Writers, don't get discouraged!

As a writer, do you ever get discouraged? Feel like giving up? Ever wonder why their book made it, but yours didn’t?

These are all valid questions, but they aren’t valid reasons to give up on your writing.

We were all given certain gifts and talents in order to enhance this world and make it a better place. Now that’s not to say that signing a million dollar book deal or seeing our book on every shelf in America wouldn’t be great, but you must find success in the small things that you do.

Try to think about the small victories that your book has had and think about the good it has done. Has it encouraged someone? Maybe it put a smile on someone’s face or maybe it brought you closer to your family or to God. Remember, every positive thing that we do in this world will bring some sort of positive change to our lives.

It took me a very long time to appreciate the journey of my book. After winning three literary awards, I assumed the next step meant getting published in a major newspaper company or possibly getting into every bookstore in the world. It was hard for me to accept that quick success didn’t happen for everyone and particularly, it didn’t happen for me.

Sometimes it’s a slow process and at times it can get frustrating and even discouraging, but at the end of the day, the waiting period is where we mature as human beings as well as writers.

Now…I’m not saying that financial success isn’t important or that you shouldn’t strive for it, but what I’m saying is that you shouldn’t live for it. I like to believe that writers change the world and so if all of us stopped writing just because we experienced a little bit of failure then there wouldn’t be any future for our kids.

So again, don’t ever give up on what you love regardless of what the odds look like. Us writers must stick together and encourage one another. #WritersChangeTheWorld

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


How do I get started? by Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva

As a new writer, you’re probably asking yourself, “How do I get started?”

The answer is simple, but complex. First of all…Continue writing. The worst thing that we can do as a writer is to stop writing. It is important to find time throughout the week to brush up on your skills.

Second, create an outline of your book. Jot down suggested titles, character names, and major events. As time goes on, don’t be afraid to eliminate things that don’t work out. Start structuring your plot and the key elements that make up the story. Flush out your beginning, middle, and end and make sure that it is fluid and that the events of the story drive your plot. You also want to start looking at separating your story into chapters. Don’t tell the whole story in one setting. Weave in and out characters, make sure there is a cliff hanger at the end of chapters, and try to embed conflict within each character. Whether it’s man vs. man or man vs. others, there needs to be a level of conflict within the story or people won’t read it.

Third, determine how you want to publish you story. Self-publishing or traditional publishing? Ebook vs. paperback? These decisions make a big difference in price, quality, and whether or not your book can be carried in bookstores. If you decide to self-publish, you want to figure out which company is right for you – CreateSpace, Lulu, IngramSpark, etc. If you prefer traditional publishing, then you would need an agent. Most publishers won’t work with you unless you have an agent, unless they are an independent publisher like Building Voices.

This is only three of the many decisions you must make as a writer. Start here and learn as you go. But remember, never stop writing! Stay tuned for “How do I get started? part 2″

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Advice for writers: Find a quiet room to write part 2

Almost a year ago, I wrote the article Advice for Writers: Find a Quiet Room to Write. At first, I was on fire to write at least one article per week. I made sure that everyone in the house was asleep and then I would go into my office and simply write. My writing time would include: poems, articles, and even chapters from my upcoming book.

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But over the past few months or so, I have noticed that my writing time had dwindled. Instead of one article per week, I can barely squeeze in one per month. I don’t believe that my fire has died, but that my day-to-day life has taken priority over my writing career. That’s why it is extremely important that we stay organized and find balance in our lives. Of course, our family, job, and household responsibilities will take up most of our time and energy, but finding those quiet and solitude moments to just let our creativeness flow through our pores is actually priceless.

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Recently, several people have approached me seeking writing advice and tips on how to balance their family life with their writing career. It’s weird because they see me as an expert, although at times I feel like I’m in the same boat as they are. I normally just share with them some of the things that have worked for me and then encourage them to carve out at least a few hours a week to devote to their writing.

I know it seems hard or at times impossible, but we all have the same 24 hours in the day. Now most of that time is pretty much taken up by family, work, and of course sleep, but there must be at least a few minutes per day or a few hours a week just to let our pen and paper do its magic…write, and revise, and edit, and write, and more writing…the good stuff, right?


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I hope that this article has inspired you somehow, but if you’re still not convinced, here are six tips:

TIPS FOR WRITING
1. Find a quiet room in your home or office to write
2. Try to find a space that’s dedicated to just writing
3. Be responsible – notify your friends and family that you will be unavailable during that time
4. Disconnect your home phone, cell phone, iPad, iPod, or any device that you’re not using to write with
5. Don’t start writing until you have all of the supplies that you need
6. Make sure that you relax, stay calm, and just write

Feel free to share your experiences. We can all learn from each other!

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Broccoli Chronicles is available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Maybe you have noticed that I haven’t been blogging a lot in the past two months. Well, aside from my family and teaching obligations, I’ve been scheduling book events at various Barnes and Noble stores throughout California. I thought it was time to finally provide you with an author update and pictures of my past endeavors.

Below is a picture of us at the Chino Hills Barnes and Noble in April 2016. This was our second time there and for some reason, it got better each time we went. This store is very different from the others primarily because it’s located at an outdoor shopping center with tons of foot traffic and places to eat.

At this event, we focused more on greeting customers and signing and autographing books. We were able to personalized and customized each signature and illustration. Also, we were able to take tons of pictures with kids and families holding up our books.

Broccoli Chronicles is available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Now this is a really cool picture of us at the Rancho Cucamonga store in June 2016. There were tons of kids at this event and they were ready for hands-on activities as you can see in the picture. There was a short book reading and right after that there was an art demonstration done by Alvina Kwong. Not only did the kids make their own bookmarks, but she showed them how to draw little cute animals. This location doesn’t have an outdoor mall with outside foot traffic, but there are tons of dedicated customers that visit the store frequently and they showed their support to us that day.

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva and Alvina Kwong at Rancho Cucamonga Barnes and Noble.

This was a very special event for me because it was held in June 2016 in my hometown, Merced, CA and right before my birthday. There was tons of support from the parents and community especially the local paper – the Merced Sun Star. They posted a short article notifying the community of my book event and they also posted a larger article which highlighted Broccoli Chronicles and some background information about me.

One special moment was when I arrived at the event and noticed that a young boy had already read by book before I got there. He had a big smile on his face and tons of questions for me to answer. That moment was priceless. As you can see in the picture, there was a book reading done by one of my staff members, plus there was an arts and crafts station for kids to create books marks, and a table for me to sign books for various customers.

Broccoli Chronicles is available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

If you haven’t already, contact your local bookstore and see if they are willing to pencil you in for a book signing or even carry a few of your books through consignment. This reduces the risk for the bookstore, but offers tons of opportunity for you if the customers buy the book. As you can see, book signings are a great way to promote your book and gain extra readers.

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Interview conducted by award-winning Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva

Author Interview

1. Tell us about yourself, your background, and/or your credentials and degrees.

I’m a teenaged, published author from an itty-bitty town in Tennessee. I am currently studying Electronic Media Production at Harding University with a minor in Film. In my free time, I love to write stories with dynamic characters dealing with crazy tasks. I always tend to lean towards controversial topics and things that make a statement. I know it can get me into trouble, but I can handle it!

2. Tell us about the process of writing and publishing a novel. What inspired you?

The process was full of long nights! My novel that just came out was written mostly at night. It was my first year at college and six hours from home. I was trying to balance a social life, grades, and doing what I love: writing. It was actually super fun, and I’m a little proud of myself! Publishing came with Amazon and Createspace’s wonderful programs. They’re great!

3. Tell us a little about your first and latest book.
My first book… oh boy. It’s called The Vista and now has a whole new world around it. My latest novel is a branch off of that book. I was only 16 when I wrote The Vista. I did it for fun and had no intention of anyone ever reading it. And now it has turned into my platform. I’ve been in newspapers, magazines, television programs, and blogs doing all kinds of interviews. It’s kinda scary to think about! I was super shy and was scared to let anyone read my work. I feel like a character from a book!

My latest book is The Sleeper Cells. I am obsessed with it. And if you follow me on social media, you’ll see my obsession in full swing. I didn’t have any idea what I was doing with the first one, and now with this book… it’s like a huge transition. It doesn’t even look like it came from the same person. My new novel is something I have worked very hard on. I spent the last 10 months on this project. I am so excited to finally hand it over to the readers!

It’s about a group of terrorists that go through with a plan to take over a portion of a country. It follows Vincent Easley and his friends as they try to survive this horrible “sleeper cell”. But it’s more than that. Vince is with his girlfriend (that he has fallen out of love with), his uncle, and a few other friends. They have to find a way to work together. If you love Red Dawn or The Walking Dead (just replace the zombies with terrorists), you’ll love this book!

4. What insight would you give to aspiring writers who are interested in publishing?

I would say to do 3 things.
• OBSESS OVER IT! You need to completely change your life. Decide to follow this! It’s time to start really believing in yourself. For me, I had to start researching and finding great writing resources. For example, blogs about writing, other author interviews, ect. I started following all kinds of bookish accounts on social media. I was obsessed with the book community!
• REACH OUT! It’s important to connect to other writers, authors, and readers. This is something I am still working on. It’s technically called networking, but I want to build real relationships and bonds with these people. They’re people like you and me!
• DO NOT GIVE UP! “A professional is an amateur that didn’t quit.” There have been times where I thought I would lose my talent. If it’s writer’s block or no one showing interest in your work, it can be easy to quit. But, PLEASE, don’t quit!

5. Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Thank you so much for this opportunity. It’s people like you that keep the dreams alive.

Interview conducted by award-winning author Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


How to become a successful author?

You wake up in the morning with a plan to tackle your day. Whether you’re looking for your car keys, grabbing your shoes from the dog, or eating blueberry pancakes, your goal is usually to have a productive and successful day. If you’re an overachiever like myself, you’re probably asking yourself: What can I do differently in order to improve my writing career?

“Action is the foundational key to all success” was a quote written by Pablo Picasso. At the end of the day, you will not have success if you don’t take action and fight for what you want. Just like boxers do in a boxing rink, they fight their opponent. You must pretend that failure is your opponent and fight it until you win.

Well, how do you win? What are some things that you can do? How do you adjust your life and your way of thinking? The answer is simple: you must master these 3 tips in order to become a successful writer.

1. Don’t fear your opponent

Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. There is no need to fear your opponent when you do not see the opponent as a threat.

Some people see themselves as the opponent because they are always getting in their own way of success. They don’t seem to understand how to remove their old way of thinking so that they can embrace the new culture of writing. Whether your opponent is yourself or failure, don’t fear it. Look it in the eye and believe that you’ve already won!

2. Be creative

One of the worst things that you can do in your writing career is to continue down a path that doesn’t work. If it’s broke, fix it!

Try to be creative. Be willing to try something different. Interview other successful authors and observe what they are doing. For holidays, give out gift baskets with an autographed copy of your book along with flyers and business cards. Most likely, people will pass them out to their friends and family members as a courtesy to you. Design customized Christmas cards using the cover of your book. As visitors come over to their home, they will see the cover of your book sitting on their fireplace which becomes free advertisement.

3. Establish an online presence

Make sure that your readers can contact you, follow you, and purchase your book online. You want your readers to easily find you once they’ve heard about you through a friend. You also want to build a following through social media, through your blog, and from your website. It’s also a good idea to create an Amazon Author Page if your book is currently sold through Amazon.

Let’s recap!

1. Don’t fear your opponent even if you feel that you are your biggest obstacle.

2. Be creative, think outside of the box, and embrace new ideas.

3. Establish an online presence by creating a website and publish articles through your blog.

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About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Meet authors Taneeka and Alvina at the Chino Hills Barnes and Noble.

Chino Hills Barnes and Noble has tons of fun events for families such as: meet and greets, book readings and signings, and even art demonstrations.

Broccoli Chronicles by Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva and Alvina Kwong available at Barnes and Noble.

My staff and I have had the pleasure of participating in 2 events at this location. There is always a great turnout and support from the community. Not only did we sell a bunch of books, but we were able to put a smile on tons of faces.

Meet authors Taneeka and Alvina at the Chino Hills Barnes and Noble.

The Chino Hills staff are extremely friendly and the store is very inviting. Most of all, Amy, one of the managers, rocks big time! If you live in the Chino Hills area, please stop by their store and show your support! For more information about Broccoli Chronicles or Rock-a-bye Baby in Hawai’i, visit BN.com.

Meet authors Taneeka and Alvina at the Chino Hills Barnes and Noble.

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Continued suggestions for aspiring writers

As a writing coach, it is imperative that I check-in with my readers to see if they are meeting their goals. This article is simply a follow-up to my original article which provided 6 basic tips to help Aspiring Writers (AW’s) get published. See below:

1. Write your story: Focus on setting, plot, character development, etc.

2. Join a writing group: Try to get constructive criticism and feedback from your peers.

3. Hire a developmental editor and/or a copy editor: Make sure your manuscript is polished.

4. Draft your query letter and synopsis: Spend some time condensing your 100 page manuscript into 1-2 pages.

5. Critique your query letter and synopsis: Hire someone to analyze your pitch and whether or not you immediately grab the reader’s attention.

6. Submit your query, synopsis, and manuscript to publishers: Purchase the ‘Guide to Literary Agents’ in order to research publishers in your specific genre.

Out of all of the 6 tips, the first one is the most exciting and the fourth one is the most difficult. Tip 2 is where you learn to have thick skin and tip 6 is basically where you play the waiting game. You submit your query to agents and pretty much wait around to see if one responds or not. (Most of them won’t respond at all. You’re lucky if you even get a rejection letter).

So…how far along are you? Are you stuck on a particular tip? Have questions?


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About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Tips for maintaining a healthy balance in your writing career

In this current society, everyone wants to be successful regardless of the cost and toll it takes on their family and health. People are willing to work long hours with no breaks, no leisure activity or without the proper exercise. Writers spend most of their day building their brand, networking with customers, marketing their product, and so forth. It is important to maintain a healthy balance in your writing career especially if you’re expecting to keep up with this line of work for the long haul.

WHY SHOULD WE MAINTAIN A HEALTHY BALANCE?
1. To prevent burnout
2. To maintain your sanity
3. To maintain stability and longevity
4. To keep the creative juices flowing
5. To think clearly and logically

Making sure that you have a clear thought process and preventing physical and mental burnout will help you keep a positive balance in your writing career.

THINGS WE SHOULD STOP DOING?
1. Wearing too many hats without having the proper systems in place.
2. Neglecting time throughout the day to relax and reflect.
3. Putting your career before your family and your health.
4. Not surrounding yourself around the right people and support system.
5. Trying to achieve success too quickly.

It’s not healthy to put all of your energy into your work and never have anytime for family or to do fun and relaxing things with your friends. Also, you should hang around people or go places that inspire your writing.

TIPS FOR MAINTAINING BALANCE!
1. Exercise frequently
2. Take breaks
3. Spend time with family
4. Find a quiet and relaxing place to write
5. Prioritize the major events
6. Learn to say no
7. Learn that success takes time
8. Become a lifelong learner
9. Study your craft
10. Pace yourself
11. Don’t damage your brand
12. Take refresher writing courses
13. Develop a healthy diet
14. Join a writing group
15. Have balance in your home
16. Don’t let stress build up
17. Relax and rest
18. Work on you

It’s impossible to help others when you’re not able to help yourself. Therefore, put the following tips into practice and start this new journey filled with balance and healthy life choices.

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Extracurricular activities, youth sports, after school tutoring, and more.

There are many after school activities for kids such as: enrichment courses, youth sports, homework help, tutoring, and more. There are tons of benefits, but the major ones are – an increase in academic performance and social skills as well as a reduction in boredom which is one reason teens engage in illegal activity on the way home from school.

If you live in South Bay LA and are interested in enrolling your child in one of these activities, then check out Lomita Park. If you’re child is struggling in school and needs some academic assistance, TCD Kids Foundation offers a Homework Help course for a reasonable price.

Give your child a fighting chance by getting more involved in their extracurricular activities!

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.