Tanisia “Tee” Moore: “Patience”

Patience: whether you will indie publish, traditionally publish, or do a hybrid, you will have to be patient with the process. For those looking to indie publish, you will need to be patient with your sales as you launch. Make sure that you set goals for yourself and understand how to market your book. In […]

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Patience: whether you will indie publish, traditionally publish, or do a hybrid, you will have to be patient with the process. For those looking to indie publish, you will need to be patient with your sales as you launch. Make sure that you set goals for yourself and understand how to market your book. In the case of those who may want to publish traditionally, it will be taking the time to research literary agents, learning about the publishing industry, and understanding that everything moves slowly in publishing!


As part of my interview series on the five things you need to know to become a great author, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tanisia “Tee” Moore.

Tee Moore holds many titles- attorney, author, and public speaker. But her favorite title is mommy. When she is not busy convincing her little humans to eat dinner, she can be found typing away on her next book or simply taking a nap.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?

Hi! Thank you for having me. As cliché as it may seem, I have been writing since I was about five or six years old. I received my first journal and would write about anything that was bothering a kid of that age. As I got older and began to think of what type of career, I wanted for myself, becoming a full-time author wasn’t on my list. I ended up practicing law, but the writing was always in the back of my mind. Naturally, I have to write a lot as part of my profession, but creative writing has ever had my heart. That is not to say that I’m not happy that I became an attorney because it has helped to lay the foundation for me to transition into writing full-time.

But I would be remiss not to credit my children. They are the real reason for me taking the giant leap of faith into writing full time. They are my muses. But if I am honest, I want to impress those little humans of mine. It was as if a light bulb turned on for me, and I felt the urge to live out my dreams loud and boldly. I want my children to be able to live the same.

Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?

The way my agent and I connected is exciting. We were connected through a mutual friend. From our very first interaction with one another, we got along very well! When we had our first conversation, I wasn’t expecting anything to come from it. I was still in the query trenches and had grown accustomed to the rejections that were coming my way. So, when she said she would look at my work, I was happy to share, if nothing more, to get some excellent advice for a reputable literary agent. But then, after she read my work, she offered to represent me. This is not how it usually works in publishing, but it can happen.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming an author? How did you overcome it? Can you share a story about that that other aspiring writers can learn from?

The biggest challenge I have faced thus far in my journey is learning how to correctly write picture books. Many folks think they can write picture books because, on the surface, it looks easy. I mean, who can blame folks for feeling that way. I’m here to say that if you want to write picture books, you will need to remove the notion that they are comfortable! They are NOT! As a lawyer and author of long-form writings, I am used to being wordy. When writing a picture book, less is better. You also don’t need as much detail as you would a novel because an illustrator will do the heavy lifting. However, I have never been known to back down from a challenge.

By default, I read a lot of picture books because of my children. But now I read them with a different eye, and I’m studying how the author is writing. I also joined a couple of organizations, taken writing courses, and have critique partners. I highly recommend any author to look at doing these things. It doesn’t matter the genre because those few things proved to be a game-changer for me.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

This is so embarrassing, but I’m sure it will help someone. Remember, I shared that writing picture books are not easy. Keep that in mind. When I first started writing picture books, I had no clue that there was a science to writing them. After having children, I read these types of books, and I was like, I can do this!

However, the lie detector test determined that it was a lie. My first picture book’s first draft was over 1100 words, and it was not a non-fiction book. However, I felt that every word belonged in that manuscript. But once rejections started coming from the agents, I quickly figured out that I could probably let go of some of those words. (Thanks to the agent who critiqued my query letter and informed me that my word count was too high).

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I have a lot of fun projects coming up shortly. I’m co-authoring a young adult non-fiction book on contemporary women directors with another agency client. I’m very excited to profile some of the most prolific women in film and television. So definitely keep your eyes out for this book!

Can you share the most interesting story that you shared in your book?

I haven’t started writing the non-fiction young adult book and am not sure I can share the women I will be profiling. But I can say that I’m looking forward to learning how a YouTube star can get on a major television network.

What is the main empowering lesson you want your readers to take away after finishing your book?

It is always my hope that my readers feel inspired, empowered, and motivated to keep going after their heart’s desires.

Based on your experience, what are the “5 Things You Need to Know to Become a Great Author”? Please share a story or example for each.

Patience: whether you will indie publish, traditionally publish, or do a hybrid, you will have to be patient with the process. For those looking to indie publish, you will need to be patient with your sales as you launch. Make sure that you set goals for yourself and understand how to market your book. In the case of those who may want to publish traditionally, it will be taking the time to research literary agents, learning about the publishing industry, and understanding that everything moves slowly in publishing!

Discipline: I will be the first to say that this is an area I am improving. With having three children, running a law firm, and other obligations, it is easy for my writing to take a seat in the back. However, I know that if I don’t spend time writing daily that my craft will suffer. Also, make it a point to read the books you want to write. It doesn’t matter the route you plan to publish (indie, traditional, or hybrid). Read to see how it is being done. I promise you that your writing will be stronger because of it. Just don’t copy another author’s style.

Community: Writing is a lonely task. There’s no way around that. But one thing I have done is found a community of other writers. I have seen people I can trust with my words, and that will give me constructive feedback. Since finding my village, I have felt more confident in my craft because I have folks I can bounce ideas off of and learn from. A great place to start is on Twitter and follow the #WritingCommunity. Also, see if there are organizations you can join (Society of Children Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America, etc.).

Practice: At some point, you have to start writing. The difference between my first novel and the one I am currently writing is day and night. Likewise, the first picture book I wrote, you know the 1186 word one, has changed dramatically. If you want to write you have to do it. Nothing you write on the first go is going to be perfect. But if you permit yourself to be messy the first few drafts, you will see the beauty in your craft as you slowly start to clean it up. Also, read a lot of books in the genre you’re interested in writing. A great writer is a reader. And listening to audiobooks counts.

Flexibility: Finally, be flexible in your writing. Find what works for you when setting a writing schedule, finding your voice and writing style. While publishing is slow, one thing can change the pace, and your life is forever changed.

What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a great writer? (i.e. perseverance, discipline, play, craft study) Can you share a story or example?

I’m still working on the discipline aspect. But I will say that finding a strong community has helped me stay accountable during this process. This is an extremely subjective industry, but having people around me to push me forward has proven to be fruitful.

Which literature do you draw inspiration from? Why?

I love contemporary romance stories when it comes to drawing inspiration for my own romance stories. I also like to get picture books that show Black children as the main character and see how the author is affirming the child. I’m usually looking at the style the author used for writing the book. I pay attention to what I liked and what I didn’t like as much to see how I would approach it differently.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Adoption is near and dear to my heart. Before the pandemic hit, I started an organization called Not Your Average Adoption. Since I couldn’t get it going entirely off the ground, I have had time to rethink how I want to launch it and best serve the adoption community. To that end, I want to create resources for birth parents interested in parenting their children and who need support. What that looks like is still coming together, but I feel there is a need there for those families.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Come hang out with me on Twitter @TanisiaTeeMoore

I’m also on IG @tee_mo84

Thank you so much for this. This was very inspiring!

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