Is Self-Publishing For You? Thoughts From Toneal Jackson

As a self-published author, I have found the experience unique, yet rewarding; unique because I’ve not known any other comparable experience. Since September 2010 (when my first book was published), I have travelled nationwide, and networked with individuals that I would not have otherwise known existed.

So, what made me decide to write a book you ask? Honestly, I can’t tell you. There was no business plan; it wasn’t part of my short or long-term goals; it just sort of happened. For that reason that I frequently tell people, “If you’re inspired to do something, follow that inspiration; you never know where it may take you”!

Realistically, I decided to self-publish because I felt a sense of urgency for individuals to receive my message. When employing that vein of publication, provided that no editions are necessary, it typically takes only a few months to receive your galley (initial copy).

Because my undergraduate degree was in Communication, I possessed some knowledge of the public relations industry. I knew that if I wanted others to know that I existed, it was important to reach those people. Where is a universal place to reach a massive amount of individuals? You guessed it, the internet.

So my first order of business was to create a website to promote my book. Next, I made sure everyone on Face Book knew that this site existed; I constantly promoted (and still do) my website asking others to “like” it! Then, I created a fan page for my book, and encouraged people to “like” that page. What’s the point? Exhaust every possibility; make sure that everyone you know knows about your work, and tell them to tell their friends to follow suit.

Once I established a virtual presence, my next priority was to decide which book events I wanted to participate.  Before I became an author, I didn’t have a clue about book events, expos, festivals, etc. Now, it has become a vast part of my world. In 2011, I exhibited in Michigan, Ohio, Dallas, Houston, and Baltimore-and that doesn’t even include my hometown of Chicago! If, at this point you’re thinking, “sounds expensive”; you would be absolutely correct.

That is why I advise you to conduct your own research on what makes sense for you. Evaluate your reasons for becoming an author. Are you doing it for notoriety? Do you want to leave something as a legacy for your children? Maybe, you just want to prove to yourself that you can do this. It’s essential that you know, from the beginning, your reasons for becoming an author. Align your promotional efforts with your personal goals.

If you lack experience with public relations, or perhaps you don’t have the time, self-publishing companies have publicity teams. Just make sure you are financially able to implement this option, because it can become expensive.

Becoming an author has opened so many other doors. Because my first book is on the topics of relationships, I have become sort of an “expert” in that field. I have been interviewed on a variety of radio shows; during one I conducted with Tony Kay, President of Artist First Radio Network, he offered me an opportunity to have my very own radio show! Not only did I host that show, but I transitioned to Blog Talk Radio, and currently Inspirational Talk with Toneal every Tuesday from 4-4:30pm central time.

I have conducted marital workshops, and served as a seminar speaker for the 2011 Ultimate Women’s Expo in Dallas, appearing on the same stage as Star Jones & Wynonna Judd!

So, I’d have to say, this has been quite a rewarding experience!

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A married, mother of many, Toneal has written two books. The first is a relationship book, Pleasing Your Partner: A Spiritual Guide To Happiness; it discusses the issues that face relationships, and employs the acronym to provide solutions. The second is a children’s book entitled, Four Girls: A Lot of Choices. This book reflects upon the trials and smiles that come along with parenthood. Toneal was ranked #3 as the National Black Book Festival’s 2011 Best New Author; her relationship book was celebrated at the 2011 Dayton Book Expo. In February, the Chicago Children’s Museum selected her to be a featured author for their “Celebrating Authors” exhibit.

For more information, visit her websites:

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