The Ultimate Guide – Chapter 16

That first picture is funny lol. Great post. Post quote: “The author that thinks he can edit his own work has a fool for a client.”

Author Don Massenzio

snobPhoto credit:

The Snobbery of Traditional Publishing

During a recent weekend, my seven year old daughter had an event with her dance group at a local street festival. As we walked around and looked at the various tables, we happened upon an author of children’s books who had some of her work displayed on a table. My daughter saw the books and we stopped at the table and listened to this friendly, grandmotherly figure tell us about her books.  They were based on the antics of her grandson and looked very nicely illustrated.

SPBHPhoto Credit:

We were about to move on when my wife blurted out that I had written some novels.  The author’s first question was not about the genre or the titles. Her first question was, “who’s your publisher?” Before I could get the words DSM Publications (my initials are DSM) out of my mouth, my wife told…

View original post 935 more words

7 Black Communities That Prospered


This post was last updated September, 2016.

I love entrepreneurship. I talk about it. I live it. I stand behind it. I encourage all people, especially black people to go on and do it. If you’ve ever had a desire to own your own business, I say to go for it. Don’t wait until the time is right. The time will never be right. Here are some black-owned communities that prospered to get your blood pumping:

Free Blacks of Israel Hill

This community is actually the inspiration for my novel in progress. In Renaissance: The Nora White Story, Nora is  descendent of the free blacks of Israel Hill. It is how her father Gideon inherited five acres of land and why, although Nora’s not very impressed, they’re doing well financially compared to those around them. Anywho, it was during my trip to New Mexico last year while reading Melvin Patrick Ely’s book Israel on The Appomattox, winner of  THE BANCROFT PRIZE, A New York Times Book Review, and Atlantic Monthly Editors’ Choice, that the first inklings of a story idea emerged.

Settled in Prince Edward County Virginia in 1810-1811 by ninety formerly enslaved persons who received freedom and 350 acres from Judith Randolph under the will of her husband, Richard Randolph, these Israelites and other free African Americans worked as farmers, craftspeople, and Appomattox River boatmen; some labored alongside whites for equal wages and the family of early settler Hercules White bought and sold real estate in Farmville. Israel Hill remained a vigorous black community into the twentieth century.


Rosewood, Florida is not mentioned very often except for the massacre that took place but it was before then a thriving community. The quite town prospered in 1870 when a railway depot was set up to transport the abundant red cedar, from which the town got its name, from Rosewood to a pencil factory in cedar key. By 1900 it was predominantly African American with a school, turpentine mill, baseball team, general store, and sugarcane mill. The community had two dozen plank two-story homes, some other small houses, as well as several small unoccupied plank structures.


There was much revelation during my New Mexico trip. It was also during that time I learned of Blackdom, another little known African American community about 18 miles southwest of Roswell New Mexico and was founded by Frank and Ella Boyer. Walking 2,000 miles on foot from Georgia to New Mexico, Boyer left his wife and children behind to cultivate land in the free territory of the West before sending for his family some three years later. At this time in history, Blacks had begun migrating from the south in great numbers in a movement called “The Great Exodus” following the Homestead Act of 1862, particularly in Kansas. Henry was a wagoner in the American-Mexican war when he first set eyes on the New Mexico land. The Artesian Water sprang in abundance as more and more blacks were invited and nourished on the land. Blackdom had its own school and post office.

Mound Bayou, MS

The first all-black town in Mississippi, Mound Bayou was founded by two former slaves, Isaiah Montgomery, and his cousin, Benjamin Green. In December of 1886, according to a Cleveland Mississippi article of July 1887,  Montgomery and Green bought 840 acres of land from the Louisville-New Orleans & Texas Railroad for $7 an acre. That acreage would serve as the site of Mound Bayou.

The men were successful, their town reaching a population of 4,000 people (99.6 percent black) by 1907. It had a train depot, a bank, a post office, numerous successful industries, a variety of stores and eateries, a newspaper, a telephone exchange and, eventually, a hospital. Mound Bayou was a thriving community.

Nicodemus Township in Graham County, Kansas

This town was founded in 1877 by a corporation of seven members, six of whom were Black along the south fork of the Solomon River. Benjamin “Pap” Singleton, a former slave and Underground Railroad conductor helped to produce what was called the “Kansas Fever” of the late 1870s. Tens of thousands of African Americans left their homes headed for Singleton’s Cherokee County colony or Nicodemus, in Graham County, Kansas.

Promoted as the “Promised Land” throughout the south, founders hosted visits by potential settlers. By 1879 the town’s population stood at about 700.

The All-Black Community of Boley, Oklahoma

The all-black community of Boley OK was founded in 1904. With Railroad access and land, that helped, Boley became one of at least 20 Black towns in Oklahoma, to thrive. By 1907, it had at least 1,000 residents, and twice that many farmers settled outside of town. There were several businesses and an industrial school.

Black Wall-Street

Speaking of Oklahoma, I’m sure many of us are already familiar with Greenwood, a neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma that was one of the most successful and wealthiest black communities in the United States during the early 20th Century, popularly known as America’s “Black Wall Street” due to its financial success that mirrored Wall Street. During the oil boom of the 1910s, which gained the town such titles as “Oil Capital of the World”, the area of northeast Oklahoma around Tulsa flourished, including the Greenwood neighborhood. Home to several prominent Black businessmen, the neighborhood held many multimillionaires. Greenwood had grocery stores, clothing stores, barbershops, banks, hotels, cafes, movie theaters, two newspapers, and many contemporary homes. The dollar circulated 36 to 100 times, sometimes taking a year for currency to leave the community.

The Layover – Pre-Order

Congrats Lisa! Join me in the support of this amazing author! Put your pre-orders in. I got mine, you better get yours!

Lisa W. Tetting

Hi Lovies,

Just a quick note to let you know my latest book The Layover – Book 1 in The WanderLynn Experience Series, is now available for pre-order on Amazon! Get it for the low price of $1.99!!!

Click Here to reserve your copy now!

Thanks guys and remember

View original post

Very good ideas! I love the part about setting deadlines. I set deadlines for all of my books (from when I want the cover finished to the book publishing). I also loved how she stated that during her 6 mos she read for inspiration.

Word Craft ~ Prose and Poetry

Click the highlighted link at the bottom of the post to read this author’s plan of how to write a book in 6 months. You never know… this could work for you! ❤

Most authors have heard of National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. It is a novel writing challenge where participants try to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. Many famous authors, including John Green Rainbow Rowell have participated.

But for many writers that work full time writing a novel in one month is difficult, if not impossible. Before I had a child, I completed NaNoWriMo twice, although I did not have a full time job either time I did it…

View original post

8 Things to Do Before Publishing Your Next Blog Post


Below are some great links from This Mama Learns Blog to help us become better bloggers! I discovered her on Pinterest yesterday and her blog is super cute! I love the way she has branded her colors and incorporated her images all professional and fun looking. Below are articles I found helpful. Enjoy:

8 Things to Do Before Publishing Your Next Blog Post

You’re running behind on your newly acquired content schedule.

You dash out the last few lines of your next post in a flurry of activity, half an hour after you should have been in bed.

Then you hit Publish.

*yawn* Time for bed.

Okay, you know there are a few things you probably should’ve done first, but you can do it later right?


What just happened here? This hypothetical blogger (ok, ok… it was me), just put an arbitrary schedule before producing quality content.

Not cool.

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to Help You Look Like A Pro Blogger (even if you only started, like, yesterday)

No one likes looking like they were born yesterday, right? First impressions count, so when people visit your blog, you want to have your best foot forward.

I made my first blog in 2011. It was about tween fashion (it seemed like a good idea at the time), it was eyes-bleedingly cyan and I think I used Comic Sans. Sounds like a candidate for ugliest website of the year!

Luckily, times have changed and the overall standard of new blogs has greatly improved.

But there are still a few mistakes that new bloggers make that give themselves away. Here are 5 things you can implement on your blog right now to make you look like a pro.

Keep Reading

How to Launch Your Blog with a Bang

Ever launched a blog expecting to make a big splash but… nothing happened?

You were sending post after post out into the ether. No readers (not even your mom), no comments, no shares.  Why?

It wasn’t that your content wasn’t good.

And it wasn’t that you weren’t blogging frequently enough.  You were working your fingers to bone every day getting out another post.

Maybe you were even employing a bit of SEO and churning out awkward blog headlines like How to choosing a domain name (did I do that? oops!)

It doesn’t have to be this way. You can launch a successful blog and have readers from day 1.

Keep Reading

Beginner Bloggers Guide to Networking

Are you holding back from networking with other bloggers because you feel like your blog just isn’t ‘good enough’?

Have you joined a few Facebook groups (like I told you about in this post), but been too shy to speak up because you’re afraid you’ll get laughed at for not knowing the secret blogger handshake?

Do you read blogging tips about how to get more traffic and think YEAH I need to do that, but secretly you’re terrified to have people actually read your blog?

Let me let you in on a little secret:

I’ve SO been there.

Keep Reading

Self-Publishing – Laying Bricks Ep 4: The Pathway

Laying Bricks(1)

People lay bricks for many different reasons. Whether you are building for a brick home, a drive through, or storefront, the process is the same. Like mathematics, as long as you have the basic formula for masonry you can succeed in brick laying. As long as you remember to add, subtract, multiply, and divide you can solve any seemingly complex mathematical equation. Unless of course you’re like me and you hate math.

Nonetheless, Self-Publishing is the same way. Once you’ve established the basics of building a book, you can do so repeatedly and that is what this series is all about. Everything else is just an add on. You may have built a house but it doesn’t have to stay the way you built it. You can add rooms, roofing, or extra bathrooms if you want.

Now that we’ve written a well written story, gotten it edited, beta read, and critiqued, now what?

Advanced Reviews, Pre-Launch

This episode took me a little longer. It took me longer because writers can do this in many different ways. Self-Publishing doesn’t have any official rules and for that this step can in fact also include marketing and promotion. To keep things simple, let’s just focus on building the book first. So, in this episode of Laying Bricks it is time to pull out your multipurpose hat.

Advanced Book Reviews

Once your book is the way it was meant to be, it is time to send it off for advanced reviews. This process is most important as it helps you to garner reviews in advanced. In this way, by the time the book is released, your reviews can help the book to sell. With Indie’s doing everything themselves, reviews give us room to depend on some outside help.

When deciding who you want to review your book, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Genre – Not a neccessity, but can be very helpful. When someone reviews your book who is actually part of that books genre— let’s say a fan of Historical Fiction reviewing your HistFic masterpiece—you have a better chance at expanding your audience. This isn’t to say anyone can’t review you at all, just that those of your genre makes it that much better. When you desperately send your book out to anyone, you increase your chances of marketing your book to the wrong audience.

Desperation – Speaking of desperation, don’t be desperate. I know, desperate times cause for desperate measures! However, take some time and be a little strategic about who you send your books out to. Target people who are not only in your genre but who have a passion for books with a genuine love for reading. Visit their websites and blogs to make sure they’re a real person, that they’ve reviewed books before, and that their subscriber number is decent. Listen, don’t get the wrong idea here. I’m not saying it’s all about the numbers because its not. I’m saying you want to get the most of the experience.

While we all have to start from somewhere, quality attracts quality. The whole point of reviews is to help the author. That said, make sure there’s enough of that reviewers’ blog traffic to make a difference for your book in some way. If you choose to pay for a review, make sure the prices are reasonable and that the person or company is well-established. There are lots of frauds out there and people taking advantage of Self-Publishers and you wouldn’t want to cause any unwanted attention to your Amazon account.

Follow The Rules – Every serious Book Reviewer has a list of rules and regulations to accompany their services. Paid or not paid, Reviewers must have a policy in place. This is important because books take up a lot of time. As much as I love to read, I cannot possibly read every single book that comes my way. In addition, though reading books is personal, even it requires some order.

  • Research the reviewer < Make sure they are real people and not weirdos. Yes, weirder than me.
  • Submit your request exactly as their policy states.
  • Pay special attention to the books they do not accept so you don’t get an email back and become that guy. Or girl.
  • Address the reviewer by name, make it personal. Try not to sound thirsty or in other words, desperate (even if you are).
  • Follow their blog, follow their social media. Make sure this reviewer’s energy and the vibe is fitting for your book. This isn’t to say reviewers don’t read a wide range of material, it’s just about you the author being strategic and getting the most out of the experience.
  • Consider the reviewers time. Yes, they are agreeing to read books for free but you aren’t the only person in the world. Reviewers get tons of emails a day from Indie Authors requesting reviews. Keep in mind that there may be a line. As such, if your book is 300 or more pages, don’t expect that reviewer to finish it in two weeks. If you have a deadline, be sure to contact the reviewer far enough in advance to meet your deadline and be realistic about it. Reviewers may read fast on their own leisure time, but to review a book is to study it enough to give sensible feedback. No, it’s not an academic assignment or anything but it’s not a race either. Give people time to really read it if you want to get the most logical feedback. If you want us to scan it and throw some stuff together, we can do that too. Your choice.
  • Don’t be rude. With the exception of a few because I know there are some, most of us to include yours truly, do not promise 5-star reviews. In fact, we are not reading your book in exchange for a glowing review at all. If the book is not up to par do not expect to be lied to unless of course, that’s your thing. If a reviewer gives you a low rating, don’t curse them out. Try to understand that whether the book was good or not they invested something they can never get back: Their time. They’ve done you a great service. Take the advice and use it to further perfect your work.

Pre-Launch Strategy

First, what is a pre-launch strategy? According to The Marketing People:

“Premarketing is the foundation stage of any marketing plan to enable business development. Prior to any marketing, SEO or social marketing, this step ensures that you have the right brand. The right website, stationery, brochure/catalog and other related sales and marketing tools in place. To ensure you capitalize on your ongoing marketing and sales team activity.”

In addition to garnering advanced reviews, you need something to do while your book is being read. This is a great time to start pre-launch strategies.

I hope that by now you’ve already established a few things:

  • Blog / Website
  • Email Newsletter
  • Social Media Accounts

If you do not already have these stop writing right now. Yes, step away from the computer, put the pen down and grab the laptop. Now go to your room young man / lady. Yes, you. Close the door and don’t come out until you have social media accounts up, a blog or website, and an email newsletter.

When I first started publishing, I followed the following trend:

  • Write book
  • Publish Book
  • Tell people about book (quietly)
  • Wait for people who I didn’t tell about the book to find me

This isn’t wrong necessarily (well, the last one is), it’s just out of order a bit. It’s not how you promote, it’s when. Marketing and Promoting your book when it comes out should just be one aspect of it. In last week’s article Planning Book Releases in Advance, we spoke a little bit about this. That is, planning for your books arrival at least six months to one year in advance. Plan for your books release before, during, and after the book is written.

If you haven’t done so, no worries, there is hope.

If you have not taken the time to plan pre-launch strategies for your book, do so now while your book is being read.

  • Build a Fan Base

OK, so your book isn’t out yet but what are you doing to prep people for it? This is a question I ask myself every day.

Social media is not really about selling books even if you’re like me with an online bookstore. Social media is about building relationships. As a result, these relationships lead to sales in an indirect kind of a way. Writers of books are supposed to be experts on the subject matter in which they are writing. This means that writers can utilize other writing methods to help draw attention to their book without constantly talking about the book itself.

No matter what your area is, sharing insight on that topic helps to build trust and interest in people. Writing flash fiction or sharing excerpts helps people to get used to your voice and style, posting articles, news clips, and other things help people to understand your passion and focus as well. As a result, they’ll be interested to see what that book is about.

There’s no guarantee they will want to buy the book but a relationship has formed and relationships are what you want.

  • Special Offers

While your book is being read, you can also offer something exclusive in preparation for your books release. Let’s face it, everybody wants to be exclusive and official (lbs). Make people feel special by giving something away ahead of time. Though a pre-order of your book is nice (especially a signed hardcopy), try to do something different. Give away a small journal, amazon gift card or Starbucks gift card. Whatever it is, put some effort into it. Let your genuine love for the people shine through (people can tell if you’re just being phony because you want them to buy your book). If you give away a book, make it an exclusive super-duper official one. Make sure we know that only the best of the best can qualify for this baby here.

  • Book Cover Design

We’ll speak more about this next week, but this is a good time to get started on that book cover design!

Remember: Pre-Marketing is the first stage to business development. As an Indie Author, you are that business.

I know its not much, but I sure do hope that this information has been helpful. As always, I am following my own advice and am passing along information in my journey as I learn. I am always humbled at whomever wishes to join me.

Be sure to subscribe to my email newsletter for more tips, updates on my upcoming projects, free excerpt chapters and articles not yet published to this blog, book promotions, and more.

Next– Let’s Paint the House!

Next, we’ll talk about decorating your brick house. 

Disclaimer. Everything I share on Self-Publishing is always based on my own experience and research because I believe you can’t advise people on stuff you haven’t really tried. It’s just best if you’ve walked those shoes. So, that said I do not profess to be an expert. There are too many of them out there for you to glean from. Now, should you find information on this blog useful? Whoo hoo! Go for it.

Missed the first three episodes?

Laying Bricks Ep 1: Guide The Bricks

(About Focusing on the Story)

Laying Bricks Ep 2: Mortar

(About the Revision)

Laying Bricks Ep 3: Cutting The Excess

(About Editing)

Hot PBS Self-Publishing Topics to Date:

Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the YA, Historical Fiction author of The Stella Trilogy. She is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story” about a young black woman writer who dreams of taking part in The Harlem Renaissance movement and her parents struggle to accept their traumatic past in the Jim Crow south. “Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One)” is due for release spring, 2017. For updates on this project, sneak peek of chapters and the pending book cover release for this project, be sure to follow this blog and to subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list HERE.

8 Ways to Avoid Stress

Woman laying in grass

  1. Take some time to sit quietly and appreciate everything that you have. Happiness is not in having more physical wealth but having less wants.
  1. Stop trying to change things that are beyond your control. Sometimes stress comes from not being able to alter those things outside of our control but trying to anyway. Stop that. You’re just going against the grain and you’re not going to win.
  1. Forgive yourself. If you make a mistake, get back up and forgive the less mature version of yourself who made it. Peace cannot exist around you if it does not first exist inside of you.
  1. Forgive those who hurt you the most. After you forgive yourself, forgive others. Instead of seeing what they did to cause you hurt, try and see them through the eyes of mercy. Sometimes people have been hurt and they pass that hurt on, try to see that. Look at them with the eyes of love instead of revenge. Excess pain is just baggage and in the words of Toni Morrison, “If you wanna fly, you gotta give up the stuff that weighs you down.”
  1. Learn to create balance in your life. Being busy is no excuse for surrendering your peace. We like to use the “I’m too busy” for everything but it just ends up being an excuse. Take breaks. Go on vacation. Date. Take some time to actually smell the flowers. In the words of Lena Horne, “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”
  1. In times of pressure, seek to be calm and centered instead of frustrated and angry. The calm person is the most productive person and makes the best decisions. Quick story. When I returned from a road trip last month, I thought I lost my USB or better yet, left it in Chicago, a 13 hour away drive from home. Upon realization that I’d lost the drive with all of my files and manuscript revisions (which I’d unwisely not saved anywhere else), I was actually too tired to worry about it! I literally put my worrying off. My exact words were, “I don’t have the energy to worry about this right now.” I didn’t even look for the drive. A few days went by and I knew that at some point I had to try and find it. Those things on that drive were very important after all. On the third or fourth day, I sat down in my chair and searched the place I last remembered it and found it. Just like that. By choosing to be calm and not worry instead of frenzied and out of control, I was capable of thinking clearly about where I’d last had it. I also learned a very valuable lesson. In remembering everything has a purpose, I understood that I should never save important files in just one spot.
  1. Don’t compare yourself to others, it’s the easiest way to fail. It is also the easiest way to cling to your fears. Sometimes you can be so sure something is for you until you look at how others are doing it, saying it, or have done or said it. Own what you know to be true and perfect being you. People don’t want to see how you can do something the same as others are doing it. They wanna see how you can do it differently.
  1. Speaking of comparisons, be true to yourself. Stop worrying about being accepted by others. This too can cause unnecessary stresses. Don’t dilute your light for something superficial. The light bulb may shine bright now, but it is in no comparison to the sun.