Terrell Dunnum is a school teacher and ordained non-denominational minister. He holds a master’s degree in Christian counseling from American Bible College and Seminary. He is the founder of Total Freedom Ministries, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides mentoring, biblical counseling, and basic life skills to troubled youths and families. While There Is Still Time, A Book of Prophecy Revealed Through Poetry
Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Terrell. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?
A:While There Is Still Time A Book of Prophecy Revealed Through Poetry is the first book that I have ever published. I guess you can say that I am a new kid on the block.
Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?
A: This is actually the first book I’ve written. I’ve had the privilege of writing a few plays and skits for high school students. The very first skit that I wrote was entitled Unconditional Love. It dealt with the racial prejudices that interracial couples face within their community. It also addressed the paralyzing effects our actions and words may have on individuals throughout their lifetime.
Q: 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?
A: I had submitted my manuscript to one well known publisher online with the understanding that I would receive feedback within a couple of months. After a few months of not hearing anything, I began to ask pastors and church leaders for publisher recommendations. Amazingly, all recommendations pointed to this one subsidiary publisher. Three months later my contract was signed.
Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?
A: A person may use rejection to hold you down or catapult you forward. When life deals you lemons, make lemonade. I do have to say, I was disappointed. A rejection letter would have been appreciated but we must all learn to move on and let go of the past. To all inspiring authors I would say, allow the wind of rejection to move you forward into your purpose and destination.
Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?
A:Tate Publishing accepted my manuscript for publishing. Several authors and community leaders recommended Tate Publishing. They have a reputation of working closely with authors during the production of the book. Tate Publishing is also located 20 miles from where I live. It would behoove me to have a publishing company within driving distance.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
A: I felt like it was all a delusion. I couldn’t quite grasp the truth of the reality of having a dream come true. I celebrated by going to McDonalds, ordering two apple pies and a caramel sundae.
Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
A: Enrolled in a workshop entitled Marketing Your Book And You by Tony Eldridge and Kat Smith. To properly promote your book or product, you have to understand the tools that are available and have access to online and offline resources. I also frequently visited the public library. There I found numerous books, videos, and audios on marketing. Of course I cannot leave out YouTube. I believe YouTube has become one of man’s best friends. There you may find videos on promoting any product you may offer. Promoting is such a vital part of any book’s success.
Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?
A: While There Is Still Time, A Book of Prophecy Revealed Through Poetry has the potential to change millions of lives. Having a publisher that was willing to work with me to create a book cover that would capture the essence of the message within is such a blessing. Having a chance to be involved in every part of the process such as editing, layout, and book design is so rewarding. If I had it to do all over again, I would choose the same route.
Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?
A:While There Is Still Time was released this year in April. I have come to the understanding that the author must get into the grass roots of any book or project and continue to support and nurture that project as it grows and gains momentum. It’s kind of like a new born baby, you realize this infant must continue to receive support and nourishment to develop properly through life’s stages.
Q: 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?
A: Every author should have a plan. Parents talk to their children early in life about what they want to be when they grow up. Teachers encourage students to make a 4 year plan in high school. Businesses write plans that will help the company grow and adjust those plans as needed. Looking back since the earlier days, I would have mapped out a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly plan to accommodate any bumps in the road.
Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?
A: Taking advantage of everyday opportunity. There are so many opportunities that come our way that is simply overlooked. I had business cards created with the book cover, While There Is Still Time, the website, and other important information. I learned to keep a minimum of ten cards a day in my wallet and another 20 in my car’s clove compartment. There would be times in the grocery store, in line at the bank, or even at the gas station that would lend itself the availability to share and inform. I have learned to seize the moment.
Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?
A: The profession of educating and counseling is very rewarding. When we give someone sound advice, or share pitfalls and shortcomings we have learned from, we help make our world a better place.
Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?
A:I feel we all take part in educating the people we love. As a motivational speaker, encouraging and helping individuals capture the potential God has placed within every human being goes beyond more than words can say.
As mothers are able to function as a parent, wife and holding, in most cases, a full time job, so must authors multitask in this high demanding world.
Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?
A:I pray While There Is Still Time will be a book that has transformed many lives. I hope this little book of prophecy revealed through poetry will move light wildfire on a dry hot day, and ignite all those that have given up hope.
In ten years I would like young men and women all over the world to say, Terrell Dunnum, yes I know that author, he wrote a book that changed my life and helped me connect to a heavenly father that loves me unconditionally.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
A: Never give up; when one door closes expect another one to open. Do your homework and don’t forget to write your business plan.