#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.

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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.

#PickOfTheWeek – Candid truth from amazing writers

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It’s #PickOfTheWeek and we have four amazing writers today! We can’t wait for you to read from them. 

The first writer is Ugo Udoji we understand the place from which this comes from. Sometimes its so hard to forgive yourself when you make those silly mistakes but then we just have to. 

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Temilorun Adebiyi’s post is next. The way he describes love just makes us want to experience it from his perspective . Let us know what you think! 

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 Ipinlaye Mercy Olajumoke hits the nail on the head with this one. If everyone can take this stand the world would be a safer place to live in. 

farmto table (2)Ekene May’s charge to us is one that everyone needs to take seriously. We must ensure that we live our lives to the fullest. 

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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.

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. 

#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!

#GrammarSeries – When to use ‘due to’ and ‘because’

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Hello Grammar lovers! We are here to share something new with you. We hope you are just as interested as we are. 

Today we are talking about the correct way to use ‘due to’ and ‘because’ in a sentence. 

There’s a traditional way and a rebel way. The traditional view is that you should use “due to” only as an adjective, usually following the verb “to be”

Look at this example, if you say, “The cancellation was due to rain,” the words “due to” modify “cancellation.

That sentence is a bit stilted, but it fits the traditionalist rule.

If you wanted to be more casual, you could say, “It was canceled because of rain.” You are however not allowed to say, “It was canceled due to rain” because “due to” doesn’t have anything to modify. It’s acting like a preposition in that sentence, and purists argue that “due to” is an adjective; it shouldn’t be a compound preposition.

We hope this explains it properly. Until next time remember to keep your grammar in check. 

Download the Afriwowri Ebook, ‘The different shades of a Feminine Mind’

Afriwowri (African Women Writers) Literary Project Team, in collaboration with Writivism, The Sparkle Writer’s Hub, The Radioactive Blog and Africa Matters is excited to announce the official release of the anthology, ‘The Different Shades of a Feminine Mind’.

‘The Different Shades of a Feminine Mind’ (A daybook of the African woman’s narrative) is an anthology of short stories which explores diverse feminine themes from a woman’s perspective. The purpose of this project was to curate fresh, unique and startling voices telling a holistic collection of daily African experiences which appreciates the nuances in each story.

This book features stories from writers from Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, Botswana, Eastern Cape, and the United States.

The book is only available as an electronic book (pdf – digital book), and is also available as a free download from different sites such ISSUU and datafilehost.

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva, writer, poet and founder of the Babishai Niwe (BN) Poetry Foundation praised the short stories;

“I deeply appreciate that the narratives sway from the usual and hold their own, in unapologetic, melodramatic and confident poise. The characters are people we know, they are a mirror of whom we purport to be, of our urban and rural communities.”

Use these links to download your copy of the book:

http://www.datafilehost.com/d/4b184ed0

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzuIDV337byBLS1FMHJMTW9velU/view?usp=drivesdk

https://issuu.com/radioactiveblog/docs/the_different_shades_of_a_feminine_

Enjoy the read!

The world doesn’t need another Shakespeare or J.K Rowling, it needs you!

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Shakespeare, J.K Rowling, Stephen King, Jeff Goins, Ernest Hemingway – we admire their work, we marvel at their creativity and definitely want to read more from them. What we don’t want is to read another person who is failing at trying to sound or write like they do! Nope we are not interested. 

Writing is simple; it is about looking at the world and saying what you see. If you are trying to say what someone else sees you will struggle for the most part of it. 

One sure way to ruin all your chances of becoming a good writer is by trying to be someone you’re not. The reason that you’re intimidated by other writers is probably because you think you need to become like them to be a good writer. Absolutely not. 

You might be thinking that the best way to get to the top of the writing ladder is to read about the daily routines of Dickens and the like and to follow their every step. You might be thinking that you need to read all the classical literature you can find and follow every single element of their writing styles. At best that will only get you to a wear a mask. No matter how accurately you can copy the writing styles of the great wordsmiths, you still won’t be as good as the original. People will see through the fraud that you’ll become. You won’t become a trendsetting phenomenon in the writing world.

The world doesn’t need another Shakespeare. The world needs something new, original, and authentic. And the only way you can bring in something new into the world is if you show the unique way in which you see your world.

The world is waiting for the manifestation of your talent!