I think I’ve been away from this blog the longest since starting these past few months! I miss you guys! Which is why I am taking time out to chitchat with you this morning (evening for some of us). The air in Georgia is cool but I am not complaining about the cold for the first time since ever. There’s a bite to the air that’s refreshing and the warm coffee I am drinking is hugging my insides. There is a gloomy cast over the city as I am writing this and it sets the perfect tone. If you are new to No Whining Wednesday, be sure to visit the original post here to learn more about this segment. I haven’t done an NWW post in a while so we are far overdo.
I read a quote earlier this week that stayed with me. The quote said:
I encourage you to try this for yourself. It will be fun and drive the point home. Set water to a boil. Once it’s boiling good, try to see your reflection in the water. Can you see anything or is the steam too much? Let the water cool and then try again. The cooler the water, the easier it will be to see your reflection. Even after the water settles, it is difficult to see yourself if the water is still too hot.
When you are hot, popping off and steaming, you can’t think logically. You can only think emotionally. You can only think with what you are feeling at the moment. This isn’t always bad (not all stress is bad…some stress is good because it gets you excited, motivated, and charged) but too much and it blurs your vision. Only after you’ve cooled off can you see the situation clearly enough to make a sound decision.
I came upon a Facebook memory the other day that fits this well. In the post, I said the following:
And I’ll leave it here. You got this.
p.s. The Gutenberg WordPress editor is not so bad! Perhaps a bit unnecessary since the classic is easier to use but not so bad. I used it for this post and I’ll do a short tutorial soon.
If you’ve been following me on social media you have already seen the photos of this weekend’s mixer. I had a good time, though I spent most of it being reserved. I mostly listened. There were many in the room who had achieved greatness and I just wanted to soak up their wisdom. I learned a lot that way too and was given some excellent advice. I did not take many pictures at all. Most of the pictures I have were taken by others. I have included a few pictures in this post but to view more pictures, CLICK HERE.
A Deeper Understanding of Self
I have learned that the way you feel about yourself influences everything around you both on and off the job. It influences the way you run your business, the way you interact in relationships, and what you choose to accept and not to accept. It controls how you speak up for yourself and how you handle disputes. How you feel about yourself is so powerful that it shapes every single decision you make from getting out of the bed in the morning to laying down in the evening. How you feel about yourself is important because it influences the choices that you make. People with high self-esteem are not people who have it together all the time or never have down and depressed moments. People with high-self-esteem are also not necessarily people who are loud and outspoken. Whether someone is quiet or outspoken should never be used as a measure for how they feel about themselves because some people are loud to cover up insecurities. And people with high self-esteem are also not arrogant and proud since love is also not arrogant and proud. Instead, people with high levels of self-esteem know that they are good people regardless of the circumstances. They have a deeply spiritual understanding of themselves because their self-perceived value of self is set high.
But, there is an issue that arises that comes along with the self-love journey that must be acknowledged. How high is too high to think of oneself? Is there such a thing as thinking too much of oneself? How do you find the balance between humility and confidence?
Narcissism is an extremely positive view of the self, combined with limited empathy for others.The difference between arrogance and confidence is an awareness of other people / the other person’s needs. That’s why I have always said that self-love gives you what you need for yourself so that you can be better for others. When you start to disregard other people’s feelings, thoughts, and perspectives you have crossed the line. It sounds simple, but it’s not so much. If you think about your everyday interactions, there is plenty of room for humility or cockiness. Will you choose to put your call on hold until after you have finished your exchange at the register? Will you move out of the way when someone says excuse me? Will you cover your mouth when you yawn or wait until someone finishes speaking before you speak? All of this requires some level of humility. The more self-aware you are (aware of your own emotions, feelings, and needs), the more aware you can be of how you are with others. The more aware you are of yourself, the more humble you become.
“If you wanna be a Michelle Obama, don’t get yourself a lil Wayne.”
Laughs followed this statement made by the financially successful women on the panel on how to improve finances. The point was clearly understood. Having nothing against lil Wayne, the advice was to make sure that you are with someone who can elevate you to where you want to go. Depending on your goals you may very well want to get a lil Wayne. You and he may be going to the same places. Maybe you want to change the world musically. But, if you want to be in the White House, figuratively speaking, lil Wayne is not going to get you there. If you want to be Michelle Obama, you need a Barack Obama. I am only interested in being a better EC, thank you. But the point is, in relationships, make sure that you are with someone who can help you to level up financially as well. Be with someone you can build something with together. I will tell you, I am good by myself, but boi am I a force when we’re together! You should not be unequally yoked by any means. Make sure that you are on one accord in everything that you do. Be with someone who can lead you somewhere in every aspect of your life.
I spoke to the audience briefly about my perspective on the circle. I challenged the idea that our circles should be small. On the surface, yes, that’s true. You don’t want to surround yourself with a whole bunch of fake people. But, what I explained was this: the size of the circle doesn’t matter. The quality of the people in the circle is what matters. I explained, that, you can have only two people in your circle or who you fellowship with and who you kick it with. But if these two people are both snakes you need another circle. People also do not fulfill the same roles and will thus add a different kind of value to your life. My husband is in my circle. He adds a value to my life that cannot be filled by anyone else, not even my mother. But my mother is also in my circle and she adds a value to my life that no one else can fulfill, not even my husband. My sisters are also in my circle and they have a role they fulfill as well. Everyone will bring something different. Professionally, there is a circle as well and your professional circle is different from your personal circle.
Professionally, I want a balanced circle, people I look up to who know more than me or who can teach me something new. I know that sounds odd, but that’s because we’ve learned, in this society, to hate each other. By surrounding myself with people who are more successful than me, I can learn how to perform on their level and beyond. I want to be around people I can learn from and look up to because it forces me to look up. Instead of being jealous of each other we should be learning from each other. As a reminder, the professional circle may not be the same as your personal circle. Your personal circle is what we usually think of when we speak of the circle but remember there are different kinds of circles.
There will always be people who look up to you but who do you look up to? Who is doing what you want to do one day professionally? Who can you align yourself with professionally, who can show you how to do what they do and to do it better? If you want to stop smoking what would be helpful to your life? Filling your circle with smokers who have no plan of action on how to quit or filling your circle with non-smokers whose non-smoking habits you can mimic? Which would help you to achieve your goal of not smoking? Common sense says the latter so why do we want to only be around people who are not where we want to be? What is at the core of us surrounding ourselves only with people who are at our levels or below our levels? Is it jealousy? Ego? Competition? Fear? It’s good for you to inspire others and to be a good example for others to learn from. That’s good. What’s also good is you having someone you can learn from as well. Seek to be informed and to inform, not just to inspire and be inspired.
Have you grabbed your copy of Even Salt Looks Like Sugar yet? Have you reviewed Even Salt Looks Like Sugar yet? What are you waiting for?? Grab your copy now and leave an honest review when you’ve finished reading! CLICK HERE.
Note: This is just my personal experience and has nothing to do with anyone else. I must also note that I do believe some promotion is necessary. If people don’t know your book exists they can’t support you.
Not that this is a necessarily good thing but I pull back when I see that people are not interested. I don’t like feeling like I am forcing people to support me. That’s like forcing someone to love you and I refuse to do that.
I noticed that Social Media is cracking down on Spam. Promoting your book all day every day does not work without a strategy in place. As Angela J. Ford, puts it, “Instead of just publishing a book and hoping to sell a few copies, you should have a business strategy in place to help you to consistently grow your fan base and sell more books.”
I see no proof of the “see it seven times buy it” rule. Not saying this doesn’t work. It’s just that in my experience constantly pushing books in people’s face just seems to piss them off. Generally, people have already decided whether they want to buy your book. Asking them repeatedly to buy it won‘t change their minds.
I noticed that promoting less gives a better result (for me personally….not saying this for others.) For Even Salt Looks Like Sugar, I have promoted it today on my Instagram for the first time since September 4th (not counting my business account). The last time I promoted it on Facebook was September 19th. I promote it more on Twitter but that‘s because Twitter is a fast-paced platform where tweets get buried. You can post several times on Twitter and not be spammy. When looking at my data, I have sold books both times on IG and Facebook. I believe it’s because by spacing out the promotion the posts are a fresh reminder and not a spammy irritation.
I have edited this part to give you some examples. I don‘t care about likes but when it comes to my book promos, I do care because it goes into my data for understanding what‘s working and what‘s not working. Are the people liking the post supporting or just “liking?” Are people getting tired of me? Is the promotion working? So far I have done 4 Book Promotions for Even Salt Looks Like Sugar on Instagram since August for the preorders. Just four. Below are the results for the new novella promotion on IG:
August 1st – First time promoting Even Salt Looks Like Sugar preorder:
48 Likes, 9 Comments
Obviously, everyone is excited to hear of the new book. That explains the number of likes and commentary. Readers bought books on the first, second, and third of August.
August 10th – Second time promoting Even Salt Looks Like Sugar preorder:
27 Likes, 2 Comments
People are still excited but the core supporters already have a copy of the book. Books sold on this day and 8/23.
September 4th – Third time promoting Even Salt Looks Like Sugar preorder:
34 Likes, 2 Comments
A good month has passed, people forgot. This was a good reminder. Numbers went up. Books sold the first of this month, the 10th, 17th and 18th.
September 26th – Today. Fourth time promoting Even Salt Looks Like Sugar preorder preorder:
10 Likes, 0 Comments
Nice reminder but some people haven‘t seen the post yet, core supporters already have the book, others are not part of my audience or just don’t care. Currently no books sold for 9/26.
Update: Post ended with 25 likes on 10/1. Books also sold on 9/30. I attribute this to the days that passed, new readers who saw the promo, and payday for those getting paid end of the month.
I don’t want everyone to buy my book. Negative reviews and feedback are sometimes the result of people who bought and read our books who were not members of our target audience. If someone doesn’t like the genre I write in or are not interested in the book in general, I don’t want them to buy my book and I don‘t care how many reviews I miss out on.
I’ve learned not to care so much about how much I make from my books. I don‘t mean I don’t care about money. Who doesn’t care about money? But money has never been and is not my motivation. It’s also difficult to make a sustainable income from selling books alone. It’s possible but challenging. Instead, I have decided to focus more on building my business which involves more than just writing books. I have decided to focus on the vision and my purpose for writing, my messages and how those messages can change and empower lives. To focus on ways, I can interact with people face-to-face through public speaking, events, programs and services I can offer and other things I can do to build and nurture my small business. For me being an author is not just about writing and publishing books but so much more. One day, I hope to become a full-blown entrepreneur who influences and empowers others to do the same. With this, of course I also hope me and my husband can quit our day jobs in the process, if we wanted to. I believe that by focusing on the vision everything else, including money, will come.
I’ve learned that when promoting books to promote what the book is about, not the book. I learned this from The Stella Trilogy. Stella was not the most perfectly written book. It had typos and I could have done better with the covers and formatting. There were also typos in Renaissance. I am sure you can find mistakes in every book. But these books did well because people cared about the story. When you get people to care about the story that’s when they will care about the book.
Will Wanda secure the paperwork necessary to secure her and Abby’s freedom? Find out next week on the release of my new short novel, Even Salt Looks Like Sugar. Available now for preorder in eBook. Into African American Literature? Short Fiction? Young Adult or Women’s Fiction? Buy it now for 99cents on Amazon here.
Novella’s have my heart. The Stella Trilogy was a novella series and readers loved it so I had to write another short story! (If I am honest, I think they are kinda my thing).
This book is coming to you on Tuesday, October 2, 2018.
Proceeds from this book will go toward the funding of my next poetry contest.
We are looking to level up BIG time for year three!
This is modern-day literary fiction and is available now for pre-order.
Cover Reveal for
‘Even Salt Looks Like Sugar’
Wanda wants nothing more than to escape the oppressive upbringing of life with her abusive foster mother. Miss Cassaundra manipulates the system by bringing lost children into her home turned whorehouse and collecting the money. Wanda knows what it’s like to be abandoned and has no doubt that Abby is Cassaundra’s next case. When an opportunity arises that could save them both, Wanda must find a way to get the paperwork that will secure their freedom. But Cassaundra’s got eyes everywhere and no one can be trusted when even salt looks like sugar.
Title: Even Salt Looks Like Sugar, a novella
Author: Yecheilyah Ysrayl
Publisher: Literary Korner Publishing
Publication Date: Tuesday, October 2, 2018
…and we are still riding! It’s not over people! Not until the winner is crowned…
Special thank you to everyone who has participated in this contest in some way. Everyone who submitted poems shared the post on social media, volunteered to sponsor or judge, and just overall supported this endeavor. As the headline suggests, this is only my 2nd year hosting this contest. My hope is that each year it gets better and better and that we are capable of offering you more every year. I am excited to say that we are on track with that!
Last year, we received amazing support and crowned an amazing poet as our grand prize winner.CLICK HEREto read last year’s winning poem and to meet last years poet!
This year, we have leveled up big time!
2nd Annual – 27 poems, 16 contestants
I made some mistakes last year but everything is a learning experience and we wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t a first! So big ups to everyone who helped, sponsored, hosted, judged and participated in that modest but most excellent contest last year!
I took those lessons from last year, noticed the mistakes I made, and applied them to this contest and still, there’s much to learn. Which is why me and my team are already thinking of improvements for next year! We hope to do it even bigger by offering you more publishing packages. Eventually, we’d very much like to progress to offline open mic opportunities as we get better. The sky is not the limit here people!
As a reminder, we are announcing our grand prize winner and runner-ups on Wednesday, August 22, 2018. For a reminder of what is at stake, be sure to revisit the entry guidelines and prizes postHERE.
Poets, be sure to check your email (Spam or Junk folders) and submit the required information at your earliest convenience.
The rest of you, be sure you are following this blog and my social media handles (below) to stay in the loop and to be reminded of our crowned winner. Which King and Queen will take home the grand prize?
When I started my self-love journey, at 30, I didn’t even know it was a thing. I didn’t know that other women had started self-love journeys too, many of them starting in their 30s. I also thought, when I started, that I was headed to a specific place. “I’m on a journey of self-love,” I’ll tell people. They probably just rolled their eyes. I was acting like I was on my way to the spa or something. Like after three weeks of prayer and meditation I would arrive. That suddenly, after a month of Sunday’s I would be so aware of myself that insecurity and uncertainty would never find me again.
Over one year later and I am still finding myself, still learning myself, still fighting off insecurities and uncertainties. Almost two years and I am still developing that deeply personal and spiritual understanding of myself. That’s because self-love is a process, a journey, not a destination. It’s not some place you come to after three prayers and an inspirational quote. It’s something that develops over time and that only gets stronger as you age.
Ever wonder why elderly men and women have such a “I don’t give a damn,” attitude?
It’s not that they don’t care about anything. It’s just that they’ve been on this Earth long enough to have such a deeply personal understanding of who they are that they will not allow anyone else to tell them about themselves, neither do they care what others think of their actions. It’s important for you to know that you will not get to the place they are immediately. Just like they had to go through the years, you will have to go through them too so you shouldn’t rush the process. It could take years to truly heal from trauma, heartache, depression, self-hatred or whatever spirit is stopping you from fully loving yourself.
This also means that in this process you will have to be intentional, deliberate, and disciplined about re-examining who you are as an individual. And you must be very, very honest with yourself. Without honesty, you are doing yourself a great disservice and you are headed for self-destruction. A life built on deception will eventually crumble. You can’t heal by covering the wounds with more crap. You must expose the wound and allow healing to take place. This can’t happen if you’re just going to lie to yourself.
Before you commit, understand that Self-love is a long-term commitment of learning and knowing yourself. It happens in stages and can take years.
Now, go write a poem about Self-love or Self-Care in some way and enter it into my 2nd Annual Poetry Contest! We are SIX days out. Don’t miss the chance to win money, a beautiful notebook and pen, publication, promotion, and books!
What does self-care mean to you? What does it look like to you? What do you think of when you hear self-love? How can we take better care of ourselves?
CLICK HERE to read through all the entry rules and guidelines and then email your poem to yecheilyah(at)yecheilyahysrayl(dot) com. Also remember this is a free entry contest so there’s no entry fee to enter. But hurry! Time is running out!