Why your contact information should be on your blog

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Having a blog and filling it up with great content is good but it won’t make so much sense if after reading your blog, readers cannot reach you because there is no contact information. 

Your contact page is your final link between you and your readers. If you are selling a service on your blog it is even more imperative that you update the page. How else do you expect readers to reach you?

Depending on what you want to achieve it is not enough to have a ‘contact us’ page, include your email address, your Instagram page url and other information that would help your readers link up with you on different platforms. The more the merrier!

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#WriterSpotlight – “With words you can build, you can give hope, you can ignite and you can destroy too.” Aderonke Moyinlorun

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She may be young but what she has achieved is incredible. Author of eight books, publisher and speaker, Aderonke  Moyinlorun is our guest on today’s #WriterSpotlight. Enjoy. 

Hello Aderonke. Can you please describe yourself in a few words?

My name is Aderonke Moyinlorun. I’m a writer, a publisher and a motivational speaker. I’m also the CEO of Starling Empire which birthed Starling Books and Starling Films.

At what point did you decide you wanted to become an author and why?

I knew I wanted to become an author since I was a child. I started writing short stories and poems when I was eight years old. I would write stories in all my school notebooks and I’d get in trouble with my teachers but it never stopped me. I’ve always known I wanted to write. I was born to do this.

You are a one-time best seller on Amazon. What book achieved this feat and how were you able to achieve this?

Yea, my book ‘When Love Hurts’ was an amazon eBook bestseller. I wish I could tell you exactly how I achieved this, but honestly, it was a bunch of different things that I did. The most important is that the story sold itself. It was my first attempt at romance story and if there’s anything reviewers say about my romance stories, it’s that they are emotionally intense, and heart wrenching. So I think the story sold itself as did every book I wrote after it.

Besides that, I did a lot of marketing. I gave out a lot of free copies. I approached well known book bloggers and asked them to read and review my book. And I did some few paid adverts. I also have the best and most supportive readers. I had a Ronke team on social media which consist of ten of my loyal readers  and their goal was to repost and share everything about the book. In exchange for their support, they are always the first to read my next book.

You have authored eight books! This is no mean feat. How were you able to achieve this?

By being disciplined, dedicated, persistence and patient. And also thanks to the fact that I never run out of stories to write. There’s always a story in my head all the time. But I do a lot of things and run a lot of businesses, I only have little time to write. If not, I would have more books than that.

Let’s talk about getting published. Why did you decide to float your independent publishing company Starling Book?

Honestly, there are more than one reasons why I chose to start Starling Books. First is I believe that my destiny is in my hands. That I can do just about anything if I put my mind to it. That I can be whoever I want to be if I work hard at it. That I can touch the skies if I’m willing to take the leap. More than anything else, this is why I like making things happen for me instead of relying on anybody else or any organisation. 

Second was that I had approached one or two publishing company and they rejected my manuscript because they thought I was too young and I didn’t have a lot of readers yet. They didn’t give me an opportunity, so I created the opportunity for myself. That was how I started Starling Books. I was barely 20 years old when I started.

What difficulties did you face in getting this company to start off and how were you able to overcome them?

I had a lot of difficulties. I was entering an unknown territory. I knew how to write but publishing was a whole different ball game entirely. I made a lot of mistakes. I did a lot of research and I had to learn on the job. One major difficulty that I faced was marketing. I was able to overcome this by always coming up with a new idea to market. And I realized that marketing is a continuous process. You are never done. But really, I’m glad I was able to get better at this publishing thing. 

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There is a common belief that getting a book published is expensive because of the different elements it involves. Is this really the reality?

I would say Yes and No. Maybe in the past, it was expensive. But presently, things keep getting better and I know they will continue to get better. We can publish a book as an e-book and people can read on phones and laptops. Last time I checked it cost zero Naira to publish an e-book, both on Amazon and Okadabooks. And e-book sales are really encouraging.

Getting a book in print used to be very expensive because you are required to have hundreds of thousands of Naira to print one thousand copies. But these days, there are print-on-demand printing companies everywhere. If you need to distribute fifty copies and fifty copies is all you have money to print, you can order the fifty copies. If you have money for another ten copies, you can order again at another time.

So, really, in my opinion, things are getting better. You just have to know where to look and have access to the right information.

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What advice do you have for a writer who really wants to get published but is low on funds?

Start with eBooks. It is completely free to publish an eBook. Don’t stop trying to get your books in print either. Work hard. Save. Approach people for sponsorship if you have to. Contact publishers. Good publishers don’t ask you for money to publish your books. They pay you to publish your books. Just keep trying. It will happen for you.

Can you tell us what you love most about being an author?

What I love most most about being an author is the opportunity to touch people’s lives and make a difference. I’m amazed by the number of people that send me messages everyday about how my books touch them. I find a sense of fulfillment in that.

What is the most important lesson writing has taught you?

Writing has taught me that words are powerful. With words you can build, you can give hope, you can ignite and you can destroy too. So I’m extra careful how I use words.

What do you love about The Sparkle Writer’s Hub?

What I love most about The Sparkle Writer’s Hub is the blog posts, especially posts that revolves around creativity and getting inspiration to keep writing.

Which author (dead or alive) would love to spend a day with if given a chance?

Aderonke Moyinlorun. Yea, I’m full of myself like that. LOL

What advice do you have for people who know that they have a message to share but fear keeps holding them back?

What you are afraid to do is a clear indication of what you need to do. Do it now.

Writing quote: “There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.”

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 “There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.” – Doris Lessing 

If anyone ever ever told you that you can only write in a certain way they are not speaking the truth. 

Writing novels should never look like a chore or bore you because you do not have to follow a particular pattern or write like another novelist to get your own audience.

That’s the thing about them; the more creative your novel is the better for all of us. You set the laws for your novel – how you want it to start, progress and how you want it to end. As long as it makes sense to your readers the rest of the world has no choice but to go with it. Novelist write stories that they wish they could find on the shelf, stories that keep circling in their head, the ones that make them smile in the midst of a large audience. 

Writing novels and following ‘rules’ will restrict you. As long as you are a writer you must commit to giving your best to your readers every time you pick up a pen. No excuses, no going back. 

#WordOfTheDay – Lagniappe is a such an easy word

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Hello Sparkle Writers, it’s Wednesday! Today’s word is one of the easiest word to pronounce but for some reason it looks really complex especially if you are just hearing it for the first time. See why you need to keep following our word of the day posts? There’s always something new to add to your vocabulary.

Lagniappe is pronounced  /lăn′yəp, lăn-yăp′/.

It means a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase. Broadly, it is something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure.

Let’s look at some examples. 

  • The waiter added a cup of lobster bisque as a lagniappe to the meal.
  • As a loyal customer I requested for a lagniappe when I visited during Christmas.

#GrammarSeries – What’s the big deal with grammar?

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What’s all these grammar talk we read every Tuesday on The Sparkle Writer’s Hub? What’s the big deal? Grammar is actually pretty important and if you’ve ever wondered why we keep insisting that you follow the Grammar series on Tuesday, this will convince you. 

Imagine if we all just talked and nobody understood the next person because each person decided to go with his or her own grammar rules? What will happen to the world? Definitely a lot of chaos. 

The reason that the rules of grammar exist is to give all speakers of the same language a playbook to make sure that they understand each other.

If you decided one day to stop pluralizing anything and just use the singular form for everything, that’s great for your personal journaling or expression. Most other English speakers will need some guidance if they have to read and understand what you wrote. 

Some might argue that rules are made to be broken. In the case of writing, bending some of the rules can be a form of expression. However, rules should not be broken for the sake of breaking them. You’re not going to keep the attention of an audience if they have to struggle to make sense of what you’ve written.

Your book will first be judged by its cover, make it awesome!

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No matter how you want to rationalize it, potential readers and the audience at large will judge your book first by its cover before they open it and read the pages.

The cover is what everyone sees first. If we don’t like what we see, there’s no point opening it. We just move on. If you do not take out time to create a striking design alongside your publisher or graphic designer, your book will automatically lose a large percent of its potential readers. 

Our brains are wired to process images faster than words. When we see an image, it makes us feel something. A great cover can help your reader instantly recognize that your book is for them.

Bookshops display books with their covers facing the reader. It’s the first thing a reader sees. It is the reason a customer picks up the book, particularly in a supermarket setting where every book is front facing.

When a reader sees an amateur cover on a book, they will expect the content itself to be amateur. If it looks cheaply produced, then they will expect the inside quality to be cheap also or that there has been little or no editing, proofreading or it contains bad prose. If a reader sees a cover and has that expectation, why should they buy the book? And it’s not just about someone buying a book, but about them investing their time to read it. 

Poor designs on the other hand can be a huge turn off. With millions of books for readers to choose from, the first “sales pitch” is the cover. If it is not striking enough to draw attention, it will be passed over for something more interesting on either side.

Don’t ruin your book’s chances of success. 

It is never too late to start blogging

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You really want to start your blog but you are afraid it’s too late. There are so many, probably too many, bloggers out there. “Why add to the number,” you keep thinking. We do not agree with you. 

Although we won’t deny that there are so many bloggers already in the blogspehere, this has absolutely nothing to do with your authentic and distinct belief that you have something to offer to an audience special to you. There is an infinity of niches that we doubt there will ever be a time when there will be no more opportunities for a new blogger. 

Are you worried that everything’s already been done? Well, people have been afraid of that for decades, and it doesn’t stop new blogs from emerging.  Every topic can be broken down into hundreds of sub-topics, and each of those subtopics can be broken down into potential target audiences.

You also need to realize that content audiences are consistently growing over time. More users are introduced to the internet, the internet becomes more and more accessible (such as with public Wi-Fi and mobile devices), and blogs become even more popular. The result is an ever-growing pool of potential readers that is currently showing no signs of slowing down.

We recently read a post from Christopher Foster a 79 years old man who recently  started blogging! You heard that right, he is 79  years old and he just started blogging, now tell us what is your excuse? 

#WriterSpotlight – “Start where you are, a small focus group, your social media pages, blog etc. Do not let fear hinder you.” Morenike Vincent

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We are extremely honoured to feature the amazing Morenike Vincent on today’s edition of #WriterSpotlight. She’s an accountant, writer and first time author! If you are thinking of publishing your book soon, here’s yet another writer you can learn from. Her tips are so practical. Enjoy! 

Who is Morenike Vincent?

My name is Morenike, I am a lover of God and people, a wife,a sister, daughter, friend. I love to help people to be  awake to the lives they have been called of God to live. I am a Chartered Accountant currently working as an Auditor.

I am the founder of She’s Connected Family Life network, a platform for ladies who desire to establish God’s design for family here on earth, growing together to mirror the phenomenal woman in Proverbs 31.

I have a heart to prepare the next generation for life and living, an evangelist of academic and life excellence, hence the book and platform Academic Excellence.

Since you have a 9-5 and run a ministry, how do you find time to write?

Well for me, writing is not a hobby, it more like I must give expression to what God has put in my heart via writing. Some days words come to my heart and so I just write on my notepad or on my phone. But really and truly, you will create time for what is important to you.

Congratulations on the release of Academic Excellence. Take us through the journey of writing and publishing it.

Thank you. For me it is a huge honor God chose me to bring forth this book through, I was just the vessel. In 2016 May I felt in my heart that I should organise an online seminar for teenagers and young adults so I told my friend Raquel, we designed a flier and shared on social media for 5 days before the event and to my outermost surprise, over 170 teenagers and young adults, Edu consultants participated in the 3 hour WhatsApp seminar on Academic Excellence.  When we were almost done, I told them if they stayed on the group I will share for the next 30days (throughout the month of June) on Academic Excellence. It was a very demanding move for me because I really don’t remember ever doing anything consistently for 2weeks let alone 30days! But by God’s grace I did it. Some days I would be so tired from work and on one day, I didn’t post till a few minutes to midnight. It was truly a stretching experience for me and very fulfilling because the teenagers learnt a lot and were inspired. The daily posting on the WhatsApp group throughout June 2016 formed the core content for the Book.

So from June 2016 to the eventual release of the book May 28 (the anniversary of their first seminar) I updated the content of the days, I reached out to people to share their story, one of which was Bimbo Oyeyi, a lady who I had told in 2010 that I would write a book on academic excellence and share her story.

From editing, to book design, to deciding to self-publish, to printing runs, publicity, for a first time author it was truly an experience, but one I am grateful for and thank God I have a very supportive husband who is my major driver, he kept me on my toes especially with deadlines and milestones.

Since the book was released, what has been the reaction so far?

I am truly thankful as all the teenagers who came for my book launch got the book for free courtesy some generous people. The feedback from people who have read it have been heart-warming and fulfilling. You see my dream is to put the book in the hands of every teenager and young adult in Nigeria because I believe it will help, not just to improve academic performance, but also self-leadership and life in general.

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It took you about eight years to write, what kept the dream going?

GOD! See it was not by my might.  I was a 300 level student in Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and I was in the academic committee for my department fellowship. I used to write articles and counsel my class mates on academic excellence and mindsets toward academics generally. Then one day, as I was writing yet another article, I heard in my heart, “This will form pages of a devotional”. I got two notebooks to get started, but it just did not happen, till today, those two notebooks are still with me, they attest to the faithfulness of God. At every phase in my life, from graduation, to NYSC, to workplace, to marriage, I knew that one day I will write a book on Academic Excellence. Initially the title I had was “Ruling and reigning in the Academic domain”. There were many days I cried, because I felt I had let God down by not writing. But “in the fullness of time” the avenue was open to write and today we have the book. When I think about it all, I still am teary-eyed. It’s more than a book for me, it is a testament of the faithfulness of God. And yes! Your dreams are valid.

What lessons has writing this book taught you?

This experience taught me a number of things, one of which is to lean on God through every twist or turn, so make Him your source. Another is if you demand excellence, you will get it, so do not compromise. Then, deadlines and follow up, this is not a strong area for me, so my husband was so helpful here, helping me realize that once one deadline is not met, it affects other things. I learnt that many people are on the other side of my obedience and so I must be quick to obey God and do so completely. I picked many other life lessons on this journey.

Is there any chance of you leaving accounting to do writing full time?

Well I cannot say for now, as God leads, I follow. For now He’s given me the grace to do both, so why don’t I enjoy it and maximize it.

What do you love most about being a writer?

I usually tell people that I do not consider myself a writer, because it’s not for pleasure. I believe I must write, because God wants to reach people and my writing and speaking give Him expression.

There is this one time I can vividly remember, I wanted to do something, but then felt a block, I tried to fight it, but then I just picked my phone and words began to flow. It was like I felt the words form in my heart and I needed to give expression. So I obeyed, and I sent it out to my contacts on Blackberry Messenger. Immediately I received a message saying, “Oh God, Reni thank you, thank you so much. I so needed that.” For me this is fulfilling.

The book is loaded with special content: study plan, Q/A with a lecturer, academic excellence nuggets, devotional content, academic excellence stories. Why N1, 000? Don’t you plan to profit from its sales?

Yes it’s a loaded book, it’s 150 pages. I see the book as gift to the next generation. I decided to focus on value and not profit. My heart prays that it reaches the hands of the intended users (every teenager and young adult). I also needed to look at my target audience. Why will I write a book that my audience cannot afford to buy? It’s not to make a name as an author, but to impact lives. I believe the book will do that.

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What do you say to parents wondering why they should buy your book for their teenager?

“The greatest impact we can make is to invest in the lives of they to whom we will pass the life baton to. Think posterity.” You will have no regrets getting this book for your teenager. In fact, do not just stop there. Look for more teenagers around you, schools around you and even your Alma Mater, and put this book in the hands of every teenager in your sphere of influence. The book was written from my heart, and will transform your teenager, that I am sure.

What advice do you have for someone who has a story to tell but is afraid to write it in a book?

Well, you really do not need to write a book honestly, if you do not feel in your heart to do so. But by all means, just start. You really do not know how many lives are hinged to yours. One thing I know is God doesn’t waste pain, especially when you commit it all to Him. Start where you are, a small focus group, your social media pages, blog etc. Do not let fear hinder you.

How can readers get copies of this book?

The primary sales point is over my website.

And we deliver nationwide. The book is also available at

We are working to activate other bookstores and contact persons.

The book is also available in E-book version on

We are working on other online platforms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#WritingQuote – “To write is human to edit is divine.”

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“To write is human, to edit is divine.”-  Stephen King 

Everybody can write. That’s the absolute truth but your level of editing skills will make or mar your writing. 

When we pour out our hearts on paper we must always remember that it is a first draft and no matter how good it looks, it can be re-written to become much better. 

It is only amateur writers that would write and not bother to check for typos, punctuation and clarity of ideas in any piece. Failure to do so will affect the quality of your work and how you are perceived as a writer. 

Writers are detailed and diligent people. Don’t give your readers a wrong impression about you because of the quality of your work. When next you write, take out time to look carefully and edit where necessary!

#WordOfTheDay – Vituperate explained

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Hey Sparkle Writers, it’s time to learn a new word and that word is ‘Vituperate’.

There are two main definitions for this word. 

  1. To criticize or censure severely or abusively.
  2. To use harsh condemnatory language.

The word is pronounced /vɪˈtjuːpəreɪt/ and is quite old. 

Here are a few words that mean the same thing with vituperate;

Against, attack, upbraid, berate, harangue, lambaste, reprimand, castigate, chastise, rebuke, scold, chide, censure, condemn, damn, denounce, find fault with, run down, take to, task, vilify, denigrate, calumniate, insult, abuse, curse, slander, smear.

Now let’s form a few sentences from this word. We expect that you’d do the same. 

To vituperate someone is almost as bad as assaulting them physically.

Because the coach continued to vituperate his team with abusive talk, he was given a warning by the college dean.

It is not illegal to vituperate someone, but speaking to a person in such an insulting way is frowned upon