How NOT to Get That Interview: Five Mistakes To Avoid

 Guest Blogger: Vonda Howard
Ever since I stepped into the publishing side of the literary field not just with Anexander Books, but with Black Literature Magazine, I have seen first hand what authors do to make me hit the delete button once their email drops into my inbox.
1.    Misspelling names and/or using incorrect titles and salutations.
People come on. Do the research. Find out who the contact person is for the organization you are addressing. If you cannot find that info, simply use “Dear Editor,” or old faithful, “Dear Sir or Madam”.
2.    Not following directions.
Nine times out of ten, if I have to tell you where to go to get the info you need and it is clearly listed on the website already; you are dead in the water. Frankly, it shows laziness. Real talk.  Not attractive.
Also, please send what the directions say send. If they ask for a press kit, send a press kit. If you don’t have or know what a press kit is, take a few minutes to research them. They are a great asset for authors to have when dealing with media outlets. Have one PROFESSIONALLY done.
      3.  SPAM
Unless you have authorization to send more emails to the address, you are spamming. This is a SURE way to not only NOT get any interviews or spotlights with the outlet, but you will also get reported as a spammer and that’s not fun at all. It also stinks of unprofessionalism. Just don’t do it.
     4.   Being a PEST!
Magazines whether online or in print have publishing schedules. If you are offered an interview and it is done or scheduled, DO NOT pester the magazine execs and staff! Normally, we are able to tell you when your feature will be posted and other times we will have to get back to you on your feature date. This IS NOT an invitation to send daily emails, Facebook messages, text messages, etc.
      5.    Unprofessional Presentation
This is the one I seem to see the most. The “Feature my book” messages that are also chock full of misspelled words and bad grammar. PLEASE take the time to proofread your email submissions? Even have a friend or family member look it over before it’s sent. Often, a fresh set of eyes can see mistakes that you may glaze over.
I say these things with a bit of levity, but in actuality I am writing this to help. As new authors (or authors period) you should always want to present yourself in the absolute best light you can.  

Vonda Howard was born and raised in Southeast Washington, DC where she currently still resides with her 2 kids and husband of 13 years. She has always had a love affair with writing.   She wrote her first book (unpublished) at 10 years old and has not stopped since.

She self published her first novels “Diamond Lives, Platunium Lies” and “It’s Always the Pretty Ones” in 2007 and 2008. She just signed on with Anexander in June 2009 and her first book with Anexander, D-Cup Divas, released Spring 2010. You can find out more about Vonda at her site,

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Black Literature Magazine is the brain-child of Essence Bestselling Author Torrian Ferguson and Author Vonda Howard.  BLM’s purpose is to uplift and promote  seasoned, new and aspiring authors.  The mag’s goal is to shine an unbiased and much needed light on the positive and often looked over aspects of every genre within African American literature.  Spotlights also include poetry, professionals within the industry, news, commentary and book reviews.


by Guest Blogger Mack Mama

Today’s guest blogger stepped on the scene making a lot of noise; she is the CEO of Starstatus Publishing, radio host of Mack Mama’s World, and a blogger at Corner Store Magazine. I had the pleasure of appearing on her radio show and hosting her at my mobile bookstore. What I admire about Mack is that she understands that in this business that you have to work. Anything worth having is worth working hard for. Below Mack shares her experience with you on becoming a reliable brand. Enjoy.

I am an author, entertainer, radio host, motivational speaker, blogger and super promoter. I never let anybody forget that. To be relevant and “stay” relevant in any business, you must BRAND yourself and your product.

I came into the publishing game green with no prior experience, other than knowing how to get the party started. I applied my skills as an entertainer and created a buzz for myself, and my books.

I didn’t limit myself by only introducing my books, I took it a step further and shared my music, my videos, my radio show and every website, blog-site and link that displayed all of my projects, product and talent.
I saturated the market. It’s as simple as that. I came in like a steam train, screeching to an abrupt stop, I put my conductor hat on and stepped on to the platform announcing ALL ABOARD!

It didn’t stop there, I actually have good products, It’s so easy when what your selling is actually good quality. That is something that is essential to effective marketing and promoting. It will make or break you. Is this shit good? Is this book hot, exciting? Is this show interesting? If you can answer in the affirmative to each of those questions, then you’re on to something.

Longevity is difficult if your product sucks! Where do you go from there? You may not have the opportunity to wow your audience again, because you’ve lost them the first go around.

Have you ever noticed that a few of the newbies authors, singers, rappers, T.V personalities are no longer around. They disappeared after a few hits, a short run of sorts, they were good, but couldn’t put out consistent hits. They simply aren’t reliable brands.

I plan for the future and stay two steps in front of myself. I am my only competition, and, I want you to be that way as well. It’s all about staying power. Now, ask yourself “ How can I make people remember my brand?” I know the answer, but I can’t give it up all at once. I will leak it slowly I don’t like to rush things. You won’t remember if I dump it all on you now. It’s the same as a guy that gets the sex on the first date, why on earth will he stick around after getting the prize. He needs to want more. So, I give up the foreplay and string you along. Until next time…

Mack Mama author of “Tales of an Original Bad Girl” and “Daisy Jones”. For more information on Mack Mama and to purchase her books, visit