Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Corey Collins

Today, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Corey Collins. Corey, welcome to the PBS blog!


What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Corey Collins and I am from Memphis, Tennessee.  I went to college in Northern Indiana and to law school in South Florida, where I have lived since 1992.

Nice. My in-laws are in Memphis. When did you publish your first book? What was that like?

I published my first book entitled The Thanks You Get in 2017.  I self-published my novel and the experience was exciting, painstaking, exhausting and, ultimately, fulfilling.

Love it. Who is your favorite writer?

My favorite writer (present day) is Zadie Smith.  My favorite writer (all time) is James Baldwin.

I. Love. Baldwin! What is your favorite color?

My favorite color is blue.

What do you hate most about writing advice? What do you love?

I dislike folks who impart advice about writing authoritatively as though what works for one writer should apply to all.  In my experience, writing definitely is not a “one size fits all” endeavor.  I love folks who simply talk about their writing experience in such a way as to give others insight into their process so that aspiring writers might consider what nuggets to incorporate into their own process.

You summed that up perfectly. It is why I don’t like to refer to my information as advice, but tips. Tips based on my own experience I hope others could maybe add to their own experience. Very well stated there Corey. What is your favorite food?

My favorite food is Memphis dry rub barbecue ribs.  My second favorite is cashew nuts.

If you could live in a movie, which would it be? 

If I could live in a movie, I would live in the final scene of the movie The Shawshank Redemption, one of my top 5 favorite films.  The final scene depicts a reunion between two friends who served time in prison together at a city in Southern Mexico called Zihuatanejo.  I was fortunate enough to visit that town in 1990 when I participated in a semester broad program during my junior year in college.   It made a lifetime impression, with its pristine beaches and hospitable residents.  Unlike its more popular neighbor Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo was underdeveloped, less crowded, less noisy.  Peace and serenity descended upon me the minute I stepped into the city and upon its beach.  The thought of spending my final days living off the sea and the land in Zihuatanejo, like the main characters in Shawshank, makes me smile.

Ha! Shawshank Redemption is one of me and my husband’s favorite movies as well. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

The most amazing adventure to go on (and one of my bucket list items) would be to trek through the mountains of Machu Picchu in Peru.

The Thanks You Get is available now on Amazon.

Nice. What is the most difficult thing about being a writer? What is the most exciting thing?

Finding consistent, significant blocks of time to write while working a full time job is the most difficult thing about being a writer.  When I am fortunate enough to have significant, uninterrupted blocks of time, entering that zone where ideas and words seem to flow well is thrilling.

I get it. Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?

Outside of writing, I love running.  My personal goal is to run at least two half marathons per year and, for the past five years, I have managed to meet that goal.  Aside from the health benefits, running, for me, is calming and helps to clear my mind.

How many siblings do you have?

I have one sibling, a younger sister.

Are you employed outside of writing?

Outside of writing, I am employed full time as an in house attorney for a construction company.  I review and negotiate construction contracts for the company and manage their litigation.

Okaay. Another attorney in the house ya’ll. What is your favorite TV show / movie?

My favorite TV show is Game of Thrones.  My favorite movie is The Godfather.

Thank you Corey for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!


Copyright©2019. Corey Collins. photo used with permission.

Bio.

Collins is a practicing attorney in Miami, Florida, with an innate curiosity about the world and the people in it.  Collins attended college at the University of Notre Dame graduating with a dual degree in Government and Spanish in 1991.  Thereafter, he spent a year working for a member of the United States House of Representatives before continuing his education at the University of Miami School of Law.  He graduated in 1995 and has practiced law in South Florida since then.

Beyond practicing law, Collins chairs the board of directors of the James B. Collins Memorial Fund, Inc., a non-profit corporation formed for the dual purpose of providing scholarships to high school seniors needing financial assistance for college and making an annual donation to the American Cancer Society in the hopes of finding a cure for cancer.  He also serves on the board of directors of the St. John Community Development Corporation.

In his spare time, Collins enjoys running, having completed four marathons and twelve half marathons.  He also writes short stories.

About the book:

Corey B. Collins is the author of The Thanks You Get, a novel that explores human behavior and the driving force behind people’s actions.  His protagonist is Hank Goodman, a public relations executive, who is drawn into a mystery involving one of the wealthiest men in South Florida.  Woven throughout Collins’ novel is the theme of families, however defined, and the ties that bind them.  Ultimately, Collins hopes to encourage readers to contemplate whether there really is such a thing as coincidence and whether people, with all their faults, are naturally inclined to do the “right thing” as they define it in their lives.


Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE. Stay tuned for our next featured author.

Be Authentic: Message to New Indie Authors

In, building connections as a writer on social media, it’s important that you are authentic in those interactions. What does this mean? It means to be genuine and true, to be real but what does this mean? To be genuine and true is to be yourself in a way that does not force others to accept you, but brings together those who share the same passion as you do. People can tell if you are sharing something just to sell your books or sharing something because you deeply love it and you care about sharing that love with others for their benefit. You genuinely want to educate people, inspire people, empower people, or you want to make them laugh, or help them to heal or evolve. What people get out of getting to know more about you? What value do you offer that helps to make their lives better? This is what building relationships are about. It’s not so much about the book itself, it’s more who you are, who we all are and how your book seeks to make us better. It doesn’t matter if you write fiction or non-fiction, in what way are we better from reading your book? This answer is revealed in your genuine interactions with others. People can tell if the information you are sharing is not authentic. We can tell if you’re sharing something just to sell your book versus sharing something because you want us to be better.

The problem is not that “artistry” doesn’t sell. There is no debate to be had about writing as an art and as a business. It is both. Integrity is everything and I personally believe no one should ever compromise that. Even more so, I believe it is this very integrity that makes us interested in an artist in the first place whether that artist is an author or musician or painter. There’s this debate about wanting to make real money from writing or treating it as an art I do not understand. There is no competition to be had. It is possible to be a serious businessperson and artist at the same time. The problem is too many new Indie authors aren’t authentic about the art enough to build trust among readers to the extent that we care about supporting that author’s work.

This isn’t about trying to find anyone to read our books. You are in search of people who share your passions, goals, and belief system. You aren’t here to force people to share those passions and beliefs but to connect with those who do. This isn’t about trying to make people like you. This is about genuinely connecting with those who do. These are authentic connections. It doesn’t matter how many times you talk about your book if I know nothing about you or share your vision or if I don’t care about what you are bringing to the table, I am not buying the book and I am not the reader you want. You don’t want me. You want the reader interested in the value you are bringing. To get here is to start with offering value where being yourself is not a gimmick.


If you would like to take the step toward helping your potential readers to get to know more about you and your passions and how you can help to make us better through your writing, be sure to take part in my Author Introduce Yourself Feature, specifically designed to help us to get to know you better. Learn how to do so HERE and stay tuned for tomorrow’s featured author.

Also, don’t forget that FOUR of my books are on sale for the month of February. If you are into Black Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction or poetry, choose your favorite book by clicking HERE and pay just 99cents from now through 2/28. 

Black History Fun Fact Friday – Research Links and Book Recommendations

 

I’ve been swamped in schoolwork which is stopping me from living my best life on these black history posts. Today, I compiled a list of links I found throughout the week and books I recommend since I did not get to complete a full post on one topic. The books are what I really encourage you to look into. Unlike the internet, they provide more detailed and in-depth research and citations from scholars and others useful for deep research.

Descendants of Last Slave Ship Still Live in Alabama Community

The story of the Clotilda and the people who built Africatown.

I spoke about “Africa Town” once before on this blog (See post here). This article shares some insightful information on the descendants of that town. (You may also remember the book recently released on behalf of Zora Neale Hurston of the Clotilda).

https://www.history.com/news/slaves-clotilda-ship-built-africatown

Black Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South, by Barbara Krauthamer (2013)

This is important. Europeans were not the only people to sell Blacks into slavery but so did the Natives, so did Jews and so did Islam.

https://notevenpast.org/black-slaves-indian-masters-slavery-emancipation-and-citizenship-in-the-native-american-south-by-barbara-krauthamer-2013/

The Little-Known Underground Railroad That Ran South to Mexico

Unlike the northern free states, Mexico didn’t agree to return fugitive slaves.
I found this story interesting and would like to do more research for an entire post. For now, check it out at the link below.

South African paramilitary unit plotted to infect black population with Aids, former member claims

Group said to have ‘spread the virus’ at the behest of Keith Maxwell, eccentric leader of the shadowy South African Institute of Maritime Research, who wanted a white majority country where ‘the excesses of the 1960s, 70s and 80s have no place in the post-Aids world’.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/south-africa-apartheid-aids-saimr-plot-infect-hiv-virus-black-cold-case-hammarskj-ld-documentary-a8749176.html?fbclid=IwAR024DMZjTNgRWorLKuN1Y6FyNn2vifEkDelnnxJSPs0AP0eDDd1f1YGcEs

Don’t let February be the only time you are interested in your history. From the shelf, here are some of my favorites. I recommend them all:

  • They Came Before Columbus, Ivan Van Sertima
  • Jews Selling Blacks: Slave Sale Advertising by American Jews
  • The Miseducation of the Negro, Carter G. Woodson
  • The Valley of Dry Bones: The Conditions that Face Black People in America, Rudolph Windsor
  • From Babylon to Timbuktu: A History of the Ancient Black-Races including the Black Hebrews also by Rudolph Windsor
  • Negro Slave Songs in the U.S. Miles, Mark, Fisher
  • Israel on the Appomattox: A southern experiment in black freedom from the 1790s through the Civil War, Melvin Patrick Ely
  • Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present, Harriet A. Washington
  • Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America, Ayana D. Byrd and Lori L. Tharps
  • The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther
  • Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, James H. Jones
  • Understanding the Assault on the Black Man, Black Manhood, and Black Masculinity, Wesley Muhammad
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander

There are so many others but this should be enough to get your started! Be sure to check out the other Black History Fun Facts on the Black History Fun Fact Friday page.

Have a great weekend!

What to do when people unsubscribe from your #author email list and why it is OKAY

Let’s address the elephant in the room. Email unsubscribes. Yup. I’ll be that one. I don’t care what anyone says, if done right and if it’s your cup of tea, author email lists work. At the end of the day, everyone’s journey is different so none of us are in the position to say for absolute certainty what works and what doesn’t work for someone else.

That said, IF you are a fan of the email list (I don’t refer to them as newsletters….I prefer email list), check it.

Not everything about being an author is peachy. Email unsubscribes feel like silent rejections and sometimes confusing because you don’t always know why the person left. Unsubscribes can leave authors feeling abandoned, especially if the person was a long-time member of the list. All kinds of thoughts go through your head.

“What did I do wrong?”

“Am I providing value?”

“Does my writing suck?”

“Do I suck?”

Did I email too much? Too little? What happened?”

The good news is that whether someone leaves your email list or your blog, it is not a bad thing. In 2019, we are not taking losses, we are taking lessons and there are tons of lessons we can learn from email unsubscribes. I hope this list encourages you and motivates you to push past that feeling of confusion and rejection.

  • Don’t subscribe people to your list without their permission.

I’ve personally never done this and I don’t understand it but please don’t let this be you. There are laws against doing things like this. Never, ever add anyone to anything without that person’s permission. I don’t care if it’s a Facebook group or email list, get permission first. When you let people subscribe on their own, they can unsubscribe whenever they want and do it all without you being sued. But if you subscribed someone without their say so, you can be sure they will unsubscribe. While there’s nothing wrong with compiling a list of supporters and emailing the old school way (directly), we live in a different time. You need a track record that shows proof this person agreed to get emails from you. You need permission. It is illegal to add people to your list and email them without permission. Do not grab emails from blogs and websites. Choose an email opt-in form and let people subscribe on their own or create an opt-in form of your own using google docs but just get permission. Don’t get sued. I recommend using one of these opt in forms:

  • Mailchimp
  • Mailerlite
  • Convertkit
  • Don’t take it personally.

If the subscriber was legal, and the person decided to leave, the most important lesson you can learn from this is not to take it personally. We don’t know why that person is no longer interested, and it doesn’t always have to have anything to do with us. People have their reasons for subscribing to a list/blog and not everyone is clear what that reason is. If someone mistakenly thought your list would offer something that it doesn’t, they may unsubscribe because it’s not what they thought it would be.

  • Never respond to an unsubscribe.

Resist the inclination to ask people why they left. Unless they have reached out to you, do not send them follow-up emails. If they unsubscribed from your main list, they probably don’t want to keep receiving emails from you. Again, don’t take the unsubscribe personally. One apple don’t stop no show (and that’s grammatically incorrect on purpose), just keep grinding.

  • Quality over Quantity: You don’t have to have a gazillion email list subscribers to be relevant.

With email lists, remember it’s more so about the quality of your team. It’s better to have 30 or 40 committed people who are eager to support your work and read your books than 2,000 who won’t lift a finger to give you so much as a piece of advice. You ask a question and hear crickets. I have only about 172 subscribers to my email list. (I say email list because I don’t like to refer to them as newsletters *yawn*), and I am more than okay with this. Of course, I’d like to grow (who wouldn’t?) but I am in no rush. It’s challenging enough managing the subscribers I already have. I’ll wait patiently. Always remember quality over quantity. It’s probably easier to manage 30 or 50 subscribers than it is to manage 200 and 300 starting out.

  • Resist the urge to vent your rage on your favorite social media platform

Again, don’t take it personally. Email unsubscribes are like bad reviews that only you see. Just as it is not recommended to discuss the bad review, it is also not recommended to discuss the unsubscribe. We are all human but venting about these things on social media (this includes the blog) makes you look like an amateur. Accept this person has decided they are no longer interested in your content (for whatever reason) and move on. People come in and out of our lives for a reason and we just have to accept when the season is over. Don‘t make it bigger than it is.

  • Remove and Renew

Don’t be afraid to lose people. It may even be necessary to unsubscribe people yourself that you see are no longer interested. Sometimes people subscribe to email lists for the wrong reason. Maybe they believe they would receive something, and the emails turned out not to be what they wanted. But there will also be people who won’t unsubscribe. They’ll just ignore you and delete your emails or they may just ignore it without acting. In any event, it’s a good idea to do a good ole cleansing occasionally. Delete some people. Don’t be so thirsty for high numbers to your own detriment. If they aren’t active, it doesn’t matter, and you are deceiving yourself. Every 2-3 months I clean my list. I go through and delete people who have not been active. Have not been opening emails, clicking links, responding to questions or participating in any way. Their presence is irrelevant. I love them, but my emails are clearly not their cup of tea and they shouldn’t be forced to drink it. They must go.

  • It takes time

Writing is a business and like all businesses, it takes trial, error, consistency and time to build. We may have been born with gifts but no one was born knowing exactly how to execute them. No one woke up with the skills to hire a team or produce excellent products. Similarly, you don’t know how to manage an email list except through practice and hard work and even still people will unsubscribe.

This woman makes enough money to know what she’s talking about. If you aren’t following her on IG, you should be.

 

I used to transcribe to the same practices of some “gurus” who said to only email once a month. While I understand why you wouldn’t want to email too frequently, you have to do what works for you. It’s a personal journey first. So I followed my own path and now email whenever I have news. The truth is, it’s hard to stay connected to anyone you don’t speak to for months at a time. The email list can be an important source of support if you want it to be. Or, the email list can be just another social media account you update to tell people about your new books. *Yawn.* Truth is, there will always be someone to unsubscribe. The real question is, who cares? People unsubscribe from our lives all the time but we can’t stop working just because people leave. People unsubscribing from the list can be a blessing as it teaches us what works, what doesn’t and how to better connect with our audience. People unsubscribing from our list is not even the real problem. The real problem is learning how to connect with our audience. If we do our jobs well, we don’t have anything to worry about.

  • One door closes, one door opens

Every time someone unsubscribes from my list, someone new subscribes. That’s the fun thing about it. When one door closes another always opens. Just because a few people unsubscribe does not mean more won’t come. I’ve been successful in keeping my numbers steady because I am always blessed with a new subscriber whenever someone else leaves. When unsubscribes do happen, now I just smile knowing someone new is on their way and hopefully, they’ll find value where the other person did not. The end of one relationship is the beginning of another.

Helpful Tips:

  • Ask your email list questions to discover what they want.
  • Let your readers in a bit on who you are. Write stories, give updates not shared anywhere else, showcase your personality, e.g.
  • If possible, use a domain email address as your from address instead of gmail. Ex: yourname(at)yourdomainname(dot)com.

Reminders:

1. Don‘t take the unsubscribe personally
2. Don‘t subscribe people without their permission
3. Never vent your rage about it on your favorite social media platform
4. Quality over quantity
5. Recognize the growth that comes with removal and renewal
6. Remember that it takes time to build anything of substance
7. and that when one door closes, another always opens

For more email list building tips check out one of the most popular posts on this blog:

7 Things I Learned About Email List Building.

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Trish Hubschman.

Today, I’d like to welcome Trish Hubschman. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.


What is your name and where are you from?

I’m Trish Hubschman.  I live on Long Island, NY.

What was your childhood dream?

Since sixth grade, 40 plus years ago, I wanted to be a published author.

Awesome. What skill would you like to master?

I’m not very good at navigating websites and blogs. That seems important in this business. I have to learn how to get around them better.

No worries. If you have the means, you can pay someone to do that for you ;-). Trish, what’s your favorite food?

Same as everyone else’s – – pizza and cheeseburgers.

Ha! Pizza is my husband’s fav. Let’s talk about writing a bit. When did you publish your first book? What was that like?

The first Tracy Gayle mystery  novel, The Fire, was published in 2015.

Stiff Competition (Miss America) is available now on Amazon.

What was that like? Must have been exciting!

I  published with America Star Books. They were free.  I didn’t have any involvement in it. This book Stiff Competition means more to me.  I was part of the whole process. 

Trish, married?

I’ve been married 27 years this coming March.

Congratulations! What’s your favorite TV Show? Movie?

I don’t watch TV in this century. In the 70s I did. My favorite show was Little House on the Prairie.  I grew up with Laura Ingalls.

And what are some advantages, in your opinion, of eliminating television? What can we learn?

TV in the past was better, the shows, for one.  The   visual and  sound quality were better in the past too.  I’m hearing and visually impaired.  It’s worse now than it was, but today’s TV turns me off, so I don’t bother trying.

Got it. Trish, why is writing important to you?

It’s a big part of me that makes me feel whole.  As a hearing impaired person, writing is the best way for me to communicate and express myself.

Beautiful. What genre do you write in, why?

For novels, romantic suspense. I love, love.  The mystery part makes it more fun.  In short stories, I write all genres.

Trish, thank you for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!


Copyright ©2019. Trish Hubschman. photo used with permission.

Bio.

Trish Hubschman has published three books with America Star Books: a short story collection of time travel and romance stories called Through Time and the first two books in the Tracy Gayle/Danny Tide series: The Fire and Unlucky Break. Trish attended college at Long Island University’s Southampton campus, earning a BA degree in English with an emphasis in writing. She lives on Long Island with her husband and two dogs.

About the Book.

America’s favorite rock band, Tidalwave, is playing the Miss America pageant. Band leader Danny Tide is emceeing the event.  All is going according to schedule. The judges have picked the 10 semi–finalists. Suddenly, everything comes to a halt. Miss New Jersey is missing. Nobody knows what happened to her or where she is. Danny calls his longtime PI friend, Tracy Gayle, and asks her to come down to Atlantic City to help figure things out. In need of her best friend for personal support and eager to get to another case, Tracy agrees. There’s an all–out search of the hotels on the boardwalk. They find Miss New Jersey, but it’s not good. Her kidnapping leads to another assault and murder. The big star and the lady PI work together on this one, so that the Miss America pageant can continue as usual.

Be Sure to Follow Trish Online!

https://www.dldbooks.com/hubschman/


Are you a new author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE.

Warrior

Photo by Beth Tate on Unsplash

You were a warrior from the womb and your entrance was a victory. Since the moment you opened your mouth, they knew you were a prophet/prophetess. In your lungs was a war-cry, your fingers fit to hold swords and angels sang. When your footsteps kissed the ground, you were savior and fallen angels bowed when you breathed because the Gods ain’t got nothing on you. Magnificently and incredibly made from the richness of the soil. There were rumors about your skin and the audacity of it to shine like that. They didn’t know it was because you were born with a crown on your head. They treated you that way because they didn’t know you were a warrior and now that you know this, do not become a peasant. Do not lower yourself from the throne you were promised at conception if you want it. Do not shrink. Rise.

Jer 1:5 “Before I formed you in the belly, I knew you, and before you came out of the womb, I did set you apart – I appointed you a prophet to nations.”