Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Right now thousands of people are in the final days of the National Novel Writing Month Challenge (NaNoWrMo) where participants challenge themselves to complete a 50,000 word manuscript in the 30 days of November. Of course, I'm no stranger to this challenge having tried it for the first time last year. I didn't come close to meeting the goal but I was proud of myself for taking on the challenge. It's a very interesting experience. Unfortunately, this year, I've been hard at work on my upcoming novel, Reconciliation to Hell, which is a spinoff to my first novel, Unfinished Business, so I didn't dare try to take the challenge. What I did do, however, was challenge myself to meet the 50,000 word count for November on my project.

Nope. Didn't come close to the goal, but not for lack of putting forth great effort!

But, I did move farther along than I would have had I not challenged myself at all. So, the moral of the story is, DON'T BE AFRAID TO SET HEFTY GOALS! And CELEBRATE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS AT EVERY LEVEL!

While November is quickly slipping away, I still have my ULTIMATE goal of completing my manuscript by 12/31. So, my challenge continues...ROOT ME ON!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

2011 Essence of Motown Literary Jam & Conf

Awesome! Energizing! Electrifying! Educational! Phonomenal! Fun! Long. Exhausting. Irreplaceable.

Above are only some of the words that come to mind when I reflect on the day spent at the 8th Annual Essence of Motown Literary Jam & Conference hosted by the Michigan Literary Network and Motown Writers Network. Founder of the conference and the network, Sylvia Hubbard, pulled it off again, with a host of volunteers, sponsors, vendors, workshop presenters, and panel discussion participants.

A few of my personal favorite presenters today included author and motivational speaker Monica Marie Jones, who was also having a book release party for her latest book Monday Motivations, Versandra Kennebrew, author, speaker, holistic teacher, and life coach, as well as national bestselling author of 13 books, Vincent Alexandria.

Now that I'm done with my literary shout outs, let's get to the literary lessons learned. Disclosure: A literary sistah could only spread herself so thin during the course of one day. There were lots of workshops to choose from. Below are few of my takeaways from the two workshops I participated in as well as a new activity added to the conference itinerary--60 minuted write-in (i.e. lock-in, but for writers).

Motivating Yourself to Market Your Book--Workshop 1 Facilitated by Monica Marie Jones

Perfect ones 30 minute elevator speech. Make your audience want to know more about you.

Fan the fire of your project. Get a buzz going about your book BEFORE its even finished. Easily achievable by having your book cover designed early and releasing it to the public. Blog regularly about yourself, your book, or subjects related to your book. Keep yourself on folks' minds.

Don't keep your deadline to yourself. Tell your readers when you plan to have your book completed. They will keep you on target by always asking, "How's the book coming? You almost done?"

Social Media for Authors--Workshop 2 Facilitated by Versandra Kennebrew

Utilize group lists on Facebook. Suggested groups for authors may include: fans, book club members, writers, PR professionals, virtual mentors (see description below)

Have Facebook Fan Pages targeted for each area you work in (i.e. fiction, nonfiction, motivation). In the case of our presenters, Versandra Kennebrew,  who is not only an author, but also a massage therapist, life coach, and holistic teacher, she has a Facebook fan page for each of these subjects to better engage her fans of those particular endeavors. The same should be for all authors. Create a fan page for each book you publish, every service you offer. Social media is all about connecting to as many people as possible!

Develop virtual mentors. Thanks to the power of the Internet you don't have to personally know people to learn from them. You can easily Google successful authors you admire and learn by watching. A good number of virtual mentors is 10 but you can have as many as you'd like.

Be a resource to others. It's to your advantage to help others. While you're helping them, in essence you're helping yourself. The more people who know you is greater exposure to the people in THEIR network. See how that works.

Have a target number of  Facebook fans and/or friends, Twitter followers, Blog subscribers. Without goals of where you want to go, you have no sense of growth for your business (your authors, hip, your blog, etc) or no sense of how well you're doing.

Write-In--Hosted by Venus Mason-Theus As much as I loved the workshops I participated in, this event was THE ONE I anticipated the most. It was simply a one hour free write session. Participants could start on a fresh piece or work on a project in progress. Considering I hadn't written anything on my upcoming novel the previous week, I NEEDED this hour. The goal was to write non-stop (no backspacing, no deleting, no minor editing). And what a benefit it was! In that hour, I added nearly 700 words to my novel. Plus, the exercise got my creative juices flowing for the rest of the day.

Needless to say, I had a great time! And I had company. My wonderful daughter was kind enough to man my vendor table while I was bouncing around in and out of workshops and networking, soaking up all of this knowledge! Isn't she adorable???

Yours in Literary Love,

L.A. Jefferson :)