has an extensive catalog as well; look at these quotations by Zora Neale Hurston.

3- Here are three wonderful video documentaries to share:

4- Promote the books and artistic works of black women you admire.

5 – Begin discussions with a simple question asking  your followers who they admire and why.

Sharing is caring, but it’s also a way to inform. Most of us never know what we do not know, so share. And learn too. Explore your own interests and be surprised.

5 Great Ways to Talk Books and Build Relationships

It’s 2017, and while book clubs and book signings are still relevant, we need to come up with new ways to meet readers, other writers, and just grow as authors. Here are five ways to market your books, talk books, and build lasting relationships with peers and fans.

1. Dinner party. All of us belong to a club or group, right? Well, ask fellow members to host a dinner party, where the focus is food, fellowship, and a great discussion about a book or literature in general. You can make your dinner party as casual or fancy as you’d like.

2. Movie chats. Find a new (or old) movie release that is a book adaptation. Read the book with your friends or even fans, go to the movie, then meet up to discuss the movie beyond the requisite “I like the book better than the movie” chats. Dig deep about the topics the movie covers, and even discuss how the screenwriter chose to tell the book author’s story. Suggestion: Try discussing The Color Purple in 2017.

3. Playlist parties. Most of us listen to music while we’re reading, right? What if you challenge readers to create music playlists inspired by your book or your book club’s selection? Scenes inspire a song or two. Have your readers build a playlist, and then share their playlists with your followers. This is a party you can have right online without ever leaving home.

4. Book swaps. If you’re an author, do a contest that involves swapping one of your authored works with a book loved by your reader. It should not be your book. It has to be one they love. After you read the book, you discuss it with them in a private chat (phone, Skype, Messenger). Take the finer points of your private discussion, and share on social media.

5. Peek-a-boo. Choose a random follower, observe them for a week, and then spotlight them on social media. Tag them on Facebook or Twitter. Let them know you pay attention, and let them know they are valuable. Give them a book, maybe a bottle of wine, and/or some candy. Do something kind for that person.

These are just a few ideas, but I bet you have more. Share in the comments, or better yet, just execute.


10 Quotes by Creative and Literary African American Women

It’s Women’s History Month, and we have many women to celebrate. These ten quotes are chosen for their affirmation and celebration. Share them on your social sites, and tape them to your wall. Be inspired, and be an inspiration.

Viola Davis

There’s one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered – that’s the graveyard. People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say exhume those bodies, exhume those stories, the stories of the people dream big and never saw those dreams to fruition, people who fell in love and lost. I became an artist and thank God I did, because we are the only profession that celebrates what it is to live a life.”

“You can’t be hesitant about who you are.” 

Shonda Rhimes

“Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.” 

“Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral. Pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.”

Octavia Spencer

You just keep moving forward and doing what you do, and hope that it resonates with people. And if it doesn’t, you just keep moving on until you find a project that does.

You cannot live to please everyone else. You have to edify, educate and fulfill your own dreams and destiny, and hope that whatever your art is that you’re putting out there, if it’s received, great, I respect you for receiving it. If it’s not received, great, I respect you for not.

Toni Morrison

“Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.”

“You are your best thing” 

Ava Duvernay

Be passionate and move forward with gusto every single hour of every single day until you reach your goal.

Figure out what you need to do to be the heroine of your own story.

6 Resources for Writers Considering Agent Representation

The pros and cons are many. Some authors do well without agent representation, and some would not publish any other way. These 6 online resources are great for answering your questions, assisting you in making a decision, and just informing you on the process.

Writer’s Digest Agents Blog

Jane Friedman’s Blog Category “Agents”

The Write Practice

Literary Agent Advice, Huffington Post

How to Publish a Book…Pros and Cons of Hiring an Agent

Quora, Forum Thread on Pros and Cons of Hiring an Agent

The six resources provided run the gamut from agent advice to advice from published authors. All are great for expanding your knowledge of the process, and the advantages involved with seeking agent representation.

African American Literary Agents & Agencies Taking Submissions

There is an abundance of literary agencies in the United States. Most operate with a clear mission that puts them in a niche or in several literary niches. Most will have relationships with acquisition editors at publishing houses – large and small – throughout the country. In this post, you will be introduced to 5 African American literary agencies and agents currently seeking manuscript submissions.

Serendipity Literary Agency, Brooklyn NY (Client List)

Founded and owned by Regina Brooks, Serendipity is the largest African American owned literary agency in the country. They’ve represented authors in both fiction and non-fiction, and they are award-winning. Their website states they are currently accepting fiction manuscript submissions for representation consideration. Content on their website includes information on and guidelines for submitting fiction, non-fiction, and children’s book manuscripts.

Queressa Robinson, D4EO Literary Agency

Quressa Robinson is an Associate Agent with D4EO Literary agency actively building her client list. Formerly she was an acquiring editor for St. Martin’s Press, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers where she edited both fiction and nonfiction. 

Quill Shift Literary

Ayanna Coleman is the founder of Quill Shift, which is a children’s and youth-oriented agency. A FAQ for submissions is on their website as well as a menu of editorial services.

Latoya C. Smith, L. Perkins Agency

Before joining the L. Perkins agency, Latoya C. Smith was an editor for over thirteen years working at publishing houses such as Kensington Publishing, Hachette Book Group, and Samhain Publishing. Latoya is seeking romance, erotica, erotic fiction, women’s fiction, women’s thriller, LGBTQ romance and erotic fiction, along with advice/how-to/memoir submissions. 

Kemi Faderin, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC

She is interested in anything different and original, but especially in smart, plot-driven YA, historical fiction / nonfiction, contemporary women’s fiction, and literary fiction. How to Submit: E-query kfaderin [at] dystel.com. “Synopses, outlines or sample chapters (say, one chapter or the first 25 pages of your manuscript) should either be included below the cover letter or attached as a separate document. We won’t open attachments if they come with a blank email. Please do double space your samples for reading that’s easy on the eyes! We will respond to most query letters within a six to eight week period. If you don’t hear from us within that time frame, chances are we did not receive yours. Feel free to resend it.”

7 Podcasts for Writers

The internet can fill gaps not available in traditional media. Take podcasts for example. Podcasts are available for almost every niche, and some of those podcasts contain information and resources that inspire. Below are seven podcasts for authors and writers.

The Beautiful Writers Podcast

Sell More Books Show

The Creative Penn

Grammar Girl

The Literary Entrepreneur Podcast

I Should be Writing

Helping Writers Become Authors

Podcasts can be found in a simple Google search, but you can also search your iTunes store and even through NPR podcasts for shows about writing, being an author, books, and other related topics.

Do you have a favorite podcast? If so, let us know in the comments below.

Happy listening.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself about Writing

Have you ever seen someone’s eyes light up when you tell them you’re a writer? I bet they even tell you that they have a book inside of them waiting to be published. They could even tell you that they’ve started writing their book. While it’s exciting to finally have a published work, and the right to call yourself a writer, to continue writing it takes more. You should have answers to the following questions.

1. Why do I write?

The answers can range from “I write to help others” to “I write to make an extra income” to “I write to comfort myself” to “I write to become a famous author.” There are as many answers to this question as there are writers, except we always hear the same ones regurgitated. The important thing is that YOU have an answer to it.

2. What is my mission when I write?

Your mission as a writer is deeply personal, but you should have an answer to the question. Why? You need to remember your mission to remain focused, and to give your writing its unique tone.

3. What am I trying to teach readers?

Every writer is a teacher of some type or another. There is a lesson in fiction, and there are lessons to be learned in non-fiction. What do you want your readers to learn from reading your work?


4. Who am I writing to? Who is my audience?

If you don’t know who you’re writing to, then you’re just writing. That’s okay too, but you want to understand who will receive the most benefit from reading your work. Is it women or men and women? Is your audience older or younger? Keep asking yourself questions and keep doing the research to find out who is reading your work.

5. Where will writing take me?

Writing is a journey. You can take a short trip or you can go the distance, but it is so important to know where you want it to take you. Knowing where you want to go leaves room for strategy. Every writer should have a strategy. Every writer should have goals.


Do you have an answer to these five questions? You can rush through each question, but take your time. Develop really good answers. Who knows? You could be interviewed, and one of these questions could be asked.