A Non-traditional Traditional Christmas

Hello, wonderful readers! Since it’s nearly Christmas, I thought I’d share a post from the past.

Two years ago, my good friend, Brea Essex, hosted one of my blog posts on her 25 Days of Christmas series. I thought I’d revamp the post and share it here. Hope you enjoy!

 

A Non-traditional Traditional Christmas
Okay, don’t freak out, but I really abhor the majority of holiday traditions—at least, those made up by the retail industry to get us to indulge in ourselves. For example, I’m not big on Thanksgiving food. I know, cardinal sin, right? My ideal Thanksgiving meal would actually be all the best quality meat I could find, cooked to perfection, and chopped into bite-sized pieces in order to dip into the made-from-scratch cheese fondue I would have bubbling on the table. And, I’d have some vegetables to dip too—can’t forget that.
***
I become very agitated with Black Friday and even Cyber Monday. Do we need to buy all those “goodies?” I mean, does Mom really need another food processor? Would Aunt Mable truly appreciate that quilted leather jacket just because it was half off? And, will Grandma’s garden look better with all those plastic gnomes? Maybe I sound like the Grinch, but when I hear stories of how people are held at gunpoint outside Best Buy on Black Friday and are told to give up that new PlayStation they bought, it brings a great feeling of anger to my spirit. Is this where “tradition” has brought us?
I'm the ghost of Christmas disappointment.

I’m the ghost of Christmas disappointment.

I get the whole décor bit for Christmas time and other holidays too, but honestly, I don’t think we need to have a winter wonderland in Macy’s in October. What ever happened to enjoying each season for what it is? What is the reason or meaning behind what many of us repeat thoughtlessly year after year? What is the meaning of Christmas?
***
Growing up, we didn’t always have the endless stream of presents that each child dreams of, but we always had enough—more than enough, actually. There were years that Christmastime may have appeared sparse to other onlookers, but I never knew the difference. My mom made sure that Christmas was special for my sister and I. One particular tradition comes to mind when I think of my childhood Christmases.
***
My mom would drive us around for an hour or so to see Christmas lights at night. We would try to find the BEST house and made our votes for the top candidates. Just spending that time together was magical. We didn’t receive anything tangible, but instead had one of the most precious commodities anyone could want—TIME. Time together. Having our mom spend time with us was the best gift I could have received. I believe there really is no price you can place on time spent with loved ones.
Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 16.31.56
Sometimes, giving of yourself is the most lasting gift you can give to anyone. Out of the many gifts I’ve received over the years, the ones that I still “have” are gifts of time—presence—from loved ones. I probably have about five actual presents from past Christmases and the rest are forever forgotten. But, I will never forget the time my family has spent together over the years.
***
Another tradition that comes to mind is that of gingerbread house building with my sister and one of our close family friends. For about ten years, we had a tradition of building gingerbread houses from scratch. Some years, they turned out pretty sketchy…
Other years, they turned out great!
The point is: we do this to spend time together—again, the whole presence theme. So, ask yourself: what does Christmas mean for you? Is it a stressful time where you bust your budget to get things that your receiver is going to sell on eBay December 26th? Or, is it a peaceful time where you get the chance to spend time with loved ones and pour into their lives? Are you rushing around, ignoring the people right in front of you just to impress guests, or are you present in the moment? This Christmas, I encourage you to take a non-traditional approach and do something different.
***
What if you chose to skip on presents this year and donated money to those less fortunate? What if you cancelled that Christmas Eve extravaganza at your house and instead took your family driving around town to find the best lit house? Happiness doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but it will cost you something—time. Taking the time to remember the meaning of Christmas and pressing pause on your busy, hectic life to enjoy what you already have is something that will never go out of fashion. So, have a very merry, non-traditional traditional Christmas!
xx
Merry Christmas from my family to you and yours! <3

Merry Christmas from my family to you and yours! <3

How to Write a Compelling Book Blurb: My 3 Top Tips

Dwight Book Blurb

The Little Blurb That Could

Ah…the little gem that is the book blurb (or book synopsis/summary). It can be a total pain to write, especially if you’re the author and are expected to write it yourself. Not everyone has a great editing/publishing team behind him/her to write the inescapable book blurb, but I promise you that with some practice—and my guidance—writing a compelling book blurb doesn’t have to be very painful.

As an aside, I really don’t care what everyone else says about book blurbs—though I’ve included a link to a post about blurbs below. I think that when we get too caught up in the opinions of others, we get sidelined and confused. That being said, as a trained copywriter, former marketer, and someone who has been writing quite a few book blurbs this year, I’ve come to understand what does and doesn’t work in regards to writing a “hooky” summary for a book.

Let’s begin, shall we? Here are my 3 tips, and then I’ll give you some actual structure so you can create your own blurb.

1. Write it in present tense

Writing a book blurb in present tense (which is standard practice, by the way) gives the reader a sense of urgency AND puts him/her right there with the story. It doesn’t matter if you have written a book in past tense; you MUST write your blurb in present! Don’t switch the tense, and try to avoid first person pronouns. I’m sure it can be effective to do so once in a while, but the ones I’ve read that are styled in that way just make me cringe. Please don’t make me cringe.

This is me, cringing at a bad book blurb.

This is me, cringing at a bad book blurb. (And at my tacky Christmas get-up.)

2. Make it concise

Do you know what a log line is? It’s typically the one-liner for a movie, or even your book’s “elevator pitch.” Nowadays, you can think of it as the tweet-sized summary of your book. When you start writing a blurb with a log line in mind, you can build from there.

After you’re satisfied with your log line, write a few more sentences (or bullet points, if you prefer). In my opinion, 4-5 sentences are great for your book’s summary, but sometimes less OR more is needed. Proceed with caution and test it out on others as you revise. If you write too many sentences, you’ll need to take out your editing cutting board and chop the heck out of the blurb until all the excess junk is gone.

Grumpy Cat Less is More

3. Remember that you’re SELLING something (AKA: copywriting)

WHAT, exactly, makes me want to read your book? Don’t tell me the obvious. When you do so, you make me feel like an idiot, and I’m actually a very smart person. Give me a few details while giving me the overall arc of the story. Make me want MORE from you. Make me want to wrap myself like a burrito in a fleece blanket next to a blazing fireplace while holding onto your book for dear life, eager to turn page after page. That, my dear writer, is what your book’s life goal should be. And please don’t give away the ending!

Don’t be scared of that word “copywriting,” either. It’s not complicated, really. Think about your favorite product, book, thing…whatever. Now, think of all the times you became an evangelist for that thing. How did you get someone else to try this life-changing thing? Incorporate that passion and knowledge into writing your book blurb. You MUST become an evangelist for your book, because no one else will be as fanatical about it if you’re not. And, if you don’t feel that way in the first place, why are you writing a book? For reals. *gives you my best evil eye glare*

Like My own book

But, Teacher, How Do I Actually Write The Book Blurb?

So, now that you know the top 3 things to take into account, how do you actually write the bloody thing?

  1. Think about the important things to highlight about your story—what makes me, the reader, want to read your book? Write down those things using a numbered or bulleted list. Then, limit it to 3-5 points. (I like writing things out on paper, but if you’re more of a “type everything” person, do what makes you comfortable.)
  2. Take your points and make them full sentences. Then, play around with order. You may find the final sentence would actually be better placed at the beginning.
  3. Though the whole blurb will be in present tense, thus already making it have a level of urgency, be intentional about conveying a sense of urgency in every sentence. You can do this by remembering what most of us were taught in elementary English class essay structure: use the proverbial “attention getter.” Sometimes, I like to use a question to garner the interest of potential readers. If they have a question that they want to find the answer to, chances are they’ll pick up your book to find out.
  4. When you have some strong, clear, and concise sentences, string them together to see if they make sense. Then, edit the crap out of them until you are ready to let someone else (or a few someone elses) look over it for you.
  5. Test it out. Send to friends, family members, or even your arch nemesis. Tell them to pretend it’s not you who wrote it, so they’ll give you truthful feedback rather than a cupcake-with-lots-of-frosting pat on the back. Remember: if you can’t take even a small amount of criticism about a book blurb, imagine how much crying you’ll do if people don’t like your book. WRITING IS NOT FOR THE WEAK OF HEART—or the easily offended, for that matter! Take it all in stride and revise and perfect as necessary. (And, for good measure, I’ll still love you even if you don’t take my advice. RUDE.)

 Love your book

If you feel so inclined to read more about writing a book blurb, here is a post on the subject from CreateSpace: https://forums.createspace.com/en/community/community/resources/blog/2014/10/21/how-to-craft-a-compelling-book-description

Of course, before testing it out on others, check your spelling and grammar. If you’re lucky enough to know someone in marketing and/or advertising, ask if they’ll take a look at it for you. OR if you know a copywriter, and they’re willing to read it, send it their way!

Until you become more accustomed to writing blurbs with ease, I’m afraid that the best thing to do is keep practicing over and over. Also, take note of blurbs you think are great. Study them, analyze them, deconstruct and reconstruct them. It’s taken me a few years to become decent at writing blurbs, but I would never call myself a “master.” Yes, I have a natural affinity for the written word, but I still have to practice to make even writing a blog post look easy. But, if you want to think I’m just naturally brilliant, well, hey…who am I to stop you?

What’s that, you say? You want to see an example of a book blurb? Glad you asked! Your wish is my command. Just click your ruby red heels together three times and…

An Actual Example Of Revising A Blurb For A Client:

Original blurb (NOT created by me):

Three remarkable women are faced with challenges concerning their faith, love, and friendships. Jasmine is a wealthy doctor who is the head of her own medical practice, and she is happily married. Topper is single and promiscuous. She is determined to have all of the finer things in life, at any price. Life suddenly changes when her 17-year-old daughter wants to live with her. Monica is a successful educator at an exclusive private school, is married, and has a teenage daughter who struggles with a healthy self-image. Throughout the story, the ladies learn that they can conquer any circumstance through the love of God and the support of one another.

My revision:

Is it really possible to have it all? Jasmine is a happily married, wealthy doctor, who is the head of her own medical practice. But when her Yale honor student daughter starts to develop mysterious mood swings and a nonchalant attitude about maintaining good grades, Jasmine’s perfect little world comes crashing down as she tries to hold her family together. Topper, an extremely gifted makeup artist who struggles with alcohol abuse and promiscuity, is about to get everything she wants. She is determined to have the finer things in life—at any price—but her dreams come to a sudden halt when her estranged 17-year-old daughter wants to come live with her. Monica, a successful educator at an exclusive private school, seems to have the perfect relationship with her husband who treats her like a queen. But their teenage daughter struggles with a healthy self-image, and is harboring a dark secret under the guise of binge eating. As the women face painful challenges and unexpected life lessons, they learn what it really means to rely on God—and a deep bond of friendship—in order to find their happy ending.

In Conclusion

The revision was a bit longer than I usually prefer, but, hey…sometimes that happens. Notice how I began with a question and didn’t give away the ending. THAT’S what you should be aiming for.

Did you like what you read? Do you think I could work some magic for you? HIRE ME so I can buy myself chocolate, because my friends don’t!

My services:

Revise and/or edit a blurb: $25

Write a blurb from scratch: $45

You can HIRE ME by contacting me HERE.

Chocolate Meme

And, if you have something to add to the conversation about writing book blurbs, leave a comment below. :) Unless you’re a spammy bot, that is.

NaNoWriMo’s “Permission To Write” Effect

Happy December, my lovely and wonderful readers!

I didn’t post much last month, with good reason (at least, I think I had good reason!): I was busy writing up a storm to “win” NaNoWriMo. And … I finally did it! After my fourth time participating, I finally freaking did it. I wrote more than 50K words in 27 days.

Cheers to all of us winners out there!

Cheers to all of us winners out there!

But, how did I do it? Well, I attribute my success to three things:

1. I finally felt like I had permission to write—whatever—which helped.

By having “permission to write” whatever and whoever I wanted, everything else fit into place. There was no judgement, no anxiety about getting everything right, but just pure focus on the story and characters that I began to fall in love with.

Until this year, I never truly understood what that so-called permission meant until I actually let it reign supreme in my writing process this past November. As I move forward, I will always keep that permission to write at the top of my writing needs, and I believe it will continue to help me improve my craft and my prose.

2. I kept a steady pace and routine.

Keeping a steady pace and routine is harder than it sounds. But I already knew that I am a creature of the night. I often can’t sleep until 3 or 4am, so I either read or write. During NaNo, I obviously chose to write. I typically began around 11pm and wrote until 1am–sometimes 2am. Doing that every night in November helped me to hammer out an average of 2K words a night.

Sometimes I wrote more, sometimes less, but I did not have any huge spurts of 10K words or anything. (I don’t think writing spurts are bad, but sometimes they don’t help the routine.) I chose particular scenes or chapters to work on, and if I needed to, I’d add to my notes to save more for later. I think I’ve finally found a good writing groove to stick to for future books (and of course, for when I rewrite the first draft of my NaNo book).

3. I prepped like a war general before battle by outlining and note-taking two weeks leading up to NaNo.

Some writers are “pansters” and some are straight up planners. Or, like me, some are in between. When I began to dream up the concept of my third novel, I started outlining two weeks prior to NaNo. I had a notebook as well as note cards. The notebook helped me to get all my ideas out in a jumbled format. The note cards helped me to write key elements of particular scenes–or even write up some punchy dialogue (much neater than notebook notes).

Having both as resources was the best thing I’ve ever done as a practicing writer in the past 5-6 years. Without those elements, I don’t know that this year’s NaNo would have been as smooth for me as it was. I was able to see the beginning, middle, and end of my story, and that’s what truly helped my story flow from 0 to just over 52K words.

What NaNoWriMo Taught Me This Year

So, even if you didn’t win NaNoWriMo this year, didn’t participate at all, or are scratching your head, saying: “What the hell is NaNoWriMo?” I think there’s an important lesson to be learned that anyone can apply to their craft.

Giving yourself permission to do something–to write, to follow a dream, to become a better person–that’s how it all starts. Permission. No one is going to come up to you and say: “I give you permission to write this book.” Nor are they going to say: “I give you permission to find a job that makes you happy.” NO. It begins with you, and you need to say it to yourself. Only then can you be better than you were yesterday. And you know something? Our world could definitely use a lot of “better” in it.

So, I dare you. Give yourself permission, starting today, and see what happens. If you fail, give yourself permission to get up and try again. And soon, you’ll see that having permission is the best thing that could have ever happened to you.

Until next time,

xoxo

I won! Woohoo!

I won! Woohoo!

Book Giveaway: The Wrong Fairy Tale

Hello, dear readers!

I’ll make this short. I have some exciting news. I’m hosting another giveaway for my latest book, The Wrong Fairy Tale, through Goodreads. It ends right before Christmastime, so if you win, it’ll be a Christmas present from me to you! This giveaway is open to readers in the US, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia. Check it out below:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Wrong Fairy Tale by Tamar Hela

The Wrong Fairy Tale

by Tamar Hela

Giveaway ends December 15, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Also, if you would like to add me on Goodreads, feel free to do so by clicking HERE. :) Good luck, and happy reading! <3

The Necessity of Vacation

(As previously seen on the HelaWrite blog.)

For the next two weeks, I’m creating my own sort of writer’s retreat, up in the boons of Northern California with my grandmother. I’ve got WiFi (which is on a limited GB plan!), but we were on dial-up up here just a few years ago. No joke. On Wednesday, my most exciting event was finding a dead raccoon and a (live) frolicking deer while taking the dog for a walk to the mailbox, which is down the street.

I’ve been here for a week already, however, feeling more relaxed than I have since I got back from Spain a few months ago. The most convenient part about my little retreat is that I have been able to focus on very important projects, including NaNoWriMo2014. I have never written so much in such a short time. Woot! 

Me in Oahu, Hawaii 2006

Me in Oahu, Hawaii 2006

Having time to ourselves to work on projects and reflect about things in our lives is very important. Therefore, I’d like to touch briefly on the importance of vacation–whether it’s a day of reflection or a week (or more) away from everything.

Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2007 with my grandparents.

Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2007 with my grandparents.

When I was 21, I had worked for 3 years straight with NO vacation. I thought I could conquer the world while working full-time, and going to school full-time. I worked 7 days a week (for the most part) and nearly collapsed from doing waaaayyyyy too much. Then I had a wake-up call when I finally took a vacation. 

Me in Campello, Spain in 2008--a life-changing vacation.

Me in Campello, Spain in 2008–a life-changing vacation.

One of my best friends was getting married in Hawaii and I didn’t want to miss the wedding. I booked a flight and hotel for both my sister and I, and decided we’d make the trip a full 8-day vacation. It was glorious. I had nearly forgotten how wonderful it was to relax and do next to nothing. I came alive again. And I realized that I hated working so much and needed to make a big change in my life.

Girls trip to Disneyland (CA) for Halloween 2009.

Girls trip to Disneyland (CA) for Halloween 2009.

A few months after that vacation, I quit my job and pursued other career paths. I was so happy and wondered what had taken me so long to make the change. Then I remembered that my vacation had triggered my desire for change, and that’s when I understood how important vacation is. Had I not taken that trip, who knows how long it would have taken for me to realize that I needed to make a drastic turnaround?

St. Louis, Missouri in 2010. Famous arch in the background.

St. Louis, Missouri in 2010. Famous arch in the background.

Vacation–or even reflection days–can bring clarity that the day-to-day grind can’t. It brings us to a different place physically (sometimes) and mentally (almost always) because we are removed from the norm. When we fail to take time for ourselves to reflect, get away from “it all,” and evaluate our current work/life situation, we do ourselves a disservice. We are more likely to fall into unhealthy habits all around, and wonder why we feel dissatisfied or stuck.

My nephew and I in Disneyland (CA) for my baby sister's Sweet 16 in 2011.

My nephew and I in Disneyland (CA) for my baby sister’s Sweet 16 in 2011.

Vacation doesn’t have to be something expensive or burdensome. It can be a day set aside once a month, or every other month, in order to disconnect from all our devices and e-mail, and become centered. It can be a day where our sole purpose is to journal and project the future of our business or career–or even plan our next novel. It’s a day where we ask ourselves: Am I where I want to be?

Times Square, New York with my mom in 2012.

With my mom in Times Square, New York in 2012.

And, if the answer is “no,” then we can use the remainder of our away time to come up with a way to answer “yes” in the near future.

Me, basking in the Cabo San Lucas, Mexico moonlight in 2013.

Me, basking in the Cabo San Lucas, Mexico moonlight in 2013.

I would like to note that an annual getaway does amazing things for our perspective on life. For myself, I come back from vacation with a new vision for my business and writing endeavors, and I just feel rested and ready for the next chapter of my life. I’m a nicer person when I come back from vacation, and that’s always a good thing. Being happier and more relaxed means that I’m a healthier person who can run a healthy business. I’ve made it a rule to travel somewhere at least once a year since that trip to Hawaii nearly a decade ago, and I’ve been blessed enough to keep that rule.

Gorgeous sunset at the Mona Lisa restaurant in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Gorgeous sunset at the Mona Lisa restaurant in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

If vacation is not an option for you in the near future, set aside some reflection days–national holidays are a good start. And, if the thought of vacation stresses you out…um…you should probably take a vacation. :) Grab a piña colada and take some time for yourself. Cheers!

Homemade guacamole (with chips) and a "handcrafted" piña colada!

Homemade guacamole (with chips) and a “handcrafted” piña colada! Made it myself. ;)

Why Does a Post Go Viral? The Power of Social Media

Alex From Target: The Internet’s Newest Celebrity

Over the weekend, Buzzfeed posted an article about teenagers of the Internet making a picture go viral, causing Target worker Alex to become a trending topic on Twitter and other social media platforms. As of today, nearly 5pm in California, #alexfromtarget is still a top trending topic on Twitter. In fact, this kid’s Twitter account blew up overnight, and he now has 235K followers. People have even begun an Alex From Target fandom, writing fictional stories and making memes. Alex’s girlfriend gained masses of followers, not to mention death threats. Like, woah.

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 17.10.04

How did it all start? With a tweeted picture of Alex from Target, taken by a teenage girl. Alex was apparently unaware of the photo being taken, and found out via social media that he had become an overnight sensation. According to Huffington Post, Target is thrilled about their employee’s new found fame, perhaps hoping that this will bring some good and much-needed exposure for the brand and store.

The Comment That Got Me Marriage Proposals

In August, I made a comment on one of my favorite Facebook fan page’s photos: Humans of New York. I not only happened to be one of the very first commenters (a lucky feat, since the page has over 10 million fans), but one of the top commenters as well. I made a comment about moving to Spain for the summer (the topic was related to the photo shared by HONY) and my Facebook account started blowing up.

The comment itself received hundreds of likes, nearly 100 comments, and just as many replies to comments. I received over 45 friend requests from around the world, and even more private messages than that. In fact, I got 3 or 4 marriage proposals, lots of guys telling me I was hot or had a nice smile, and others asking if we could be Internet friends. 

I did not accept any friend requests or reply to any private messages. Needless to say, I was floored by the response. My comment didn’t go viral like Alex from Target’s tweeted picture, but I certainly experienced my 5 minutes of Internet fame and wondered what it would be like to go viral.

How To Go Viral

SingleGrain.com has a great infographic that explains how you can create posts that will go viral. Of course, it doesn’t guarantee that following such methods will automatically make you go viral, but it definitely has some sound structure: 

Going Viral by SingleGrain

Going Viral by SingleGrain

This infographic is from just two years ago. And though its explanation of going viral is still very valid, 2014 has brought a wave of unexpected subjects going viral. (I would personally add Twitter to the mix of top sites to help your post go viral.) It’s all in the power of sharing. All it takes is a share here, and a share there, and if you believe in the 6 degrees of separation theory, then that’s how it goes viral. I mean, this whole Alex from Target thing is trending over voting, and that’s saying something. 

Why Things Go Viral

Why do we get excited over these trivial subjects versus important issues? Personally, I believe that we are constantly in search of escape. We are human beings, we are frail, we are shallow at times, and we want to be entertained. We want to make someone else the spectacle so that our lives can have a moment of taking the focus off ourselves and our problems. This is not the case or blanket answer/cause for everything and everyone, but it definitely plays a major role.

It’s like that saying: Any publicity is good publicity. Before, that mentality used to apply to only select individuals. But nowadays, in the social media world, it could possibly apply to YOU.

7K0A9984

As an author, I would love to go viral. To have that one blog post that transcends the ages and solves world hunger, homelessness, poverty, and bigotry. I’d love for people to buy my books and tell me I’m the sh*t. I want my Twitter following to blowup over night. I mean, I am nearing 7k, and that’s from like 2 years of hard work, building my following organically. But the chances of all that happening just with one book, or one tweet, or one pin on Pinterest are slim to none.

Or are they?

15 Minutes Of Fame

Let’s think for a moment: Alex from Target is going to have his spot in the limelight, just like I had my HONY comment celebrity moment for a day. Yes, it’s possible that Alex may have some amazing hidden talent and he’ll find an agent and continue his fame. But honestly, I think this Twitter debut, once it’s died down, may be the only time in his life where he’ll be Internet famous. It’ll be some cool story he can tell his grandkids one day. And by that time, they’ll probably be asking: What the hell is Twitter?

The Chances Of Becoming Famous

If you study the greats–be they musicians, artists, writers, professional athletes, whatever–their common thread is that the whole overnight success thing took years. It’s very, very rare to become famous in an instant. In fact, you can watch this fun video from BuzzFeed that shares some stats on the chances of becoming famous:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhWXiI89L54

Is Overnight Fame Lasting?

Thanks to social media, some people’s chances of becoming famous, even for a moment, have gone way up. But overall, to achieve lasting fame–or better yet–to have a lasting, positive impact on society, it’s going to take some time. Those who put in the time, those who are consistent, are those who will be successful in their endeavors. In reality, the true overnight success thing is the result of years of hard work and consistency. 

“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.”
Anthony Robbins

“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.”
Jim Rohn

“Perfection of effort is not required, by the way. It is the consistency of attempting to work these tools that brings the progress. It’s like anything else. If I want to tone muscle, lifting a ten-pound weight a few times every day will move me toward my goal much quicker than hoisting a fifty-pound barbell once a week. Yes, it really is true: ‘Slow and steady wins the race.’ Just try a little, every day. You’ll see.”
Holly Mosier

“Success is an outcome of conscious choices pursued consistently and tirelessly.”
Vishwas Chavan

Now What?

Well… the best conclusion I have come to regarding all this is more realistic than ignorantly optimistic. If your aim is to have a career in which you become well-known through your work, etc., then consistency and commitment are the answers for you. That’s it; that’s the “magical formula” and it’s one of the hardest things one could ever do.

However, if that is not your aim, then just take a page from the handbook of Alex from Target: be reasonably attractive, work at Target, get some chick to take your picture and tweet it, then you can start trending on the Internet.

What do you think? Are you the next Alex from Target or are you thinking more long term? Leave a comment!

Interview with Braxton Cosby, CEO of Cosby Media Productions

IMG_0897

(As previously seen on the HelaWrite blog.)

Any smart entrepreneur or business person alike knows that in order to succeed and further one’s career, it’s wise to take advice from other entrepreneurs/business owners. I find that interviewing successful and creative people is the fastest way to learn about how they think while learning from their triumphs and failures.

Today, Dr. Braxton A. Cosby is a guest on my blog, and he’s here to share about his new company, Cosby Media Productions. As the CEO of the company, there is much he is responsible for, but I really wanted to pick his brain in regards to what prompted him to start the company in the first place. So, grab a cup of coffee and read on.

CMP TM1000

1. Tell us about your company, Cosby Media Productions. What does your company do, etc.?

BC: Cosby Media Productions is a full-service entertainment company that focuses on new intellectual properties in the areas of management, print/digital books, music, television, and film. New content is already in the works with networking and partnership opportunities available for future endeavors. It was developed by me, the CEO, and my partner, Leon Cosby III, who is the acting COO. We truly endeavor to build and partner with other content creators to make fabulous entertainment in the same scope or even larger than the blueprint that my Uncle Bill Cosby started.

2. What prompted you to start this company?

BC: The lack of original content available for people. There is something missing in today’s entertainment. Good, original, family content that inspires people. I love stories that offer encouragement and display good role-modeling for young people to follow. I’m excited at the prospects of how well-received some of the many projects we have in development are.

3. Is it difficult to manage a company like this? What are some of the biggest struggles you face as a business owner?

BC: Not really. Leon and I make the tough decisions of deciding who we partner with, and I have the final say so on what content we run with. Bringing on partners who we feel we can trust to pass on managing one facet of the company is tough, but we believe in those people. So, with God’s help through prayer, we walk in faith.

4. What are some of the benefits of owning your own company?

BC: Building and controlling you own content. We love the fact that once we get these projects funded, we will be able to keep the originality and purpose of the content intact, without compromising the messaging.

5. What kinds of projects are taking place at CMP right now?

BC: We have 5 divisions: management, film, tv, print and music. We have just finished completing deals that will ensure that our print and music divisions get the authors and singers the attention they deserve, and we are shaping out the animation and live action film and tv projects for first tier development. Action, story, and messaging are our focus, and it is paramount that they blend together smoothly.

6. Is there a “dream project” you’d like to work on?

BC: PROTOSTAR. I really want the trilogy to make it to the big screen and it will. But, it will require time to bring the pieces together.

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I’d like to personally thank Braxton for taking the time to share a bit about his company and his heart behind the creation of Cosby Media Productions. Also, DID YOU KNOW? I am the Chief Editor for Cosby Media’s Print Division. We have already put out some great books this year, and are looking forward to the future projects for 2015! :)

To find out more about Braxton and CMP, visit these sites:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Braxton Cosby headshotBio: Author, actor, entrepreneur. Multi-Award Winning Author Braxton A. Cosby is a dreamer who evolved from concepts on pen and paper to pixels and keyboards. He tells stories that evoke emotions and stimulate thought. Protostar: Book 1 The Star-Crossed Saga, and The School of Ministry: The Windgate, are currently two Young Adult series he created. Braxton is the CEO of Cosby Media Productions, a full-service media company with five divisions focused on developing Intellectual Properties that will “Entertain the Mind and Inspire the Soul.” He lives in Georgia with his wife, three children, and a troop of crazy African Cichlids.