Who never heard about Pen & Prosper? Jennifer Brown Banks, writer, editor, and the brain behind the blog is our special guest in the new edition of “You Gotta Love This Writing.”
A seasoned writer and former Senior Editor of Mahogany Magazine, Jennifer has nurtured a long-lasting relationship with writers and bloggers and provided a plethora of priceless resources to advance their business goals for almost a decade.
As if that’s not enough, Jennifer has made Pen & Prosper one of the leading resources in the writing corner, receiving numerous awards, from the Positive Writer “Top 25 Writing Blogs in 2014” to The Write Life “Top 100 Websites for Writers in 2018,” to name a few.
It’s with open arms that we welcome Jennifer to share her “faves for creatives,” as she says, in her own words . . . and categories.
1. Don’t Worry, Make Money by Richard Carlson, Ph.D.
The best-selling author of “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” does not disappoint. In this inspirational, informative book, writers will discover spiritual and practical principles of empowerment to create abundance and a more well-rounded career. Though it’s not specifically geared toward writers, it has many lessons that are applicable to any entrepreneur/freelancer/business person. It’s one of those books you would take on a desert island, if you could only take a few selected titles.
2. The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guidebook by Yuwanda Black
This guidebook is chock-full of tools, tips, and techniques useful to entrepreneurs in an array of industries. It includes contract tips, branding strategies, and sage advice on building an author’s platform. I am proud to be a contributing author on this one. I use this manual often for important stats, studies, and clever business tactics.
3. 62 Blog Posts to Overcome Blogger’s Block by Marcie Hill
This instructional guide will provide today’s “challenged” blogger with a boatload of possibilities and strategic ideas for creating content. It’s very thorough and well-organized, with numerous examples and images to reinforce the various types of posts referenced.
4. Vista Print
For marketing and promotional materials, I love Vista Print! I use them for business cards, mailers, and invitations. The products are diverse, reasonably priced, beautifully designed, and they have excellent customer service.
Many times authors seek a reliable distribution channel (besides selling through their own sites) for their ebooks and information products. PayHip.com is a great tool to set up books in an easy, fast way to sell digital downloads. It’s particularly beneficial for those who are “technically limited.” Here’s a sample of my “bookstore” via PayHip.
Though many experts have advised that publishing a blog on a “free platform” is like career suicide, that certainly hasn’t been the case for me. No bragging intended, but my “free” site has enjoyed a pretty decent following, numerous industry awards, and an impressive roster of writing clients. My philosophy is that it’s not where you blog, but how you blog that matters. And I’ve been very blessed. I adore the ease and functionality of the Blogger platform. Aside from a few tech glitches, it has served me well for nearly 10 years.
7. Bigelow Tea
A firm believer that “the early bird catches the worm,” you’ll often find me at my computer around 6 a.m. religiously. To keep me alert and stimulated, I drink herbal hot tea. My favorites are Bigelow’s Green Tea and Tevive’s Peach & Passion Fruit Black Tea. Additionally, Bigelow has an excellent website with gift items and more.
WEBSITES & COMMUNITIES
8. Chicago Writers Association
For writers seeking to learn more about the publishing industry, network with like-minded people, and broaden their creative knowledge base, I recommend Chicago Writers Association. In my ten years of being a member and serving on their board of directors, I have benefited greatly from their vast offerings. And you can, too.
WritersWeekly is a solid weekly online publication serving writers of all levels and genres. They publish job leads, publishing advice, informative articles for writers, as well as submission opportunities. For me, they have been like a one-stop shop for a wide range of literary needs. Brian Whiddon is a great editor with whom to work.
Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, award-winning blogger, columnist, creative coach, author, branding expert, poet, and tea enthusiast. Her work has been frequently featured at top-tier sites such as: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Life Hack, Tiny Buddha, and Date my Pet. Banks is the creator of Pen & Prosper, a popular blog for writers that has been recognized as a “Top Writing Blog” (from various compilations and competitions) from 2013-2018. She is a contributing author to “The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guide,” Adams Media, 2016. When she’s not being creative at the keyboard, she enjoys being creative in the kitchen.