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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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. 

#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!

#WritingQuote – Writing is an exploration, you start from nothing and learn as you go

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The notion new writers have that they need to know all there is to know (as if that’s even possible) about writing before they call themselves writers is so wrong and honestly pretty much unrealistic.

No one knows all there is to know about writing. We all just continue to explore our abilities, learn new things and increase our capabilities. 

Ask anyone who is on a roll in this profession, they do a whole lot of exploring and trying out new things. If you are hesitant to do this you will not go very far and that’s the honest truth. 

So explore and improve yourself daily. 

#WordOfTheDay – You may not know this but Ensconce is a word

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There are some words we see and we are sure we could not have imagined they were real. Ensconce is one of those words. What’s more surprising is its meaning. This is the reason for the #WordOfTheDay segment. To keep improving our vocabulary. 

Ensconce is pronounced /ɪnˈskɒns,ɛnˈskɒns/

It has two widely known meanings. The first is to place or hide securely . It also means to establish or settle firmly in a safe place. 

Here are a few words that could mean the same thing with ensconce. 

Settleinstallestablishparkshutplantlodgepositionseatentrenchshelternestle, curl up, snuggle up; 

Let’s use this word in some examples . 

My grandfather is ensconced in the armchair and waiting for the first grandchild to arrive.

Clara is comfortably ensconced in a beach chair and has no immediate plans to return to work.

Ensconced on the mantle, the kitten refused to jump into my arms.

 

 

#Word of the Day – This is what ‘Mythomania’ means

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Hey Sparkle Writers! It is time to add one more word to your dictionary.

We came across this fabulous word and we thought it would be nice if you use it to spice up your writing. The word is “Mythomania” and it is pronounced this way /mɪθə(ʊ)ˈmeɪnɪə/.

Mythomania is a noun. It is an abnormal or pathological tendency to lie or exaggerate. Yes, there is a word for it. 

The word itself can actually be broken down into two constituents: Myth + mania.

The word has an origin. It is from the Greek “mythos (myth)” and “-mania (excessive enthusiasm or craze).”

Here is how the word is used in sentences:

John was taken to the hospital for another session with the psychiatrist. He was diagnosed with mythomania last year.

 

 

#PickOfTheWeek – Life and everything in between

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We are excited to show you today’s #PickOfTheWeek. Writers are really stepping up their game and we love it. 

The first piece we are featuring is by Sakinah. She reminds us of what we do as writers, building our legacy through writing and why we should not give up. Isn’t this just the truth? farmto table

The second writer addressed an issue that is becoming too common around us. Suicide. We love how writers are using their skill to speak the truth and spread peace.

 

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Sensei Fawx didn’t mince words writing this one. If you are looking for something to explain how fast life is. This one hit the nail on the head. It also reminds us that nobody will be here forever, 

 

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This last piece hit home. There are just no words for how apt it is. Short and precise. We definitely agree with Daniel. 

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If you are a writer and you post your work on Instagram, don’t forget to forget to tag @thesparklewritershub for a chance to be featured on our Pick of the Week.

 

Apply for the Arkansas International Emerging Writer’s Prize

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We know there are amazing writers in the Sparkle writer’s Hub, that’s why we are bringing this information to you.

The Arkansas International is inviting entries for its inaugural emerging writer’s prize. The winner will receive US$1000 and a publication. The prize is only open to writers who have not yet published a full-length book.

The Arkansas International is a journal of literature from the University of Arkansas Program in Creative Writing and Translation.

Entries for the Emerging Writer’s Prize in Fiction should be a single prose work not exceeding 7,500 words. Entrants may submit more than once, but each new entry must be accompanied by a separate $20 entry fee.

Here are few guidelines you need to note;

– It is pen to writers who haven’t yet published a full-length book, and who have no book forthcoming before May 1, 2018. Writers with chapbooks are allowed.
– All work will be considered for inclusion in the print journal.
– Only previously unpublished work will be considered.
– The contest will be judged blindly, so please do not include your cover letter, your name, or any contact information in your uploaded document.
– Submit your double-spaced work as a single .doc, .docx, or .pdf file.
– Close friends of the judge, as well as anyone recently affiliated with the University of Arkansas, which includes those who have studied or worked there within the past 4 years, are ineligible.
– $20 entry fee includes a one-year subscription to The Arkansas International (free to current subscribers).

Whatever your decision please make sure you submit your entry on or before 15th October 2017. Applications should be done via the Prize’ website.

Word of the Day – Jekyll and Hyde

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Ever heard of the word Jekyll and Hyde? The fascinating thing is that it exists!

The word is pronounced /ʤekl ∂n haid/.

Jekyll and Hyde is a noun. It is used to refer to a person who is sometimes very pleasant (Jekyll) and sometimes very unpleasant (Hyde) or who leads two very separate lives.

This unusual word has an origin. It found its way into the dictionary from the story by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, in which Dr Jekyll takes a drug which separates the good and bad sides of his personality into two characters. All the negative characters go to Mr Hyde.

Here is how the word is used in a sentence;

Jack is a difficult person to live with because of his Jekyll and Hyde attitude.

I couldn’t explain her sudden Jekyll and Hide personality, either.