Bring Back Our Girls


Two weeks ago, 234 Nigerian girls were kidnapped while attending classes at school. They have been sold into “slave marriages” for $12 each and are being raped and battered daily.

PLEASE sign the petition to force the Nigerian president to get these girls back home to their families where they belong. PLEASE imagine if your daugter, sister, niece, etc. were taken from school and sold. PLEASE click the link below and sign.


Do Self-Published Book Authors Need A Literary Agent?


***written by the Writer’s Relief Staff***

***Photo by Victor1558***

Back in the early days of self-publishing, it was generally held that self-published book authors did not need a literary agent.

Even today, many self-published authors choose to release their books on their own because they don’t want to pay the fees associated with literary agencies. Also, they want to keep a larger percentage of their royalties.

But something interesting is starting to happen in the publishing industry. Literary agents are increasingly willing to work with authors who prefer to self-publish—and who have little to no interest at all in traditional publishing.

This is not a widespread trend yet, but it is something to watch.

What Do Literary Agents Have To Do With Self-Publishing?

A literary agent might represent a self-published book in hopes that one day he or she can pitch it to a major New York publisher. Then, the literary agent would earn a standard 15% commission on the sale.

However, these days many writers don’t necessarily want their book to be handled by a major publisher, believing that they can make more money by publishing books themselves.

(Important Note: The writers who tend to take this position are often multi-published authors or writers who have an established readership. On average, a new author with a self-published book might only sell a few hundred copies.)

Not every literary agency is willing to work on self-published books. But since so many established writers are requesting help with self-publishing, more and more literary agents are adjusting their business models to fit the needs of their clients. Some literary agencies are willing to manage the writer’s self-publishing efforts.

And those that help writers self-publish their books take a commission for the work that they perform. At the moment, literary agents usually take 15% of profits to cover their time spent performing the services needed to get a self-published book on the shelves.

Any up-front publishing costs may be paid by the author or the agent—or split between the two. Both literary agent and author are banking on the success of the book.

Here Are Some Of The Services A Literary Agent May Do For A Writer Who Wants To Self-Publish

  • Review all contracts and modify them when possible
  • Handle the administrative work involved in self-publishing
  • Employ the best third-party professionals for cover art, copyediting, proofreading, etc.
  • Help the author make connections; the agent’s relationship with the marketing departments at major book retailers can help his/her clients’ books get the spotlight
  • Help the author transition from self-published to traditionally published if the author decides that’s what he or she wants to do (the agent will have intimate knowledge of the writer’s history and be able to negotiate a great deal)

Is It Worthwhile To Ask An Agent To Handle Your Self-Publishing Efforts?

For some writers, having an agent manage all of their self-publishing efforts works out great: It means they don’t have to do any of the legwork involved with publishing. They can focus on their writing.

Other authors who are self-published can be quite vocal against the new business model: Why pay an agent 15% of profits when you can do all the work involved in self-publishing by yourself?

Read more about the issue here: When Your Literary Agent Is Also Your Publisher.

If a literary agent you’ve queried with an unpublished manuscript wants to talk about representing you, be sure you mention any future interest in self-publishing if that is the direction in which you want your career to go. Since most literary agencies are still practicing the traditional model, he or she might not be able to help you self-publish.

50 Things Under $50 to Promote Your Book

There are some great ideas here! Thought I’d share this article…

50 Things Under $50 Bucks To Promote Your Book

Penny C. Sansevieri
Sep 12, 2013
Huffington Post

These days it seems like everyone’s book marketing budget is a little tighter. If you’re feeling the pinch, or if you’re just looking for some great free stuff to do on your own, here are some tips that can help keep you on track. Along with the tips, I’ve also linked to other articles I’ve written on the various topics, in case you want to dig deeper:

Buy your domain name as soon as you have a title for your book. You can get domain names for as little as12.95. Tip: When buying a domain always try to get a .com and stay away from hyphens, i.e. – surfers rarely remember to insert hyphens. You should also consider using your keywords in your domain because it’ll help you rank better. Social media is great, but don’t use your Facebook or Twitter pages as your “website” – you should own your domain and have a site. Period.

Head on over to and start your very own blog (you can add it to your website later):

Set up an event at your neighborhood bookstore. Do an event and not a signing, book signings are boring!

It’s all about content these days so why not create a calendar for content? Often if you aren’t sure what to write, or when, a content calendar will keep you on track. You can plan the calendar around your free time (though you should blog weekly) and around holidays or events that may tie into your book.

Then, while you’re at it: brainstorm content ideas and start a content folder you can always refer back to when you aren’t feeling “inspired” to write anything.

Check out other, similar authors online and see if you can do some networking.

Do some radio research and pitch yourself to at least five new stations this week. Here’s a great place to find radio stations!
Ready to get some business cards? Head on over to The cards are free if you let them put their logo on the back, if you don’t they’re still really inexpensive.

Put together your marketing plan. Seriously, do this. If you don’t know where you’re going, any destination will do. If you don’t feel like doing an entire “plan” then pick ten things you want to do this month to promote your book.

Plan a contest or giveaway. Contests are a great way to promote your book. Make sure to mention the contest on Facebook!

Time to get yourself onto Wattpad. Never heard of Wattpad? It’s a place where you can run your content, chapters, short stories, whatever you want, and it’s a fantastic way to build fans and get feedback on your work!

Send thank-you notes to people who have been helpful to you.
Send your book out to at least ten book reviewers this week.

Do a quick Internet search for local writers’ conferences or book festivals you can attend:

Create an email signature for every email you send; email signatures are a great way to promote your book and message.

Ready to pitch bloggers? Excellent, then start by doing a search for the right ones on Google. You can also head over here and plug in your search term to find the top blogs in your market:

Enhance your Amazon Author Central Page by linking to your blog, Twitter feed or adding a video if you have one:

Plan your free eBook promotion. If you’re on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) drop your price to zero for one day or three days. You’ll want to schedule this a week or so out, then head on over to sites where you can list your freebie. There are tons of them but here are two to get you started: and

Write your bio and have someone who can be objective critique it; you’ll need it when you start pitching yourself to the media.

Schedule your first book event!

Start your own email newsletter; it’s a great way to keep readers, friends and family updated and informed on your success.

Start a Twitter account and begin tweeting. If you don’t think Twitter is significant, think again; it’s been a major part of our marketing strategy for over two years now (before anyone even knew what Twitter was).

Develop a set of questions or discussion topics that book clubs or online book clubs can use for your book, and post them on your website for handy downloads.

Start a Facebook Fan page. Fan Pages are much better than a personal profile for marketing because they’re searchable in Google.

See if you can get your friends to host a “book party” in their home. You come in and discuss your book and voila, a captive audience!

Find some catalogs you think your book would be perfect for and then submit your packet to them for consideration. If you’re unsure of what catalogs might work for you, head on over to and peruse their list.

Go around to your local retailers and see if they’ll carry your book; even if it’s on consignment, it might be worth it!

Don’t just offer this at bookstores either, see if your local dry cleaner, gift shops, and restaurants will take it.
Often local establishments are very supportive of their local authors!

Visual is so important these days, how about getting an account on Vine or Instagram and doing short videos and pictures about your book or topic?
Visuals are a great way to sell a book!

Write a review for someone else’s book that’s similar to yours. Not sure how this relates to your promotion? Well it’s called networking and it’s just a great idea to always do outreach.

Get yourself on Library Thing or Goodreads and start gathering friends and building your profile there:

Make sure your blog is connected to Amazon via their Amazon connect program (yes, it’s free). (You can do this through your Author Central Page)
Ask friends and family to email five people they know and tell them about your book.

Leave your business card, bookmark, or book flyer wherever you go.

Subscribe to or and make sure that you are getting alerts under your name as well as your book title(s), brand, and keywords.

Pitch yourself to your local television stations.

Pitch yourself to your local print media.
Work on the Q&A for your press kit. You’ll need it when you start booking media interviews!

Schedule a book giveaway on Library Thing or Goodreads. It’s a fantastic way to drive new interest for your book!

Is the topic of your book in the news?
Check your local paper, and write a letter to the editor to share your expertise (and promote your book!).

Stop by your local library and see if you can set up an event. They love local authors.

Do you want to get your book into your local library system? Try dropping off a copy to your main library; if they stock it chances are the other branches will too.

Go to Chase’s Calendar of Events ( and find out how to create your own holiday!

Going on vacation? Use your away-from-home time to schedule a book event or two.
If your book is appropriate, go to local schools to see if you can do a reading.

Got a book that could be sold in bulk? Start with your local companies first and see if they’re interested in buying some promotional copies to give away at company events.

Don’t forget to add reviews to your website. Remember that what someone else has to say is one thousand times more effective than anything you could say!

Trying to meet the press? Search the Net for Press Clubs in your area, they meet once a month and are a great place to meet the media.

Want a celebrity endorsement? Find celebs in your market with an interest in your topic and then go for it. Remember all they can say is no. Check out the Actors Guild for a list of celeb representatives.

Ready to get some magazine exposure? Why not pitch some regional and national magazines with your topic or submit a freelance article for reprint consideration?

Work on your next book or work on writing mini-books. Sometimes the best way to sell your first book is by promoting your second, but also many authors are writing and promoting mini-books to keep readers engaged while they wait for their next book to come out. How long do mini-books need to be? 50-75 pages. That’s it!

Just Proud

Just Proud

I’m so honored to have been featured on this poster for Black History Month, 2014. It circulated throughout the month of February and has now been retired. I decided to post it today just for good measure! 🙂

Bigotry is Bigotry…Period


On December 6th, I began searching for upcoming book festivals in hopes of escaping to a warmer climate for a few days. For those who follow my blog, you may recall how I fell head over heels in love with Savannah, GA while on my book tour this past summer. Imagine my glee when I saw their book festival will take place in just a couple if months.

I looked at the site, and was immediately shocked by what I saw. As one who celebrates multiculturalism and loves learning about the traditions and views of other ethnicities, I was actually hurt by the display of all white authors; 37 authors, not one of another race. I was so taken aback, I was compelled to contact the coordinator. The following are our communications:

—-Original Message—–
From: []
Sent: Friday, December 06, 2013 10:45
To: Info
Subject: SBF Website Contact

COMMENTS: It would really be nice to see at least a bit of diversity amongst the authors. Perhaps you could take that into consideration at next year’s event. I was in Savannah a few months ago for a book signing event for my latest release and became very excited by the prospect of returning just to relax and see other authors when I saw an ad for this event. I am left despondent at this point, because the representation makes it seem that there is no interest in writers of other ethnicities. This is very unfortunate in 2013. This is precisely why the south has a continued reputation of blatant racism. Inconsideration is no different than exclusion.
On Dec 9, 2013, at 8:55, Robin Gold wrote:

Dear Dr. Teamor:

We agree that there should be a more diverse representation of authors at the Festival.

I can assure you that we have invited NUMEROUS authors of a broad representation of ethnicities and have been turned down by them for various reasons.

We will continue to seek authors who would be a good fit for the Festival regardless of race or ethnicity. The 2014 Festival is an exception, but it’s not because we didn’t invite a number of authors of minority races.

Thank you for your concern, but I can assure you that we try very hard to have a balanced representation of authors and genres.


Robin Gold
Executive Director
Savannah Book Festival
Thank you for your response. However, being an African American author who spends the majority of her time amongst largely diverse groups of authors around the country, I find your dilemma very hard to believe. Your search for ethnic authors could be done by simply visiting Amazon author pages. There are literally thousands of African descended, Latino, Asian and Native authors who long to be included in this kind of event.

Mitch Albom, your keynote, is a white author from DETROIT. He is always included on lists with African American and Latino authors and could easily have suggested ethnic peers. I wonder if the authors you say you’ve contacted are as turned off as I am and that’s why they’ve declined.

I certainly will not press the issue and will not contact you again, but when I see these kinds of situations, I am deeply saddened. Your web page for this event could easily be an ad for a 1940’s or 50’s event. I’m sure that I don’t stand alone amongst my counterparts.

Dr D L Teamor
Sent from my iPhone

When I read her response, I was immediately reminded of Romney’s, “Binders full of women” that were brought to him when he was governer.

More recently, I think of Saturday Night Live’s, Lorne Michaels stating that there are no African American women on the show but, “It’s not like it’s not a priority for us…It will happen, I’m sure it will happen.”

To me, all these hold as much water as a bucket with a hole in it. We live in, “the melting pot,” right? There are no shortages of men, women, children, races, nationalities, religions or sexual orientations. Anyone and everyone can be represented if there is a desire to do so. It’s time to STOP WITH THE EXCUSES. After all, an excuse is, was and will always be nothing but a dressed up lie.

Coolest. Bookstore. Ever.

This is Paradox Bookstore in Wheeling, WV. They say there are so many books that you have to walk sideways to get through some of them. Indie bookstores, like indie authors, are unique, necessary and a cut above the rest!


Books and Bell’s



My last book signing of this tour was bittersweet, to say the least. I arrived in Jacksonville on a beautiful, sunny day and checked in at the Pecan Park RV Resort (the most comfortable park where I’ve resided in any state, by the way.)

Before the event, I had the opportunity to visit a few downtown attractions and then made my way to the signing.

After a satisfying number of sales, out of nowhere, my right eye began to feel swollen. I glanced in the mirror to my left, and everything appeared normal.

A few more sales, a few more photos and signings, and then my face went numb. I could no longer smile, my speech became slurred, and I was dizzy and nauseous (that’s supposed to be a smile in the pic below…)

When all was said and done, I left the event early and ended my night at Baptist Health Hospital. The staff, including Chaplain Genesis S. (pictured below with his wife and baby,) took care of me and my little Lola, and the view from my room couldn’t have been more beautiful.


Thank God, there was no sign of stroke although my blood pressure was 203/105 when I arrived in the emergency room.

The diagnosis…Bell’s Palsy. The blessing…I was struck only upon completion of this book tour! Alas, I’m heading home for awhile, working on my next novel, setting a few acupuncture appointments and hitting the road to recovery!

From TN to GA

After a fantastically productive time in Tennessee where I secured a publicity manager, radio interviews and an upcoming signing, I made my way to Georgia.






I visited bookstores in Atlanta, Conyers and Norcross, and had the opportunity to visit family from both my mom’s and dad’s sides. Because I ended this part of the trip a day early, I decided to spend some time relaxing in Savannah before my next event in FL. I could have stayed in Savannah forever! Not only is it gorgeous, but the serenity gave me a space both physically and mentally to write and write and write! This is my kind of town.






Not only was I excited to see the settings of, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” I was even more pleased that one of the monuments gave me the inspiration for my first non-fiction work. I can’t wait to shed light on the life of an amazing woman who ran a secret school for over 30 years in her, “Pink House.” I’m honored to share your story, Lady Jane Deveaux!


Graceland, Baby!

Let me just say that I love Memphis! I’m actually staying at the Agricenter RV Park in Germantown, just outside of Memphis proper. And it is wonderful. The people here are friendly and above all else, Graceland is here. Of course, I had to visit, and here are my pics 🙂