October 3, 2018
Thanks for joining us today, Toneal. It’s a pleasure to have you with us.
Can you tell readers a little about who you are and your background?
I am a National and International Award-Winning Author (I’ve published 11 books); a publisher; a bookstore owner; and the founder of an organization that assists independent entrepreneurs.
Describe a typical day.
Serving in so many capacities, it’s really no such thing as a “typical” day! Any given day, I can be found editing or publishing a book; meeting with clients that I’m coaching (either in the bookstore or over the phone); mentoring authors; preparing materials for workshops or upcoming meetings; or writing a manuscript of my own.
Did you always want to be a writer or were you inspired by a specific event or experience?
No, I never dreamt about being a published author. I’ve always been a writer, as I find the process to be extremely therapeutic, but it wasn’t until 2010 that I took it a step further.
What’s your favorite thing about being a writer?
Knowing that my words can help educate, encourage and empower others.
When you’re not writing, whom do you enjoy reading?
I like reading indie authors, but when it comes to mainstream, Priscilla Shirer and T.D. Jakes are among my favorites.
Can you tell us a bit about your decision to transition to a bookstore owner?
Opening APS Books & More was literally an act of divine obedience. I can’t take the credit; I was strongly urged to open a bookstore – not knowing or understanding why. But it has become such an ordeal in the literary community, and especially among independent authors, as they are my demographic. Every aspect of what I do is geared to help entrepreneurs and provide platforms for them to gain exposure for their products.
Do you charge authors for publishing their books?
Yes, I do charge authors for publishing; however, I think it's important to note that each package includes a FREE basic membership to APS; 10 FREE copies of their books; and a Book Release Party at the bookstore if they reside in or will travel to Chicago.
Book store owner, author, publisher…To what do you attribute your ability to multi-task and juggle so many roles?
Honestly, I have to attribute it to God because there is NO WAY in the world I could balance all of this on my own! But yes, time management is essential for me as well as being effective at multi-tasking. And if all of those literary roles weren't enough, I have four girls, who by the end of this year will be 10, 12, 14 and 16. I also serve as the LSC Chairperson at their school, and preside over multiple departments at my church. So, I never stop to think about how I balance it all because that would probably cause me to lose my mind, lol. I guess, like Nike, I just do it!
What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
I don’t really know because I don’t do what I do for the accolades, so I’ve never really thought about it. I will say that I’ve had a few accomplishments along the way including being ranked #3 as the 2011 National Black Book Festival’s Best New Author. I was also recognized by CBS Chicago in 2012 as one of “5 Indie Authors and Publishers to Watch Out For”. I received the Silver Medal in 2013 from Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards.
But as an owner, I think hosting my first APS Awards Gala in 2017 where I honored indie authors would have to be in that number. Here this was my inaugural event, celebrating independent authors, and there were close to 200 people – and some of the authors came from Delaware, Georgia and Wisconsin just to attend!
What would it surprise others to know about you?
That I am still a HUGE WWE fan. I’ve watched it since I was a child, and still tune in faithfully every week!
Can you tell us more about your organization APS, Toneal, and what you envision for the future?
APS is transitioning from Authors to Artists Promoting Success in 2019. However, the overall mission is the same: To educate entrepreneurs on what it takes to be successful in their respective industries and provide platforms to gain exposure to achieve that goal. We no longer solely assist the literary arts (authors and poets); we will now help those in the performance and visual arts as well!
Anything else you’d like to add in closing here?
In 2019, APS will be launching chapters in Delaware; Georgia; Florida; South
Carolina; Ohio; Arizona and Nevada. So, for any authors looking to connect, tired
of struggling alone, they can reach out to join us as our mantra is, “We Are Better
APS Books & More
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Chicago, IL 60623
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