It is a pleasure to host author Angelia Vernon Menchan as RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR at 4writersandreaders blog this week. Angelia is currently featuring two books from her SOUL TIES DUO. You’ll find out more about them at the end of her post. So, sit back, relax and travel along with the author as she shares how her writing journey began. Welcome Angelia Vernon Menchan!
Angelia Vernon Menchan’s Publishing Journey, The Beginning Chapters
My journey to publishing has been an interesting blessing. My goals in life were always to be a counselor and author. By age 36 I had accomplished the counseling, however, the author journey would not begin until almost fourteen years later unless you count the yearbook articles.
My early adult years were filled with traveling with my military husband, raising our sons and creating careers for myself. Writing at that time would not have worked for me because I knew it would have taken my focus off things that were more important, my family. That is only indicative of my life and everyone must choose what works best for them and how.
However in 2004 when my youngest started college I started writing and the stories flowed like lava from a busted volcano. Many I gave away, others I entered in online contests and got favorable reviews. But actually publishing did not occur to me until I wrote an eighteen page short story that really excited people, that story has spawned eight full length books and as many short story spinoffs. The writing journey began by simply writing and deciding without any advice to publish. (This isn’t recommended for the faint of heart.)
For four months I wrote fast and furiously and decided to vanity publish after some research. I know, I know, but seeking a publisher never crossed my mind. I started my first business at thirteen so “do it myself” worked for me. Anyway I plunked down my five hundred dollars and my baby, Black’s Obsession was born. I was an author! Ha, hold up, wait a minute. No I wasn’t, I was a writer who had thrown together a book and gotten it in print. I joined yahoo groups and it didn’t take long before I was disabused of my notions of being a real author. I actually received 3s and 4s as reviews but it was clear it was sloppy and many made no bones about saying it, not necessarily to me but I heard it loud and clear. Instead of being offended, I listened and made some changes. But before that could fully occur a strange thing happened, local readers paid their fifteen dollars and loved the book. There were components that they especially loved, such as an African-American man who completely loved a woman and didn’t care who knew it and was as flawed as could be but loved his community and was about positive growth. That heartened me enough to continue because with all of its flaws the books were selling, I was being invited to book clubs and events and was having conversations with readers about my work. I just knew I had work to do and was willing to do it.
I incorporated my company, MAMM Productions, started surrounding myself with those who were honest and supportive at the same time. By that I mean, they assisted me but didn’t fool me into thinking I had all the answers. I hired a publicist and those who could whip my books into shape and I was on my way. I also have an aside, which is probably most helpful to new authors, once you accept that not everyone is going to support your work and that every book isn’t for every reader, you have covered a major hurdle in your life. Please accept that if nothing else.
For the next several months while working on my second book I had to make changes. Online was not working for me, it was too much talking and pontificating, so I decided there was no way I would spend my time like that. I was an African-American writer with African-American stories living in a city with 350 thousand African-Americans! It was time to take my show on the road. From 2007 to 2010 I published eight books and traveled my state and the surrounding states selling my work and gaining readers and relationships. I barely went online during that time, that wasn’t my focus or my concern. When I first knew this was working for me was going to The Zora Neale Hurston festival, people bought my second book, Love Stories of People I Have Known and they also took my card and soon after started calling me. It was rejuvenating and encouraging.
Of my travels another mission was born, many found me a storyteller and funny and soon I was being asked to not only show up and sell books but people were actually asking me to talk about the things I was writing about, including teen issues, mentoring, marriage, community involvement and the list goes on. I was no longer a writing publisher, I had become something else that continues to bless my life and my writing work. While on the road, I sold a lot of books but I grew weary. It was exhausting considering I still had a very demanding career as a Budget Analyst. In my next segment of my publishing journey I would like to talk about bringing my career back online and learning to change when change is needed.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR and her many books at Angelia’s Amazon Author Page
THE SOUL TIES DUO “Sex is not qualified to do the work of love, it just isn’t.”
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Follow Angelia Vernon Menchan’s RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB SPOTLIGHT TOUR all week at http://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/spotlight-authors/