Author, Publisher & Entrepreneur – The Winsome Interview

Winsome and I B and W (2)Meet Winsome Duncan – an award-winning author, entrepreneur, poet and more with over a decade of experience in the book writing industry. Her work has been featured on BBC iPlayer, SKY and BBC London radio. Winsome is a bestselling author and founder of Peaches Publications – their motto: “We Publish Books”. Her books have received national press and media coverage, and they have been endorsed by former Minister of Justice Sir Simon Hughes.

Having said all that, I want you to know that Winsome is a kind, humble person and a dedicated friend who cares about others. Her successes are inspiring because she managed to overcome difficulties like dyslexia or poverty consciousness. If you are a writer, an aspiring author, book publisher, a creative or budding entrepreneur – you will find valuable tips and information here. Please stay tuned if you love stories and mean business…

Let’s get to it:

M: Winsome, you have done so many things… How would you describe yourself in 2018?

W: “As a writer and book publisher. This year is definitely about writing and the next year and the year to come…”

M: I was first introduced to you as a poet? Do you still perform?

W: “As a poet my name is Lyrical Healer. Poetry is my first love. I’m also a singer although there are better singers than me out there. I stepped away from the poetry 4-5 years ago because I wasn’t making enough money; but last year I decided that this decade I wanted to leave my voice signature… to inspire. I actually have an EP coming out this year. Nobody knows about it – until now. It is called “Get up” and I’m working with 33 Chronicles, Kenny McKay, Adante from Birmingham and Joseph Junior.

M: Fantastic! I can’t wait to hear it and thank you for the exclusive. You’re a speaker, writer, book publisher, sitcom writer and so much more. How do you pick what you do at any point in time? Is it intuition, a solid business plan – what guides you?

W: “I go with my heart. I’m sensitive and a creative which means that I feel things on a different level. I’m an empath to people’s stories and experiences. Sometimes, I choose for business. I’m quite focused when it comes to that, but most times I just want to do what makes me happy. And what makes me happy is being creative – whether it’s writing a book, helping someone write a book or setup their business… I’m an ideas generator – I can think ideas all day long. Practical things I struggle with and because I’m dyslexic, but it’s all a learning curve, isn’t it?”

M: I’ve experienced some of these challenges. How do you stay focused? We know that focus is a must if you’re going to finish a project without getting distracted or delayed by new ideas.  

W: “I think it’s important to complete the work that you start. I’ve got nine books under my belt, and you’ve got to be focused to do that. I’m so used to staying focused that I don’t really think about it, but the main thing that I do is a ‘things to do list’. I plan out everything and tick tasks off as I go along. If there’s too many things, I narrow it down and action what’s left… I’m a bit workaholic and I work funny (night) hours. I stay focused trying to fit my schedule into my personality and my life. I think you really need to be driven and believe in yourself and your destination to complete projects. If you don’t you won’t get there.”

M: You work with writers and budding authors. What skills or character traits does one need to get from page one to the last page of a book?

W: “Bwoy, these are some good questions. They’ll need faith and belief. Also, many of the writers I work with initially feel quite overwhelmed. Once they get the gist of it – once we map out the contents page, the chapters, the titles, the subheadings – it becomes real. It’s getting them from thinking of the book in their head and putting it out on paper. And once they can do that they flourish…”

M: So you simplify the process for them? Just Write IT

W: “That too, but to get from page one to the end – you just have to write. You need to be dedicated and like my workbook says: “Just Write IT”. You must be committed. If you don’t have time to write – get up an hour early and do it, or get up at midnight when everyone is sleeping and do an hour there and then go back to sleep. You have to find the time – that’s how you get from page one to the end. Even if it’s just an hour or half an hour a day… You just need to keep pushing through. Be consistent.”

M: How many people have you worked with?

W: “At the moment, we’ve got twelve books out, and I’m working with another eight. An event that we did at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel raised the profile of the brand. Since then, I’ve been inundated (with requests to help people write their books). The word is getting out and it’s really good! … A woman contacted me at 5 am this morning. I was up, but that’s not the point. She’s said: ‘I want your services’…”

M: “5 am?! Is she willing to pay?” (we’re both laughing).

W: “She’d better be willing to pay. We’ll have that conversation after. That’s the thing – when I started… my first prospect was here (the restaurant where we had the interview) and because it was such a passion and I just wanted to make some extra income – I said ‘I can do all these things with your book for £300’ just because I loved doing it.”

Lyrical points at the table where she had the meeting with her first prospect, and continues:

W: “She was a nice woman. We spent two hours talking about her book, and then she didn’t buy the service… Later, I found out that she went to Author’s House. I’m glad that she told me because it helped me to know what I was doing wrong and why she didn’t buy. With the other publisher, she got a packaged deal (incl. hard book covers and copies, etc.) We added these after – it was a lesson learned.”

Here Winsome tells me how earnestly that very woman was explaining to her that she didn’t have much money just to go ahead and spend thousands of pounds with the other publisher. I’m smiling as she continues because I’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt (or two).

She continues: “That experience made me realise that the service is valuable. We’re still in touch to this day. I even attended her book launch. I like people to be straight with me and the feedback was very good – after that day, my prices went up and now we offer free book copies to our clients which is what they want.”

M: I feel like many creatives and passionate people can relate. When you love what you do you can do it for free… (Winsome: ‘I’m telling you!’) and you still feel like you’re doing something. However, that can only take you so far… So, my next question is: how do you cross from there to becoming a business woman? I feel like many people, especially women, struggle with asking for money in exchange for their work (passion).

W: “Yes, they do and it’s a shame. I was one of those women – I felt not worthy, or I’d be asking myself ‘is that too much?’ I had to get support with that from my business mentor Lorna Stewart and from my life-coach as well… There’s a world of people out there – they come with a hard lack story and that’s all well and good, but… I’ve got a free 20 min consultation, so even if you don’t have any money but you want a little bit of guidance you can still speak to me… You just need to fill out a form, and that stops a lot of people… I used to have these two-hour meetings (instead of a form) and that was my time which I could never get back… “

M: Do you have mentors now?

W: “Always! I have to be around people who are ahead of me. I don’t ever think that I know everything. And if you’re serious and a person in business please have a mentor – whether you pay them or you exchange services… You need someone who’s gone before you. They must be successful at what they do…”

I feel I’ve mastered the asking for money part when I became really clear about what the issue was – and when I got really fed up of half-payments here, half-payments there. One of the things that Fiona (a mentor) got me to do this year was to create a price-list. People tend to have them in their heads, but I thought ‘I need an actual price-list, so everything becomes transparent.’ And then, I put agreements in place (this is what’s expected of you and this is what’s expected of me). Of course, there are people who want to haggle down, but I’d usually say: ‘No, we can’t do that because I’m busy.’ It is different if they’re a friend or connected to me in some way, but other than that my prices are my prices. Now, Peaches Publications want to expand, so that’s really how I deal with that and I’m quite confident now…”

M: Do you feel like being counselled was instrumental?

W: “Yes, it made me feel confident that what I do is worth it. I know a lot about what I do… I help people publish their books, and to have your book out is a great legacy to me.”

M: Especially if it’s a bestseller? (we’re laughing)

W: “If it is – it’s even better.”

Thank you for reading. Winsome and I have spent quite some time talking, and there is a part two. If this content was helpful, please let me know and watch out! Next time, once again, we’ll be talking about writing, self-publishing, business, inspiration and more. Stay inspired!

Poetry, Writing, Publishing, Interview…

once upon a time

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Real writers write today

They do not wait until tomorrow

Real writers paint the truth

Aware that joy comes after its sorrow

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Real writers know that the gift

Comes from the heavens above

Real writers stand up to fear

of being misread or unloved

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Real writers are not afraid

Of being called a fluke or a fake

Real writers write for the love

And not for the accolade

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Come shine, come rain

Come bliss, come pain

Real Writers don’t talk about writing

They tame their lines, again & again!

Winsome and I B and W (2)On this note, I would like to briefly introduce an award-winning author Winsome Duncan. She has written nine books and has over a decade experience within the book industry.

Winsome started out as a poet called ‘Lyrical Healer’ and her love of the English language has seen her on platforms such as SKY TV, BBC, ITV and House of Parliament just to name a few.

Winsome’s fondness for writing has led her to open her own publishing house called ‘Peaches Publications’. She has just released a simple workbook titled: “JUST WRITE IT” to help budding writers get their stories out and on paper.

I have recently interviewed this lovely lady and cannot wait to share our discussions with you. You can expect precious nuggets of wisdom on topics which are important to you as a writer, blogger or someone who wants to write a book.

I am planning to post THE INTERVIEW over the next weekend. Again, this will be a conversation about writing, poetry, publishing and the business part of the whole shebang. Please stay tuned – it will be worth it… 🙂 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I conduct interviews, so we can all learn and grow together.

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Grenfell Tower – Poem/Tribute

Grenfell Heart

What happened to you makes no sense, it makes me cry

It should not have happened – you did not have to die.

What happened to you makes you mad, it makes you cry

Children thrown out of windows though they cannot fly…

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Why?

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There’s not enough water – London towers rise high

There’s not enough help! There’s not enough time!!!

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This is not a house of cards, but it surely burns like one

London fire caused more pain than their knives had done

This is not a house of cards – there are lives inside

Real life people, left behind, who shouldn’t have died

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I’m praying for you if you have survived… You’ll rise…

And for you who’s lost your loved one or many loved ones.

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I’m praying that those in power do all in their power

To prevent another fire from burning another tower…

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Tribute to the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.

See You in Tomorrow – Poem

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Tomorrow land

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I admit. I have made so many mistakes

I have twisted my life with my twisted ways

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I did things before they should have been done

I run when I should have sat, or sat when I should have run.

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There’s no way to turn back the hands of time

What is done already cannot be undone…

Till it can.

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So, stop dragging me through yesterdays

The damage is done, but I’m not done yet

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It is not too late – these are only delays

Did I tell you I knew the Maker of Days?

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You too need to focus on how far you’ve come

And stop crying over the long road ahead…

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Walk away! We can’t walk together unless we agree

Lest your fear casts a shadow on the future I see!

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There’s too much at stake, so join me or walk away

Doubts will take us back to our yesterday…

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See You in Tomorrow!

I pray that I meet you there.

Remember Your Future – Poem

Hope Endures

Remember your future

When the past is bleak

Remember Tomorrow

When you’ve had a tough week

or a year, even many tough years…

That have left you discouraged and weak

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I pray for your strength

When you’re weary and drained

That you focus your mind

On remembering good days

Again, and again, and again…

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Just remember your future,

Picture it in your mind

Decide what you want

What it will be like…

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Stop remembering your past

Don’t repeat old mistakes

Start remembering your future

Let it find you prepared ♥

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The Balancing Act Called Life…

At the musem - BarcelonaI believe in hard-work – it’s a good thing. However, too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Life should be a balanced experience – we all need to find (and keep on finding) our equilibrium.

Most people living in London (which is where I live) work super hard. Meeting up for a coffee is a challenge. You want to do it, but often don’t because of work, family responsibilities, school or whatever else. So, you live in the same city but do not get to see the people you’d love to see or do the things you’d love to do for years, sometimes.  Well, I want to be a lot more intentional about how I spend my time on this Earth!

La IglesiaBarcelona happens to be one of my favorite European cities. This week, I was blessed with 2 ‘take it easy’ days in the city. The weather was beautiful and the trip, although not entirely recreational, so refreshing. I’m not sure what you do for fun (what do you do?), but I enjoyed the old town’s beautiful churches, museums, colorful features and narrow streets. I only wish they were a little less crowded, but I guess there’s no perfect place under the Sun. Sometimes, we need alone time to relax. At other times, we need to share it with the people we care for. Laughing, talking, eating and sharing my time with this lady here (plus the music, of course) made the trip super special. 

Back to the main point of this post – one morning, I was passing through the Las Ramblas boulevard and noticed La Equilibrista (The Balancer). She was petite and super focused which caught my attention. Of course, a yellow head-to-toe coverage and the fact they’re standing on a bike’s seat also helps you notice a person. 😊 I’ve digressed again, but check out her balancing act (the short video here). It may look like a passive activity, however, try this for about 30 minutes and I’m sure you’ll know that it’s not. Such is balancing in real life too – we cannot be passive if we’re going to stay balanced. 

We’re surrounded by people and forces (sometimes intangible) pulling us in so many different directions. For most of us, our culture and surroundings encourage everything but a balanced life. Working hard is good, playing hard (reasonably) is good too and so is praying hard etc. However, we need a little bit of everything to be happy and fulfilled in life.

Barcelona Streets 1My recent trip to Barcelona was a treat indeed, so it was a little hard to say “Adios” in the end. But again, I remembered that balance is key and too much of a good thing can be bad for you…

When it’s time to go it is time to go (ask the Spaniard in the picture – he knows) 🙂 There’s a time for everything. Balancing is not passive, and it is an ongoing activity. So, take charge of your days and be intentional about how you spend or invest your time.

What do you do to stay balanced? I would love to know.

Oh, and take a moment to watch the video from my previous trip to Barcelona  – expect to see La Mercé, Partying and Music, The Giants, Museums and stuff… 🙂

Keep Swimming – Poem

stony beach

A brief definition of a beach, by me –

Soft & golden sand with a fresh breeze & the sea

Yet, this shore, right here, without one grain of sand

Is believed to be qualified. I believe, but not quite…

Well… Sea? Checked. Breeze? Checked.

But then.., stones – and sooo haaard!

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In my mind, there’s a memory of a soft & smooth beach

Without the soft sand, my bare feet feel so… eek!

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Rocks are surely great for the ‘mountain time’

Yet, each beach, in my mind, requires… the sand…

Second thought – let’s revise

It’s a fruitful land…

As in spite of my hurting feet

Which from pebbles bleed

 I prefer to keep swimming

In the sea bottomed hard

Than to drown in the one

Underlaid with soft sand.

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Final thought:

“Just keep swimming” Dori from “Finding Nemo”

Everybody Runs – Poem

running-man

Did you notice how everybody runs?

I got caught up in it more than once…

These days, tomorrow happens yesterday

Human-doings excel, but night blends into day

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Did you notice how everybody runs?

Where’s the space for friendships,

Or for LOVE and romance?

Did you notice how everybody runs?

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It’s so easy to get caught in this chase

No one likes to lose, so one stays in the race

Did you notice how everybody runs…?

Working like a dog to improve their chance…

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To advance super-fast and burn out in advance

Not to look into eyes – maybe… merely glance

Not to feel anymore, not to laugh or dance

Do you wonder why everybody runs?

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If It’s Broke – Fix It: Poetry & Self-Publishing

Love don't fear Half Cover Amazon 12.04.18You may have noticed that I changed the title and the cover of my latest poetry collection. Ha… the book had only been out for a month… ‘Why did you do that?’ one could ask…

Well, that month was the driest month as far as my book sales, on Amazon, are concerned. Not only was this book not selling, but my first book “Do Lend Me Your Ears” took a significant hit too. While they might have been caused by a range of factors – those events were too time-correlated for me to ignore. So, I pulled the plug on “Poems about Love and Fear” ☹ And when I did – my first book sales spiked yet again. Boom! 😊 That was about 1,5 months ago…

After picking up the scattered pieces of my wounded ‘marketeer ego’ (not really), I’m back with a confession: I rushed the cover design and did not take enough time to consider the title. It was me…

I don’t write about Love and Fear as if they’re equal – they’re not… I write about Love overcoming fear, hence the new more appropriate title: “Love, Don’t Fear”.

About that cover… picturing a random couple kissing in the background of the red, red wine… I mean the red, red cover… One of my friends said that, at first sight, she thought she was looking at an erotic novel.👀 Well, the book’s about affairs of the heart, but there’s no direct sexual content in it. “Love, Don’t Fear” explores emotional battles and relationship lows. And then, the plot leads you to inspiring breakthroughs and solutions. That’s what you’ll find within its dramatic and captivating story-lines…

Change was needed, hence poems about love and fear are no more (though Google may not know that yet). The cover’s still passionately red, but the kissing couple is gone. The title no longer magnifies fear – it puts LOVE in its proper place… 

Food for thought: If there’s a book inside of you – don’t be scared to write it and share it. You are not a failure if you don’t succeed at your first attempt. It just means that your story will gain a backstory… Gather more information, get all the help you need and go do it again! Just do it better, this time around.

I’m super excited to introduce my new (old) book: “Love, Don’t Fear” to You. It is available on Amazon now. The e-book will soon be available on my website too.

Check it out. Pick it up. Be entertained and inspired to love – not fear…