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LASHAUNDA HOFFMAN-Update!

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LASHAUNDA HOFFMAN

{LaShaunda has a new book out on how to  promote your business online

‘Building Online Relationships’ is available at SORMAG 

 LaShaunda Hoffman has been on fire for the last few months, forging new paths! Let’s talk about her journey!!

 

SORMAG has become a very recognizable name in the online promotion field? Tell us how you started and what has sustained you on this journey?

I started SORMAG – Shades Of Romance Magazine as a tribute to my favorite African American romance authors. I honestly didn’t think it would last as long as it has. We celebrate 15 years this September.

I wanted a place where readers could stop by and learn about the latest books and meet the writers who write them.   I decided an online magazine would be the perfect avenue for my dream. Inside the magazine we feature books, author interviews, and articles about the craft and business of writing. We have a little bit for the readers and those who write books.

My love of books and promoting them has been the driving force behind SORMAG. I truly believe there is a book for everyone and I’m making it my business to introduce readers to their book.

SORMAG is free digital magazine I invite you to become a subscriber.

http://bit.ly/1zudAdC

We also offer it in print format for a small fee. http://www.magcloud.com/user/sormag

LASHAUNDA HOFFMAN AND BRENDA JACKSON

Tell us about Virtual Tea with LaShaunda? It sounds so inviting!

Online book promoting can be overwhelming at times. Virtual Tea with LaShaunda is my way to help writers in their book promoting journey. I offer private one on one session, or group sessions.

These are hands on training and you do a lot of work each week. Together we create a promotion plan that will help you reach new readers online.

If you would like to learn more about Virtual Tea with LaShaunda

http://conta.cc/1LMZP1P

A large part of promotion seems to include being an encourager, getting people to believe in themselves and their work. What are 3 tips you can give.

LASHAUNDA TEE C AND CURTIS BUNN

My first tip – Get Passed The Fear – Fear can stop you from doing a lot of things, writing, promoting, selling. It stopped me for years, until I realized I wasn’t doing what I loved. I was hiding behind the fear and not going after my dreams.

My second tip – Believe in your dream. Write it down, create a plan and do the work. Dreams can’t come true if you don’t do the work.

My third tip – Promote your book . No one can buy your book if they don’t know it exist. Don’t be afraid to tell people about your book.

 

Your hard work has made you promotion royalty. What advice do you have for people who are struggling with not becoming an immediate success?

Success takes time. Yes there are a few who have instant success, but for those who want to make a career of this. It takes time. Create a plan for your career. Know what success looks to you. What it looks like to someone else might not be the same for you. I had a hard time with that because I was looking at other’s success compared to mine. However God showed me the amazing things I’d done and I was a success because I was still here helping others. It was never about the money.

If success means lots of money for you, be prepared to do a lot more work to get to it. Remember that plan I was talking about. Set your money goals and work toward them. Don’t talk about it, DO IT.

LASHAUNDA BANNER

You will be joining the ranks of a published author soon. Tell us about your book. How does it feel to be on the other side of the promotion table?

Building Online Relationships – One Reader At A Time is my gift to writers who are struggling with their online promotion. These are the lessons I’ve learned while building SORMAG and my online presence. Each chapter is a lesson to help writers build a promotion plan to reach new readers daily.

I told you how I let fear stop me for many years. My dream has always been to be a published author. I’ve written a few fiction books, but the fear kept them in my closet. I started this book in 2011 and put it aside for a little while. My mother’s death reminded me that I wasn’t living my dream of being a published writer. She was my number one fan and I’d let fear keep me from letting her see my name in print. I promised myself that I would finish this book and kick fear in the butt.

I will admit I’m a nervous wreck about being on the side of promoting my own book, but I have my lessons and I’m doing them one at a time and I’m reminding myself daily that is dream I want and I have to do the work to see it come true.

Thank you, Jeanette, for this opportunity to share my experiences, if anyone has any questions, feel free to contact me – http://lashaundahoffman.com

LASHAUNDA HOFFMAN BONDING THRU BOOKS

LaShaunda C. Hoffman took her love for books and turned it into an award winning online magazine, Shades of Romance Magazine. Her mission in life is to introduce as many books as she can to readers. She’s happily married mother of three who believes in dreams and working hard to achieve them.

Catch her online: lchwriter@gmail.com SORMAG – http://sormag.blogspot.com, See Ya On The Net, her personal site – http://lashaundahoffman.com , Facebook -facebook.com/lashaunda.hoffman or Twitter – lashaundaH.

TIA ROSS-A True Renaissance Woman!

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Tia Ross is a Renaissance woman with an impressive range of skills and diverse experience across multiple vocations. She has a 17-year track record of delivering stellar results across the enterprise, nonprofit, academic, and government sectors. Her primary areas of focus and interest involve information architecture, IA design, web content optimization, technical documentation, and communications design. She also specializes in event planning and production.

Tia owns and manages three companies: PenTechnical, a small freelance technical communications agency; Boss Meetings & Events, an independent event planning company; and Black Writers Events, a legacy-defining series of conferences and retreats. Through legendary events such as Black Writers Reunion & Conference, Tia has empowered countless individuals with the knowledge, skill, and confidence to pursue their dreams of becoming authors, playwrights, screenwriters, publishers, and literary entrepreneurs since 2000.

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Tia holds an arts degree in writing and an applied science degree in computer information systems–software and database programming. Tia’s early work as an editor earned her a nod from Writer’s Digest Magazine in 2003 as one of the “Top 37 Book Doctors in the U.S.” and a 2008 NAACP Image Award for best nonfiction book along with countless bestseller awards for her clients. She was recognized with a series of “Best Website” awards for web design and content architecture, including twice winning a spot on the Writer’s Digest Magazine “Best 101 Websites” list. Tia was awarded the Platinum Page Award for being most instrumental in contributing to the lives and careers of African-American writers and literary entrepreneurs, chosen as a Woman of Influence in Publishing by Written Magazine, and nominated for an Influential Black Women in Business Award for her work in the literary community.

Born in Los Angeles, Tia grew up between southern California and northeast Texas, where she picked up a rather authentic “Southern Belle” accent and lost the “Valley Girl.” An audiophile with an undying affinity for hi-fi audio, she’s into cycling, swimming, traveling, and adores spending leisure time at the beach. She is “Mom” to two awesome young men.

Let’s see what’s going on with Tia…

You created the Black Writer’s Reunion Conference (BWRC), the most successful writer’s conferences for African American writers and authors. Tell us how you came up with the concept and how you implemented it so successfully?

Memphis Vaughan Jr. of TimBookTu.com and I first toyed around with the idea of a writer’s conference for our online communities in the late 90s. I’d just formed the first 501c3 literary arts association to organize online for Black writers and he was featuring up-and-coming authors on his site (and still is, 17 years later). I thought it was too soon to launch the event. A year later, members of my organization wanted a meet-up, and Charene Thornton, one of the members, began coordinating the event in Atlanta. I felt that if we were going to dedicate valuable time and resources to it, then we needed to also incorporate education, book promotions, contests, and other key conference components. BWRC TIA TERRENCE 2001We were already this big, very close-knit family of writers by that time, so I gave it the name “Reunion & Conference” to acknowledge the family gathering as an equally important component of the event. Its success was borne from the fact that it was and continued to be, a collective family effort in support of the vision I shared with them and our mission to continue to build upon the nurturing community we all cherish.

You are a master at networking and negotiating, both valued skills. When working on a project with so many variable components, how do you determine which people will be a fit?

It’s become kind of intuitive for me now, but I learned to look at people’s track records. Their brands speak volumes. What have they been doing to support fellow writers to date? Are they already contributing members of our community, networks or extended networks? What do they expect in return for their contribution? How supportive are they of fellow writers or are they in it simply for self-gratification? How have they treated people who’ve come to them for help? The answers tell the tale and make it easy to identify those whose motives mesh with the organization’s goals and mission and to weed out those whose don’t. Someone who strictly wants to make money off of us will not fit in.

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Bringing writers together brings with it the inherent possibilities of egos going viral. How did you manage to keep this to a minimum while cultivating a spirit of camaraderie?

I simply don’t cater to egos. I treat everyone as equals, and I extend to new speakers and workshop facilitators the same respect and gratitude that I extend to those who’ve been with us since the very beginning. I’ve never bought into the belief that we need so-called “big name/V.I.P.” authors for our events to be successful. Writers do not attend our events to meet anyone who is only there because they were paid to be and otherwise has no interest in them or their writing dreams and goals. People come to Black Writers Events’ conferences, retreats, and workshops to learn, to be inspired to take their talents for writing seriously, to be enlightened on how to nurture and develop those gifts and be profitable, to find and build support systems, and to be empowered on the spot by those who have the knowledge and are present because they want to give back and serve as teachers and leaders within an organization that supports them in return. These are the true VIPs to me . . . without any airs. When there is a noticeable, distinct lack of pretense and arrogance at our gatherings, camaraderie and fellowship naturally ensue.

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What do you believe the BWRC conference accomplished and what do you see as the next level movement?

BWRC was all-encompassing of the best of what one hopes to find when s/he attends a writers’ conference. Tananarive Due said it best when she said BWRC offered “the kind of organization and nurturing available to African-American writers that have been available to white writers for years.” For some reason Black writers had lowered standards when it came to events by us and for us, as if we expected schedules to run late, equipment to be broken, conference materials and handouts to be poorly put together, meager menu offerings of primarily high-cholesterol, high-calorie finger foods, and for our events to be hosted at 1- or 2-star venues where the bill hadn’t been paid before we arrived. TIA BWRC sessionBWRC changed the game by making top-notch event production at world-class hotels and resorts the new standard without gouging attendees’ pockets. The next level can only dictate that Black writers and readers demand the highest standards across the board for all events we patronize. One of my favorite quotes: “The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.” I apply this to everything in life, and specifically with regard to black writers conferences I’d add another favorite: “Never settle for less…even if you have to wait a while.”

What do you mean by “wait a while”? Is there something else over the horizon for BWRC?

One of the main reasons I stepped down from BWRC was due to the workload. Finding venues and producing outstanding conferences requires significant amounts of time and energy, and when you’re raising two sons, working a day job plus moonlighting as a freelancer, and trying to effectuate new career and business endeavors through a degree plan course of study, something has to give. I was overwhelmed, so I stepped back from the conference. The late, beloved Gwynne Forster praised the conferences since the beginning, continually encouraging me to keep supporting emerging black writers no matter what and, as I fully expected, I dearly miss the camaraderie of the Black Writers family. So, I am working on creating new events that are less labor- and resource-intensive and require less capital to produce but are equally rewarding for all involved. I’m also relaunching Black Writers Alliance with plans to offer structured critique groups, literary support services and other membership benefits for published and professional writers, editors, publishers, to name a few, and those who aspire to be. The door is open to various opportunities for interested individuals to get involved on the “ground floor” posted at BlackWriters.org.

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To find out more about Tia or Black Writers see below:

Tia Ross:

http://tiaross.com / http://linkedin.com/in/tiaross / http://twitter.com/tia_ross / http://plus.google.com/+tiaross

Black Writers: 

http://blackwriters.org / http://twitter.com/blackwriters / https://plus.google.com/+BlackwritersOrgEvents / http://facebook.com/blackwritersevents

 

 

TONI SIMMONS HENSON-Our Stories, Our Voices! Revisited!

 

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LISTEN TO WHAT TONI HAS TO SAY:

Theatre Producer, Toni Simmons Henson grew up in Hillside, NJ in the backyard of Broadway. Her passion for theatre stems back as early as when she was 8 years old when she and her sister, Wanda Simmons, the writer and age 9, produced plays in their backyard and basement for neighborhood kids.
In 2004, Henson became the Executive Director of Drama Kids of Princeton. Drama Kids is the US franchise of the Helen O’Grady Acting Academy.

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The Australian based academy is the largest children’s acting academy in the world. In just a few short years, under her tenure, the Academy enrolled over 750 students and produced over 80 plays and presentations. The program grew to five locations and two summer camps. The explosive popularity of the program attracted national publicity including articles in Entrepreneur Magazine and the cover of the Princeton Packet Weekend Magazine. Henson received two awards for distinguished achievement.

In 2007, Henson moved to Atlanta and founded Micah 6-8 Media, LLC. Under that company, she produced two hit plays entitled Once Upon a Dream by Khristi  Adams and Big Girls Gotta Eat, Too! by Melissa  Blackmon and Wanda Simmons.  Big Girls Gotta Eat, Too! toured four cities and was a part of the 2012 DC Black Theatre Festival.

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In 2012, Henson founded the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival where over 200 artists perform 40 plays in four days. This annual event attracts thousands of theatre lovers from 24 states and three countries.  In 2014, Micah 6-8 Media, LLC was nominated and awarded first runner-up as Emerging Business of the Year by the DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce for the Festival’s “significant contribution to economic development and community impact.”

The festival hosts an annual event gala that has honored theatre legends such as Taurean Blacque, Melba Moore, Pearl Cleage, Alia Jones-Harvey and American Theater Hall of Famer, Woodie King, Jr.

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Henson holds a B.B.A. from Howard University and an M.P.A from New York University. She has been married for 25 years to Antonio Henson, V.P. of PNC Bank and together they have four children.

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TYORA MOODY-WOMEN MAKING HISTORY Month

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TYORA MOODY

Tyora Moody is the author Soul-Searching Suspense novels in the Serena Manchester Series, Victory Gospel Series and the Eugeena Patterson Mysteries.  As a literary-focused entrepreneur, she has assisted countless authors with developing an online presence via her design and marketing company, Tywebbin Creations LLC.  Popular services include virtual event planning, social media management, book trailers and book covers.  She is also the author of the nonfiction book, The Literary Entrepreneur’s Toolkit, and the host of The Literary Entrepreneur Podcast.  For more information about her literary endeavors, visit her online at TyoraMoody.com.

You are a woman with many talents. How do you manage so many different projects/businesses and maintain a ‘day job without stressing out?

Well, I can’t say I don’t get stressed out. LOL! Especially after a long day at the day job. I manage an entire department and I’m often called on to put out fires.  I have learned over the years that as long as I stay at my day job, I needed to let go of those services that were stressing me in my business. I decided to start to focus on only providing services that kept my passions alive and brought me to life when I started to work on them at night.

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I do have a habit of being overly ambitious. What I have learned is to accept what I get done in a day or week is okay.  Maybe that’s what you were meant to accomplish. I have moved one step towards a goal and made at least one or two clients happy. The goal is to provide a quality service.

I also prefer to work a little bit on this project and a little bit on this project until I reach my goal. I have found putting these large projects on a to-do list without any baby steps in between make you more stressed.

What made you decide to become an entrepreneur!  At what point did you consider yourself a professional in your new field?

I grew up with two entrepreneurs – my parents. My dad was a contractor and I watched him build houses, tile bathrooms, do carpentry work and even bricklaying. He was a jack of all trades, but really good with everything he touched. My mother had a beauty salon for almost thirty years. So as a teenager I worked in her shop and watched how she interacted with customers. Her customers loved her and were incredibly loyal.  I take a lot of what I’ve learned from both of my parents and use those skills in my business.

So, I guess in the back of my mind I always thought I would do something as an entrepreneur. I wasn’t sure what… it came to be me over time.

I started to think of myself as a professional once I became more serious an established my LLCs, increased prices and really started thinking bottom line like a business.

No one succeeds alone. What type of team members do you require to meet your goals?

You’re exactly right! In the first couple of years, I was very much a solopreneur. I had the skills so I did it mostly everything myself. The problem with that model is there are only so many hours in a day and you can easily burn yourself out.

When you need to hire a virtual assistant or outsource, you should carefully consider it and not let your budget deter you. I have used a virtual assistant for several years and still outsource some of my services. It helps to keep the business running on those days when you’re tied up on other projects or just flat out tired.

I look for people who are dependable and have the skill set that matches the quality of service I want to deliver. I also network with others who may or may not be in the same business as me and try to assist where I can. Collaborations and partnerships are very encouraging.

HOSTILE EYEWITNESS b2If you were offered a sound project but it didn’t fit into your career plans, would you accept it to finance your main interests even it meant delaying one or more of them? Why or why not?

At this point in my life. No. Maybe a few years ago I would have. I’m in my 40s now… rapidly approaching mid-40s.  I just flat out no longer want to spend my energy on what I really am not passionate about doing.  I’m okay with waiting on God to provide the increase when it’s time. Plus I’ve been there when I have taken on projects for finances versus really making sure that’s what God intended for me to take on. Those projects tend to give you the worse headaches and regrets.

How do you rebound when things don’t go the way you’ve planned?

Well, first I evaluate what went wrong and what I needed to learn from the experience. Many times if a service doesn’t go right, I may review the workflow and try another process. I think an entrepreneur you have to take risks and be flexible. You can’t let fear of failure or even when something falls flat and keeps you down. It’s all a part of the growth process.

You have a recent Eugeena Mystery book release. Do you have plans to move your novels into another industry such as film or television?OvenBakedSecrets_FINAL

I would love to see Ms. Eugeena live in person either in a play or a web series. In the future, I can see casting auditions for someone to play her. A film would be great too!  Ms. Eugeena fits that audience who loved watching Murder She Wrote except Ms. Eugeena has a bit more sass to her style.

How can we contact you?

I encourage your readers to visit me at my website, TyoraMoody.com. You can find out pretty much about all my online activities with my businesses, Tywebbin Creations, and Tymm Publishing.

Also, follow me on Twitter – @tyoramoody  and Like me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/authortyoramoody

Contact Tyora at: