How Blogging Helps Me Write Books

Photo by Plann

Social media is a powerful vehicle for publishing short-form content that people can digest quickly and easily. We are all lazy to an extent with short attention spans.

Which is why I love blogging as a way of publishing long-form content.

It gives writers a chance to fully express the completeness of their thoughts. And, if you are long-winded like me, I enjoy being able to thoroughly add context to my thoughts with examples to nurture further understanding.

Blogging also helps me to keep writing in those spaces when I am not actively writing a book. (I wrote more about that here) This is important because it means I can continue to sharpen my writing skills (through actually writing) and engage with others even when I haven’t published anything new.

But there’s an exciting twist!

Blogging has, so far, helped me to publish two books, with another on the way. That’s because, unlike static websites, blogs are updated regularly, allowing people to leave immediate feedback and share. Authors can see how their content performs in real-time, producing invaluable information they can apply later.

One of the most powerful ways blogging helps me is my ability to repurpose the content I publish here into larger works. Thus, even when I don’t think I am laying the foundation for new works, I am!

The Women with Blue Eyes, I am Soul, and Black History Facts You Didn’t Learn in School (2023) are all descendants of my posts on this blog over the years. The latter is based on my Black History Fun Fact Friday series and will be the biggest project to come out of The PBS Blog.

I like to say that reading and writing are a partnership, and blogging is the perfect bridge where we get to see how our thoughts have communicated with readers.

What about you? Does blogging help you to write? Do you recognize any instances where you’ve published books from blogging?


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In Case No One Told You

Photo by Bia Sousa

They say not even twins have the same fingerprint

which means there is literally no one just like you.

Even the ground is confused in the way that you walk

when you wake, the earth

quakes

and shudders, and the sun smiles.

It peaks from behind the clouds

illuminating heaven-bound highways

it is waiting for you

to let your own light shine.

Just listen to how the wind stutters your name

 You precious one.

 You rarity.

 You delicate rock.

 You towering mountain.

You are not only golden

you are gold.

Hair like wool

skin like silk

You are historic.

Your mother and father’s prophecy in one body

a history unto yourself.


Listen to this poem (and others) on TikTok @yecheilyah.

No Whining Wednesday: Hold Onto Your Sacredness

Sweet soul. Do not allow yourself to be treated less than sacredly. You may need to learn how to treat yourself sacredly along the way. Maybe no one in your family knew what sacredness looked like. Maybe each of you inherited desecration. Once you set a sacred standard, it does not matter how the world treats you. You will have your template, your expectation, your boundary. From this foundation, you can develop the muscles for letting go of what does not choose to or is not able to relate to you sacredly. You see? You are sacred because you are life. You do not have to earn your sacredness. You exist. Therefore, you are sacred.

– Jaiyah John


This was the most beautiful message posted by Jaiyah John, and I had to share it for No Whining Wednesday. We had not had one in a while, and I’d love to get back into it.

What is NWW?

The No Whining Wednesday Badge

No Whining Wednesdays is a term coined by Iyanla Vanzant that I decided to adopt to practice the art of complaining less and being more grateful. It is the deliberate act of looking at the good before considering the bad. Incorporated into a blog series, this means that for the entire day on Wednesdays, we try not to:

– Whine

– Complain

– Criticize

Here are some definitions:

To Whine – give or make a long, high-pitched complaining cry or sound; to grumble, murmur or complain in a feeble way.

To Complain – express dissatisfaction or annoyance about a state of affairs or an event; state that one is suffering from; state of grievance.

To Criticize – indicate the faults of (someone or something) in a disapproving way; to condemn, attack, discourage.


Now, I don’t believe there is no room for complaining. That wouldn’t be realistic. There are legitimate reasons to voice complaints and express grievances. This series is about being aware of the frequency to which we find ourselves complaining about things that, at a closer glance, do not deserve our energy or are not as monumental as they may seem. To quote Dr. Nicole LePera, it is a practice in emotional regulation, “having the skills to cope with negative emotions and process them in healthy ways.”

And to also refrain from criticizing others. While there might be room to complain, there is never a reason to condemn.

New to this?

New Badge

Check Out the Archive Here and Catch Up!

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Ashton Smith


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Today is a special edition of Introduce Yourself. Please help me to welcome Ashton Smith to The PBS Blog!


Ashton is an amazing young woman from Fort Worth, Texas, with a powerful story. She’s a world-medal award-winning swimmer, author, and corporate speaker. She is legally blind in one eye and has difficulty seeing out of the other, but she has not let this stop her from pursuing her athletic endeavors. Smith does not only swim but has been involved in bocce, track and field, basketball, and flag football. She has won gold medals and traveled the world.

However, Ashton’s journey has not been without trial.

According to the rules of the Special Olympics, they ban their athletes from making income. This left Ashton struggling to find a way to support herself even as she was competing. While headed to the World Games in Dubai, Smith struggled financially and fell into homelessness.

“I think it becomes unfair and harsh when members are prevented from earning a livelihood off of their own efforts. I think it’s unfair that a team member should have to be reduced to begging for money on the side of the road, which I had to do while being an athlete in the organization. I was required to raise money for the organization, yet when I started a GoFundMe, I was told to take it down. I was asked to stop asking the public for money.”

Without a home, Smith bounced around from place to place and depended on friends for help. When her grandmother died, she lost her only form of support.

“It was very hard, very difficult, and very tough because you didn’t know where your next meal would come from or certain things you wouldn’t know.”

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Today, Ashton is committed to sharing her story to raise awareness about the unfair treatment she received as a disabled person.

“I find it odd that television networks aired my story about being homeless and nearly destitute, yet I couldn’t benefit from the content. They used it to make money, yet I was never given a dime. I’ve never gotten paid by ESPN or the organization but they used my story to make millions.”

Ashton’s grandmother and sister helped her financially. However, both have passed on, making getting around as a visually impaired person even more challenging.

Smith’s fight continues as she seeks to spread the word about her newfound purpose of being a voice for the voiceless. She achieves this through public speaking and her motivational memoir, which delves deep into her story and journey.

“I have decided to speak up and be an advocate for the disadvantaged.”

– Ashton Smith

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You can help Ashton by purchasing a copy of her book Swimming UPSTREAM, available now on Amazon.

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Be Sure to Follow Ashton online!

Website: https://golden-ashton.us/

Instagram: @goldenashton_us

Twitter: @goldenashtonus


Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about the Introduce Yourself Feature HERE.

Dear Indie Author, Remember to Guide Your Readers to Your Own Platforms

None of us can deny the power of social media to impact businesses, big and small. As we’ve seen repeatedly, what we post to our accounts can have positive and negative real-life effects, destructive and groundbreaking. With it, we can reach people worldwide without leaving the house. It is no longer just about posting family photos. People are making real money and establishing real connections.

However, an over reliance on social media to hold up the core of our business can prove disastrous since we do not own them. Lately, I have heard many complaints of Instagram pages being hacked, Facebook jail, and TikTok suspensions.

And these are not complaints from people with small accounts. People with tens of thousands of followers have had to start from zero.

People who operate systematically, moving their tribe (those genuinely interested in their content because everyone isn’t), over to their own platforms, do not lose when their accounts are hacked or when IG decides to glitch.

They do not lose because they understand a basic principle:

Social Media is the vehicle, not the destination.

Photo by cottonbro studio

Social Media is a powerful tool for socializing and networking with your target audience. Still, you want to always be moving them along your funnel.

This looks like adding them to your blog, email/text list, website, or membership site.

To do this, use a call-to-action at the end of your posts to tell people what you want them to do.

The call-to-action or CTA is when you give your people direction. What do you want us to do after seeing your post?

  • Do you want us to visit your website by clicking the link in your bio?
  • Do you want us to leave a comment? Are you asking for feedback?
  • Do you want us to buy something? Are you having a Black Friday sale?

The goal is to avoid getting too comfortable with the followers you get from these social media platforms. Only some people following you are interested in what you have to offer. You can ensure they know where to find you outside Instagram and Facebook. This allows you to nourish relationships and build stronger bonds with those who care.

In a matter of seconds, your thousands of followers can be gone if someone hacks you or your account is deleted for whatever reason.

Protect yourself by establishing an online home.


Indie Author Basics simplifies and streamlines the Self-Publishing Process so authors can Self-Publish high-quality books without pulling out their hair.

Dear Indie Author, No One Wants to Subscribe to Your Newsletter (Do this Instead)

I used to ask people to subscribe to my email list, and almost no one ever did. It was also cringy to ask.

And then I realized I was working harder than I needed to.

How people look when you say subscribe to your author newsletter.

The truth is, asking people to subscribe to your email list is boring, and no one wants to do it. We have enough emails.

And if you are a new author, no one’s ever heard of, saying we will get a free copy of your book doesn’t work either.

As I alluded to in the last post, authors must start to think like readers if they want to attract them.

Instead of asking people to subscribe to your list directly, do this instead.

Photo by EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA

Offer Something They Want

The value in giving something away is that if it’s a truly valuable piece of content, it will naturally lead to your paid stuff. At first, this wasn’t working for me. It wasn’t until I gave away my best book (the one people actually wanted to read) that I started to see a difference.

For your give, my advice would be not to throw something together. Give us something good.

Your give is also known as a lead magnet and doesn’t have to be a book. It can be a resource, guide, free tutorial, or access to exclusive content. It can be a complimentary ticket to your online class or a virtual pass to the next event.

Deliver Your Give By Requiring Email Sign-Up

Choose a platform to use to collect email addresses. I use Mailchimp, but there are tons of others. Require people to enter their email to receive the freebie.

Set Up Automation

As soon as they sign up, they should be able to instantly download the freebie. Setting up an automatic welcome email to officially introduce yourself is an excellent start to a warm welcome.

You’re done, and you didn’t have to beg, borrow, or pull teeth to get here.

Other ways to add subscribers:

  • Collaborate with other Authors
  • Host a contest

These are the two most powerful strategies I’ve seen. I get the most sign-ups through my poetry contests or when I collaborate with other authors.

  • Have a sign-up sheet at every live event.

This is probably the only time it’s okay to ask people to subscribe to your email list directly. I always have it sitting at my table. Still, the amazing thing is people will walk by and put their email addresses down without me asking! So in a way, you still don’t have to ask. All you have to do is make it available.

  • Add a pop-up on your blog and website. 

Please ensure this goes away after about 5 seconds and doesn’t take up most of the space. Pop-ups that aren’t easy to close out are annoying and distracting. This makes us feel like we are being forced to sign-up. You don’t want people leaving your site because your pop-up won’t leave them alone.

  • Use Your Blog

If email newsletters aren’t your thing, you can always use a blog. When people subscribe to your blog, they get an email notification whenever you post something new. You can use this with your third-party email list or by itself. Either way, it’s another way to stay connected with your tribe outside social media.

I can go on, but the moral of the story is there are tons of ways to collect email without spamming. 

Oh, please be sure you provide a way out! It is illegal not to provide a way for people to unsubscribe if they no longer feel you. It is much easier to do this if your emails go through a third party. If people can’t unsubscribe, they will report you as spam, which can ultimately hurt you. I talk more about that here.


Indie Author Basics simplifies and streamlines the Self-Publishing Process so authors can Self-Publish high-quality books without pulling out their hair.

Yecheilyah’s Annual Poetry Contest: Closing for Submissions Midnight!

First, my thoughts and prayers go out to all the Florida fam and anyone in the eye of the storm or who has been affected by Hurricane Ian in any way.

https://www.yecheilyahsannualpoetrycontest.org/

Today is the day!!


If you want a shot at winning one of the top four slots for this year’s poetry contest, be sure to email your poem to me at yecheilyah@yecheilyahysrayl.com by midnight tonight.

That’s 12a EST, 11p CST.

The rest of ya, figure out ya time zone, lol.

I know we can get a bit anxious as we wait for the results, so please take the time to review the following:

  • Poetry submissions close at the end of the day on September 30, 2022. I don’t read any poems until after the contest ends, and neither do my fellow judges. Feedback on entries will not be provided until the winners are announced.
  • We will announce the winners on November 1, 2022. I am an advocate for questions. Asking questions is how we learn. However, do not ask if I liked your poem or how I feel about it before the winners are announced on 11/1. 
  • Winners will be notified by email of their win at least one week before the public announcement to prepare them for their promotions. Our first-place winner also wins a personalized frame of their poem that must be customized, so the artist will need these details ahead of time.
  • It is imperative that the email you have on file is active and that it is the one you check often. We will need to pick another winner if we cannot contact you about your win in time. Not only do you not want this, but it also creates more work for us, so please be diligent. Start paying attention close to the end of Oct. Check your spam and junk folders. If we follow each other on IG, check your DM’s. Know I will do everything in my power to contact you, but if I have to call the FBI you’re gonna miss out.
  • If you submitted a poem, you should have received a reply saying your submission has been received. If you did not get this email, please resend it ASAP. 
  • We are giving away cash prizes this year, so when contacted about your win, we will ask you how you’d like to receive your money electronically. The other gifts will be shipped off to you.
  • You will be promoted on my blog, main author newsletter, Twitter, and IG pages @yecheilyah and @yecheilyahbooksllc.  Be sure you are following both (especially @yecheilyah, as it gets the most engagement).

What if I didn’t win?

We are only contacting the four winners. If, on November 1, you do not see your name among the winners, your poem has not been selected. 

I want to take the time to thank each and every one of you for participating in this contest. Putting yourself out there is not easy, and I am humbled that you’ve trusted me with your creative work. Make no mistake about it: without your support, there is no contest, so I am grateful, humbled, and excitedddd to read what you’ve blessed us with.

How Can I Read the Poems of Previous Winners?

You can check out the poems and interviews of previous winners at the links below.

**2020 was skipped per Covid when none of us knew what to do next.**

*FINAL CHECK* The little things can sometimes get away from us so remember: get your poem in BEFORE the deadline. Make sure it is on the topic of FREEDOM in some way. Double check you’ve sent it to the CORRECT email and that you are 18+.