I’m delighted to announce a new series to inspire your muse called the Monthly Mandala Challenge. Look for a video each month that introduces the theme, contest details, and the prizes.
Project Theme for January: Mandala Inspiration Wheel
One day while looking at my wall on Facebook, I noticed a really cool video clip of a fidget spinner whirring above a hand-painted mandala with the question,
“What gift can you give yourself more of today?”
The possible answers delighted my heart –
ease, novelty, play, stillness, rest, adventure…
I clicked through to my friend Tonia Jenny’s Facebook wall and saw that she had created some other Fidget Spinner Fortunes that posed more heart expanding questions and answers.
What can you give yourself more of this week?
What will support your dreams today?
What is your soul asking for?
I’m a DIY kinda gal and thought, I want to make one! But wait, I’d love to see what my mandala family would create. I reached out to Tonia and she generously offered to be the first sponsor for my new monthly mandala challenge.
Take the Challenge
Our first monthly mandala challenge combines my love for mandalas, words, and playfulness.
How to Enter:
1. Create a mandala 6” or 7” with 12 segments. Decorate your mandala using any medium and style. Fill each section of your mandala with inspiring words.
2. Post your entry in the 100 Mandalas Sharing Circle, free membership website for mandala enthusiasts.
3. Deadline for entries: Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at Midnight, EST.
4. One (1) winner will be selected using a random generator. Winner will be announced on Friday, January 26th via e-mail to all Sharing Circle members.
One winner will be selected to receive these two prizes from Tonia Jenny
Mandala beaded pendant necklace
pendant 1.75″ x 1.75″ / 19″ leather cord with lobster clasp
Discover the Book Within You e-course
Meet the Prize Sponsor: Tonia Jenny
Let me tell you about Tonia. Tonia and I have been traveling in the same circle of mixed media artists for seven years now. When I sent my book proposal to North Light Books, it was Tonia who I reached out to and helped me to polish up my proposal before it went before a review committee. In our first face-to-face meeting via Skype, what struck me about Tonia was her relaxed, easy-going style. It was clear that she had a lot of experience in the field. I would learn later that Tonia had worked on over 275 book projects in contrast to me who was meeting with her about my first book project. I felt so reassured by Tonia’s gentleness and confidence. It set the tone for how my book project would unfold.
After 13 years and 10 months of working for F&W Media, Tonia is now working for herself bringing her expertise in book publishing to creatives. She is a certified coach who specializes in helping others to uncover their life purpose.
Tonia, let’s start with your background. Tell us about your experience in the publishing industry.
When I first got hired by North Light Books as an associate editor in 2003, I had no editorial experience—not even an English degree (I studied commercial design/graphic/printing with a Visual Communications BS degree). Within my first three years I had begun acquiring books for what was then a new category for books: mixed media. Over the next ten years I was responsible for acquiring 275+ titles for North Light in the categories of craft (primarily jewelry) and mixed media. I became very good at understanding what a book would require (both in terms of content and the platform of its potential author) to stand a chance at selling well. To do this I had to constantly stay on top of trends and be aware of what was being published by the industry in general. In my role as an acquisitions editor, I witnessed several shifts over the decade-plus including then ever-increasing need for would-be authors to have a solid following and demonstrated ability to sell a book. Working for a publisher, it was all about what would sell books so I came to understand those parameters well.
What is the biggest challenge that you see for aspiring authors and artists?
Not being afraid to toot your own horn and remind people over and over how wonderful you are. It can be hard to see that you’re not being a braggart; you’re simply sharing with others that you have something they could use. Lack of confidence and comfort with self-promotion results in a smaller following and a publisher sees this as a risk you will not be a strong promoter of a book.
To write one’s own bio or artist statement is so difficult. What mistakes do you see artists and authors making when they write about themselves?
I actually see five areas most artists struggle with: using specific details to describe how unique their art really is; avoiding terms that the layperson wouldn’t understand; being brave enough to let their authenticity shine through; using first person and an active voice and writing in a conversational style that pulls the reader in. I developed a tool that I call the Why of You to help make the process of writing an artist’s statement less painful. You can read a bit about it here.
You now offer editorial, writing, and coaching services for creatives. Tell us more about your services.
Yes! I’m so excited to have launched my own business aimed at supporting creatives. One of the things that pained me in my role working for a publisher was having to turn down people whose book ideas I loved because the subject wasn’t a good fit for the publisher or because the potential author did not have a large enough platform. Now I get to support absolutely anyone I choose and I love that! As artists and makers, I believe we all have something special to share with others and it’s actually our duty to use our gifts to make this world a little brighter.
As an editor, I’m actually in a very unique position for helping those who wish to publish books of a visual nature. Because of my experience as an acquisitions editor, I can help artists put together quality book proposals because I know what publishers of those books are looking for. I’ve been called a remarkable wordsmith because I’m very good at helping others refine their writing—from artists’ statements, to any web page, to books—while staying true to their voice. I’m also a graphic designer so for those who wish to self-publish, I can not only help an artist lay out their book and edit it, I can provide the design of the book as well. This is actually pretty rare, but I love working on the entire book! And yes, several years ago—at the same time I was with North Light Books—in my spare time I attended coaching school at International Coach Academy and am now qualified to coach others on a variety of issues. My niche is Life Purpose which fits in very nicely with helping people figure out what topic they might want to write a book on.
Tell us more about your coaching service. Is it only for people interested in publishing a book?
Great question, Kathryn, thank you! No, my coaching extends beyond support with book publishing. I am passionate about helping others discover their unique blend of values, strengths and experience that sets them apart and makes them brilliant sources of light and inspiration. I’ve helped others increase their feelings of self-worth by helping them discover the best means of living with purpose and determining how they can make their mark in the world. If you follow me for very long, you will see how important it is to me that you see the value in you.
Thank you for offering a generous spot in your brand-new e-course, Discover the Book Within You as well as a pretty beaded pendant as prizes for the Sharing Circle January contest. Is there anything else you would like for us to know about you?
I guess I might add that in addition to enjoying the roles I play for ToniaJenny.com, my personal interests include food, seeing the beauty of as much of the world as I can and I can’t get enough of learning new things. As an artist and maker, I enjoy a wide span of interests and this makes it even easier for me to understand the content of the books I work on as well as the authors. 🙂 Thanks SO MUCH for letting me share with your Sharing Circle; I am truly honored. xo