Free author interview by Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva

Author Interview

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

When I was 10, I started singing. I would write my own songs and perform them locally. I always had that creative bone in my body. But somewhere along the way I stopped writing music, and when I was 15, I started babysitting. I have nannied for several different families, and I stayed in the childcare industry up until 2014 when I wrote my first book. Since then, I have published 2 other children’s picture books, and am currently working on a new series. I also started a company called Youngster’s Kids where I publish and sell my books through.

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

The children I used to babysit inspired me to start writing. Just the little things they didn’t like doing; taking their naps, eating their veggies, sharing, etc. I decided to write books that taught the importance of these essential growing skills, while still incorporating creativity and fantasy, making these books really fun to read. I am regularly involved in readings at the local libraries, elementary schools, preschools, even festivals. I am constantly being told by parents how my books have actually made nap time and eating vegetables fun for their kids!

3. Tell us a little about your first and latest book.

The first book of mine officially published was “Nap Time With Harry”, but it actually wasn’t the first book I wrote. My first book was “Little Bear and His Chair”, which I wrote to teach kids to share. The kids I was babysitting at the time had a hard time in that area, so I created a fun short story that rhymed about sharing. I also illustrated this book by myself, which is a big accomplishment considering I have never been amazing at drawing. “Little Bear and His Chair” is now available as a PDF download on my website, but has not been released anywhere else. I have published 2 books since then, and I am currently working on a new series.

Free author interview by Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva

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

First, don’t quit your day job. No matter what people think, you don’t get discovered as a writer overnight. It takes months, even years of hard work before people know your name. This is especially true for independent authors who have a harder time proving themselves without the credibility of a publishing house behind them. And second, don’t give up. I know this is such an overused term, but I can’t stress it enough. You will have many sleepless nights, and it’s going to get very stressful sometimes. But you have to believe in what you’re doing, you have to believe that what your writing is going to change people’s lives. Even if you are just writing children’s picture books, such as myself. You’re creating something, and putting it out into the world. That’s pretty amazing.

Inspired by Claressa Swensen’s story? Get in contact with her!


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.

Goals That Every Writer Should Have

The writing profession is one that requires self-discipline. In order to be successful, you must write specific goals that help you make it to the finish line. Having a stagnate writing regime will only hinder your chances of supporting yourself as a full-time writer. Here are 3 goals to keep in mind:

1. Write fervently – Some people say that it’s important for a writer to write something even if it is of no value. It’s just like speaking another language, if you don’t use it, you lose it. So therefore, put your writing into gear and take off!

I’m a firm believer that the things we love the most, we should embrace and approach with a certain amount of urgency and intensity. But be very careful of burnout and exhaustion. My suggestion, find a quiet room in your house and just write with every ounce of passion. Tap into the deepest place inside of your heart and let your pencil do the rest.

2. Market yourself – I used to tell my students that every moment is a teachable moment. As a writer, use every opportunity as a way to market yourself. Whether it’s at the grocery store, at the bank, or even at the car wash, be ready to pass out business cards and speak with people about your book or blog. Now, don’t become too pushy or annoying, but try to find a way to gently weave it into the conversation. You’d be surprised at how powerful personal interactions and word of mouth can be.

3. Capitalize on your talent – Many writers get paid to do other things aside from writing books. Some writers blog, guest blog, teach at writing conferences, and others have become advocates for writers, all of which are substantial ways to supplement your income. If you have a gift for writing, editing, or networking, then use those talents to your advantage. Try to identify at least three streams of revenue and center your career around that. It’s not a good idea to spread yourself too thin although it is said that writers must wear multiple hats and juggle hectic schedules in order to make it in this business.

Before you do anything else, reread these goals and apply them to your life! Think about how you can benefit from them and how you can incorporate them into your writing career.


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.

Here are the mistakes that new authors make

Writers make tons of mistakes early on in their writing career. Some mistakes result from a lack of dedication and persistence, but most arise when there is no plan put in place. Here are the top 3 mistakes that writers often make.

1. Not having a marketing plan
Not having a clear marketing plan or not having one at all can cause total havoc on your writing career. It forces you to make impromptu decisions versus calculated one’s which ultimately can be devastating for your book. A marketing plan should be a guide to help you achieve success. It should help you determine your target audience, provide you with selling tips on how to reach that audience, and supply you with ways to gain even more customers. If you don’t already have a plan in place, it’s time for you to write one. Here are a few things to include:

• Description of your book
• Goals and objectives
• Target audience
• Marketing budget
• Marketing analysis
• Marketing strategy

2. Expecting your book to sell itself
Authors make the terrible mistake of thinking that their book will actually sell itself. Books are not people and therefore cannot advocate for themselves. They are incapable of holding up a ‘buy me’ sign or calling local bookstores asking if they can be shelved. As the author, you are responsible for networking with bookstores and sustaining your online and in-person presence in order to market yourself and sell your books.

3. Expecting overnight success
Many authors expect the ‘J.K. Rowling success’ overnight. It normally takes a lot of perseverance, dedication, and commitment before that happens (if it ever does). Many authors are eager to quit their day jobs in hopes of earning a full-time salary as a writer. Truth is…few authors are able to support themselves on a writer’s salary. Many must get part-time teaching jobs or contract work on the side in order to support their families. Understand that good things take time and most likely it will take a lot of marketing, networking, tweeting, blogging, etc before your book becomes a hit.


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.

Bring visibility and attention to your book

Can you imagine writing a book that no one ever reads?

What if it stayed buried under a pile of bills or remained invisible to everyone other than yourself? Sounds weird, right? Well, one of the major ways to jump-start your writing career is by gaining exposure. Aside from the therapeutic benefits of writing, it is very important that you bring visibility to your book.

Here are 3 ways to get your writing noticed.

1. Start a blog -
Blogging is a great way to share your passion along with your expertise and writing skills. Each time you share an article through social media, more people are able to read it which brings more traffic to your blog which ultimately can mean more sales which means more money. Make sense? Starting a blog is a great way to attract readers. It’s easier to grasp their attention with short articles than it is with a 300 page book so therefore writing a short and catchy article can be valuable.

2. Look for paid and free publicity -
There are many ways to gain exposure for your book – some routes are free whereas others can be costly. Paying for Twitter or Facebook ads can be useful if you have a budget for it. If you’re looking for free publicity, then try sending your press release to local magazines and newspaper companies. Also, try email blasts – email the specs of your book to as many people as possible. Why not, it’s free?!

3. Contact libraries and bookstores –
With online shopping and the availability of eBooks, it almost minimizes the need for a public library. That being said, libraries are still beneficial in many ways. Librarians have tons of buying power and the ability to purchase several copies of your book for their readers. Try calling local libraries or visiting major conferences held by the American Library Association for tips on how to get your book noticed. Also, contact indie bookstores as well as Barnes and Noble, Target, Costco, Walmart, etc.

Hope this helps. Stay tuned for part 2!


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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