Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs About Writing/Publishing

I have a lot of story ideas, but I'm not sure how to begin writing. What suggestions can you give?

Not to sound like a Nike commercial, but you have to "just do it." Soul Matters was my first serious attempt at writing a novel. I had a general idea of the beginning and I just wrote what was on my heart and allowed the rest to unfold as I went along. (Also see "How do I overcome writer's block?" and "What resources can you recommend for aspiring writers?")

How long does a story have to be before a publisher will consider it?

Typically anywhere from 75,000 to 90,000 words (55,000 for young adult novels). Guidelines vary by publisher and genre so the best thing is to look at the requirements of those who publish in the genre of your interest.

How do I overcome writer's block?

Keep writing. I'm not sure I really suffer from writer's block because there is always some idea floating through this head of mine. There are times, however, when I get stuck on a particular scene where I have trouble connecting ideas together. I'm the type who doesn't like to move on to the next scene until I tie up all the loose ends in the current one. But, sometimes it's best to move on when I'm stuck. Each time I've done that, I've been able to come up with a solution about the scene I was stuck on. I either discover something that I can go back and tie in or perhaps the scene doesn't fit with the rest of the story so I end up deleting or changing it. Whatever your case may be, if you're stuck or just lack ideas, keep writing! Even if what you write at the time doesn't make sense, you will still be making progress. You'll be surprised at how much material you can pull from the stuff that may initially seem like junk. If you are truly stuck - can't move on, can't think of ideas, etc - then you need to consult the Lord and see what He has to say. There could be a deeper reason why. . . maybe your writing is going in a direction He doesn't want you to go or there are some issues He wants to work out in you first. . . I don't know, but I guarantee if you sincerely go to Him, He'll work it out.

What are some ways I can guarantee that my book will be successful?

It depends on how you are defining success. Spiritually speaking, if you feel God leading you to write then by simply completing your assignment will make your book successful. You may/may not make it to the New York Times Bestseller list, on Oprah or win any type of literary awards, but any time we do what the Lord tells us then we have accomplished what it means to be successful. Financially speaking, I'd have to say don't let money be the motive for which you write - especially if you're writing anything of a Christian nature. Every author, including me, wants his/her book to sell and do "well" in the industry, but keep in mind that the publishing industry continually changes and what's "in" today may not be "in" tomorrow. If you write with the goal of trying to get rich, then you'll run the risk of watering down Biblical truths in order to make your work "fit in." But, if you write with a pure heart under the guidance of God, you don't have to worry about whether or not there's a place for your book because if there wasn't, He wouldn't have given you the gift to write it (Proverbs 18:16). My advice would be to keep God first because by doing so He guarantees that everything else will fall into place (Matthew 6:33). Let God know that He can trust your motives and I'm sure He'll do more with your books than you ever thought possible (Ephesians 3:20).

I'm not interested in writing Christian fiction, but another genre. Do you have any ideas how I would go about getting started and published?

The advice I gave earlier would apply to all writers no matter what genre you're interested in. (See "I have a lot of story ideas, but I'm not sure how to begin writing. What suggestions can you give?" and "How do I overcome writer's block?") In terms of getting published, you may want to seek advice from someone who's already published in your genre of interest. (Also see "What resources can you recommend for aspiring writers?" at the end.)

How did you get published?

For Soul Matters, I submitted a synopsis and three sample chapters to The Writer's Edge, a company that provides screening services for various Christian publishers. After reviewing my submission, The Writer's Edge listed information about the book and me in a report that they sent to a number of Christian publishers, which resulted in my being offered a contract. For Secrets of a Sinner, I submitted information directly to the publisher. After the publication of Secrets of a Sinner, I signed with a literary agent who now takes care of all of my submissions.

Would you recommend self-publishing?

It depends on the author's situation. If an author is having trouble catching the attention of a traditional publisher, self-publishing is a viable option. Keep in mind that it costs to do so and depending on the distributor, it can be difficult to get self-published books into chain stores. Yo Productions is a small traditional publisher and accepts submissions for publication consideration. You are invited to check out our guidelines. Before deciding on the traditional or self-publishing route, ask a few trustworthy family members and friends to review your work and provide feedback. With any traditional publisher (large or small) or reputable self-publisher, quality will matter.

How can I get my poems published?

It is very difficult to get a contract for poetry. Perhaps you could look at the guidelines of those publishers who already distribute poetry.

What are some resources for those interested in writing/publishing?

Below are some links that may be of help to you. Neither Yolonda Tonette Sanders nor Yo Productions, LLC and/or its affiliates are responsible for any misinformation presented on third party sites. Readers are encouraged to do their research.

Authors Supporting Authors

 

Byg D Productions

Readers Read

​www.writerswrite.com

 

U.S. Census Bureau

 

U.S. Copyright Office

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FAQs About Yolonda

Who has been the strongest spiritual influence in your life?

I've had several spiritual influences over the years ranging from family/friends, pastors, and others. I think the "strongest" influence shifts as I grow and change, but overall, I'd have to say my family, particularly my mom.

Why do you like writing Christian fiction?

I believe, with all my heart, that Jesus is real. Writing Christian-based works gives me an opportunity to do more than just entertain with my stories. It's another form of ministry. I want people to enjoy my books, but more importantly, I want readers to be challenged, encouraged, and motivated to seek a relationship with God or become even closer to Him.

Are your stories biographical in nature?

While there are certainly some character traits and plot situations that have been loosely based on real-life events or people, my novels are not a biographical account of my life or anyone else's. Some characters have bits and pieces of my personality, others have similar behaviors of people I know, and some are completely made up.

Do you plan to always write fiction or will you write nonfiction as well?

I have actually started a nonfiction project that will take a while to complete. It may be years before I go public with it.

Who is your favorite author?

Hmmm . . . Good question. I do enjoy reading, but I haven't followed the work of any particular author enough to deem anyone as my "favorite."

Are you working on another novel? If so, what is the title and when will it be released?

I currently have several ideas running through my mind. I have no titles or release dates yet. 

Who is your favorite character in your books and why?

In Soul Matters, I'd have to say Kim because in many ways, she is me. Her character is symbolic of my pre-Christ years as I drew from my own experiences and guilt about having children prior to marrying. Plus, many of her thoughts are thoughts that I had toward Christians back in the day. My heart was very hardened against "church folk" and I was emotionally wounded and bitter, but once God got a hold of my heart everything changed. Kim's entire story differs from mine, but her spiritual growth throughout Soul Matters reminds me of how far the Lord has brought me.

 

In Secrets of a Sinner, it's a toss between Aneetra and Big Mama. Aneetra because she exemplifies what it means to be a true friend and extend the love of Christ. I also love the fact that she's transparent and willingly shares her testimony when witnessing to Natalie. Big Mama is also my favorite because of her display of unconditional love.

Do you write full-time or do you also have a 9 to 5?

I do not have a full-time job. Writing is it for me. I do teach as an adjunct professor when classes line up with my personal schedule. I have taught Critical Thinking, Sociology, and Cultural Diversity classes. I'm also the full-time caregiver for my mother, so my time is limited between my family and writing/Yo Productions responsibilities. (FYI - I'm not interested in any home-based consultant businesses!)

How did you get published?

For Soul Matters, I submitted a synopsis and three sample chapters to The Writer's Edge, a company that provides screening services for various Christian publishers. After reviewing my submission, The Writer's Edge listed information about the book and me in a report that they sent to a number of Christian publishers, which resulted in my being offered a contract. For Secrets of a Sinner, I submitted information directly to the publisher. After the publication of Secrets of a Sinner, I signed with a literary agent who now takes care of all of my submissions.

Are you ever going to publish your poems?

I don't know. Publishing contracts for poetry are rare. I may self-publish all of my poems in a collection one day just so I can have an official record of them.

Are your books available on audio tape or CD?

To my knowledge, not yet. I'm sure they will be at some point, but I don't know when.

Do you accept speaking engagements?

Yes. If you are interested in having me at one of your events, please fill out the speaker request form or leave a message at 614-452-4920.

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Other Resources and Links

What are some resources for those interested in writing/publishing?

Below are some links that may be of help to you. Neither Yolonda Tonette Sanders nor Yo Productions, LLC and/or its affiliates are responsible for any misinformation presented on third party sites. Readers are encouraged to do their research.

Authors Supporting Authors

 

Byg D Productions

Readers Read

​www.writerswrite.com

 

U.S. Census Bureau

 

U.S. Copyright Office

Please reload