Building Voices Logo

Building Voices is participating in the Mission Main Street Grant program in order to receive $100,000.  We need 250 votes by June 19, 2015 in order to be considered for the grant.  In order to qualify, we had to answer a questionnaire.  See questions and answers below.

1. Tell us about your business and what makes it unique. Please provide a general description of your product, customers, competitive landscape, and overall performance.

Building Voices ® is an independent publishing company that specializes in Children’s Fiction and related resources for home and school. In addition, we offer critiquing services and writing mentorships for aspiring writers. We publish chapter books, interactive journals, coloring books, activity books, and more. Building Voices is unique because of the message that we are sending to parents, teachers, librarians, and educational officials that the voice of children matter. Our goal is to educate one mind and build one voice at a time. We believe our books will entertain, inspire, and build the future voices of this world.

2. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur? Describe both your greatest achievements and biggest challenges.

Being a teacher has allowed me to see first-hand what is missing at home and in the school system. I wanted to write books that encourage kids to be leaders and to devote more of their time to reading. I believe my humorous, inspiring, and educational book series will encourage kids to incorporate reading into their daily routine. Aside from having my daughter, one of my greatest achievements was writing my first book, Broccoli Chronicles. It won the 2015 National Indie Excellence Award in Children’s Fiction and has been selected as a finalist in Foreword Reviews’ 2014 ‪INDIEFAB‬ Book of the Year Award for Juvenile Fiction! My biggest challenge is finding a balance with my family, my work, and God.

3. How is your business involved with the community you serve? Examples include: giving back to the community, sourcing locally, and/or contributing to economic development via hiring.

I am very active in my community. Through Building Voices and my non-profit organization, TCD Kids Foundation, I provide free writing tips to aspiring writers plus I donate tons of free books per year to kids. Building Voices recently started a reading program called Reading Builds Character which encourages kids to read at least 15 minutes per day. I am a big advocate for reading, writing, and building the voices of our youth. I use my social media sites to get the word out to parents to read more with their children.

4. What would a $100,000 grant mean to your business and how will you utilize the funds? Please be as specific as possible.

I believe that every book counts and no child should go without good reading material so a $100,000 would be the supreme blessing right now. It would allow me to donate more books to kids. Through book donations, we were able to donate at least 100 books. Actually having a financial budget would allow us to donate way more. Also, it would allow me to further develop our reading program, Reading Builds Character. Many parents, especially single mothers and parents from underserved areas don’t spend the proper time reading with their children. Well, this grant would allow us to educate more parents and supply kids with the proper reading material that they deserve. Lastly, the money would be used to enhance our book series, Little Kids, Big Voices. Currently, we have a chapter book, coloring book, interactive journal, math workbook, and a school planner coming soon. This money would allow us to create more curriculum guides, activity books, and educational novels.

5. What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term growth plans for the business? How will this grant contribute to your plan?

My short-term plan is to educate and build one mind at a time by bringing awareness to more children and parents about the benefits of reading and unleashing the voice that lives within them. My long-term goal is to reach 1,000,000 children and families by 2019.

Please vote for us here!

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.


Blurb:

noun
1. a short description that praises something (such as a book) so that people will want to buy it. There are many elements that are essential to a back cover, but today we will focus just on the blurb. A blurb is a short summary, usually a condensed version of the synopsis, which highlights the major parts of the story. The purpose of the blurb is to get the customer’s attention and persuade them to purchase your book in less than 30 seconds, therefore a boring or very long blurb won’t work. Blurbs should be short, concise, and catchy. Most of all, the blurb should be clear and make sense. Look at the blurb below.

Ten-year-old Myrtle Beckle lives on Sugarbird Lane with Blabbermouth Samantha and the No Eating Vegetable Club. This vegetable patrol has banned every kid on their block from eating any vegetables, which is why they mock Myrtle, the vegetable nerd, for her bizarre fascination with broccoli. While dodging their antics, Myrtle plants broccoli seeds in her backyard in hopes of one day becoming a scientist and finding a cure for cancer through broccoli. This humorous, educational, and inspiring chapter book, filled with secret clubs, rivalry, broccoli experiments, and more, proves that the voice of a child should never be ignored.

This blurb introduces the main character, her goal, and her contribution to the overall story. It also shows conflict and how the antagonist drives the plot. The blurb also gives some insight as to what happens in the end of the story. It’s clear, concise, engaging, and can easily help the customer determine whether it’s the right fit for their child or not.

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The Front Cover
The Back Cover
The Copyright Page
The Spine

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.


Where to find illustrators

Finding the right illustrator can be a very tedious task for multiple reasons.  First, you want to make sure that the illustrator has a developed background which includes a portfolio and a degree in illustration and/or years of experience, all of which show the heights and range of their talent.  Next, you want to work with someone who listens carefully to instructions, but allows their creative genius to take your vision and manifest it into visual form.  Lastly, you want to hire someone who you like.  Most likely, you will work with this person on multiple projects so having a good relationship with them goes along way.

RELATED ARTICLE:
Advice for Writers: Build Your Author Platform

Prior to the last editing phases of Broccoli Chronicles, I began looking for an illustrator for my book.  My dearest friend, Sharon Lee, recommended that I look at the work of Alvina Kwong; I was immediately blown away at her talent, but I was nervous deciding on an illustrator due to past experiences, so therefore I let a few months go by before I finally offered her a contract for my first book.  I was not only impressed with her ability to capture my main character, but also by her publishing credits, her college background, website, and extensive portfolio.  We started working on the 42 illustrations right away and about 2-3 months later, we were done.


Personalized Books from ISeeMe

In the small time that Broccoli Chronicles has been published, it won the 2015 National Indie Excellence Award in Children’s Fiction and has been selected as a finalist in Foreword Reviews’ 2014 ‪INDIEFAB‬ Book of the Year Award for Juvenile Fiction!

Alvina and I worked together for at least a year before we had physically met each other.  Prior to that, our conversations were all through text, email, phone calls, and social media.  We finally met at the Jackalope Art and Craft Fair in Pasadena in April 2015 and it was a delight.

Alvina Kwong and Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva

Not everyone experiences a happy ever after ending like I did so please take your time before you decide on the right illustrator for your book.

Check out some of the illustrations that Alvina did for my first 4 books.

RELATED ARTICLE:
Advice for Writers: Find the Right Editor

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.


NIEA Winner Broccoli Chronicles Juvenile Fiction Children's Fiction

News from Building Voices

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 5/18/15

Contact: Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva, Building Voices, tnb@buildingvoices.com

Building Voices | Books, Publishing, Critiquing

2015 NATIONAL INDIE EXCELLENCE AWARDS ANNOUNCED

Local Author receives national recognition from the 9th Annual 2015 National Indie Excellence® Awards!

Los Angeles, CA — The 9th Annual 2015 National Indie Excellence® Awards recognized Broccoli Chronicles (Little Kids, Big Voices, Book 1) by Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva in the category of Children’s Fiction as a finalist in this year’s competition.

This prestigious national award, based in Beverly Hills, California is open to all English language books in print from small, medium, university, self and independent publishers.

The National Indie Excellence® Awards exist to help establish independent publishing as a strong and proud facet of the publishing industry. Recognizing authors that put their heart and soul into their work, the National Indie Excellence® Awards is proud to be a champion of self-publishers and small and independent presses that go the extra mile to produce books of excellence in every aspect. Awarded since 2007, the National Indie Excellence® Awards competition is judged by independent experts from all aspects of the indie book industry, including publishers, writers, editors, book cover designers and professional copywriters.

Winners and finalists are determined based on overall excellence of presentation in addition to the writing. Broccoli Chronicles (Little Kids, Big Voices, Book 1) is a children’s fiction chapter book which highlights ten-year-old Myrtle Beckle who lives on Sugarbird Lane with Blabbermouth Samantha and the No Eating Vegetable Club. This vegetable patrol has banned every kid on their block from eating any vegetables, which is why they mock Myrtle, the vegetable nerd, for her bizarre fascination with broccoli. While dodging their antics, Myrtle plants broccoli seeds in her backyard in hopes of one day becoming a scientist and finding a cure for cancer through broccoli. This humorous, educational, and inspiring chapter book, filled with secret clubs, rivalry, broccoli experiments, and more, proves that the voice of a child should never be ignored.

Broccoli Chronicles, chapter book by Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva

“We are proud to announce the winners & finalists whose books truly embody the excellence that this award was created to celebrate, and we salute you all for your fine work, said National Indie Excellence® Awards Award President & CEO, Ellen Reid.

For more information please visit: www.indieexcellence.com.

About Building Voices: Building Voices is a children’s publishing company based in Los Angeles, CA. They publish chapter books, coloring books, interactive journals, and more. In addition to books and publishing, Building Voices offers critiquing services and writing mentorships for aspiring writers. Building Voices is scheduled to publish their second chapter book in December 2015. For more information, visit www.buildingvoices.com.

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.


Self-publishing authors should utilize their amazon author page in order to increase sales

Utilizing your Amazon Author Page is one major benefit for self-publishers.

Items such as: product details, more about the author, and customer review sections allow you to provide in-depth information about you and your book.  Let’s take a look at the product details section for Broccoli Chronicles.

Amazon Product Details

Keep in mind, this is an old caption and therefore this section has been recently updated.

This section allows you to see the page count, the publisher, the dimensions of the book, and more.  Unfortunately, it’s not shown in this picture, but I later added the age range for my book which lets parents know whether or not the book is appropriate for their child.  If their child is 3 years old and is still reading picture books, then a chapter book designed for ages 7 – 12 is not appropriate for them.

You are also able to see how many customer reviews there are plus my best sellers ranking which informs you of which position my book is at compared to the 8 million plus books that are on Amazon.

Check out this link to an Amazon Author Page Q & A.  If you still have questions, check out this list of product detail page rules created by Amazon.

Stay tuned for…Self-Publishing: Utilize Your Amazon Author Page 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.


paperback or ebook blog post at taneekabdasilva.com

Paperback vs. ebook is a popular topic that seems to have many audience members divided.  Some like the touch and feel of crisp pages whereas others like the convenience of downloading their favorite book wherever and whenever they like.

Check out the following articles and weigh in on the pros and cons.

1. Paperback vs. ebook: the staging ground…

2. Paperback vs. ebook: War of Words

3. E-books vs. Paperbacks: Why digital wins, period

As a self-publisher, I think it’s a great idea to try both.  Consider starting off with an ebook version first and as customers demand for it, began phasing in a paperback version.  I have found that the costs of producing an ebook are a lot cheaper.  The fees to upload the file to a POD printer is significantly less, plus you eliminate extra costs such as ordering a proof which can run around $30 or so.  Regardless of the format you chose, make sure that you do your search and more importantly, don’t become so overwhelmed with your decision-making that you forget to actually publish your book!

Which do you prefer?  Paperback or ebook?  Please share your thoughts!

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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.


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