Have you ever wanted to write and publish a book but like me you didn’t know where to start. You hear about all these steps ranging from editing, IBN + Bar Codes, Copyright Registration and additional requirements then your head starts spinning because there’s so much to learn. Well, now that we’re in the middle of a pandemic why not use some of that time to start writing that book you were dreaming about, I know I am. While doing some research for my blog I came across an ambitious queen named Auketria Manor who runs On Writer’s Block, a professional writing and publishing service where indie Authors have their books published while retaining full creative control, the rights to their books and their net royalties. I visited her website https://onwritersblock.net/ and reviewed her packages and I must say “There is a God”. I recommend checking out her website to review her services and packages then afterwards reach out to her for a consultation.
Here’s some background about the Beautiful, Driven, Ambitious, Mother, Entrepreneur and Author Auketria Manor. She went from a small press publishing house Author to an independently published Author in less than two years of penning her first book. Experiencing business behind the pen in both capacities enables her to thrive on her clients’ behalf as a Publishing Consultant and Editor. She has published 3 books of her own with her breakout novel Catching Feelings, landing her in the top 20 of Women’s Contemporary Fiction during its debut year.
Auketria’s journey as an Author and Publishing Consultant has landed her guest features on podcasts, Voyage Houston and Urban Books Authors & Writers of America Magazines, a speaker’s segment during Black Women Writer’s Virtual Summit 2020 and a contributing writer for a women’s life and style blog. A statement from Auketria “It’s important to me that Authors publish the right way the first time and that they do so with an anticipating platform, so they have someone to actually sell their books to.”
ASCSW: Hello Auketria, I hope all is well. Thank you so much for taking time out to chat with ASCSW. I just want to say I truly admire what you’re doing with On Writer’s Block, there is nothing like having resources to help you along the way of becoming an author. I’m looking forward to this interview, ready to begin?
AUKETRIA: Thank you for having me Nina and I hope all is well with you and yours also. I’m excited myself so yes ma’am let’s get to it.
ASCSW: First, I normally ask all of my guests about their well being because 2020 has been a challenging year and I personally feel it is important to ask how everyone is holding up. Auketria, how have you been doing during these unpredictable and challenging times?
AUKETRIA: Thanks so much for asking Nina. The year has been eventful for us all, and for far too many, not in a good way. It’s for that reason that I have a bit of guilt that my year has actually been good. In fact, professionally and spiritually this has been one of my best years in a while. I don’t say it out loud much considering, but it truly has.
ASCSW: A lot of people are saying, including myself, that 2020 has helped them evolve, especially since we have been quarantined for most of the year. This year has definitely opened our eyes to how precious life really is and how important it is to do everything you possibly can while you’re still walking around on earth. If it’s not too personal could you share with the readers what are some of the most important and valuable lessons 2020 has taught you personally and professionally?
AUKETRIA: Well we hear the old adage (actually scripture) that tomorrow is not promised and it goes in one ear, out of the other. That means we may not get the grace of tomorrow to correct the mistakes of today. Those words ring true like never before so of course personal inventory has been happening in my life. My siblings and I are more committed to spending time together and I recently told my children to leave the bedroom doors open during the day instead of closing up and watching Netflix separately so the atmosphere is more inviting and open. Also, doing new things in my business that I’ve been too shy or outright afraid to do. Ain’t no time for that anymore.
ASCSW: So many businesses during the pandemic have been facing many challenges due to the decline of our economy. Has the pandemic interfered with your normal business operations for On Writer’s Block?
AUKETRIA: Honestly no (Lord thank you!) I’m working with 3 publishing clients right now, 2 of which signed on to work with me in the Summer. They are in the middle of writing their books and yours truly is managing the process for them. The third client came to me with his manuscript ready for the editing phase and we’re less than a month away from completing his book. It’s been amazing – even with clients who book me exclusively for editorial services. Is it crazy to say that it seems when the pandemic hit is when I started booking clients back to back?
ASCSW: Just about everyone is working from home and being quarantined therefore some people have time to be creative, that being said, aspiring authors can now focus on possibly getting their book published or actually learn what goes into book publishing. I know you will be launching Pro Publisher Academy (PPA) which looks very informative but I notice you only have limited spots left and the registration dates have passed, do you plan on having more in 2021?
AUKETRIA: Well registration did close on the 12th but I may be willing to open a few spots for some Authors who are serious about getting published before the program start date. I’m definitely planning to launch a cohort, maybe even 2 in 2021. PPA is here to stay. My vision is that it remain a signature program for the life of the business to put the right resources in front Authors so they can get their publishing done right off of the rip. The only thing is, it will be offered at select times during the year since I’d be working with multiple Authors at a time.
ASCSW: While reading your bio, I read you published 3 books. What were some of the challenges you encountered while writing your books and how did you overcome those challenges?
AUKETRIA: Writing a book is hard and sometimes you have to step away from the project because your creativity feels off, you run out of zeal for it or you experience writer’s block. But the one thing that has never let me down when I’m writing a book is discipline. Because see, discipline gets it done when the excitement runs out – even if it’s just the outline of the next chapter. It’s easy to make excuses and say you feel uninspired but discipline kicks in when inspiration dries up.
ASCSW: How long on average did it take you to write each of your books? Did you find it to be easier after writing your first one?
AUKETRIA: Absolutely not. My first book took me more than a year because I kept starting and stopping (I felt uninspired). I also learned I’m an emotional writer. I got a lot of chapters done when I was pissed about something (the first book only though). My second book was a dedication to my first born and outlining was my saving grace for it and it took about 8 months to complete. Even with my outline I had some struggles – as writers we’re hard on ourselves which can lengthen the writing phase. My last book is a self-help journal and took me a few months to write.
ASCSW: Another service On Writer’s Block offer is coaching for writers which is great, I personally need that. What can clients expect when they reach out to you for coaching?
AUKETRIA: Coaching is so necessary in writing and it’s something I wish I had while penning my first title. With my company, coaching includes helping writers get the “pen to the paper” first and foremost. We get to the bottom line of the storyline through an outlining exercise, I like to think of outlining as a GPS and I ensure you are driving the story to that point. Determining the target market happens within the coaching as well as identifying the best marketing strategy for the book based on genre and that particular audience. If I had to sum it up for the sake of space, this is it lol.
ASCSW: What do you love most about your business On Writer’s Block? And why?
AUKETRIA: My mom and siblings always called me bossy growing up – I love being the boss honey! But I have an acronym for BOSS. It’s not at all who my family pegged me as long ago – Building Others to Successfully Soar. As the driving force behind OWB, that’s what I do for every client. The books I help them publish is to position them to successfully soar in their writing careers. I help dreams become a reality, that’s the best part for me.
ASCSW: When it comes to aspiring authors and writers what skills do you think are required to be successful in these roles?
AUKETRIA: That’s such a great question. Knowing how to tell a story in a colorful way is important. Next to it, is being able to articulate that in written form. Sounds easy enough but take me for example. I am a far better writer than I am a public speaker. My storytelling comes more natural with a keyboard and computer monitor. Others are more charismatic while speaking in front of a live crowd. So to see success here, you’ve got to be able to formulate sentences that gives readers a picture in their minds while reading them. I don’t care if you write fiction or nonfiction, give the reader something he/she can feel. Lastly, be yourself and share that in the online space. Authenticity is like the hot sauce on the greens (the greens is your book lol) if you will.
ASCSW: What do you think are some of the most common traps for aspiring authors when it comes to getting their books published?
AUKETRIA: Rushing! Trust the process and be committed to it. Producing a book is like producing a movie, an album – it’s a project and takes time. And you’re not self-publishing savvy, please don’t DIY, hire help. Don’t do it wrong the first time and then have to rebuild and redo the second time around. By then it’s possible that readers are giving you the side-eye.
ASCSW: Your energy is very positive, uplifting, empowering, vibrant and very motivating. What advice can you give to people who may have a burning desire to write a book, or start a business and etc., but may feel it’s time consuming, too much work, they’re procrastinating or may be having other negative thoughts?
AUKETRIA: Wow, thank you so much for that (I needed to hear that). Honestly speaking, don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today. I was so afraid to officially start my company even though I knew how to do the book publishing work. What I didn’t know was how to find my target audience or how to speak to them. I promise, my brand colors and so many other things just weren’t together but I did it anyway and fine tuned things the more I studied and educated myself. I found my real voice, my real audience and things started turning around in my business. My question to those people though, how bad do you want that book done? How important is it to you to create an additional stream of income? We make time for boo thang, girl’s night, happy hour and even time to cry on camera on Instagram – oh honey there’s time. Decide if it’s important enough and start making moves accordingly. Don’t let another year pass by and you’re still just hoping.
ASCSW: What are some experiences you have encountered both personally and professionally so far during your journey of life that has helped you grow into the woman you are now?
AUKETRIA: Professionally and personally – failure, disappointment, “no”, etc. Having to show up on days when I’d rather run and hide only for that day be the day God used me to bless someone. Life experiences have taught me the value of having people around me I can trust. Whew and life has taught me to be accountable in all things – even the things I do not want to be accountable for. As long as I’m accountable, no one can hold things over my head. I am big on owning my ish, personally and professionally.
ASCSW: On your Instagram page you have a few social injustice pictures and statements. If you don’t mind sharing with us, how have the current events surrounding all of the civil unrest taking place across the country affect you? What do you do to relieve yourself of the chaos taking place in the world?
AUKETRIA: Lord. I don’t like for my 15 year old son to go anywhere. If I could, I’d confine him to the house for as long as possible. I feel helpless actually. To describe it, it’s like when your child encounters their first heartbreak or their friendship dies and you can’t do anything to make them feel better. As a mom, the worst feeling in the world to me is helplessness when my kids are hurt. That’s how I feel about the state of black lives in America. I no longer watch video footage when it surfaces and I usually stop at the victim’s name, where they’re from, their profession and whatever joy they brought to their families. I imagine this is what our ancestors felt like during slavery, during the Oklahoma City bombing, after the 4 Little Black Girls were bombed in the church in Birmingham, during segregation and during every not guilty verdict of guilty law enforcement personnel. I’m such a homebody so I consume old sitcoms and rom-com films on Netflix lol.
ASCSW: How do you prioritize your time between running your business, being a mother, writing books, coaching, doing speaking engagements, and finding time for yourself? Do you have any self care rituals?
AUKETRIA: I’m not real high maintenance but I do enjoy my pedicures every two weeks. I’m actually a week overdue but hey, a sister is busy. Listen, it’s a black owned full-service salon and the way they rub these calves and feet should be a crime. I go there to get away from my 9 to 5, my company and my awesome kids. An occasional glass of wine during the week makes me feel necessarily rebellious, ha!
ASCSW: When everything is all said and done what do you want people to remember you for? What legacy do you want to leave behind?
AUKETRIA: If for nothing else, I want to be remembered as a one of a kind mother. I don’t see myself as regular when it comes to motherhood. My kids are big but I can’t explain the passion I have for them and being what they need or even shaping them to fill their own need! My company is my baby and yes I want to be remembered as a storyteller who helped others tell their stories too…but leaving a mark on my children’s heart as a supportive and praying mother would be enough. Ask anyone close to me about me and they will mention motherhood.
ASCSW: When you were growing up was there a woman in your life that you felt represented A Sassy Classy Sophisticated Woman? If so, what are some of the characteristics they displayed that made them A Sassy Classy Sophisticated Woman?
AUKETRIA: But of course, my mother (and Clair Huxtable)! My mom reminded me so much of Claire Huxtable from the way she wore her hair, to her walk on down to her attitude. We knew not to play games with my mother but she was and is approachable also. She just had this charismatic aura about herself, you knew she meant business and you knew you could lay on her lap and cry if you need to. My mom will read you your rights and speak life into you too. Slow to anger but not a pushover, loving, friendly and confident. She’s my boo!
ASCSW: I reached out to you because I admire what you’re doing to help aspiring authors and writers like myself. In my opinion, anyone who creates opportunities for others to learn, evolve and be creative are individuals that continuously need to be recognized for the services they provide. Auketria, in your opinion what do you think makes you A Sassy Classy Sophisticated Woman?
AUKETRIA: I’m a woman of my word, I’ll always try to resort to prayer before going left on somebody (try), I get joy out of complimenting other women and I feel so good in my own skin, even on a rough day. I love being Auketria.
ASCSW: Last question. What would you want the readers to take away after reading your interview/story on ASCSW?
AUKETRIA: Just that I am a person with real life experiences. I want readers to know, I’m just like you. I’ve had timid moments, still do sometimes but I make my fears behave and that’s what I want readers to do. Demand your fears to behave you so you can get to the next phase, whatever that may be for you.
ASCSW: Auketria, thank you once again for taking the time to speak with ASCSW, I greatly appreciate you taking time out to talk. I wish you nothing but continued success but before we go is there anything else you like to share with the readers that we may not have touched on?
AUKETRIA: This was so much fun Nina and I cannot thank you enough for the opportunity to sit and talk with you! I think we touched on so much – I will just reiterate to readers that Pro Publisher Academy (PPA) is still open for enrollment, you do not want to miss the opportunity to publish in this manner. Consider it a literary buffet like my good sis on Instagram said! The link to enroll is in my Instagram bio.