What Have You Done?

Photo by Christina Morillo

“A time comes when silence is betrayal.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


On October 16, 2022, I posted a video of things you didn’t know about MLK to TikTok and Instagram. I followed this with a video of women who refused to give up their seats on public transportation before Rosa Parks on October 26th.

And my social media has not been the same since.

My TikTok account increased from 200+ followers when I posted the videos to 1K.

The Rosa Parks video has over 200K views, 30K likes, and over 3K shares on TikTok.

The MLK video is up 57K views, 7K likes, 948 saves, and over 1K shares on Instagram.

But this has not been without controversy.

Since posting the videos, I have experienced attacks on me personally and Dr. King’s legacy. I am okay with this. It comes with the territory.

When telling the truth, the truth teller must expect push back. Prepare your heart for testing. Otherwise, should you wish not to receive negative feedback, do nothing and say nothing.

If you wish to be liked by everyone and not change the world, don’t. Sit on your hands and be quiet.

My calling does not require me to do the latter.

I only have a few questions for those who find fault in me, Dr. King, the videos, and anything I put out.

What have you done to move the needle forward for the advancement of anything?

When you call out Dr. King’s discrepancies and highlight his sins over his triumphs, do you ask yourself what you have done?

Do you consider in your own heart the skeletons in your own closet that no one knows about but you and YAH?

Do you consider your own flaws in your tearing down of someone else?

What programs did you start? What rally did you attend? How many people have you fed? How many people have you clothed?

Is trolling people online and preaching from Facebook and Black Twitter the extent of your ministry? Is debating doctrine on YouTube the catalyst of your movement?

What real work have you done? Whose life was made better by your presence?

We should ask ourselves these questions before critiquing someone else’s mission.

Don’t let your food get cold worrying about what’s on someone else’s plate.

And, for the record, my post was not about Dr. King, the Christian God, and the symbol of white sympathy that this society has made him out to be. My post was about a better understanding of Dr. King, the man, his positive actions, and how his activism has been largely watered down.

For More Black History Facts Be Sure to Visit the Archive Here and Lookout for the Book Coming 2023.

Dear Indie Author, Remember to Guide Your Readers to Your Own Platforms

None of us can deny the power of social media to impact businesses, big and small. As we’ve seen repeatedly, what we post to our accounts can have positive and negative real-life effects, destructive and groundbreaking. With it, we can reach people worldwide without leaving the house. It is no longer just about posting family photos. People are making real money and establishing real connections.

However, an over reliance on social media to hold up the core of our business can prove disastrous since we do not own them. Lately, I have heard many complaints of Instagram pages being hacked, Facebook jail, and TikTok suspensions.

And these are not complaints from people with small accounts. People with tens of thousands of followers have had to start from zero.

People who operate systematically, moving their tribe (those genuinely interested in their content because everyone isn’t), over to their own platforms, do not lose when their accounts are hacked or when IG decides to glitch.

They do not lose because they understand a basic principle:

Social Media is the vehicle, not the destination.

Photo by cottonbro studio

Social Media is a powerful tool for socializing and networking with your target audience. Still, you want to always be moving them along your funnel.

This looks like adding them to your blog, email/text list, website, or membership site.

To do this, use a call-to-action at the end of your posts to tell people what you want them to do.

The call-to-action or CTA is when you give your people direction. What do you want us to do after seeing your post?

  • Do you want us to visit your website by clicking the link in your bio?
  • Do you want us to leave a comment? Are you asking for feedback?
  • Do you want us to buy something? Are you having a Black Friday sale?

The goal is to avoid getting too comfortable with the followers you get from these social media platforms. Only some people following you are interested in what you have to offer. You can ensure they know where to find you outside Instagram and Facebook. This allows you to nourish relationships and build stronger bonds with those who care.

In a matter of seconds, your thousands of followers can be gone if someone hacks you or your account is deleted for whatever reason.

Protect yourself by establishing an online home.


Indie Author Basics simplifies and streamlines the Self-Publishing Process so authors can Self-Publish high-quality books without pulling out their hair.

Winners: Yecheilyah’s 5th Annual Poetry Contest 2022

22 Dope Participants
4 Dope Winners!!!

Winners_5

Today, I introduce you to the four winners of this year’s poetry contest followed by their Instagram handles. Get on over there and follow them neoww.

#1: Buddah Desmond

“Ghosts, Ghostbusting History + Visible / Invisible Lives (Freedom is Ours)”

(@buddahdesmond)

#2: Daphne Ayo

“Uncaged”

(@dee_.vox )

#3: Renita Siqueira

“Allowed to Exist”

(@renitasiqueira)

#4: Rebecca Whitman

“Moment of Truth”

(@rebeccajwhitman)

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Congratulations!!

And congratulations to everyone who participated! There would be no contest without your support.

This is the first time we’ve had such a diverse group of winners!

We even have winners from India and Nigeria! Can you guess who it is?

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We ultimately chose our winners for receiving high scores in several areas, including beauty, power, education/message, originality, creativity, how closely they followed the submission requirements, and overall impact.

I am incredibly proud of what they will bless you with in these coming weeks!

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I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a special thank you to my team!! Thank you for recommending poets, posting the flyer to your social media, providing feedback, and all that good stuff!

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Over the next few weeks, we’ll spotlight each of these poets individually on the blog and social media. We’ll dig deeper into what inspired their poem, read the winning poem, and understand their writing process.

Please go to my Instagram @yecheilyah and @yecheilyahbooksllc and show them some love!

  • Follow the Poets
  • Save the post
  • Share the post
  • Like the post
  • Comment a “Congrats” on the post
  • Did I say follow the poets? 🙂

Here are the links to all our winners from years one through four!

Yecheilyah’s 1st Annual Poetry Contest 2017
Yecheilyah’s 2nd Annual Poetry Contest 2018
Yecheilyah’s 3rd Annual Poetry Contest 2019
Yecheilyah’s 4th Annual Poetry Contest 2021

Wanna join the fun? Head over to yecheilyahsannualpoetrycontest.org and join the wait-list for 2023!

Dear Indie Author, No One Wants to Subscribe to Your Newsletter (Do this Instead)

I used to ask people to subscribe to my email list, and almost no one ever did. It was also cringy to ask.

And then I realized I was working harder than I needed to.

How people look when you say subscribe to your author newsletter.

The truth is, asking people to subscribe to your email list is boring, and no one wants to do it. We have enough emails.

And if you are a new author, no one’s ever heard of, saying we will get a free copy of your book doesn’t work either.

As I alluded to in the last post, authors must start to think like readers if they want to attract them.

Instead of asking people to subscribe to your list directly, do this instead.

Photo by EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA

Offer Something They Want

The value in giving something away is that if it’s a truly valuable piece of content, it will naturally lead to your paid stuff. At first, this wasn’t working for me. It wasn’t until I gave away my best book (the one people actually wanted to read) that I started to see a difference.

For your give, my advice would be not to throw something together. Give us something good.

Your give is also known as a lead magnet and doesn’t have to be a book. It can be a resource, guide, free tutorial, or access to exclusive content. It can be a complimentary ticket to your online class or a virtual pass to the next event.

Deliver Your Give By Requiring Email Sign-Up

Choose a platform to use to collect email addresses. I use Mailchimp, but there are tons of others. Require people to enter their email to receive the freebie.

Set Up Automation

As soon as they sign up, they should be able to instantly download the freebie. Setting up an automatic welcome email to officially introduce yourself is an excellent start to a warm welcome.

You’re done, and you didn’t have to beg, borrow, or pull teeth to get here.

Other ways to add subscribers:

  • Collaborate with other Authors
  • Host a contest

These are the two most powerful strategies I’ve seen. I get the most sign-ups through my poetry contests or when I collaborate with other authors.

  • Have a sign-up sheet at every live event.

This is probably the only time it’s okay to ask people to subscribe to your email list directly. I always have it sitting at my table. Still, the amazing thing is people will walk by and put their email addresses down without me asking! So in a way, you still don’t have to ask. All you have to do is make it available.

  • Add a pop-up on your blog and website. 

Please ensure this goes away after about 5 seconds and doesn’t take up most of the space. Pop-ups that aren’t easy to close out are annoying and distracting. This makes us feel like we are being forced to sign-up. You don’t want people leaving your site because your pop-up won’t leave them alone.

  • Use Your Blog

If email newsletters aren’t your thing, you can always use a blog. When people subscribe to your blog, they get an email notification whenever you post something new. You can use this with your third-party email list or by itself. Either way, it’s another way to stay connected with your tribe outside social media.

I can go on, but the moral of the story is there are tons of ways to collect email without spamming. 

Oh, please be sure you provide a way out! It is illegal not to provide a way for people to unsubscribe if they no longer feel you. It is much easier to do this if your emails go through a third party. If people can’t unsubscribe, they will report you as spam, which can ultimately hurt you. I talk more about that here.


Indie Author Basics simplifies and streamlines the Self-Publishing Process so authors can Self-Publish high-quality books without pulling out their hair.

What Indie Authors Can Learn from the Kyrie Irving Controversy

Kyrie Irving is in hot water for posting a link to the documentary Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America to his Twitter account. The movie is a film adaption of the Independently Published book by the same name. It is alleged that the movie has much antisemitism in it, (I disagree but that’s a different post), and Irving has since taken the tweet down and apologized to the Jewish community via an Instagram post.

This post is about how he found the documentary and what Indie Authors can learn about platforms.

Kyrie Irving found the documentary by researching Yahweh on Amazon, saying that’s what his name translates into. According to this interview, he typed the name in the search engine, and the movie came up.

Many Indie Authors have long-cut ties with Amazon, which is their business. What I hope we can gain is an understanding of how people search for information, namely books, and the role that it plays for us as authors.

Photo by Ricardo Esquive

Amazon is not a distributor or bookstore. Amazon is a retailer that sells many things but is known for books. They are known for books because, in addition to selling books, they operate a Self-Publishing arm called Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP. Amazon is so very well connected with books that bookstores hate them, and people who think of buying a book (and now movies) turn to Amazon almost instinctively.

Amazon is also the world’s second-largest search engine, with Google being the first.

“Amazon, with 54 percent of product searches taking place, is the world’s largest search engine for e-commerce. Technically, Amazon is the second largest search engine in the world excluding Google.”

Decoding the World’s Largest E-commerce Search Engine: Amazon’s A9 Algorithm 

When someone wants to search for a book and does not want to visit an offline bookstore like Barnes and Noble, where will they search first?

That’s right. Amazon.

Hebrews to Negroes was released on December 6, 2014.

Today (11/2022), it is a #1 Bestseller with tons of new reviews. Yes, he searched for the movie, but the book is a #1 Bestseller.

All because a rich and famous celebrity tweeted the link.

And this celebrity found it on the second largest search engine in the US.

The Point

When deciding what platforms to put your book on, consider not what you want but what readers want.

When your average reader wants to look up a movie, topic, or book, they are not going to Smashwords. They are not going to Draft2Digital. They are not even going to Goodreads like that. They are also not flooding B&N.com, though they’ll visit the brick-and-mortar bookstore (catch that).

When people (not necessarily people who are always on the internet and are familiar with the book world but everyday people with jobs who happen to want to buy something) want to look up information, they go to Google and Amazon.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Ignoring this is just not good business sense, except that your goal is not to make money from your books or bring a whole lot of awareness to it, which is cool. Not everyone publishes a book for these reasons.

(It is also not wrong to be on the other platforms, also known in the Indie community as “going wide.” It means you are not exclusive to Amazon but have your book available at other online retailers, which is awesome. I go wide myself. At the risk of steering away from the topic, that’s a post for a different day.)

However, for those of you Self-Publishing books you want people to buy, not being on Amazon is not bad or wrong, but it is leaving a lot of money (and exposure) on the table. 

This post is a nudge to consider more strongly the platforms you wish to sell your book (if you are selling it).

It is a reminder to go to the places where your potential reader will most likely hang out. 

That is the message.

Kyrie Irving found Hebrews to Negroes and made it a bestseller by posting the Amazon link (without a caption) because the book was sitting on a platform where readers are most likely to search for books. 

Go where your readers are most likely to hang out, and search for books like yours.


Click here to access more Indie Author Basics Articles.

Protecting Your Digital Space

Photo by Monstera

After going back and forth with someone on TikTok who tried to come for me and didn’t know what she was talking about, I eventually concluded she was a troll and shall be blocked.

And then I thought, why don’t we do this more often? Why do we sit in fruitless debates with people who have proven themselves unworthy of our time?

And then I thought, why aren’t we more protective of our space in the digital world? Would you let someone come into your house, sit down and disrespect you to your face? So why do we allow people to come on our pages and blogs, sit in the comment section, and talk to us crazy?

I don’t know where we got this idea that we have to accept all the energy that comes our way on these social media sites, but that block button is there for a reason. That unfriend/delete button is there for a reason, and it is not only okay but necessary to make good use of them.

Protecting our digital space means establishing boundaries around our online presence. You don’t have to tolerate trolls and people who just want some attention.

“My platforms are my digital real estate, and I try to take the trash out on my properties. I block, report as spam, and mute as I deem necessary.”

Luvvie Ajayi Jones

These social media platforms might not be 100% in our control, but those things we can control, we should. We can turn off notifications if they become too much. We can block people for disrespecting us. We can even ask for certain content to be censored. We have the power to moderate what we want to occupy our energy fields.

Healthy debates are welcomed, where both parties are mature enough to listen to different perspectives to bring clarity. But online things go left quickly because people hide behind keyboards. Much of what people say here, they wouldn’t say, looking you in the eye. For that, we have to be even more diligent about establishing boundaries.

No, people cannot talk to you any way they want, and you do not have to keep them around so they can suck up all your energy.

As we go into the new month, remember that trees shed their leaves for a reason. Everything in nature is getting rid of the old to embrace the new. We should too.

Bless those who shall be blessed and block those who shall be blocked.

Don’t Throw It Away: How Short Stories from My Teenage Years Became An Urban Fantasy Fiction Novel

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood

When I was about seventeen and eighteen, I wrote stories about my sisters and our friends in this red notebook. Then, we would all sit on the porch, and I would read it to the neighborhood. Everyone had nicknames but also knew who they were so it was hilarious, and they loved it.

When I moved out of my mother’s house a couple of years later, I carried that notebook. One day, while reading it, I decided I wanted to turn it into a play. There was only one problem:

I was not the teenager who wrote it.

By now, I was deeply biblical, had loc’d my hair, and changed my name. This hood tale didn’t fit the newer version of me.

I decided to keep the characters but change their names and give them more dignity. They were successful Black men and women instead of whores and hustlers. In the original story, Tina was a lawyer because when we were younger, that’s what my twin sister Tracey wanted to be when she grew up. In the red notebook, Tina was Tracey.

This dope cover for my first screenplay was designed by Black graphic artist Andre Hawkins of Kenosis Design Innovations

I published Pearls Before Swine in 2014, registered it with the Screen Writer’s Guild, and participated in my first book signing at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Chicago, which went well. 

And then, I started this blog!

I made the mistake* of naming this blog after the book hence why it’s called thepbsblog. Over time, I decided to keep the name for a few reasons. You can read about that here.

*I don’t recommend authors start blogs and name them after the title of their book any more than I would advise authors to create websites with the name of their books. You will write more books. Are you going to create a new website for every book? It is easier to brand yourself using your name.

Although it did okay when first released, and I love the cover, I better understood how to use my voice and messaging after The Stella Trilogy. I had grown again and vowed to be more relatable. The story was also not properly edited and the plot was confusing to people outside of my immediate circle.

But instead of throwing it away, I reworked the first chapter and shared it on this blog.

Then, I shared another chapter.

And another and another until I was ten chapters into this crazy fantasy world that, to my surprise, ya’ll loved!

And that’s when it hit me.

The story would evolve again.

I would turn Pearls Before Swine into The Men with Blue Eyes. And then, for the last change, I decided I wanted these angels to be women, which is how The Women with Blue Eyes was born. I used the backstory and characters of PBS with a fresh plot.

TWWBE is still heavily spiritual, but in a way where even if you are not religious, you could still relate to it. This was intentional.

I would love for this story to take on another evolution: for Shonda Rhimes to turn it into a TV series. (Somebody tell her people to call my people.)

I am also considering sharing more of the backstory of PBS in another installment of The Women with Blue Eyes. The details about Ronnie and Big Sam and how it all went down was in the first book. This is material I can still use.

When Tina’s nephew, Ronnie is killed, she is left to care for his siblings and to solve a series of mysterious murders involving only Black men. Investigating each murder thrusts her and her team into a world of deities, demons, and fallen angels, leading Tina to battle a serial killer beyond this realm.

The moral of this story is don’t throw anything away! Just repurpose it.