Month: June 2015

Revelator Coffee Company brings more magic to the Magic City

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.


Whether I’m meeting with clients to help them with their blogs or working on a blog post of my own, I spend a lot of time in coffee shops. Sometimes I even host See Jane Write events in local coffeehouses

Back in April I hosted the first See Jane Write Roundtable at Revelator Coffee Company and it proved to be a perfect place for such an event. The women who attended used words like “spiritual” and “magical” to describe the evening and new friendships were born. I really believe the venue had something to do with it. Even the barista who took care of us that evening used similar words when describing what it’s like to work at Revelator Coffee. From the shop’s chic, modern design to the interesting people who walk through the door, she said something at Revelator inspires her each day.


The shop has plenty to inspire writers and bloggers, too. The place is filled with natural light and beautiful flowers. There’s plenty of space to spread out and work. I got the idea for the See Jane Write Roundtable event the moment I laid my eyes on the large communal table located at the front of the store as it’s perfect for group writing, editing, or brainstorming sessions. As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to gather a dozen or so See Jane Write members at a time to discuss matters regarding writing, blogging, or business.


The Birmingham location of Revelator, located on 3rd Avenue North just across the street from the Alabama Theatre, opened in October of 2014.

“It’s our flagship store, so we want to make sure we do it right,” said Meredith Singer, who handles communications and marketing for the shop. “Following this Birmingham location, we have a store open in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and we’ll be opening others in New Orleans, Atlanta, Nashville, and Charleston this year.”

Singer is originally from upstate New York but has been living in Alabama for the past eight years. “The founding team brought me on in December of last year, following the store opening, to help build out their communications and marketing strategy,” Singer explained. “As a company, we are very attracted to Birmingham’s burgeoning downtown, rich food and beverage tradition, and central position within the Greater Southeast. We roast our own coffee and have from the beginning — and are excited at the opportunity to have a large retail and wholesale footprint in the Southeast. Birmingham is the right mix of everything we’re looking for from both a strategic and community-focused angle.”

Singer knows that to succeed she and the founding team must find ways to make Revelator stand out from other popular coffee shops in downtown Birmingham.


“Our coffee shop is, by design, a very minimal approach to what is — inherently — a very complex product,” Singer said. “We want to strip all the barriers and BS out of your usual coffee experience. Instead of the fancy Italian language we’re all used to in coffee shops (lattes, cappuccino, etc) we’ve opted for a very straight-forward menu. Coffee. Tea. Espresso. Espresso with milk. Espresso with chocolate. Our baristas are there to guide you on size and what varieties of coffee we are offering. And our coffees change regularly. It’s an agricultural product, so it’s seasonal and we try to bring it to the customer when its at its best. We’re also in the process of building out a roasting facility on 1st Avenue North. The facility won’t be open to the public, but we will be employing people for production and creating a much wider community of partners, suppliers, and secondary vendors around specialty coffee — something that hasn’t really been done to scale here in Alabama. At the company-level, we’re committed to working with Southern makers and businesses that have a similar attention to detail. We want to grow with our community and share resources, when it makes sense. For the Birmingham store, that means we are retailing Single Lock Records (a fantastic record label out of Shoals that carries a number of Birmingham-based bands), Great Bear Wax Co. candles and Freedom Soap Company (both great Birmingham-based makers). Our food service is done by Continental Bakery and we’re always thinking about other potential collaborations.”

And I’m eager to collaborate with Revelator Coffee Co. for future See Jane Write events.

What topics would you like covered in future See Jane Write Roundtable events? 

Why Writers Must Be Entrepreneurs

Pen, Diary and Glasses
Image by via Flickr/Creative Commons

Writing and personal branding coach Nikki Woods believes that writing a book is one of the best ways to build your business as it gives you credibility. However, she also believes that writers must be business-minded.

In a recent blog post she writes, “Let’s face it, most creative people expect someone else to handle the business side of their operations. But it’s a new day.”

Even writers with book deals and especially those who self-publish must learn to market their own work. And this isn’t just about trying to sell a single book. This is about creating a long-lasting career.

Woods writes: “Royalties and book advances are great if you can get them but you can’t depend on them to sustain you. The sooner you begin to promote your book through speaking engagements, conventions, seminars, etc., the sooner you can build up an audience, your brand and your bottom line. ”

Not sure where to start? See Jane Write is here to help.

Join us at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16 at the Books-a-Million in Brookwood Village for D.I.Y. Marketing for Authors. Learn how to be your own publicist and promote your book and your brand. This free workshop will feature author A.D. Lawrence and See Jane Write member Chanda Temple, who is the co-author of the Birmingham’s Best Bites cookbook.

Get more details here and RSVP via Facebook.

Member of the Month: Chanda Temple


Aside from my husband, no one has been more supportive of See Jane Write than Chanda Temple. Chanda was one of the 14 women at the very first See Jane Write event and she’s been a part of the group ever since. There’s also hardly anyone I know who works harder than Chanda. So it was a no-brainer that Chanda Temple should be the See Jane Write Member of the Month for June.

Chanda worked as a journalist for nearly 20 years before switching gears to public relations in 2012. For the past three years Temple has crafted numerous public relations campaigns that the public and media noticed.

Her latest success was coauthoring the Birmingham’s Best Bites cookbook. The self-published paperback book sold out three times in late 2014 and earned an international gold medal award in 2015. Also in 2015, her public relations campaign for the book, and the Birmingham food festival it was connected to, won a first place state award in public relations.

This summer you’ll have two opportunities to learn from this PR pro. On June 16 Chanda will speak at our DIY Marketing for Authors event with Books-a-Million sharing tips on how she successfully marketed Birmingham’s Best Bites. (Click here for more details on this event.) And on August 1, Chanda will be our morning keynote speaker at the Bloganista Mini-Con, discussing personal branding and how to get your work covered by the media. Mark your calendar!

Read on to learn more about Chanda.

bham best bites

How did Birmingham’s Best Bites come to be and tell us a little about the success you’ve had with the book?

In January 2014, I was director of public relations for the Birmingham Public Library. I had started thinking of how I could take the library’s Eat Drink Read Write festival to the next level. This would be the third year for the October festival and my first time getting in on the ground floor for promoting and helping mold some of the events.

I immediately thought about Martie Duncan, a Birmingham native and finalist from Food Network Star.  I first asked if she would host our finale event. She agreed. We met again in February and started talking about what her involvement would look like. By the end of the conversation, we had come up with an idea for a cookbook.

We put the cookbook together in a matter of weeks. It featured gorgeous photography from Arden Ward Upton and more than 80 recipes from 60 restaurants in and around Birmingham. The food is so tempting, you want to dive right into the pages and take a bite.

We started out with it being self-published and available at the library book store and a handful of restaurants in December. EBSCO  did the first two printings in October and November 2014 and Books-A-Million used its print-on-demand machine in December 2014 for a third printing. In January 2015, a publisher loved the book and agreed to print it in hard back. Today, the book is available in nine book stores and is available on

Tell us about your blog and what you enjoy most about blogging.

I worked as a journalist for nearly 20 years before going into public relations in 2012. But soon, I missed writing on a daily basis. I knew that blogging would fill that void. But I kept putting it off until 2014 when I finally launched I have Javacia Harris Bowser to thank for challenging me and staying after me to “just do it.”

I write about different things that I hope will motivate and inspire people in their daily lives and careers.

What I love most about blogging is how it allows me to take someone’s inspirational story and share it with others. If that story only encourages one person that day, I’ve done my job.

How has your career as a journalist helped you in blogging, in PR and with Birmingham’s Best Bites?

As a journalist, I had to know how cut to the chase to get to the heart of what mattered in telling a story. All too often, people like to go around the world twice to explain how they do something. They like to use big words and talk in their industry lingo. What they don’t realize is that’s boring and it loses readers quickly.

When I interview people for blog posts and they start going too deep into an explanation, I stop them and tell them to just talk to me like I’m their grandmother or a person they just met on the street. What’s the most important thing they want to tell me so that I’ll remember them? Keep it simple and drop all the fancy talk, I tell them. With a little coaching, they get it. And when they give it to me in simple terms, it helps me better sell their event or product.

People don’t have time to read, which is why I stress how important it is to get to the main point and pair it with images people will remember.

Tell us a little about what you do now and what projects or goals you’re currently working on.

I left the library in February 2015 to take a job as executive assistant to the superintendent and school board for Birmingham City Schools. On almost a daily basis, I’m telling the wonderful stories of our students, teachers and supporters. There are so many amazing things happening within the district. Like us on Facebook at Birmingham City School System to keep up with what our students are doing.

What’s next for you?

Good question. I’m looking at writing another book. It won’t be a cookbook, though.

You’ve been a part of See Jane Write since the very first event. What do you like most about SJW and what keeps you so loyal to this organization?

From the start, I’ve loved the energy of this group. I’ve learned so much and met some wonderful people. I can surely say that had it not been for this group, I would have never met some of the people I admire to this day.

Also, Javacia Harris Bowser is such an inspiration. You can call, text or email her about anything, and she has an answer.

Send your nominations for the next See Jane Write Member of the Month to

Lady Blogger to Boss Lady


Last year at the See Jane Write Bloganista Mini-Con I decided that I wanted to not only be known as a blogger but also respected as a businesswoman. Six months later I was being honored as one of the city’s Top 40 Under 40 by the Birmingham Business Journal due to my work as founder and CEO ofSee Jane Write, a blog and membership organization for women writers, bloggers and entrepreneurs in Birmingham, Alabama.

On June 13 I’m offering a free master class I call “Lady Blogger to Boss Lady.”

In this free seminar I will share 7 steps to help you turn your blog into business and make your transition from lady blogger to boss lady!

This event is free, but registration is required. Reserve your spot here.

Lady Blogger to Boss Lady

11:30 a.m., Saturday, June 13

Homewood Public Library in the Round Auditorium