#TheSparkleInterview – ‘Birthing any idea is hard work and you have to do the hard work to birth it.’ Toyin Poju-Oyemade


Today’s interview is a bit different from the norm for so many reasons. We had the pleasure of interveiwing the delectable Toyin Poju-Oyemade. Although she has not written a book yet (because after this interview we knew we got a book title!) she’s doing something quite amazing for authors and the reading culture in Africa.  

Wondering what that could be? She’s the brain behind Chapters, a program that seeks to explore, understand and learn principles of life and living specifically through books. 

There’s so much wisdom and fun packed in one interview and  we KNOW you would love it. 

Hello. Can you please tell us who Mrs. Toyin Poju Oyemade is?

I am a simple young lady trying to discover and live God’s purpose for her life. I am a media person, studied Mass Communication from the University of Lagos. My passion lies in media, ministry and music and the key is to use those areas to touch and impact lives positively and for the kingdom of God.

What inspired Chapters? You could have done a show on music, why books?

For the longest time, I always knew I would have a show or shows. I had started that in the university and when I finished, I went into documentaries but I always knew I would have a flagship show for TV and the online space, I just did not know what it was. When I got married, I remember that my husband would ask me, ‘So what do you say it is that you’re going to do on TV?’ All sort of ideas had come up but I hadn’t felt that one thing that would at least be the first of many. 

Flashback to 2015 I was reading a book, ‘And The Storm Came‘ by Kike Mudiaga where she tells her story of how she went through the loss of her family members and came through. The pain and the story at that particular time resonated with me because it showed how somebody could have gone through so much tragedy and loss, especially as a Christian and still come out whole and complete. It was a time in my life I was thinking about a lot of things and I was also becoming aware of the fact that there seems to be a lot of tragedy, pain and loss in life and people seem to get lost in that space. This was someone who had gone through that and came out to say I’m still standing. 

I remember sitting down reading the book and telling myself ‘somebody needs to know this’, ‘how can I share this story?’ So I called a friend and that was when the idea of doing a show around books came up.  I remembered that when Oprah was doing her show she had something called the Oprah Book Club, a segment of the show where she would talk about a certain book and why people should read it and sometimes she would have the author on the show and talk about the concept of the book. So I thought to myself, ‘Okay, what you are doing is not really different; the only thing is that you’re just taking that part and turning it into a show specifically.’ I called a couple of friends and asked, ‘What do you think about a show on books?’ One or two people thought it was amazing, we went back and forth and came up with the name, ‘ Chapters.

There’s a saying that ‘if you want to hide something from an African man put it in a book.’ I do not like that notion and the truth is they’re so many things written in books that can transform our lives. I want Chapters to help people regain their reading culture and showcase Nigerian authors and books. 

To have a show on books you must be a reader! What encouraged you to start reading and have you been able to sustain it with your very busy schedule? 

I come from an academic family. I read Famous five, Secret Seven, Eze goes to school at a young age because reading was encouraged at home. Then I was an art student in school which involved a whole lot of reading. Besides, I believe reading is a part of my nature. I genuinely like to read. I’ve learnt that we are not as busy as we think we are. It just boils down to structure, lifestyle and balance. If you think the book is important you’d find a way to make sure you make yourself read. 

One thing we are going to try to do with Chapters as well is create a book club because you need to find a way to help people have structure I always say: ‘If it’s a chapter a day, you’re fine; if it’s a page of a chapter a day, at least get something in your brain, get your brain thinking about something. ‘

If you know that you don’t read, you can start with fiction and then you can read deeper topics later but it is important to read. There’s a reason why there are books, and there’s a reason why the Bible was written in book format. It shows that books are important.


What of people who were not raised to read how can they learn to read? 

First off, as long as you went to school you had to read. So nobody can say. ‘I don’t know how to read.’ You’ve just not rehearsed yourself in the practice of reading. I know so many people struggled through school because reading was hard but if they told you, ‘Open this book and 50 million dollars would come’ everyone would read! Sometimes you just need to find a compelling reason. If you feel reading is hard, audio books are available, just listen. Just start, start with something easy, start with a magazine, start with fashion, something fun. Just read. 

It’s easy to advertise an entertainment show. How do you advertise Chapters? 

Advertising Chapters is daily work, daily wisdom, and daily insight. We use social media mostly – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube. I think one of the things that makes Chapters special is that every show is different because we’re talking about different authors, subjects and specific things that affect day to day living.

Season One had episodes on finance, wedding planning, leadership, teenage parenting and marriage. These are things that affect me and you so what we are marketing is not the show itself but the concept, the subject matter for that day. We are not just saying watch Chapters because it’s a show, we are saying, ‘Look 2019 is coming and we have an episode on leadership. Listen to this person’s take that may help you decide who you’re going to vote for.’ That makes the marketing more targeted and with social media you just have to find engaging ways to reach people.

The quality of the show is partly dependent on the the books you review. How do you select the books to read?

Selecting the books for Chapters can be interesting. For Season One I went to Laterna and Terra Kulture. We looked for books that spoke to specific issues, anything that concerned life and living with an interesting angle to it.  I read through all the books to have an engaging conversation with the author and to ensure that the values are values I support or want to adopt.

What would Chapters do to anyone who watches it? 

Chapters would educate you. We are an education platform, we’re here for knowledge dissemination and even if it’s not knowledge that you need now, there’s no knowledge gained in life that would not be useful to you. Chapters would empower you to make better decisions.


What’s your most interesting episode ever? 

All of my episodes of Chapters have touched me but one of the books I like is the book called Conscious Life written by Funmi Oyetunji. It seemed like she sought to write a book that answers all the questions of life from the day you were born till you die. The book is such a complete conversation, broken down properly till the end. All of my books speak to one area of life but this book tried to bring everything into one book and she did massive research. 

Zahra by Sola Aguda is another book and the only fiction book we’ve done. I went to Terra Kulture to look for books and one of the sellers talked about it. Fantastic one. How someone can tell a story about marriage and you’d be so educated? It’s simply an amazing book. Leadership by Dr. Maxwell Uba has also gotten so much traction.

What lessons have you learnt from birthing Chapters?

Wow, so many lessons! 

1 Birthing any idea is hard work and you have to do the hard work to birth it.

2. Believe in yourself and your ideas. I remember when I wanted to start Chapters and I told somebody who I regard as a mentor and he told me nobody wants to watch this. I understand people see the world from their point of view and I had to believe in my dream and although this person has become a staunch supporter, if I had listened at that time, we wouldn’t be here.  People did not see what you saw; so don’t expect them to respond to it the way you will. 

3. Money doesn’t answer all questions. Many times what holds people back on their dreams is that they don’t have money. When I was going to do Chapters, I did not have all the money I needed. I leveraged on friends, relationships and work I had done in the past. I borrowed cameras and other equipment from different people. I couldn’t afford to pay for them but I leveraged. Learn to build bridges in life and understand that no man is an island. The same way you’d need people is the way people will need you. There are people around you that God has given you to help you birth your ideas. I got a space for free to shoot from someone whom I had volunteered with for free for seven years. You have to sow good seeds.


4. Sometimes the birthing of a dream can be tiring. I remember when we shot the first stage of Chapters, we had done nine episodes and I was tired emotionally exhausted. I was reading books so I was physically exhausted and because I didn’t have money to pay everybody, I was the writer, presenter, producer, director…everything. My brain cells were stretched. I was in a situation where they’d say ‘cut’ and I am thinking of the chapters I had not finished for the next episode. There was a time I had a shoot that morning and I hadn’t finished reading the book and I just told my husband, ‘You know what, I can’t even lie. I haven’t finished reading this book. Just read and tell me where I should focus on.’ 

I was financially tired and I almost entered into depression. We finished shooting and I couldn’t sit down with the editor. I was just like ‘who sent me message?’ The pressure of life is real, the excitement comes but can wash away quickly because the reward for work is more work. We recorded and now we had to edit. Some episodes were 40 minutes and I had to cut down to 25 minutes because it was on television. 

5. When you’re birthing a child everything that can go wrong sometimes goes wrong. It doesn’t mean it’s a foolish idea or you’re not called, it just means life happened. One Tuesday morning, two of our ACs packed up and the two episodes we recorded that day couldn’t be used. We were sweating throughout and we kept saying, ‘Cut cut cut’. That was part of my depression, money wasted. Luckily, we were able to call back the two authors. 

Shooting Season Two, it’s like the forces have said, ‘Even if the AC works, something else won’t work.’ The call time can be 10 am and we won’t do anything till 1 pm, but no matter the challenges, keep pushing. Your dreams will work. 

The reward for work is more work

If there’s a purpose behind what you’re doing you won’t end after one level of glory. 











Learn the best way to re-use old content

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Depending on when you started blogging, you probably have a pile of old blog posts that may not be easily discoverable because of the new ones that would come up first in recent posts.

How best can you remind your readers about the existence of other posts because hey, they really can still be useful.

Here’s how to go about taking old content and making it shiny and new again.

Figure out what content deserves to be revisited 

Not everything you have posted in the past will be relevant presently. It is your duty to find out what post is relevant and note them. Your content isn’t all created equal, especially where re-marketing is concerned. Some of it isn’t going to be at all helpful because it is too old, too out of date, or maybe too boring,

Wondering how to discover reusable old content? You can do this by looking at posts people focused on or what post got the highest comments, views and likes.

Don’t be too sentimental when doing the selection process. You may have liked   particular post so much and your audience didn’t. There’s no point reusing that content again.
Look for update opportunities

See how things keep changing? It can be as simple as figuring out how things are different now versus how they were when you first created the piece. Some topics are still relevant but the info is now out of date. Now may be a good time to bring it up again and write something that has new details that are important to know now.

Update your call(s)-to-action

Don’t overlook this step! In most cases, content that already generates traffic just needs a more effective call-to-action to improve your bottom line. You can embed a poll to learn how to improve your content to serve your readers’ needs better. 

#PickOfTheWeek – Find out what procrastination, failure and pain have in common


If you are new to the Hub you may not know about our #PickOfTheWeek series so we’d explain what it is. On this segement we feature amazing writers, whom you may not know because there are so many of them. 

If you are a writer and want to be on the segment, please tag us on instagram

The first post by Richard Dappa tells us the differnece between a man and a woman from a fresh perpective. Do you agree with him? brunch (4).pngMost times we are get upset when we feel like failed others but Muhamad Gbolahan reminds us that when we fail ourselves, fail to work on those big dreams, that is the biggest failure, although there is a way out of that too. 

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We told you there was a solution! Adebisi Olaniyi brings the solution with her post. Even when you fail yourself or make mistakes, don’t dwell in them. It is not wise. 

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The last post for today is by Sue Chioma. If you are a recurrent procrastinator this is for you. Whateever you have to do, do quick. 


Write while the heat is in you

Sparkle writers

“Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.

Hey sparkle writers, it’s Monday and as you already know on the sparkle writers hub, today’s post will major on writing. 

Today’s quote is not new to us, but we want to highlight a few things. When you get an idea, please write it down. Not because we don’t believe your mind is powerful and can retain information but because there is a difference between recording those thoughts as they come and trying to remember them hours after. 


No matter how powerful your mind is, you are bound to loose a bit of information and the only way to avoid that is by recording the details of your thoughts as they come and how they come. These details may just be the fire that supposed to ignite your readers heart or help them 

This is why we always insist that writers have a journal where they can jot ideas that can come at any time. Never go out without a journal or notepad if you want to become a consistent writer. You may get inspiration while you are on the bus. It’ll be a shame to let that inspiration go away simply because you have no where to put it down.

This way you don’t serve your readers diluted messages and you can ensure that the core of your message is passed to your readers. 

What every writing newbie must know


Working on something new or entering a new industry can be quite intimidating. You don’t know what to expect or how things work and every advice you get is good advice, until you try it and find out that some of them are not so great.

Here are three things every writing newbie must know. 

Let Go of Your Fear of Failure, or Success

Fear is something that hinders many newbies from going forward with a project. Most times you open your blog and then stop in between because you just asked yourself ‘who will read this?’ It’s time to let go of that fear of failure  and just write. Somebody is waiting to read your blog post. Don’t think about how to get publishers for now and then become overwhelmed because nobody is contacting you or accepting your manuscript. One thing at a time.

Watch and Learn

This is a normal code for any newbie right? You are new and one of the best ways to learn is to shadow others in the industry, see how it is done and then replicate in your own way, not just copy and paste.

Ask questions where need be and apply the answers you get with wisdom.

Be patient 

No book has ever been written overnight. You’re in for a long haul. This may take a year, or more. Oh, and since we’re on it: prepare to write more than one book. Publishers want authors, not single books.

More than anything, believe that you can do this, trust your process and have a great time writing. If you ever need some more encouragement, remember that The Sparkle Writers Hub is here for YOU.

#WordOfTheDay – Guerdon is not a difficult word


Hey Sparkle Writers, have you been using the new words you have learn from this series?

Don’t forget that there is no point learning new words if you are not going to use them. Using the words you learn on The Sparkle Writers Hub will help them sink.

Will you promise to use them from now?

Now let’s talk about today’s word. Guerdon. Ever heard of it?

You will probably be surprised that it means something so simple but it sounds a bit mysterious.

Well, ‘guerdon’ means reward, gift or recompense. Pretty easy right?

Now that you know, can you replace reward, gift or recompense for guerdon once in a while?

We hope you do.

Now let’s use this word in a few sentences.

Your guerdon for today ‘s hard work is a piece of cake 

My dad promised me a guerdon after my bar exams.




#WriterSpotlight – “Writing allows me immerse myself in a world I have created.” Kayode Adegunloye


Hello Sparkle Writers! Our guest on today’s #WriterSpotlight series is Adegunloye Kayode, writer, blog consultant and  actor. Enjoy his interview with us.

Hello Kayode. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

My name is Adegunloye Kayode, I am a graduate of English and Literary Studies from one of the renowned Universities in the South Western part of the country. I am the first of three children and of course the only male child in my family…That makes me the small daddy. *funny*

Coming to terms with what I do could be really deep but then I currently have a whole lot on my hands no thanks to the fact that I am yet to get a full time job that I can proudly call my profession. So for now I serve as a Blog Consultant, Writer and I do a little bit of screen acting too.

How did your journey as a writer begin?

My journey as a writer began a few years back when I finished from the University. It took a long time before I got called up for the compulsory youth service and as luck would have it I was privileged to meet up with someone who was about starting up a full fledged weblog. Thereafter I told him I could just come in as one of the blog’s creative and technical writers which he obliged me without much ado. From there I wrote series of mind-blowing articles (without marking my own scripts though). I can proudly say I got several compliments from top personnel solely because of some of my write ups. After a few months I got the nod to open up my own personal space on the blog which I personally made ‘Edoyak’s Diary’ the moniker. I only had to spell my name ‘Kayode’ from the rear to get the space name. From that point I started cooking up fictional stories, title them and post on the page for all and sundry to read for their enjoyment and to educate themselves. Notably among those fiction were ‘Love Thrills’, ‘Princess of Gaza’ and so on.

What do you love most about writing?

Well, I tend to see writing as an art and personally I think what most arts do is to free the mind and allow you feel the world from a perspective that is quite different from others. But one other sweet thing I love about writing is that it allows me immerse myself in the world that I have created through my own little piece or one created by any other creative writer.

You are very talented when it comes to writing fiction and fantasy. How were you able to master this talent?

Yes, maybe it’s a talent and on the contrary maybe it’s really not. Whichever way it goes I want to accept that I do a whole lot of thinking most times and possibly because I do take part in stage dramas and corporate acting. I could always carve out my own piece of script writing even though I have not been privileged to write any film script at the moment, but I believe this has really helped me in being able to sit, think and think again and come up with an amazing fictional write up.


Where do you get inspiration from when you want to write a story?

Inspiration for me is more like a quick flash, I do get my inspiration from loads of things that I can’t even imagine. Sometimes from musicals (The soul ones mostly) and at times from the happenings in my environment. For me inspiration could come forth in any form and all I need do at that point is to pen something down as soon the flash comes.

How did you feel when one of your stories was published online for the first time?

I won’t even deny the fact that I felt really good to get my story published for the first time, I could vividly remember ‘So What happens Now?’ was my first story to be published and I was even more enthused when delightful reviews about the story started gracing my timeline. I must confess  it was a great feeling. Yes, it was.

What is your ultimate dream as a writer?

Everyone who is into one creative thing or the other wants to get accolades or at least get noticed for whatever it is they are doing. I think my dream is to be recognized among the top notch writers of this dispensation, especially as a decent fictional writer. Some awards would do too. Laughs.

Do you think you will ever retire from writing?

I don’t think so, It is something that is already a part of me. it gives me so much pleasure, I equally see writing as one of the few means through which I can widen my horizon and commune with the outside world. Of course I might end up as a thespian or even a lecturer someday but I am afraid no one would be strong enough to take writing away from me.

Aside from writing, what are your other hobbies?

Hmm…asides putting pen to paper I love watching football a great deal. It’s one of the few sports I love to watch and I play too sometimes to keep fit. I’ll like to quickly add that I love travels too and most times I do my trips with a witty book that I can learn a thing or two from. I wouldn’t know if it classifies as a hobby but those are the few things that keeps me grinding.

Any advice for other writers out there?

My stout advice to other writers both budding and established ones is to keep writing, It’s not something anybody can dabble into for the fun of it which makes it a bit distinct from all other facets. Therefore just keep writing something for people to read and learn…So It’s either you’re writing or you’re thinking about writing something. Thanks


What every writer should do before the big break comes


Even though most of us write to live or we write because we love it, we will not deny the fact that we won’t mind making extra cash from our writing. Who wouldn’t love to make money from her passion?

However this doesn’t happen immediately. So what should a writer do before his big break?

We have practical tips that can help!

Find a side hustle

We don’t know how else to say this. Don’t sit in your house and wait for that international publication that will pay you in hard currency. Do something else that will pay your bills. Well, except you don’t need to eat, buy clothes and pay bills till the international publication finds you.

You don’t have to stop writing. Just find something else to do; you can get a 9-5 job like most people pending the time writing alone can pay your bills.


Talk about your work

If you are just sitting pretty and waiting for your big break, you may wait for a long time. Talk about your work to the people you meet at events, your office, church. In fact, everywhere you go. You never know who needs your service. Some writers are chronic introverts. /the sight of too many people can be frightening, but if your career is going to improve you’ve got to put in some work. And talking is part of it. Whether or not you like it.

Keep writing

Don’t mistake waiting for your big break to mean you should stop writing. Your big break cannot come if you have stopped writing or how will you be discovered? If not with your work?

Whether it’s a full time job, or a personal business do not stop writing. Don’t lose the flow.

#WriterSpotlight – “Those short stories you tell yourself at night…write it.” Valerie Kerri


Hey Sparkle Writers! Its time for the famous #WriterSpotlight series. We are excited to feature Valerie Kerri, a published author who started writing as a personal self-therapy for loneliness.  There’s so much for you to learn and we can’t wait for you to read the interview. Enjoy!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a simple girl really. I was born in Nigeria and spent a lot of my early years in Lagos. My parents were diplomats, so I was lucky to travel around the world a lot as I grew up.  As I got older, I stopped travelling so much and settled in a university in Nigeria. After that I moved to the UK for another degree. I live in London now and have found my travelling bug again! I wrote the JJC handbook primarily for people who are considering choosing to work or study in the UK.

What led you to become a writer?

I started writing as a personal self-therapy for loneliness. I find it very relaxing to put my thoughts to paper as I have so many running around due to an overactive imagination! After a while, I got more comfortable to have other people read my words.

What are the things you love most about being a published writer?

Seeing other people read my book or getting feedback from someone who has read it and enjoyed it. It fills me with joy!

You recently released ‘The JJC Handbook’. Can you tell us what inspired you to write the book?

I wanted to speak to my younger self…the more withdrawn version of me that arrived at Heathrow terminal 5 in search of a different life. I wish I had known so many things back then, so my little book is for everyone else I could help.


Since you released ‘The JJC Handbook’, there have been great reviews. What will you say is responsible for this success?

God! It could be nothing else…I wrote, I prayed, I published. God did the rest.

What challenges did you face when you were writing ‘The JJC Handbook’?

My biggest challenge was publishing! There is a great difficulty as an African writer to get published the traditional way where I live. Eventually, after a lot of rejection, I went the self-publishing route. This was the BEST decision I made in the whole process.

Many writers find the process of getting published daunting. Do you have any tips or advice to help such writers?

The easiest/ cheapest way is not always the best way.  Some online companies offer easy publishing and/or easy to register ISBN numbers; many of these come with strings that eat into your royalties and in the long run will cost you more. Do it right the first time. It’s worth it.


There are people who believe that writing can never be financially rewarding. What are your thoughts about this?

I think if you love doing something, the joy of just doing it would be reward enough. However, you can monetize your passion for writing; it is very possible and very lucrative.

Do you think you will ever retire from writing?

Well, it is way too early to tell. I currently have no plans to!

Aside from writing, what are your other hobbies?

I like travelling, reading and experiencing new things. I have recently found a love of hiking up mountain trails and extreme sports.

Any advice for upcoming writers and authors?

Write it… just write it. That novel you have in your head, which you don’t think anyone wants to read. Those short stories you tell yourself at night. The drama you are developing while you are at work. The lines of poetry you jot down before you sleep. In fact any ideas you have! Just write it down.  Get it out there. Don’t ask ‘Why?’ ask ‘Why not?!?’

Love to write? You should know these 10 things

Welcome to another great week Sparkle Writers! Over the weekend, we had our first consultation with a budding writer and we cannot wait for her writing talent to sparkle. As we reviewed the notes from the conversation we realized that there are some fundamental things that every writer should know. We don’t want to bore you with a long list so we’ve cut it down to 10. Great right?

So here are the 10 things every writer should know:

1) You don’t need a degree in writing to become a writer. A lot of great writers didn’t study ‘English’ or ‘Mass Communication’. They just went after their flair for the craft and honed their skills. So don’t worry if you didn’t study English in University. You’re in good company!

2) There is no overnight success when it comes to writing. Every great writer that you are looking up to right now toiled behind the scenes for a while before they made it. Slow and steady is they key really.

3) Don’t despise the days of little beginnings. These are the days you will work for free and learn as much as you can on the job. These moments can either make or break your success as a professional writer.

4) You can know absolutely nothing about writing and still be successful. There are a lot of people who started out with just one thing; their passion for the craft. Skill and professionalism was gained overtime as they learnt from the masters.

5) You can never arrive as a writer. Yes you can write outstanding articles or books consecutively. That doesn’t guarantee that your next article/ book will be a hit. So treat every success delicately. Pride is the fastest way to head downwards.

6) We all have different stories of how we made it. There is no one size fits all approach to becoming a professional writer/ blogger. You have to find what works for and can we add; you have to carve your niche.

7) There is always space for one more writer. Think there are too many writers? Trust us; there are not enough (good) writers! Instead of focusing on competing with other writers, focus on being the best you can be and you will always remain relevant.

8) Adding value also applies to writers. So you have written that mind-blowing article. Of what benefit is it to the world? Are you writing to make yourself happy or to add value to your readers. Writers who add value can never lose their value.

9) Writing is serious business. If you want to become a professional writer, you have to learn the business side of writing. Don’t just think that sitting at home and writing great articles will be sufficient to bring in the money that you are expecting. You have to work hard to publicize your work.

10) You need other writers. The truth is you need insider secrets from people who have been doing this for a while…successfully. You also need to be friends with other writers and bloggers. Don’t live in your own solitary world.

There you have it. With these tips, you’re just about ready to start this journey to becoming a writer with a sparkle. We promise we’ll get to the heavy stuff soon like how to write engaging articles and creative headlines. We just need to take you through the basics first. Don’t forget…every writer has a sparkle and your writing talent will sparkle!