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Interview with Tamara Branch, author of ITGIRL4LIFE

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Tamara BranchTamara Branch is from New York, born and raised in the Bronx. She is thrilled to share her first book release, ITGIRL4LIFE, kicking off the ITGIRL4LIFE self-esteem movement to empower girls to stand up, stand out and shine bright in the world.

Tamara has worked as a professional model and actor for almost two decades. She strutted down the runway for designers Calvin Klein, Donna Karen and Christian Dior, acted in a few independent films, co-hosted PBS New York’s education series, “What’s up in Technology” and appeared T.V. commercials and print ads for Levi’s, Old Navy, Hershey’s, Colgate, Kellogg’s Special K, Revlon, Hanes, Nike and many others. A Penn State alumnus and lifelong student of personal development, Tamara is deeply passionate about uplifting the human spirit.

After graduating from Institute for Integrative Nutrition, studying under Deepak Chopra, Dr. Andrew Weil and some of the top health and wellness experts in the world, she was inspired to raise the bar on her own ‘self care’ and support others in living more vibrantly. She is an abstract artist and teaches a dynamic dance class, where she gets to fuse her varied background, having trained in everything from jazz, ballet and modern to Afro-Caribbean and Salsa.

Tamara was recently asked to become a Female Visionary Author guest blogger for The Brave Heart Women Global Community.  She’s a SAG/AFTRA member since 1998, a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and is represented by Abrams Artists Agency.

Tamara currently lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband of seven years and offers ITGIRL4LIFE workshops to assist girls on their self empowerment journey.

Her latest book is the YA/self-esteem book, ITGIRL4LIFE.

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About the Book

ITGIRL4LIFE 8Writer, artist and speaker, Tamara Branch serves up 40 bite-sized chapters on how to build unshakable self-confidence, honor your life, and shine bright in the world, in ITGIRL4LIFE: How to bring out your special something and so much more. Packed with sage advice, life-changing insights and affirmations to help you soar, ITGIRL4LIFE offers ideas, tools and principles that you can reference and build upon, supporting you in becoming your best. Get ready to fall in love with your own wisdom, beauty and strength.

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Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Tamara. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

A: Published for the very first time.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

A: I decided to self publish because I didn’t want to wait on other people. I wanted to step by step learn and understand the process and get it done. It’s a lot to absorb and I’m glad I did it this way to start. ITGIRL4LIFE is a project so close to my heart. I wanted to be a part of every aspect. I’m a creative person and working with my book designer on ideas and concepts, as well as with my editor on crafting the book was really fulfilling. There’s nothing like seeing the work come together and then hold the finished product in your hands.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

A: The only contract I signed was with the distribution companies. Writing, rewriting, rewriting, rewriting, editing, more editing and design took about three years, maybe four years.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

A: I was elated! It was such a huge high and I was thrilled with the accomplishment. I celebrated with my husband at our favorite restaurant and got congrats hugs and phone calls from friends and family everywhere.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

A: I sent the book out to girl’s organizations across the US and we received some great reviews from that effort. I also started a social media campaign to kick off the online presence and web traffic.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

A: I am more disciplined, as a writer now. I’ve learned to manage my time better. I go with the flow and try not to be so critical in the early stages of a project. When you become a published author, you discover quickly that there is quite a lot involved with that new title. It’s not just about the writing anymore. You are the face and voice of your work. You have interviews to prepare for, you have to come up with a marketing strategy and engage with your audience. You have a platform that requires your attention on a regular basis.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

A: There is so much that goes into developing a book and getting it ready to compete in the market place. The publishing industry is vast. There is a lot to uncover. I’ve scratched the surface on this first project and looking forward to getting a better handle on it in the future. I am amazed at the amount of resources available to writer’s today. There’s really is no excuse. If you want to get become a published author, there are many routes you can take.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

A: I made a commitment to myself to get this book out there and I did. I wrote ITGIRL4LIFE to celebrate the brilliant potential of girls, to honor and encourage them to shine their light in the world and to help them create a strong foundation to stand on. It’s rewarding to know that this book is supporting teen girls, preteens and young women in building healthy self-esteem. That to me is everything.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

A: As NIKE says, just do it. Honor the dream you have inside of you. I’m a big fan of working the writing muscle everyday. I think when you consistently work on your dream project, your own excitement grows. You feed your passion. You build momentum. That’s what you need to get through. Stay on task until it’s done. You’ll be published before you know it.

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