New Writer's Showcase
    Natasha Munson

    This week On The Same Page is delighted to interview bestselling author, Natasha Munson, the author of Life Lessons for My Black Girls (How To Make Wise Choices and Live a Life You Love!). Natasha Munson has been featured in newspapers across the country.

    M.T.: First of all, I must commend you for your success. You have become the Poster Child for Barnes and Nobles and iuniverse's Print-on-demand program. How has fame changed your life?

    N.M.: I didn't write Life Lessons to achieve fame. I wrote it because I am disgusted at the way people are conducting themselves and the impact it's having on our youth. As a parent I am extremely concerned that we, as a society, instill values in our children and give them the skills to live a life they love rather than one that feels stagnant and hopeless.

    I do truly appreciate that the book is giving me the opportunity to talk to more people and share the lessons I've learned.


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    M.T.: What gave you the idea for Life Lessons for My Black Girls (How to Make Wise Choices and Live a Life You Love)?

    N.M.One day I realized that my little cousin was no longer so little. She was growing up and dealing with difficult situations. I wanted a way of telling her things without preaching to her. So I began writing down 'lessons' I had learned through relationships, career choices, everything. Then suddenly I saw that it was becoming a book. My dream of writing unfolded by me sharing my experiences with someone I love.


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    M.T.: What do you see as one of the biggest problems facing young Black girls in today's society?

    N.M.: Lack of self-esteem masking as confidence thru sexuality. A lot of women, both young and old, are in pain. They're simply going through life with no plan, no esteem, no respect. We need to let them know that they are precious. That they are worth more than they are accepting.


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    M.T.: How did you find out about iuniverse?

    N.M.: I did a lot of research on the net searching for the best ways to publish. I kept coming across toExcel (now iUniverse). They were recommended on very reputable sites in the industry. They created great covers, did the typesetting, and the price was unbelievable - only $99.


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    M.T.: Have you been able to get your books into the black stores now?

    N.M.: Though Life Lessons is available thru one of the largest book distributors (Ingram), I have had difficulty getting into black stores. iUniverse has a no-return policy which is unique to the industry. However I have been fighting like hell to get better discounts for black distributors and bookstores. iUniverse.com has agreed and is working with me on this. All I can say is please ask for it in black stores.


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    M.T.: What has been your marketing plan with your book being print on demand? Do you have to buy the books that you do direct retail sales on?

    N.M.: My marketing plan is very similar to that of a 'traditional' author. The only difference is that there are no advance galleys to send out. So publicity literally starts when the book is available for print.

    Yes, I have to buy the books I wish to use for promotion. I do not handle retail sales though that is done through iUniverse.com, my publisher. They have made the book available wherever books are sold and at amazon.com, bn.com.


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    M.T.: Are you planning a book tour, and what cities will you be in?

    N.M.: The Life You Love tour will consist of workshops, lectures, book performances and signings in Atlanta, New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and other venues in between. A portion of the proceeds go to funding daycare centers and schools which give students life planning skills so they too may live a life they love.

    Before the tour I'm launching a national annual book review and poetry contest. Also, the first national black bookclub owned by an African-American woman will be launched in 2001. Life You Love BookClub is my baby. LYL supports and encourages the spiritual, intellectual, financial, and emotional growth of its readers. Representing the best books and giving self-published authors and independent publishers a forum to display their work.

    More info on the contest and the bookclub will be added to my site, www.lifeyoulove.com, shortly. To be added to the bookclub mailing list, send address to info@lifeyoulove.com.


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    M.T.: Are you writing another book and do you plan to use print on demand?

    N.M.: I am currently at work on Journey To Love. It is about the experience of getting to a place where we love ourselves, genuinely, unconditionally. Journey explains the many masks we provide to hide from pain, unfulfillment and fear. It then shows a way to remove the mask and become a spirit, a full being. I also just completed the journal to Life Lessons for My Black Girls. Availability of the book and being able to work with various distributors is very important to me so I will consider this during my publishing decision.


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    M.T.: How did you get so much press coverage? Which came first, the press coverage or the book sales?

    N.M. It is so true, God works in mysterious ways. God gave me that. I never planned that big. I never imagined that I would be a 'poster child' and have my face in store windows across the country. I am truly grateful for that opportunity and I will never forget that it is God's message I'm sharing, not mine.

    My publisher decided that after years in business they wanted to take their service to a new national level. When they received my book I was chosen to be "The New Face of Publishing." I'm still amazed at that.

    From a selling point, there are no real book sales, no financially successful book signings until there is sufficient press coverage. I can't say it strongly enough. Press coverage must ALWAYS and CONSISTENTLY come first.


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    M.T.: What parting words would you like to give to new and aspiring writers?

    N.M.: Realize that every writer has an experience. There are things you go through in life which shape you and give you a distinct writer's voice. Do not rush that process. Write when it becomes natural, when your words create realistic experiences for your readers.

    Check out all your publishing options. Go into it with business sense not with dreamy thinking. Create as much awareness as you can. Create a marketing plan. Have a vision. See where you want this book to take you. There are 25,000 books published each year. Know how and why your's is going to stand out.

    Always write with your heart, truth, and imagination. Never give up on yourself or your dreams.

    Live a Life You Love!!!