I'm thrilled today to have the fabulous Tamika Newhouse on Conversations as my guest blogger. Tamika totally rocks as the powerhouse behind the African Americans on the Move Book Club (Twitter: @AAMBookClub URL: http://aambookclub.com ) promoting African American authors of all genres. (You've seen some of these wonderful authors right here on Conversations!) But did you know that Tamika is an author as well? Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and learn all about this amazing author and promoter!
Here is a little about Tamika Newhouse:
Tamika Newhouse is a self-published bestselling author who founded Delphine Publications, at the age of 21. Tamika appeared on various bestseller lists and won Self Published Author of the Year at the 2009 African American Literary Awards only 9 months after her debut novel. In 2010 she was inducted into Who's who in Black San Antonio and she landed a major publishing deal without an agent and still continues to write independent projects. In 2011 her company Delphine Publications won an African American Literary Award for Best Anthology. Tamika also won the Self Published Author of the Year award for the second year. She has been nominated by the National Women in Business Association for the 2011 Entrepreneurial Spirit Award. Along with Delphine Publications, Tamika is the founder and President of African Americans on the Move Book Club (AAMBC) - an online book club and radio show catering to avid readers across the nation. She is also CEO of Obsessive Soul Media. With future projects in the works from short films, stage plays and much more, Tamika is a young woman on a mission.
Tamika presently tours the country speaking about overcoming her teen pregnancy to fulfill her dream, as well as teaching aspiring writers the publishing ropes. A former radio host, she hosted her own internet radio show (AAMBC) for over three years and continues to expand her brand. She is currently living in San Antonio with her son and daughter and is currently working on her fifth novel He's My Favorite Mistake.
Lisa: How did you get your start in this business/industry?
Tamika: In February 2008, I was sitting on the bed watching my husband pack for his second tour to Iraq. Already staying in a new city of San Antonio, I felt alone and bored. I simply stated to him that I wished I were in a book club. Just out of nowhere, in that instance, an idea of starting a MySpace page to post up books I read came across my mind. I thought it would be a great idea to just talk with people over the internet. In that same month I started to get emails from authors I had never heard of who wanted me to read their books. I said to myself, wait I should read their books and post my thoughts on them. Not knowing that it was going to grow into something so large. This is how African Americans on the Move Book Club was born. I later birthed AAMBC Radio and Delphine Publications.
Lisa: Did you have any formal business training?
Tamika: I had absolutely no business training. I didn’t know anything about blogs, book reviews, how to publish, how to market, or any of that. I started with posting up my views on the author’s book and I asked people to read them. I believe this totally came from God’s doing. I was blessed to have met so many authors through MySpace and learn from all of them all at once.
Lisa: What separates you and your firm from the competition?
Tamika: I honestly didn’t know of any other format when I started my company. So the fact that I launched something clueless to the industry excites me. The ideas and concepts I started in which I continue to do all began when I knew nothing or no one. So the fact that I based a lot of my early works just from brainstorming separates me from the rest. Not to say I am original but I am not duplicated.
Lisa: How would you describe your experience as a Entrepreneur?
Tamika: Being an entrepreneur is tough, time consuming, and adventurous. You take complete control and meet so many people. To think that I am here in this position is a blessing because I didn’t start to read novels until 2006. But I was always a writer since the day I could write a sentence. Being your own boss has its blessings and sometimes I find myself so obsessed over my work that I can’t stop. Ideas come one after the other. So I enjoy being an entrepreneur because I control my destiny. Well me and God that is.
Lisa: What do you like most about your profession?
Tamika: I design my concepts, I promote my concepts, I develop my concepts, and I can stop when I want to. I enjoy having control over what I do, when I do it, and how.
Lisa: What is your biggest challenge in business? How did you overcome it?
Tamika: My biggest challenge is that with success come trials and tribulations. I am a fan of myself but somewhere down the road you meet others who are not. It can be because of what you do, what you’ve accomplished and so forth. I use that as my motivation. So how I overcome the negativity is to use it as my gas to keep it moving. A business such as any other industry requires tuff skin so I put mines on and my game face and I enjoy my works.
Lisa: What advice would you give someone just starting out in your industry?
Tamika: To never enter an industry you don’t know anything about. I know that’s funny seeing as though I was an ammeter when I started. Thing is I took a crash course and learned the industry through others and research. Google is a great engine. Use it. Go to seminars and conferences and speak to veteran authors. Always research and as long as you’re living there is always something to learn.
Lisa: What do you hope to offer your clients or customers to shape their lives?
Tamika: I hope to give people I work with skills and knowledge. Anyone can show you how to do it but learning it for yourself empowers you. Within AAMBC, I give authors exposure and I explain how to self-promote. On my radio show, I offer authors the opportunity to speak on the things they love while exposing themselves to potential readers. With my publishing house, Delphine Publications, I teach my authors how to hustle and grind. If you love who you are you would work as hard as you can to make sure you reach your highest potential and, even then, shoot for more.
Lisa: What are 3 things all leaders possess?
Tamika: A Strong foundation, common sense, and a creative mind.
Lisa: How does your mission or vision keep your business growing?
Tamika: I simply want to help others. My mission is to expose the independent writer so that they too can have a national fan base. Although I do converse and speak to national best sellers my main focus is the new authors. Because of this, I have grown in more ways than I could ever imagine. I expect my company’s reach to be more than triple the current reach within the next year with keeping the same mission and goals. When we started, I could count the amount of members AAMBC had and with our new website. I am able to keep track of over 1200 members worldwide.
Lisa: Tell us about the people you help. How is your organization or company impacting the public? What social issues or causes do you want to address?
Tamika: The authors I connect with on a daily bases are usually new authors on their first book or have recently self-published and want more exposure. I offer them that. The purpose of getting your book exposed is very important. You want your name and novel to become a familiar product. My goal is to help them become more familiar. Some issues that occur are when an author knows to little about the industry and marketing. It can delay the process of promoting their novel. All authors must know that they have to self-promote whether they are with a publisher or not. I always state that the author must self-promote and do a lot of research. This is always important to any writer who wants a long term career in writing.
Lisa: What’s new in your company?
Tamika: AAMBC has become more active in virtual tours since last spring; our radio show has a consistent concept with on average two shows a week. We started annual events such as Holiday Book Bash, Valentine Showcases, Virtual Book Release Parties, Holiday Book Drive, College Scholarship Fund, April is our Poetry Month, and we have our annual conference which will make its home in Dallas starting in 2011. AAMBC Radio has a new co-host Anna Black who is also signed to my label Delphine Publications. I am constantly thinking and developing new concepts and online events for our members. I will never rest I know that for sure.
Kisses Don't Lie By Tamika Newhouse