An Interview with Juanita Betts: Author & Entrepreneur
Juanita: Thank you Sylvia. Born in NC, grew up between NC, and NY. I lived in NY from the age of two to seven, at the age of eighteen moved to NY to live, and in 2002 moved to NJ. I have a daughter who is a freshman in college.
I first started writing when I was a teen; use to sit under the clouds and just look and daydream for hours about life, the wonders of life and what else was out there.
I wanted to know more, learn more, and be more. I have always been outspoken, my mom use to say to me “One of these days your mouth is going to get you in trouble, always have something to say, always got to have the last word.”
Thank God, it never got me in trouble, but it has helped me to survive.
Established my company in 2007 after publishing my first book; this brought forth dreams and desires which created multiple ideas into a vision which encouraged to build on principles to make dreams a reality. Exquisite Dreams, the sister company of DMDP which is new will bring forth more on the educational aspect for our artistic youth.
Desire My Dream Productions offers assistance with publishing, coordinating and promoting!
My mission is to encourage, mentor, motivate and help with understanding and healing. Start from a dream to reach your goal and beyond. There are no guarantees; you are the holder of your destiny. Grasp it, and run with your passion to success because we only have this one life, so “Make an Effort, and Use it Wisely!”
Sylvia: Awesome mission! What inspired you to write your first book?
Juanita: I started writing poetry when I was a teenager, and writing in a diary for my eyes only. As the years passed, my diary became my journal when I needed to express myself. I use to keep personal issues inside, write it down and put away in my closet, until one day my daughter decided to have an investigation hunt in my closet being inquisitive. She always thought my room was interesting, full of mommy treasures.
Well, one day while having some “me time,” in my room from a long hard week at work, my daughter and her best friend came into my room with my poetry, “Oh mommy these are good you should do something with these.” Now I was slightly upset because she went through my things, but did not show it because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings after giving such great feedback. Her face was lit up with excitement!
A few years prior, I received a contract from an anonymous book publisher but I did not agree with some of the details in the contract, so I held on to my poetry; but my daughter is actually the reason I published my first book. I first posted some of them on my MySpace.com blog, and entered a few contest at poetry.com where some were entered in their analogy volume of books.
The title of my published poetry book is, “Desire My Dream Poetry,” which is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and lulu.com. However, the book for this interview is my urban knowledge children’s book titled, “My Mama Said.” This book was inspired from being a single parent, or a parent in general observing the children in my neighborhoods, and street knowledge thereof. This book represents what not to be a part of, or stay away from such as being a victim of the streets, and not be a statistic.
Sylvia: Great, sounds very inspiring! Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Juanita: The Street has no age requirement for anything, so why choose a proper age of your choice to teach your child. We have to show, and teach our children early of the streets no matter the neighborhood status quo, things happen everywhere and to everyone, no one person excluded from being a victim.
So, why not offer a little knowledge for when we are not able to be with our children, they need to know what is real in the streets before bullied, raped, pregnant, etc., there are so many different ways, and I plan to touch basis on many with my series of, “My Mama Said.”
We cannot act as though it’s not in existence, because the world of street knowledge is necessary for our children, and maybe in a story format would or could be more interesting to the child understanding than the old, “don’t do this or that.”
Sylvia: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Juanita: Write from the heart, always be honest to you and most important just keep writing. The best advice I ever got was from a radio host of Black Author Showcase and she said, “Juanita JUST WRITE, no format, no particular chapter, just WRITE because it will all come together in the end.
Sylvia: Yes, you are so right. If you can focus on your writing, it will come together. What marketing techniques have you used to sell your books and which ones have been most successful?
Juanita: I have used; email, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Lulu.com, ning.com sites and word of mouth which travels much faster, and has been more successful for me. I also have my website http://www.desiremydream.com that I promote quite often.
Sylvia: Great, you understand the power of social media and internet. Why should we buy your book?
Juanita: My book is of reality and for our children. Today our kids are murdered and killing themselves for bullying, and being a victim to the streets is similar to bullying. A bully is a person who will harass, single out, hound, and discriminate. This too is a part of our streets; nothing has changed over the years, except we need to be smarter and help that child who is not reaching out, look for the signs, but offer the help before so the child can be aware and know of. Saving our children is our most important task in our lives.
Sylvia: Is there a special place that you prefer when you write?
Juanita: There is no special place where I need to be, I just don’t want to be distracted or thrown off my thought process. I prefer a serene place where I can really focus, and create but sometimes you have to take what you can get, and adapt because you learn to zone out, and do what needs to be done because, time is the real challenge.
Sylvia: What projects are you currently working on?
Juanita: I am currently working on a contest as a judge with a great organization but the contest is still active, so I cannot reveal. In addition, I am networking with a magazine for promoting my books, which I rather not reveal the source just in case.
I will have a few radio interviews setup for 2012 with Hype Media Global, Inc. out in Florida. Overall I am staying active, some book fairs for the summer, and available for whatever God has in store for my book career, and beyond. My first radio interview for 2012 so far is set to be February 4, 2012 at 3pm on Chill Lover Radio http://www.chillloverradio.net/
Sylvia: What is your POWER WORD? Why this word? (A power word is a word that has great effect to the person hearing or reading it. My power word is EMPOWER)
Juanita: EFFORT, this has always been my power word because you work hard at what you want, and it takes effort to fight off procrastination, which will throw you off course. With effort you can be who you want and get to where you want to be. We have one life, and should use it wisely!
Sylvia: Juanita, thank you! Please share your contact information:
Juanita: My pleasure Sylvia. My contact information is below: