Anita Hackley-Lambert is the former President/CEO of a fifteen year old information technology and engineering services firm and current founder of Hackley-Lambert Enterprises, Inc., an emerging portfolio of business opportunities, including HLE Publishing from which she has launced her new writing career.
Anita has envisioned a career in writing ever since the age of twelve, when she wrote her first unpublished book, NO WHERE TO RUN, a compelling story of sexual assaults she suffered beginning at age five. She was inspired to write the life story of F.H.M. Murray, because of a promise she made to her mother to acknowledge and honor Murray’s legacy. With publication of this book, the author hopes to spark the interest of historians, educators, scholars, educational institutions, black history collectors, genealogists, students, and family members of this outstanding historical figure. Her greatest desire is that each reader will come to know the essence of the man, F.H.M. Murray.
Anita currently has 3 new books slated for publication in 2008, plus 12 works-in-progress. Her future writing projects include such genres as autobiographical, biographical, inspirational, true ghost stories, suspense, and fiction. You can visit her website at www.anitahackleylambert.com.
Welcome to Beyond the Books, Anita. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published? Can you give us the title(s) of your book(s)?
I am a first time published author.
Title of Book:
F.H.M. Murray: First Biography of a Forgotten Pioneer for Civil Justice
Genre: Biography, American History, Black History
Publisher: BookSurge Publishing
Publication Date: August 2006
What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?
My first book was No Where to Run. I completed it at the age of twelve. I was about my life as a sexually abused child. It was not published because I knew nothing about that field. However, I am bringing it out under a separate title. If not this year, then the next. It all depends on how many other books I can complete this year.
For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?
My first book never got published. But I can tell you that my sixth grade English teacher told me that other than grammatical errors, he thought I should pursue getting it published.
How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?
Fortunately, I did not receive rejections. I realized that my book was one of a kind and that I was making history by recording history. So I chose to self publish and avoid rejection because my story was long over due. Rejection was never an option.
When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?
To use BookSurge to print my book. HUGE MISTAKE. It cost me thousands of dollar about 3 times a much as anywhere and I did not get the quality I paid for. Because of a request from the Harpers Ferry Historical Park, my book was a rush to press to meet their event deadline.
Nevertheless, I must give them credit for keeping my urgent deadline. I had to keep on top with them but they came through on time. I am still NOT pleased with the final product. I simply did not get what I paid extra for.
My advice to other writers, unless they have improved their service – use another company if cannot do it yourself.
How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
This is an emotional question for me. I takes me back to that very day. I had mixed emotions. I cried. I laughed. And, for a second, I was relieved. All those years of research, travel, writing, self-neglect, had finally paid off. Most importantly, I had kept my promise to my mother, who had made a promise both to her mother and to her grandfather, Freeman Henry Morris Murray. Wow, it’s so real! (sniffing)
What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
However, following that, my biggest challenge was generating a marketing and promotional budget. I searched for FREE and economic methods. In the end, I accomplish my goal for the book, but not my personal goal for building a residual income. This is a goal I plan to master, this year.
You know, marketing, promoting, and media exposure are each of those are important and come with some hurdles, especially for first-time or unknown authors. However, for me, media exposure has been the greatest hurdle, although I am waiting to hear from a few high-powered celebrities. (LOL) BIG dream, huh? Perhaps, but I expect to be blessed. I am a BIG dreamer, a visionary, and have a lot of faith.
The next is marketing and promotions. I did most of this on my own and that was good. It was not enough. From here out, I am praying for support from others. My goals are far too big for me to do alone. I cannot explain this, but whosoever helps me is blessed. This is just the way it has always been. So, if you are out there, Whosoever, I am waiting to hear from you. (LOL)
If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?
Absolutely. This is why I started my own company, HLE Publishing. I will come out with a revised second edition of my book in 2008, under my own company. In addition to that I have 3 others to complete, as well as publishing for new authors.
I plan to never use BookSurge again.
Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?
I have not published my second book yet. But I should have it published soon. I am so excited to get this book out because it will free me up to jump in on some books I started years ago.
Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?
Speed was not an issue. The truth is that my book was a rush job to meet a historical deadline. One thing I will do differently is to have my book go through more editing. I think my biggest mistake was that I did not have enough time to use the publisher I had chose the previous year. In the end, I have a great book, one that is greatly appreciated.
What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?
Before I can answer this question, I must give credit God Almighty. For God has supernaturally blessed me. The only reason, my book is not as popular as it will become, is because there are more people He plans for me to meet and more places for me to go. I realize these statements may be difficult for some to understand, so please let me tell everyone that I was given a death sentence over 28 years ago. I am still here and healthy. Plus God has miraculously healed me of several other serious ailments – leaving the doctors baffled.
When I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in 2000, I was not sure if I would finish my book. But, the Lord actually spoke to me and healed me. It is because of this miracle, I can now answer your question.
To properly answer your question about “the best thing that’s happened since becoming a published writer”, I need to give a few exciting details of what happened just prior to publishing, I sent out press releases and email marketing three months in advance. Before my book came of the press, I had personally sold over one hundred. By the time the book was available, I had speaking engagements, presented scholar papers, performed in a historical drama reenactment, met with and had photos taken with some of Americas great African American leaders, like David Lewis, Congressman Walter Fontroy, Dr. Henry Lewis Gates, actor and orator Fred Morsell, great granddaughter of W.E.B. DuBois, Dr. DuBois Irving, and others. The blessing continued in the form of invitations came in for book signings, interviews, and several Radio interviews.
Okay, now for the really “best thing.” Well, it is actually two best things. Let’s see. My book has been accepted into the Prince George’s County Public Library System, as well as the MLK Library in Washington, D.C. However, my most valuable and treasured moment, came when the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park service devoted Black History Month 2007 with an official exhibit and ribbon cutting ceremony in honor of F.H.M. Murray. Realizing my dream and fulfilling a promise to my mother, to have her grandfather get the recognition he deserved, was worth all the sacrifices. To top it off, Harpers Ferry officials are working to have black history books updated with the validated information from my book. I am truly blessed!
If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?
Actually, I have many professions. In addition to being a published author, I am an Evangelist, speaker, publisher, IT specialist, entrepreneur with several businesses, founded a writers group, and will launch a monthly newspaper this year.
I do not have a favorite because I love them all.
Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?
I have combined them all into a wonderful world of passion filled events and pressing deadlines. I love it.
How do you see yourself in ten years?
In ten years, I hope to be Evangelizing around the world, full time.
Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
Yes. Never stop writing and never give up on yourself, “you can become as BIG as you can dream.”