Thursday, April 29, 2010

Growth Is A Good Thing

I think back to the past every now and then. Well, actually sometimes more than I should because there were a lot of things in my past that don't make me feel good to remember. But today I thought about a conversation I had with my youngest sister. I was visiting her and she was listening to music and I remember asking, "You listen to that?" It was a white artist. Her response, "I listen to all kinds of music." I got to thinking about my narrow-minded self after that and today I also listen to all kinds of music no matter the race of the artist just like I'll read a book, giving no thought to the race of the author. With music and books there are some genres I'm not into but I no longer feel I should just listen to music by black artists. I don't know why I felt that way back then; maybe because that was all I knew. Anyway, I changed my thinking before I got into reading, so I never had a problem with reading books that weren't written by black authors. Feel free to check out my Amazon profile to read my reviews of books written by authors of different races and I also reviewed some movies. I have plenty of books saved in my Amazon cart that I'll get around to buying. Lots of good books out there I would have missed out on if I didn't care enough to check myself. Growth is a good thing!

So now I'd like to share a video I have on my iPod. I love this song and I really love how Brandon Heath sings the word Yeah. Enjoy :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

This Book Thing Is Not Easy

I never believed this whole book thing was going to be easy but it is even more difficult than I thought it was going to be. Even though sales have picked up a bit, it is taking a long time to build a readership. I've done what I can afford to do to let people know my book is available. I have a website. I paid for flyers and promotional pens and business cards and cute little promotional flashlight keychains (Shauntice has one, so that's why I bought these) and handed them out. I've advertised online (wish I could get the money back from the one's that weren't really worth it) and I've attended two events. I haven't done any book signings, but from what I heard about those I'm not sure how much that really matters; for an unknown author, anyway. I did try to schedule one (yep, I was proud of myself for speaking up), but it didn't happen even after I pointed out to the manager that the local authors section, which had quite a few self-published works, could use a teen novel. It seemed I really had to prove myself to this man. Now, I don't know if that was a "black author" thing or a "self-published author" thing, but I do know that weeks later a white male author was having a signing and I didn't see one person approach his table. When I walked into the bookstore he wasn't faced forward to greet people; his body was turned slightly in the chair with one arm hanging across the back of it and he had a look on his face that asked the question, "Why did I even bother?" I guess he wasn't expected to contact all kinds of people or have lots of people call into the bookstore to say they'd show up like I was asked to do. I would have done what I could if a signing had been scheduled; advertised some kind of way - on my website, facebook, whatever. But, anyway, moving on.... The things I have done to get my book attention has helped, but not nearly as much as I expected.

Let me tell you, book events aren't easy for me. I mean, I have to actually put myself out there in front of people. I've never been good at that; I've always been a behind-the-scenes kinda person. It seems some people expect writers to also be good public speakers. If I believe in my story, and I do, I guess I should be eager to get out there and talk about it. Well, I'm workin' on it but I really believe it's going to take a while. I write. That's it. That's what I do. I have always been able to express myself better with the written word and that's why I wrote a novel instead of deciding on speaking engagements to talk to young people. I'm starting to believe, though, that I need to be more 'hands on', but, like I said before, I'm working on it.

In the meantime, thank God for blogs! And because you're taking the time to read this, I thank God so very much for you. What I really wanted to say today is that even though the decision to publish my novel has left me feeling discouraged at times - and I mean discouraged to the point of not wanting to finish the second book or write the third - there have been good days; especially when I receive emails like these:

April 13, 2010

Hello this is Eriyana,
A couple of weeks ago you blessed me with your book at the hair salon. I am keeping my word and emailing you about my thoughts. Your book was excellent. I enjoyed every minute of it. The different characters were perfect examples of real life things that occur. My friends saw me reading the book, and there is now a little list of people who want to read it. Thank you for being a blessing, and i am positive your book will have a positive effect on teenagers everywhere. I look forward to your future books.

April 18, 2010

I have read your book and I must say that I enjoyed it. My friend Eriyana, shared her copy of the book with me and I am glad she did because that was the best book I have ever read. I Love the way you write about real life situations and I can relate to the characters in your book. Do you know when you will make another book? I can’t wait if you do. Once again I enjoyed your book.


I wrote Choices because I was hoping to make a difference in the lives of young people; especially teenage girls. I forget the 'purpose' for this book and the ones to follow when I get caught up in the whole 'doing my best to sell books' thing, but these emails reminded me at a time when I really needed to be reminded. Thanks so much, Eriyana and Caila, for taking the time to write.