Chosen Pen is a publishing company based out of Fayetteville that guides and assists authors on the path to publishing their work and sharing their stories with the world.
The professional publishing house is spearheaded by author and publisher Dr. Norma McLauchlin, who has been able to take her stories and adventures from life and turn them into opportunities to teach and inspire anybody that crosses her path.
The publishing house is celebrating their 10 year anniversary this September, with McLauchlin doing a TED Talk to celebrate. She was able to partner with a TEDx platform after joining a couple of authors and publishing groups. McLauchlin was able to connect with other writers from all over the world. McLauchlin has now been able to take Chosen Pen to Africa with the TEDx Talk, and has built libraries, schools and gardens for children in South Africa.
Up & Coming Weekly had the chance to sit down with McLauchlin to discuss Chosen Pen, her personal story, and how she sees the publishing house growing. McLauchlin is an avid writer but began as an avid reader thanks to her grandmother. Before starting Chosen Pen, she was a writer at Fayetteville State University, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Business.
“I have these visions of being chosen, chosen to write, chosen to help, chosen to do work, God's work,” she said.
Though she was already constantly writing, the real inspiration came from teaching and hosting her sister groups, where they would get together and discuss books and personal stories. Through this experience McLauchlin realized people were waiting to hear her stories, but also the stories of the women she was helping and teaching.
Chosen Pen is now home to six authors who have all published their own works, and have collaborated on anthologies together.
Opportunities like these have given some writers their first published works, and the chance to make profits off book sales. Their most recent anthology is titled “I’ve got to Write! It’s Like Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” and is a compilation of the authors’ passionate writing styles in one book. The anthology is available for pre-order now.
Chosen Pen is open to help publish books by any author, but one of the biggest reasons Chosen Pen was started, was because there was a lack of publishers willing to publish books for and by Black women.
McLauchlin says, “I decided to be a publisher because so many Black women want to tell their stories, but there are no publishers for them. There’s no one to help them write or publish their work. So, a part of my company is also me being a co-writer coach as well, to help them write their stories and take them through the entire marketing and publishing process.”
McLauchlin took an active role in integration back in the 1960s to help blend races in schools as a part of the civil rights movement. It’s easy for some to forget the trauma and trouble that people of color went through to have equal rights and education. For McLauchlin this was challenging as well, and having to navigate through that new education system, while still dealing with racism and women’s rights, stays with her until this day.
“The social aspect was the hardest part of that process, it’s difficult to make friends and be social during a time like that. I would eat my lunch in the supply closet and didn’t go to any social events until my senior prom,” she said.
Since she started Chosen Pen, a lot of McLauchlin’s stories and writing deal with love, faith, hope, and most importantly, forgiveness. With forgiveness being such a huge part of McLauchlin’s life story, she began to do forgiveness retreats with women to help deal with past hurts and struggles in a more positive way.
She also has an assortment of books and journals on the topic of forgiveness. McLauchlin says, “The process of healing and carrying around what other people have said or done to you can be a lot. I later understood that the burden that you were carrying was not for yourself, but for others.”
When it comes to getting your book published through Chosen Pen, McLauchlin takes you through a step-by-step process of taking your book from edited, all the way to how you should distribute, market and sell them.
“We encourage our authors to use distribution channels like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but we also encourage them to sell from their own websites or social media platforms to get the most out of their sales.”
Now that Chosen Pen has established authors and books, McLauchlin plans on taking more of her resources to South Africa, where she can spread more knowledge on forgiveness and love and focus on some of the disparities she sees in those communities.
“There are a lot of parallels when it comes to hardships in Africa and the United States. The gender gap is huge and there are a lot of absent fathers. We are working on programs to help integrate women into the work force, and programs to ensure fathers stay a part of households and with their families,” she said.
For anyone interested in getting their stories heard and put out into the world to inspire others, visit Chosenpen.com. There you can book a consultation to get coaching and guidance on your next book venture, and join a writer’s group where you can converse and connect with other writers.
There are opportunities to publish your next work if you’re already finished with a project and want to see it through. Also, don’t forget to register to join Chosen Pen on Sept. 15 and 16 as they celebrate their 10 Year Anniversary and TEDx Talk. For information visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITsZ4vOT-rg