Unless you’re already famous for something else; rock star, movie actor, professional athlete—you most likely will not sell a million copies of your book—your first book let’s say. For Joe Shmo and P.S. Bartlett and many other authors, being successful takes a good deal of time, good marketing and a great support base. If you’re hoping to get rich quick by being a writer, you may want to get that record deal or Lakers contract first.
You have to have either a very good memory or be incredibly organized. Between scheduling writing time, writing your blog, tweeting, running contests, Facebook pages, email addresses, writing your book and not to mention holding down a full time job, keeping house, cooking, cleaning and keeping your significant other from leaving you due to you forgetting not only their birthday but their name, you may have time to pee and walk the cat—I mean dog.
It can be a very lonely career. Writers need a lot of solitary time to write. I’ll admit, I’ve been writing and someone will come into the room and most often they will ask that all too important question, “Are you writing?” but occasionally the matter is important to them. Forgive them because they don’t realize you’re right in the middle of taking down an army of giant trolls and when you read back over what you wrote later, try not to get upset with them when your troll has forgotten to do their homework and needs an excuse note for their teacher or they’ve set the kitchen on fire.
People want your swag. If you’re not an author and you’re reading this, no, they do not want your lovely new curtains, they want goodies that show off your books. There is a bit of an investment involved but it’s oh so worth when your fans want something special to go with their books. Bookmarks, buttons, charms and t-shirts make great swag but always remember your fans love your books and they are going to want some swag so you better have it ready.
Getting published is as easy as 1, 2, 3 (and other fairy tales). There are literally millions of books on Amazon alone—go look if you don’t believe me. Looks pretty simple doesn’t it? (I’ll be right back I’m rolling on the floor laughing). Even if you become frustrated with the process of querying agents and publishers and decide to self-publish your book, there are plenty of really nice and friendly people waiting in line to take your money and help you do just that—choose wisely. Do background checks if you have to but please be careful.
Depending on which genre you write in, you must do your research. Nero didn’t smoke cigars—neither did pirates. I’ll bet you didn’t know that did you? Okay well even if you claim you did, do you have to be 100% historically accurate? Well yes, you should. Of course you can use your imagination to create new scenarios, for instance Abraham Lincoln as a vampire hunter but if old Abe whips out his iPod or says, “Hey, pass the Grey Poupon,” I’m sorry but your more experienced reader is gonna close the book on you.
I didn’t know authors were zombies. I’ve learned to accomplish more things while half asleep than some people do wide awake—I think. Well I try.Okay I thought I did those things!
Social networking is very important but don’t beg. If you’re a new author, currently writing your first novel or even thinking about it, you better have a Facebook, a Twitter, a Google+ and a blog at the very least or you are already way behind. The irony of all of this is under point number 3. I compare this lifestyle to living like a gopher. In the hole, out of the hole. In the hole, out of the hole. We hide and write and in the next breath, we stick our head out, make a bunch of really cool new friends, say hello to our fans and then run back in our holes. Please, just don’t bombard people with “Over here! Look at me! PLEASE look at me! WILL YOU FREAKING LOOK OVER HERE!!!” Build relationships. Support your fellow writers and above all, don’t steal their golf balls.
Not everyone likes you and once you’re published, they may like you even less. As we strive to write that perfect, wonderful book that of course everyone wants to read and it miraculously gets published and we’re deliriously happy and sharing our happiness with anyone who will listen on every social media site and at every cocktail party or barbeque we attend, there is someone or someones lurking and guess what—they don’t like you, never did and they’ll be mean to you. They’ll give you anonymous bad reviews or say not so nice things about your book—since it is of course the source of your happiness. The answer to this is very simple. Write them into your next novel and kill them. Done.
People will like you and they’ll love your book. The most incredible feeling you get when your book is published and you start receiving feedback from complete strangers as to how good or even great it is will blow you away. Besides the birth of my children and grandchildren, giving birth to my first novel and holding it in my hands for the first time was nothing short of euphoria. Within its pages or gigabytes lies your blood, sweat and tears. It’s an asexual reproduction of your deepest thoughts and your wildest dreams, and you don’t need an epidural or puff puff blow to bring it into the world—however, a little shot of tequila or in my case RumChata to welcome its arrival never hurt anybody.
First of all, I grew up in Baltimore in the inner city. We lived in a row home in South Baltimore or what is now called Federal Hill. When I was a small child, the neighborhood I grew up in was wonderful. Mothers watched their children. People kept their streets and alleys clean and free of trash and debris. Everyone knew everyone and greeted each other on the street or the corner store. Children played outside until dark and came when called to supper. I’ve often called my neighborhood Mayberry by the harbor.
It was wonderful for a while but it wasn’t perfect.
My family suffered from many of the ills that befall a lot of city dwelling families. I lost my eldest brother to murder when I was a small child and almost lost one to drugs. Our house was broken into, I was mugged in downtown Baltimore, had my car stolen, bikes stolen and when my kids were small, I swept crack vials and needles up from the alleys and sidewalk around my home before I could take my children outside to play.
I’m not speaking from some high horse. I’m not speaking from a so called detached, middle white America. I’m speaking of the city I love. I’m speaking of the people I grew up with, went to school with and tussled with.
However, I’m not ignorant enough to believe everything I see on television nor am I biased one way or the other where the Freddie Gray case is concerned. I am however heartbroken, saddened and disgusted by what has been going on a mere fifteen miles from my now, county home. We left the city sixteen years ago because our house was getting too small and I was tired of sweeping up crack vials.
Now, on to the topic I came here tonight to talk about.
Tonight’s Washington Post press release stated:
Prisoner in van said Freddie Gray was ‘trying to injure himself,’ document says
This is not the first time I’ve heard this. However, conspiracy theories that this inmate is being offered a plea deal OR has been paid by police to say this, are already surfacing on the news by the talking heads.
What frightens me the most, is what the reaction to this particular part of the investigation will be with this information being released now.
Unfortunately, the protesters I have heard speak, do not seem to be looking for any witness testimony unless it fits their agenda. They all however, are crying out for the truth but from everything I have seen and read, a great majority of those protesting are hoping for police brutality, ending in the death of a young black man.
I just watched a seasoned police veteran speak to the fact that he personally has witnessed suspects in his police vehicle, as well as transport vans, inflict severe injuries upon themselves in order to claim brutality, lessen their criminal charges or be able to delay the process through hospitalization.
Please do NOT tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about just because I’m not walking around in the middle of these protests or riots. I have read and seen enough, as well as watched interviews of the protesters, rioters and leaders in the black community on every network, and have yet to hear any of them give even a shred of reasonable doubt to any other possibility than police brutality and murder. I am not discounting their negative experiences with the police, nor am I dismissing their right to feel they have been unfairly treated. What I am saying is when we close ourselves off to all possibilities and FACTS and when the truth no longer matters because it doesn’t fit our version of a story, we are doomed and living in a state of self righteous indignation.
Just because the facts do not agree with our perception, that doesn’t make them untrue. It makes us ignorant.
If after the results of the investigation, your perception of what actually happened to Freddie Gray does not match the facts presented, and you cannot accept all of the evidence, witness accounts and FACTS and continue to protest based on your own assumptions, you are biased and no matter how you choose to twist it, if the results of the investigation, prove these officers did not intentionally inflict physical harm, all of this violence and protesting was to further YOUR own agenda and not to seek the truth.
Sadly, I firmly believe if this investigation proves that ether Freddie Gray thrashed about so much while in that wagon that he accidentally caused his own injuries OR the police involved are only charged with negligent homicide or manslaughter, we will see much worse than what we’ve seen so far. Unfortunately, I do not believe neither the protesters nor the rioters are going to get the outcome they are hoping for. In other words, prepare yourselves Baltimore. The worst is yet to come.
I love the Baltimore Book Festival.
Last year was my first year participating as an author because well, I was an author for the first time last year. 😉
Last year, I was in the author’s tent. It was an excellent opportunity to meet readers, sell some books, sign some books and meet some very cool authors.
This year, I will be there on Sunday September 28. 2014 at the Maryland Writers Association booth. I’ll once again have books for sale, goodies to hand out and information on my upcoming release, “The Blue Diamond – The Razor’s Edge.”
If you plan on coming to the festival on Sunday, please stop by and say hello! I’ll be the one in the “Fireflies” shirt at the MWA booth.
Remember, the festival will be at the Baltimore Inner Harbor this year.
Check out the link and if you’re in town the weekend of September 26 – 28th, stop down. It’s an awesome event!
Life is made up of choices. One of the best choices I ever made was Western Senior High School in Baltimore, MD.
Western High School, founded November 1, 1844, is the oldest all-girls public high school in the United States and is one of the city’s and the nation’s most distinguished institutions of learning. The programs at Western have been designed and are implemented to provide opportunities for our students to develop and enhance their academic and artistic abilities. As our students are challenged during the school year, it is our greatest hope that they will accept responsibility, grow intellectually and be successful. With the guidance, assistance and direction of our staff, we believe that they will acquire the necessary skills to continue their education so that one day they will effectively lead this powerful nation and become viable citizens of the community.”
Tonight, a fellow alumnae shared a new video about Western and I had to share it with all of you.
My years at Western were some of the best years of my life. I blossomed, explored and evolved so much as a person during my time there. I cried my eyes out on graduation day. Not because I was happy but because I didn’t want to leave.
The friendships I forged during those years live to this day. The diversity and strict, accountability for your own education was such a blessing. It is a blessing of sisterhood that I still carry with me. My eldest sister Barbara attended Western and she was by far one of the most intelligent women I ever knew. It was an honor to be accepted and an even greater honor to attend classes, sing in the choir, participate in many clubs and activities and most of all, get to know young women from every walk of life throughout Baltimore.
I’m so proud of the woman I have become. I know the education and encouragement I received during those crucial teenage years at Western, play a tremendous part in who I am today.
If you live in the Baltimore Metro area and have a daughter who is about to enter high school, I strongly encourage you to check out Western. The benefits last a lifetime.
If you have a few minutes, check out this video.