SORMAG, or Shades of Romance Magazine, is an online magazine for readers and writers. LaShaunda Hoffman founded Shades Of Romance Magazine because of her love of African-American romance novels and the lack of support for these books and writers. SORMAG was an extension of an online forum called Aspiring African-American Romance Writers she started on delphiforums way back in 1999. Then SORMAG became a bi-monthly online magazine. They featured their first online conference in 2001 and now they host one every other year. The magazine evolved to feature not only romance but all literature, writing, and good books.
The current issue of SORMAG salutes the 26 writers that they think everyone should be reading this fall. I am proud to say that they included me. Yay!
Thank you LaShaunda Hoffman and Shades Of Romance Magazine for the great interview. I love these questions — and coincidentally and deservedly, they have also been nominated for an African American Literary Award this year. So we share that honor!
Here’s what she asked me in this great conversation about writing and books. Great times as usual with LaShaunda. This was a valuable conversation to share with emerging writers and readers who love the author process.
1. Abiola, what advice would you give an aspiring writer?
The biggest advice for any aspiring writer is to just write. Develop a daily practice. Get up in the morning and write 500 words — or maybe you do it at lunch time or before you go to bed. Writers need to be in a practice of writing. Go to Meetup.com or your local meeting place and join or create a writer’s group. You can also do this online. You need to be in a community of like-minded spirits. It is critical for you to be surrounded by those who can be critical of your writing, but not critical of your dream to be a writer.
I have been a writer since I was a child, but I had an advantage. My parents are both writers so it was not an unusual thing for me. I still lacked the courage, though, to present my ideas to the world. So the second tip I would give would-be writers is to read. Read books that are beyond your tribe and what you would normally read. Read, read, read to stretch your brain. Then go out and experience life. Many young writers for example feel blocked — and it’s because they are not living. Get yourself a life and then write.
There’s a wonderful book named “The Artists Way by Julia Cameron.” If you are an aspiring creative of any kind, get it. The world is waiting for what you have to say — and I look forward to reading it.
If you want to order a print copy, click here for MagCloud.
2. What promotion tip works for you, Abiola, with your new book?
Social media is an incredible blessing for us as writers and human beings. Social media is the cornerstone of “The Sacred Bombshell Handbook of Self-Love,” which I am building into a much-needed self-love movement for women.
Build your tribe one person at a time. It’s not about sales, it’s about service.
Who are you speaking to? Who is your book written for? Know specifically who your book appeals to. Your audience is not “everyone” although you may want it to be. Become involved in your community, retweet other people’s offerings as well. Answer people back. Have a dialogue and common courtesy and respect when it comes to those who participate in your work. Instead of just seeking to shine, help others to shine and you will glow naturally. None of us is an island.
For me, the biggest thing is that I come from a place of service. I receive so many emails from women saying, I found your book, blog, column, video, whatever, and it changed my life, or it was just what I needed at the moment. If I remember that I am in service, then it is not a chore at all to promote my book and my work. I am not promoting, but I am sharing something of value. Therefore, I would be doing a big disservice if I was to avoid saying, here it is! Make it about your work rather than all about you.
For example, “The Sacred Bombshell Handbook of Self-Love” has been nominated for an African American Literary Award for Best Self-Help Book along with Iyanla Vanzant, Bishop T.D. Jakes, and Russell Simmons. In a recent video interview, I brought their books with me because we’re all in this together!
Most importantly, say something worth reading or listening to.
3. Why should a reader read “The Sacred Bombshell Handbook”?
“The Sacred Bombshell Handbook of Self-Love” is a reader-driven book. What that means is that it was written in direct response to the advice questions I get from women via my Essence column, the questions women ask me when I’m giving a speech or workshop, and the letters and confessions I receive from women on my blog.
I have redefined the word “bombshell” to mean a woman who loves, honors, and cherishes herself, mind, body, and spirit. There is a self-love crisis afoot and it has many faces. It can look like fear to step into your own courage to embrace your big dreams or staying in a situation that is no longer healthy for you. A dearth of self-love can also look like all kinds of unhealthy behaviors.
I wrote this book to be a guide for those who want to stop playing small. A reader should read this book if she is ready to step into her greatness and embrace the power she has within.
4. Where do your readers connect with you on social media?
I am easy to find across social media @abiolaTV, where the TV stands for transformation and victory!
- Twitter @AbiolaTV
- Tumblr: KissAndTell.AbiolaTV.com
About My New Book
If you can’t see the video above, click to watch here.