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.


Useful tips for authors to leap further in their career

In the Northern Hemisphere, March 1st is the beginning of the spring season which is associated with growth, rebirth, and new beginnings. This is the time of year when people feel rejuvenated and renewed and are willing to rededicate themselves to their true passion. So how can we apply this to our writing? Take a look at the quote below.

“Creativity is always a leap of faith. You’re faced with a blank page, blank easel, or an empty stage.”–Julia Cameron

To me, this quote means that we are given another opportunity to start over from the beginning and we owe it to ourselves to believe in our inner abilities in order for greatness to come forward. What does it mean to you? Please share your comments.

January and March are two very important months for writers. January allows us to write new goals and resolutions for the year and March allows us to renew and spring forward our ideas. If you didn’t take your new year’s resolution seriously, then March provides you with a blank canvas so that you can start over. Here are 4 tips to redirect your writing:

1. Understand your calling:
If you know without a reasonable doubt that you’re meant to be a writer, then stop fighting it. Use your talent to change the world.

2. Do your research:
Don’t jump into binding contracts with your blinders on. Either hire an attorney, a literary agent, or do extensive research on traditional publishing, self-publishing, vanity presses, subsidy presses, and royalty contracts.

3. Embrace your new canvas:
You were given a blank canvas so that you can start over. Embrace your new canvas, but try not to get stuck again. Keep moving forward.

4. Revisit your goals:

Reread your writing goals at least once a month so that you will stay on track. Use these goals as a reference point to hold yourself accountable and keep you focused.

If you’ve gotten off track, will you take that leap of faith and start over? Will you wipe your slate clean and recommit yourself? Use March as your second chance to leap into becoming a better writer.

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.


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.

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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.


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.

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.


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.

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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.


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!

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.


Things to do after your finish writing your first book

Congratulations on finishing your first book; now what? Before you lose your momentum, here are five things to do after writing your book.

1. Hire key staff members. Trying to juggle everything on your own can be very overwhelming and can actually backfire on you especially if you don’t have the right experience in that area. Consider hiring an editor, book designer, web developer, and even a publicist to help you with the development and marketing stages of your book. Having the right people on your team can yield the advice and skill set that you need in order to take your book to the next level.

2. Determine your printing/publishing needs. There are many ways to publish your book so therefore you need to determine what printing and publishing options are right for you. Do your research and make decisions that will benefit you in the long run. You don’t want to sign your rights away if you don’t have to.

3. Network. Look for opportunities to reach out to people in your community or in the writing field. Join writing groups, connect with librarians, visit local bookstores, and join publishing associations, all of which are great ways to promote your book and develop your audience.

4. Advertise. Set aside crucial time to design your marketing plan, create a press release, and utilize free resources such as word of mouth and social media. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr are very helpful to new and veteran authors who want to advertise their books. Advertisement is a powerful way to connect your book with readers nationwide.

5. Schedule author appearances. Author appearances (speaking events, book signings) are where you get the chance to build your platform, sell books, and connect with your readers. You’d be surprised at how many readers love the face to face interaction with their authors.

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.


Improve your writing with this new year's resolution

Every writer should have a New Year’s Resolution. Whether you want to sell more books or strengthen your writing abilities, here are five suggestions to improve your writing for this year!

1. Make time to write – Just like you would schedule a doctor’s appointment or pencil in a dinner date with a friend, it is extremely important that you set aside a specific time throughout the day to write. It’s best that you locate a quiet space in your house or office, and donate that portion of the day to write your next novel.

2. Research your craft – Every writer should spend a portion of their time researching their genre and craft. Whether you check out books at the library or read current blog articles, it is important that you stay abreast of your field. Doctors put in grueling hours a day to research the medical field, so why shouldn’t a writer put in the necessary time to research their field of study?

3. Utilize writing tools – Items such as the dictionary, a thesaurus, or word processor are rarely used because word searches can quickly be done on the internet. Our world is constantly changing and although we want to change with it, there are some old school tools that writers should still use. In my opinion, nothing can substitute the pages of a book.

4. Expand your writing abilities – One of the major things that stifles our writing career is our inability to get out of our comfort zone. We are seldom interested in learning about another genre or type of writing style usually because of fear or a lack of confidence. We must learn how to push ourselves into greatness even when it gets a little uncomfortable. For example, if you are a children’s writer, try writing a non-fiction piece or even a memoir. You’d be surprised at how the challenge could strengthen your confidence as well as your writing skills.

5. Join a writing group – Even published or established authors can benefit from joining a writing group. It might sound juvenile to an advanced writer who has already hit the bestsellers list, but actually a writing group is simply for people who are seeking feedback and constructive criticism. No one gives better feedback than a complete stranger.

These New Year’s Resolutions serve as a guide for you in your writing career. They are merely suggestions and can be tweaked based upon your needs. This is a new year and you want to start it off on the right note by setting yourself some goals and guidelines.

Have fun writing and learning!

This article can also be viewed on The Children’s Writer’s Guild website!

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.


Author interviews done by Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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

I was fortunate to grow up in a house where reading, playing outside, and traveling ranked far higher than watching TV. As such I have always harbored a love for reading, with fantasy and science fiction holding the top places in my list of favorite genres. Reading and reenacting such tales as The Hobbit and The Odyssey when I was perhaps four or five inspired me from a young age, and the landscapes of North and South America influenced the fictitious worlds of my imagination. The summer before my senior year of college I finally finished my debut novel, the first in a trilogy and one I had originally conceived and begun when I was fourteen. I first viewed writing as a hobby that might eventually eclipse my day job—a day job related to my sustainability bachelor’s degree—but an unexpected cancer diagnosis in the fall of 2014 changed all that. A year of grueling treatment gave me time to finish my trilogy and to realize that writing was my true passion. I have been pursuing a career as a writer and author full-time since then.

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

I never sit down to brainstorm. Instead, I keep a little notebook and pencil nearby whenever possible. I never know when some conversation or daydream will turn into an idea for a writing project. When I write, I find it impossible not to edit as I go. I know many, many people say to just write and not worry about editing until later, and I see the merits of this, but I continually find myself revisiting sentences from a previous paragraph before going back to where I was. I have, so far, been completely unable to find a way to stop, and as far as I can tell it only helps the editing process go a little quicker; it’s one less change I need to make later. Unless of course, as is too often the case, I change the wording on a subsequent read through. Any way you cut it, editing takes far longer than writing. I chose to self-publish for several reasons. It has become a viable alternative to traditional publishing and continues to lose the stigma it once held. For me, the process of getting an agent and going the traditional route seemed too daunting. I wanted to get my work out there sooner than later. Writing was, at the time I was ready to publish my debut novel, just a hobby for me. I will certainly consider traditional publishing in the future, but for now self-publishing has suited me well and I am very happy to have gone that route with my first trilogy.

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

Since my first and latest books are the first and last in the same trilogy, I will just cover the whole trilogy in this response without giving away too much. I wanted to start with the classic hero narrative and then depart from the conventions of a fantasy in unexpected and thought-provoking ways. So, I have an orphaned boy in a small agrarian town—who lives with his aunt and uncle—on the cusp of adulthood. He wants more than anything to avenge the deaths of his family, and leaves town following an old mentor, gets a new weapon, new name, and proves himself in combat. But before long things start to stray from this familiar path—indeed the very path we and our hero expected to follow. Friends and foes realign, and it becomes increasingly difficult to know who can be trusted.

Author interviews done by Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva

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

Consider your options. Whether self-publishing or traditional publishing, you cannot afford to rush the process. DO NOT self-publish because it is fast and easy. It is neither. It takes a long, long time to edit and prepare a manuscript for publishing, if you do it properly. Whether you self-publish or publish traditionally, you will have to do a lot of marketing yourself. You can never start marketing too soon, or do too much to make people aware of your work.

5. Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

I’d rather say something profound in an average way than something average in a profound way.

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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.


Print on demand options for self-publishers

Lightning Source International, IngramSpark, and CreateSpace are all print on demand (POD) printers as well as distributors. Not only are they able to print your book, but they can distribute it to wholesalers such as Ingram. Ingram, just like Baker and Taylor, is one of the largest book wholesalers in the world and is responsible for making your book available to retailers. Both Lightning Source International (LSI) and IngramSpark (IS) are owned by Ingram whereas CreateSpace (CS) is owned by Amazon.

RELATED ARTICLE:
Reasons Why Publishers Should Use Lightning Source

Bookstores usually won’t order books through CS because they aren’t returnable. So what makes them so popular? Well, CS is primarily used by self-publishing authors because they are cheaper and easier to use. CS will issue you one of their own ISBN numbers so that you can publish the book under your own name making it more affordable and less time-consuming for the author. The only downside is that CS will list their name as the publisher which will automatically deter bookstores from carrying the book because it sends a message that you are a self-publisher and bookstores don’t like to work with self-publishers.

Note: LSI and IS are probably better routes to take due to their higher print quality, the option for returns, and their wide distribution channels since CS only distributes to Amazon (unless you sign up for their expanded distribution channel) and LSI distributes to Amazon, BN.COM, Books-A-Million, and many others.

Now, if you’ve narrowed it down to LSI and IS, keep in mind that LSI doesn’t accept self-publishing authors and therefore directs them to IS. If you like the benefits of LSI, but are not willing to start your own publishing company (LLC, purchasing ISBN’s, dba, etc), then go with IS. I’ve worked with LSI and IS and their interface is similar although IS is slightly easier and cheaper. Another major difference is their distribution for print versus digital. LSI has a better distribution channel for paperbacks and hardcovers, but IS is better for eBooks. Also, LSI have more print and binding options than IS.

RELATED ARTICLE:
Lightning Source or IngramSpark?

One of the drawbacks with LSI is that Amazon occasionally lists their books as ‘temporarily out of stock’ which is bad for business. Some authors have chosen CS just to avoid stocking issues.

A FEW MORE THINGS TO CONSIDER
Going with LSI doesn’t guarantee that your book will be carried by bookstores. It only increases your chances especially if you offer a 40% or higher discount. You would still need to call every bookstore one by one and encourage them to purchase your book. Also, you must have a strong author presence online and in your community, regardless of the route you take.

RELATED ARTICLE:
Ways to Publish Your Book


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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.