Winsome Interview – Part Two

Winsome and IIf you’re an aspiring author, book publisher, creative or budding entrepreneur – you will find valuable tips in my interview with Winsome Duncanan award-winning author, entrepreneur, and poet with over a decade of experience in the book industry.  

Part two stands on its own, however, to gain additional insights please READ PART ONE too. Here, the conversation about writing, self-publishing and creative entrepreneurship continues.

M: Do you think that a writer can be just a writer (these days), or must we learn marketing, business skills, etc.?

W: You can be just a writer and outsource marketing, business tasks, cover designs, etc. but then if a writer is interested in the business they should learn the trade. I went into self-publishing because companies like Random House weren’t taking me on. I’ve got a collage of rejection letters. One day, I’m going to find them again and put them online…

M: Why did you call your publishing company Peaches Publications?

W: …I called it Peaches Publications because life is peachy and sweet. What I mean by that is that you woke up this morning and you’re still alive, you’re not in a hospital bed. This should be reason enough to give thanks. That’s why life is just like a peach (sweet).

M: What do You (Peaches Publications) do?

W: We provide ghost-writingnot everyone is a natural writer. I believe that everybody can write a book, but whether it would be of good quality or not that’s another matter. Ghost-writing helps to smooth the book out. It helps to give it a voice, direction and a narrative that is readable and consistent rather than disjointed.

M: But still true to their story? 

W: Yes, still true to the story, but embellished – descriptions added and so on and so forth. We have quite a few ghost-written books.

We also edit, proof-read, provide critical evaluation. Then, we have marketing and PR (outsourced). We give advice on copyright and do frameworks for people to start on their journey… Many people just need some direction and then, off they go. Finally, we have our special 24-hour formula which helps you get your book written in 24 hours…

M: Just to clarify – we are talking about that first draft – not about a manuscript being ready for publishing (in 24 hours)?

W: The first draft, yes… It can be done. It all depends on how dedicated you are… 

I also work with people who have their books out already, but they need a publisher to help them take things to the next level. Writing a book is therapeutic and cathartic, but the whole idea is to at least recoup the money you spent on it. The average lifetime of a book, in terms of how well it sells, is about 300 copies. Getting to a thousand, two thousand, and more – that’s the challenge.

M: What must a self-published author, supported by Peaches Publications, do to become successful?

W: The contract says what they should do i.e. the homework that I give them; make time for meetings and video calls on Skype… Sometimes, clients come and say, “here’s my book – it’s finished” and I’m like “has it got a contents page, etc.?” The nature of self-publishing is such that people don’t know a lot about the journey, so it’s also my job to teach them and tell them…

It’s now reflected in the agreement that there will be some work for you to do. We need to decide what the book covers will be (with us). You have to fill out the table of contents. Some people include a foreword, some people don’t. It really does depend, but writers must do the work and that can be challenging sometimes.

In the past, we had a twelve week turn around, but now we don’t have strict deadlines because the nature of self-publishing can be slow, and people’s lives get busy. We recommend a deadline and it can be met if writers do what’s requested, but it’s just a recommendation – it can take anywhere from six to twelve months.

M: What do you believe is a good motive to write?

W: When you have a desire in your soul that just won’t leave you. I worked with one woman who had 21 years of poetry in her that had only been written on bits of paper, email, etc. … She cried at her launch. Imagine that, her book was trapped for 21 years! She came, a year ago, to our book publishing workshop…

M: What genres do you work in?

W: The genres we work in are Christian gospel, inspiration and motivation, short stories and autobiographies…

M: What other projects do you want people to know about?

W: Well, I’ve got a sitcom “Keeping up with the Brokers” – we’ll be doing some more work around that this year. It’s on YouTube and Facebook. We want to begin telling a story about a family who go through struggles and hardship, but still through love they survive…

I do want to work with Anthony Joshua (the boxer) … I think his is such an inspirational story. I’d like to at least be a consultant on his story if not the publisher of one of his books. I’ve researched him, and I don’t think there’s a book out there yet…

M: Oh, you research people that you’d like to work with without knowing whether or not they want to publish a book?

W: Yes, I do…

M: So, now, you’re just visualizing?

W: Yes, actually I should put him on my vision board… I should…

M: You’ve done projects with BBC, Eddie Nestor played in your film. You were trained by Les Brown and Andy Harrington, and you’ve received some recognition over the years. It’s interesting to know that you still have the humility to continue learning from people who know more than you.

W: Yes! I will always maintain that even if I am at the top of my game or what’s perceived to be the top of my game. I’m always evaluating myself… I will always have someone mentoring and life-coaching me because I don’t ever want to stop learning. Even Oprah has got mentors, and she’s a billionaire. She’s also on my vision board…

M: What’s your family background? Did they teach you to strive?

W: My parents are from the working-class background. My dad was a hard-working guy and my mum was a house-wife. I learned poverty consciousness from my mum. It was hard at the beginning to ask for money. At the beginning, as an artist, I did stuff for free… My first paid show as Lyrical Healer was at the Soul Food in 2003. I got £50 to stand on the stage for 10 minutes and do poetry… There, a connection was formed, in terms of how I could use my skills, gifts and arts to make money.

My dad is a hard worker who believes in 9 – 5. We argue quite a bit about this because I’m a creative entrepreneur and he keeps telling me to get “a proper job” … I guess he wants stability for me because as you know the nature of self-employment can be up and down. Your clients pay you when they pay you, but it looks like we’re coming into demand… and I know what the direction given to me is…

M: What is your best piece of advice for writers?

W: The first tip is in the title of my workbook – JUST WRITE ITBelieve that you can do it. Go get a nice A4 notebook, a pen and start writing… Let it come out purely – don’t edit the piece as you go along, let the pen just flow (at this stage).

My final piece of advice isif you feel like giving up, rest but keep going – don’t give up! I’ve seen many poets come and go off the stage. They say, “I’m a poet, or a this and a that” and then they disappear into the night! So, if you feel like giving up – rest but keep going. Don’t give up. Stay focused!

M: Is that the advice you’d give to aspiring entrepreneurs and/or to people who want to succeed in business too?

W: Yes, because you’ve got to want to stay in it. I have been in this creative stuff for 19 years. You’ve got to really want it to the extent where you can’t see yourself doing anything else other than what it is you are doing… I want to thank my team. I’m just one person, so I appreciate their support and what they do…

Don’t give up your passion… even if you must get a part time job or a full-time job. Even if you have to leave a full-time job and start from nothing.

Fulfill what’s in your heart. Whatever God has given you to do I urge you to do it!

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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. In it, once again, we are talking about writing, self-publishing, business, inspiration and more. Please click on the link to read it now…

Don’t Miss the Momentum

Momentum
 

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Don’t mess with Momentum

Treat it well when it comes…

Many wait many years

Hoping it returns…

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Don’t mess with Momentum

When it’s time it is time…

When the door is shut

You’d have missed your chance

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When it’s time to reap

It’s not time to sow…

When it’s time to be a grown up

It’s not time to grow…

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It’s not time to prepare

It is time to show…

What you’re made of, and…

What you have prepared before

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The key is to Harmonize

Walk this Fine, sweet Line

Do not rush the Process,

But don’t miss your Time.

Do Lend Me Your Ears

I am so pleased to let you know that my book “Do Lend Me Do Lend Me Yr Ears Amazon E-book 50 conYour Ears” is available right now. This collection of poems & short stories is designed to entertain and empower.

The book’s ‘tales’ often begin amid life’s conflicts & complicated relationships with oneself, God & men. They will, however, take you on a quest to unexpected resolutions & positive transformations.

It is a book of emotionally charged poetry which invites its reader on an intense & colourful journey from hate to love, from hopelessness to hope & from pain to satisfaction. To some extent, this collection is a lyrical analysis of the human condition singled out by introspective & therapeutic qualities.

Do Lend Me Your Ears MailPopUp“Do Lend Me Your Ears” is a thought-provoking ensemble influenced by life, death, faith & its lack. This book will satisfy your emotions & intellect if you take the time to read between the lines.

Enjoy & be inspired by this fantastic BOOK, or let it be your gift to another poetry lover.

Please Click Here if you’d like to get the hard copy on Amazon. 🙂

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The Real Writer

Writer Poetry

The Real Writer is The One

Who writes Today not tomorrow

The Real Writer paints the Truth –

Includes the Joy and The Sorrow.

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The Real Writer knows that the Gift

Comes from the Heavens above

The Real Writer stands up to fear

of being misread or unloved.

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The Real Writer is not Afraid

Of being called a fluke or a fake

The Real Writer writes for the Love

And not for the accolade.

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Come shine Come Rain

Come Joy Come Pain

Real Writers don’t talk about writing

They tame their lines, again & again!