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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Shelly’s Got a Guest Blogger: Lena Winfrey

Today, since Shelly is a Slacker, I've invited Lena Winfrey to tell about herself, her book, her poetry, and her journey in self-promotion.

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She’s had a rather interesting life and I really need to get her book myself.

 

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So, take it away Lena.

Hello everyone! I am very happy to be at Shelly’s blog today. She invited me to speak about my current work and my experience with publishing.

My published novel is an autobiography called The Metamorphosis of a Muslim, and it came out in May 2011. It is about my spiritual journey to Islam (I was raised as a Presbyterian, went to a Baptist College and had a Pentecostal grandmother. Wow, what a mixture)! I also discuss a bit about my childhood and my world travels (mostly in the Middle East, Africa and Asia). And at the end, I express a message of understanding and peace between all people and faiths.

My publisher, International Islamic Publishing House (IIPH), are located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. They are one of the biggest and best publishers in the Middle East. So, while I was living in Sudan, I actually sent my manuscript to them (that was about 8 years ago). Well, at the time, they did not have an English language editor, and my manuscript ended up on a shelf for almost three years! After moving to Ghana, thank God I still had the same e-mail, I received an e-mail from their new English language editor who happened to be an American! She just loved my story and the style of it. She raved about it and said they wanted to publish me. Well, a lot of time had passed since I had sent in the original manuscript, so I asked her if I could rewrite and add to it. So, I spent the next year adding in new material and rewriting. Then, I moved back to the US where I now live in Florida. So, we kept emailing for another year editing notes. Basically, they wanted me to edit most of the manuscript, and they would send me back notes to either expand, enhance or explain something. Then, they wanted references listed for some of the quotes. Once I finished it, I sent it in and awaited them to send me the copy they were planning to print so they could get my approval. This whole process was very long and drawn out, and it usually is with traditional publishers. However, I must say that when the final copy of the book did finally come out, I was very pleased with the quality of the text and the cover. The art work on my book is amazing!

After the book came out, I really did not realize just how much I would have to self-promote my book. My publisher did write a nice blurb to advertise my novel. And they have really been distributing it well here and overseas. I have discovered my book is on Ebay, Amazon and various Islamic websites through the distributors. This past year has really been a learning curve for me; I have been learning about marketing and networking. I guess between my publisher and myself that we are spreading the word well world-wide. I was amazed that I’ve gotten some reviews and e-mails via Facebook from around the world. One professor in India wants to use my novel in his classroom! So many people in various countries have told me how much they like my book. One woman from Egypt told me that she discovered my book at the right moment and it inspired her. Wow, that makes me feel really good! I have had some great reviews posted on Amazon, too.

Self-promoting and marketing does take persistence and hard work. I have enjoyed the journey so far, though I admit occasionally it is exhausting. I would much rather sit and write than to market, but one has to do what one has to do.

Currently, I am working on a realistic fictional novel. I also have a couple of non-fiction books in the works, and I am planning one day to publish a collection of poems. If I cannot get a big publisher to pick me up, I will definitely go Indie. At least with Indie, you are in control of your own work.

I do write screenplays, and filmmaking is a dream of mine. I did a course at Full Sail in “Producing Independent Film”, and I really loved it. So, that is something on my to-do-list.

You can find my book on Amazon, but the best place to purchase The Metamorphosis of a Muslim is from the publisher at:

https://www.iiph.com.sa/iiph-The_Metamorphosis_of_a_Muslim-p182.html

I do regret at the moment that there is no ebook form for my book; however, the hard back copy is inexpensive. You can get it from the publisher for $9. Currently the company is working on transferring their books into ebooks.

And if you have not checked out my blog yet, please do at:

http://PearldropsonthePage.blogspot.com

I have enjoyed being a part of WMD; I have met some wonderfully talented and amazing writers there. It is so great that we support each other. The feeling of friendship and camaraderie there is amazing! It is a rare thing to find in the world today.

Shelly, you are very sweet. Thank you very much for inviting me!

You’re very welcome, Lena. Thanks for sharing your insights on self-promotion.

And to everyone else, later in the ink all.

Shelly

25 comments:

  1. Quite a journey, Lena! Thanks for posting!

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    1. William, you don't even know the half of it! Even my book doesn't go into all of the details. I'm planning to use my life experiences in my future fiction, so I don't think I'll run out of writing material. There is a well of experiences to choose from. The journey was hard at times, but it was a great adventure that taught me a lot.

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  2. Nice to meet you, Lena! You certainly offer an interesting mix of perspectives from a religious standpoint. Also enjoyed your thoughts on promotion.

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    1. Thanks, and it was a pleasure meeting you!

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  3. It seems you've had a few adventures along your travels. Self promotion isn't easy or fun sometimes, but I guess, with the times and the amount of people that are publishing, we have to do what we can for our own promotions. You've done well to find a publisher abroad.

    Great job. Look forward to your fiction work.

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    1. Thanks, Beth! And I hope you'll be reading my fiction soon! Good luck with your writing!

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  4. Congratulations on all your success Lena. It is truly wonderful that your book can touch so many lives, possibly making a positive difference!

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    1. Thanks, Eve! That is one of my goals: to be a positive force in the world. It is my dream for all people to get along and learn to communicate as well as cooperate so we can make the Earth a better place for us all! Take care!

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  5. Thank you for being my guest blogger today, Lena.

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    1. Shelly, thank you very much! I enjoyed it! You are very sweet!

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    1. Thank you! Patience is a difficult lesson to learn but one of the most valuable!

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  7. Its great to meet Lena and best wishes with her book and the promotions! I'm sending big thoughts her way right now.

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  8. The book sounds really interesting. I love the story about the struggle to get published.

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  9. Lovely to meet you Lena and you too Shelley! What a journey your life has taken, Lena. *waving*

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  10. Hi Lena! I bet your book is an interesting and educational one--we should all probably read it!

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  11. The memoir sounds fascinating! Nice to meet you Lena. :)

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  12. It sounds like a really interesting book! And it was great to read about your journey to publication. :)

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  13. Everyone, thank you very much. It is an honor to be invited to Shelly's blog, and I am glad to meet you, too! Again, thank you Shelly!

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Let me know what you think.