Subscribe to our newsletter to get a free time management guide for bloggers!

books

Poet Ashley M. Jones discusses her debut book “Magic City Gospel”

ashley-jones
Photo by Jennifer Jones

When Birmingham-bred poet Ashley Jones was in graduate school at Florida International University, she made a promise to herself: She promised herself that she would produce a book of poetry by the end of her MFA program. Jones kept her promise and on Friday, December 2 she will host a reading, book signing and early release party for her debut collection Magic City Gospel. The poems in the collection, which officially releases in January, are largely inspired by Jones’ experiences as a black girl and woman in the South. This special early release event will be held at 7 p.m., Friday, December 2 at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in downtown Birmingham.

Jones burst onto the poetry scene last year winning the prestigious Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award (a national literary award only given to six women each year that includes a grant for $30,000). Last year Jones also returned to Birmingham to teach creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA) and this year began teaching at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) as well.

But Jones believes poetry should be in the community and not just the classroom. She recently helped produce the 100,000 Poets for Change in Birmingham event to raise money for the Smithfield-Dynamite Hill Community Land Trust, which works to keep the Smithfield Community in the ownership of its residents and fight against gentrification. She’s also coordinator of The Nitty Gritty Magic City Reading Series. The brainchild of Alabama poets Katherine Webb and Daniel DeVaughn, NGMC seeks to create a unique literary space in Birmingham where people can tell their stories through their art.

In a candid conversation, Jones discusses Magic City Gospel, her writing practice, writing as a form of activism and more.

(more…)

Fat Girl Power

Whether you woke up this morning elated or devastated by last night’s election results, here is one thing I want us all to celebrate: See Jane Write member Jennifer Dome King has just released her first book, a book that grew from her blog. And I hope her story will inspire you to soon write a book of your own.

jennifer-dome-king

(more…)

5 Things I Read This Week

5 things

Some nights when I can’t sleep I do the very thing you should not do when you can’t sleep: I reach for my phone. I know that staring at the light from the screen is going to keep me awake till daybreak but I do it anyway. I grab my phone and binge read blog posts.

(more…)

7 Ways to Build Buzz for Your Blog, Book or Brand

build buzz graphic

We had a packed house Saturday at the See Jane Write workshop, How to Build Buzz.

During this free workshop I shared with attendees the story of how I’ve grown See Jane Write from a small women’s writing group and BlogSpot blog to an award-winning business.

It all started on March 24, 2011 when I gathered with a group of about 14 women at a local Mexican restaurant. Most of these women I had never met before, but these women and I all had one thing in common — we all loved to write. And I’d gathered them there that evening  to ask them what they wanted and needed from a women’s writing group. This meeting would be the first See Jane Write event.

Two months later See Jane Write hosted a workshop on Twitter that drew 40 women.

Two months after that we hosted a panel discussion that drew 75 women.

See Jane Write was in full swing!

crowd
We had a packed house at “How To Build Buzz” Photo Credit: Christina J. Wade

Eventually I started to get quite a bit of attention because of See Jane Write and even started winning awards. In 2012 I received the SMART Award from the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham, an award given to local women who are doing innovative things in business, education, or the arts. In 2015 I was named one of the city’s Top 40 Under 40 by the Birmingham Business Journal and just this year Southern Living magazine included me on its list of Innovators Changing the South, a list that included the likes of the iconic Dolly Parton and actress Reese Witherspoon.

After this recognition people started to ask me my secret. They wanted to how I was getting so much attention for myself and my brand. And I told them, “I know how to make a scene!” In other words, I got really good at self-promotion.

If you’re still stuck in the mindset that self-promotion is somehow dirty or wrong, read this.

Go on! I’ll wait…

Now here are the seven ways I build buzz and make a scene!

(more…)

1 2 3