Lit Mag 2020 Is On the Way

The 2020 Lit Mag Literary Magazine for Poets is on its way out! We are proud to feature last year’s Grand Prize Winner Chanelle Barnes on the cover. Volume 2, Edition 2, is scheduled to print Tuesday, March 3, 2020.

This year’s magazine features the winners of “Yecheilyah’s Annual Poetry Contest 2019”: Chanelle Barnes, BuddahDesmond, Jahkazia (Jah-kay-asia) Richardson (our 2018 Champion), Kiyana Blount, and Dondi A Springer. The mag also features the poems of select poets who participated last year.

How can you be featured in the Lit Mag Magazine? Be sure to participate in my annual poetry contests! Rules and guidelines for the 2020 competition to be announced.

Be sure to support this contest by picking up your copy of LitMag 2019 by clicking on the link below. Your contribution helps us to keep this contest going by keeping the entry fee-free or low-cost for participants, allows us to print the magazine featuring the winners, and of course, offers some dope prizes to contestants! Link below:

Get LitMag 2019 Here

Visit our 2017 Winners Here

Visit our 2018 Winners Here

Visit our 2019 Winners Here

What the Losses Taught Me

Top of the World, Observation Level, World Trade Center, MD, Copyright © Yecheilyah 12.31.2019
I couldn’t help but think about “Vision” on the Top Floor of the World Trade Center in Baltimore. The view is a beautiful layout of the city and the binoculars let you see everything up close. That’s what 20/20 is about for me, seeing clearly.

20/20 = Perfect Vision

At this time of the year, most people are talking about their wins but I believe it is my losses that have caused the most growth and given me the most lessons. It was the letdowns, betrayals, and disappointments that have cultivated in me the strength I’ve had to endure last year and all the other years before it.

Keep Yourself Full didn’t do as well as I had thought and while it bothered me at first, I can honestly say that as of today I’m okay with it. I’ve been Self-Publishing my books for a while now and what I’ve learned is that experience brings clarity.

Hindsight is 20/20 and what I see now are the mistakes I made with this particular book, the audience I thought would be there but wasn’t, and the solace in knowing that my poetry is inspiring enough.

A ‘Snellen chart’ is an eye chart that’s used to help you determine the clarity of your distance vision. Somebody with 20/20 vision has normal acuity (sharpness or keenness of thought, vision, or hearing) meaning if they were to stand at a distance of 20 feet from the eye chart, then they would be able to clearly see each row of letters. This person has good eyesight.

What’s being said is that if you look back at situations that went poorly, you can clearly see (20/20) what you could have done better.

This entire year is 20/20 which means a time of looking back and reflecting on all I’ve done. I know the word “reflection,” is being used a lot this time of the year so it may not hit you as hard but I caution you not to let its repetitiveness water down its powerful meaning.

Reflection is serious thought or consideration but it also shows, expresses, or is a sign of something and an image of something in the mirror. To reflect is to give serious thought and consideration to ourselves, the image in the mirror. It is to look at ourselves. What do we see? What are we showing or expressing?

My philosophy (for lack of a better term) is “do you but do you intelligently.”

I believed, and still, believe, we should not just decide, but that we should make informed decisions. From this point forward it’s not just about making decisions but knowing why I am making those decisions. It’s about being intentional in every way. From this point forward, everything I do has a reason. Everything is a strategic move. From publishing a book to publishing a post.

There are projects I will retire this year and projects I will relaunch. Looking back, I can see clearly what works and what doesn’t work for my writing business.

I am flawed and imperfect. I will mess up but I am striving every day, learning, and correcting as I go along (with all the failures and pitfalls that come with it). I know these losses can do nothing but make me stronger, and wiser so that when I look back, there is nothing to regret.

The losses taught me to focus the first time around and to trust my discernment so I can see things for what they are, not for what I want them to be. The losses are a reminder to see things clearly.


Go to my IG page here to check out more vacation pics at some awesome museums including The Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. Visit me on the web at yecheilyahysrayl.com and subscribe to this blog for notification of more posts.

Don’t Wait Two Weeks Before Release to Prepare Your Audience for Your Book

You don’t have to wait until January 1st to get started on your 2020 goals. If you want to release/write a book in 2020, you should be planning...now. Actually, you are already behind. Even if you are Self-Publishing, it helps to start early. Notable mainstream authors releasing books in 2020 already have their preorder up. “Planning out your book marketing in advance and adequately preparing for your book’s release is crucial to a successful book launch.” (Sansevieri, 2019) Don’t wait two weeks before release to prepare your audience for your book. Here are some tips:

  • Put some money aside for your book. Your biggest expense will be editing, then cover design. You will also need the book formatted for e-readers. Don’t wait until the last minute to put something to the side. Invest in your book. Invest in yourself. Save some coins. (Prioritize your expenses! Don’t spend money on the tools you don’t need right now. Business cards and fancy thank you cards can wait. Save your money.)
  • If you want to start a blog, do it 3-6months before your book releases. Post content relatable to the book and who you are as a person (don’t make your blog all about your book. Talk about other stuff you like.)
  • Set up your Author Social Media pages and get to work. Talk about the upcoming book, educate, inform, uplift, go live. Use SM for something other than memes and gossip. Social Media is a FREE platform to use to spread the word about your book/business. Don’t sleep on it.
  • Make sure your website is ready to go. Here’s something the “gurus” won’t tell you: Selling through Amazon is nice, but selling through your own website is better because you get the entire dollar instead of just a percentage. Print on Demand Companies like Amazon’s KDP, Lulu, and Ingram Spark makes it easy to order copies of your book in bulk that you can sell individually through your website. (You can also sell your books in bulk! I’m trying to tell you something…level it up)
  • Create a landing page with a great giveaway offer or freebie to collect emails for your author email list. A sample of the first few chapters of the new book is a good start. The email list isn’t for everyone, but it’s good to have in case Social Media (blogs included) is no more. You will still have a connection with your audience. Find what works best for you. For instance, the giveaway/freebie thing is a good idea and many people use it, but this strategy didn’t work for me. I get more email sign-ups by having the pop up on this blog than giving away a free chapter of a book. People say pop-ups don’t work but they do for me so don’t let people tell you what will or won’t work for you. I wrote a post on how to set up an email list with Mailchimp here.  Also check out 7 Common Sense Reasons You Should Build an Email List.
  • If your book is up for pre-order on Amazon, make sure you set up your Amazon Author Central Page. Add an author photo, bio, and link your blog. You can also list your events. (Listing events is no longer an option). This is a good time to set up your Author Goodreads account too. I wrote a tutorial on how to set up the Amazon Author Central page here.
  • If you want to host author events in bookstores, start pitching them about 3-4months out. If they’re local, walk-in and introduce yourself. (I book most of my events by walking in and talking to people in person.) Always travel with a copy of your book and some business cards.

The point of starting early:

You want to build your readership ahead of time so when you release the book you have people who want to buy it.


CLICK HERE for more Indie Author Basics and happy writing! I’m rooting for you.