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Self-publishing advice and author affirmations from Tellwell author Chantel Riley

Our Tellwell February Author of the Month, Chantel Riley, on how social media has helped her promote her children’s book.

Social media has been a great help connecting me to an audience I could never have reached on my own.

Chantel Riley, author of I AM: Precious Affirmations

Chantel Riley has an impressive résumé as a television and Broadway actress. The talented on-screen star is also a singer/songwriter, she owns and operates a children’s clothing boutique, and is now adding “children’s author” to her accolades. Her positive-affirmations book for children has landed her on Canada’s national entertainment show, eTalk. She has also received glowing reviews for I AM: Precious Affirmations, and uses her social media platforms of tens of thousands of followers to promote her book.

The Toronto-based actress speaks about the heartfelt inspiration behind her children’s book and how social media has helped her reach a much wider audience, and shares her top three affirmations for authors!

You have an impressive résumé as a Broadway and television actor and owner of a children’s clothing boutique. Tell us more about yourself. 

I was born in Toronto to my Jamaican parents, Joan and Errol Riley, and come from a big family. I have four siblings. Before I got into show business, I grew up taking dance lessons and singing in my church.

What inspired you to write I AM and become an author? 

We had reached the one-year mark of the pandemic and I noticed I was seeing more and more reports of the decline of mental health in our youth and young children, along with the unfortunate and heartbreaking increase of suicide rates. Having two nephews of my own—one is 11 years old and the other 19 months old—I worried for their mental wellbeing and any effect this pandemic may have on them.

I am a strong believer in affirmations and the power of positive thoughts. Speaking to myself with positive words of power and love has helped me overcome some of the darkest moments of my life. Children are the future and I wanted to make sure I can leave something behind to help guide them down a road filled will love and positivity.

What is the key message behind your book, and what would you like kids reading the book to remember?

The key message of the book is to let adults and children know they can be whatever they tell themselves they want to be. There is so much power in the two words “I am,” just as much as the words that follow. That phrase creates who you are. So why not choose words of power, love, and kindness?

What has the author’s journey been like for you? What have been some successful and challenging moments?

The most challenging was . . . where do I start? Lol. This is my first book and I had no idea how to even get it out to the world. But, I am so grateful that during this journey I found Tellwell. Tellwell made the process very clear and easy! I am also grateful that I had the chance to work with a very talented artist, Janice Barber. Janice was so kind and attentive to the details of bringing this book to life. I felt her portrayal of each affirmation was wonderfully illustrated.

Congratulations on your eTalk interview! That was really sweet. How did it feel to be featured on a major entertainment show? Do you have any upcoming media interviews?  

Thank you! It was very exciting to be featured. I have been featured before for past work as an actor, but it hits differently when it was for a project that was conceptualized by myself! I hope to do it again soon.

How are you using social media and the large audience you have on there to promote your book?

In this day and age, social media is a huge business tool to get your products out there. I have centred my posts around positivity and affirmations, as well as sharing images and comments from readers who have a copy of the book.

How has social media helped you to promote your book?

Social media has been a great help connecting me to an audience I could never have reached on my own. The use of hashtags, reposts, and the promotion tool on Instagram allows me to create promotional posts about the book to reach a wider audience on their feed.

What advice do you have for authors who are looking to grow their following and fans, and connect with readers?

The advice I would give is to just start posting! Even if you don’t have many followers or fans, still post your work! You worked hard on it and put your heart and soul into it. It’s bound to resonate with people. Someone out there will feel it and want to be a part of it.

What are three daily three affirmations authors can use?

Three affirmations authors can use are:

I am LOVED.

I am ENOUGH.

I am CREATIVE.

I love that! Simple and powerful! What are your favourite three affirmations for children?

My three favourite affirmations for children are:

I am LOVED.

I am KIND.

I am COURAGEOUS.

Very sweet. Thank you. Do you have plans to write more children’s books? What’s next for you? 

I didn’t realize how much of an impact and reach my children’s book would have, but also how much fun I had in the process. I am already in the process of writing my second children’s book and cannot wait for everyone to read it. In the meantime, please look out for some onscreen work coming this year. Xoxo

Learn more about Chantel Riley on her website and on Instagram!

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