My Nora Experience (and applying advice)

Book One in The Nora White Story drops in just three days (depending on when you’re reading this). What a journey it has been. I now know what I want to do and what I definitely do not want to do with Book Two. The feedback has been amazing so far and I mean both positive and constructive. This project, in particular, is different than anything I’ve ever written for sure. I feel like The Stella Trilogy helped me to find my voice and now that I have grabbed hold of the vision, I can now continue on in that direction. For me personally, every new book feels new. Every time I sit down to write a story I am a new writer. I am venturing into a world that has not been visited before and I learn something new with every experience. This has not been more true than when writing this book.

One of the ways in which this book is different than the others is that I learned so much last year that I consciously set out to apply new things I’ve learned about what to do and what not to do. This has had both positive and negative results for me. There are some things I won’t do again (not even with Book Two) and some things I will do again. In many ways, ignorance is bliss. I found myself thinking back on days I knew less than I do today and how freeing it was. But knowledge holds responsibility so I could not do the same things with this book as I’d done with the others in areas where I now know better. An example of good advice I sought to apply is my new understanding of dialogue tags. I had no idea how important they were and am now ashamed of my other books lol. But like I said, every new book is new for me so my new book will always seem far better than my previous ones. I hope to sharpen my writing skills and to make every book better than the last. It is my hope that Book Two of Nora’s Story is better than Book One for instance. Where Book One falters, I hope Book Two excels.

Another, probably the most important, thing I’ve learned (and I’ll elaborate more on this at a later time) is that once you put all the writing advice into practice, you actually get to see what works for real and what doesn’t because the experience is the best teacher. I can get so frenzied sometimes until a tiny voice says, “Shh. You’re learning. If you had not done it and failed, you would not have known that it doesn’t work or that it does. Now you can share what you’ve learned with others.” It’s a completely different world than just reading about it. Once you actually do it, your eyes open up to new perspectives and ways of thought. When you actually publish the book and apply all this advice, you are able to better discern, through trial and error, what is worth holding onto and what is not. You’ll find that it’s a lot deeper than it seems on the surface but at the same time so worth it. You’ll make mistakes but you will see the world of publishing with new eyes once you actually do it. So, what are you waiting for? Nike said it best, “Just Do It”.

Renaissance releases Saturday.

Check out the latest review

courtesy of  Nadine Tomlinson on her website HERE.

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Before the Week Ends: Important Reminders

Hey Guys!

Before you tuck in for the week, I want to remind you of some important things that are going on. First, with the Renaissance release date coming up I will not be very present in the days to come. However, you will see me around so do keep your eyes open. I’ll still be reading and commenting on your blogs and all that good stuff. After release I will take a short break before getting back on the grind. I still have to get Book Two ready for the December release but I intend on taking some time off first.

Poetry Contest

If you have not already heard, I am hosting my first poetry contest on Colleen’s Blog with some amazing prizes. Please do head on over to see how you can participate. I will be doing more promo posts for it but in the meantime, head on over. Also, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to inform me. I also appreciate as much promo of the contest as possible just remember:

It will help us if you could promote the original post. Not this post but the one on

>>>Colleen’s Blog HERE. <<<

Nora Book Giveaway

I have not been promoting this much, I admit. Part of the reason is that I did not time it well. In the future, I intend on using a better program and being more organized (didn’t mean for everything to be so close). BUT, there is still room to win!

Fifteen people have already entered for a chance to win a signed paperback copy of Renaissance with a matching bookmark and my author seal. That’s not all. Winners will also win a $10 Amazon Gift-card. I am choosing two winners so go ahead and jump on it.

CLICK HERE to enter but hurry. There are only 3 days left!

Thunderclap

If you have not already supported my Thunderclap, there is still time. I am EIGHT  people (at this writing) away from my goal. It’s free and only takes a second. Thanks so much everyone for the support.

UPDATE: I have made my goal! If you would like to still support, you can. There’s still time left on the clock which means from now I can gather as much extra support as possible before the big day.

CLICK HERE to support with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or all three (I move up three points when you use all three).

If you would like to learn more about what Thunderclap is, CLICK HERE for my post and why you should support me. (Also keep in mind that after the campaign I am publishing the results and my thoughts on this blog. I am saving my data to share with you. Should authors use it? Or no? I’ll share my experience. Stay tuned.)

Social Media

If you are not already following me online, now is a good time to do so! It will help you stay in tune while I am away.

Facebook

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IG

Email List Sign-Up (If you really want the goodies!) Join HERE

Guest author: Yecheilyah Ysrayl – Speaking it into existence

Are you speaking your goals into existence or waiting for a miracle to happen? You are the miracle! Speak it. Believe it. Act on it. Receive it. Thanks Sue for having me.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

This picture was taken last year at a restaurant in Atlanta. I had just finished a book signing for the release of Book 3 in The Stella Trilogy and was to act in the stage-play Blakk Amerika: From Prophets to Pimps the next day. Hungry, me and two sisters decided to sneak off from the group and grab a bite. This is me posing with the daughter of one of the sisters with me.

This picture is significant because it is at this dinner that I explained my vision for my next book, Nora’s story. The ladies were encouraging as we discussed our thoughts on The Harlem Renaissance movement and the ideas for the book. I wanted to create an environment where the character would, literally, interact with history. What if you were seventeen years old and had the chance to be in the presence of such persons as Langston…

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I Need Your Social Media Support

June is here!

That means we are ONE month away from the release of Renaissance: The Nora White Story Book One and I need your social media support.

My Thunderclap Campaign is LIVE now!

Thunderclap is like crowdfunding for social media. Instead of raising funds you are raising support. Neat huh? Here’s how it works:

You set up a campaign and set a social reach goal. Once the campaign is approved and goes live, supporters can pledge an action (a Facebook Post, Tweet, both, etc.) of the campaigns message as set by the host. This message will go live on the day the host sets. This means that if an author has a book coming out for instance (yours truly), the message will go out on the day of release from the social media accounts of everyone who pledged at the same time, making a thunderous noise of support!

The Kicker: Of course, there’s always something. For the free option, for the messages to go out, the host (yours truly) must reach her social reach by the date set. For this, I have set this campaign up a month in advance to give me time to build support.

I need at least 100 people to “donate” a pledge towards my message on their social media by July 15th. It’s free, of course, as you’re only donating a social media blast. There are 1,756 people subscribed to his blog as I write this. I am only asking for 100 of you to support me. Are you in?? Let’s do this!

About the Book:

When seventeen-year-old Nora White successfully graduates High School in 1922 Mississippi and is College bound, everyone is overjoyed and excited. Everyone except Nora. She dreams of Harlem, Cotton Clubs, Fancy Dresses, and Langston Hughes. For years, she’s sat under Mr. Oak, the big oak tree on the plush green grass of her families five acres, and daydreamed of The Black Mecca.

The ambitious, young Nora is fascinated by the prospect of being a famous writer in The Harlem Renaissance and decides she doesn’t want to go to College. Despite her parent’s staunch protest, Nora finds herself in Jacobsville, New York, a small town forty-five minutes outside of Harlem.

Shocked by their daughter’s disappearance, Gideon and Molly White are plagued with visions of the deadly south, like the brutal lynching of Gideon’s sister years ago. As the couple embark on a frightening and gut wrenching search for Nora, they are each stalked by their own traumatic past. Meanwhile, Nora learns that the North is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Can Gideon and Molly overcome their disturbing past in time to find their daughter before it’s too late? 

“When I finished reading Renaissance: The Nora White Story I actually shouted. I loved, loved this book. From beginning to end. The characters are still alive inside my mind. The setting as well. I could smell the hot soup the girls had or the rain on the hot earth. The dialogue is superb; I can still hear the soft southern accent in my mind.”

– Adele Marie Park

“The author’s writing is beautiful. She captivates the dialect of the southern speak wonderfully and I found the description of each and every action and location to just roll off my tongue as I read.” – Rachel Poli

“I consider myself and anyone else aware of her to be pretty lucky already as this author has a pretty powerful perspective and is more than capable of articulating her experiences and thought processes as it relates to the cultural upbringing of the African American experience. Her name is Yecheilyah Ysrayl.  – Dottie Daniels

CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT

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p.s. To be the first to receive such exciting news be sure to sign-up for my email list! Click here.

It’s Release Day!

Congratulations Amy! Whoop Whoop! I had the pleasure of reading this book in advance and I love Amy’s descriptions of places I’ve never been! First it was Hawaii in The House of the Hanging Jade. This time is Scotland. Check her out ya’ll!

*Comments disabled here. Please support on the original post*

Reade and Write

Good Tuesday morning! When I started working on The House on Candlewick Lane a million years ago (at least it seems that way), it felt like February 7, 2017, would never arrive. But here it is, and I’m thrilled to have the book out in the world!

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For those readers who may not be familiar with what the book is about, here’s the Amazon teaser, along with the link to purchase the book if you’re interested:

“It is every parent’s worst nightmare. Greer Dobbins’ daughter has been kidnapped—and spirited across the Atlantic to a hiding place in Scotland. Greer will do anything to find her, but the streets of Edinburgh hide a thousand secrets—including some she’d rather not face.

Art historian Dr. Greer Dobbins thought her ex-husband, Neill, had his gambling addiction under control. But in fact he was spiraling deeper and deeper into debt. When a group of shady…

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The Process of Release – Planning Book Releases in Advance

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Consider this a commercial break into Laying Bricks. I’m still working on the next episode so you’ll have to wait another week. To make up for it, I decided to speak on another aspect of Self-Pub you may find useful.

What I love about book publishing, self-publishing specifically is the many new experiences I go through with each book I publish. When I look at some of my older works (which I still have available) I think “Goodness, how amateur of me!” To the point, I almost want to remove everything from the shelves and start over, but I don’t because of the way they aid in my experience and testimony, contributing to the proof of my growth as a writer. There’s so much I did not know way back when to include how to properly launch my books.

I won’t speak extensively on this topic, or at least not now. What I will say at this time is that one thing I’m learning is the importance of making some noise (OK so maybe just a few taps) as early as possible in the book release process. One of the ways to spread the word about a book is to create buzz about it before it’s released. It reminds me of something my sister always says, “Be thankful before you get your blessing. Say thank you that it’s on the way.”

Once I know for sure that I’ll publish a book, I try to begin the process of release as soon as possible. The process of release, what’s that? Well, it’s something I just made up (you can do that when you Self-Publish you know. Makeup stuff, try new things, your book, your rules).

The Process of Release (again, an EC thing) is not the same as the book publishing process. It’s part of that process sure, but it’s also a separate entity altogether. My book publishing process is when I am preparing my book for publishing. It includes first writing the book, of course, formatting, editing, revising, book cover, and everything in-between. My process of release, however, is when I am engaged in letting people know that I am going to in fact release another book. It’s the minor or major marketing and promotion I do to lead up to the book’s release. It could be as subtle as posting updates on social media, or as major as an entire campaign. The Process of Release can start as early as one year before the book is written to six months before it’s to be released.

The truth is that it’s never too early, but it can be too late. I cringe when I see debut authors release books that I never heard of. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a proud moment and I am proud of them. I do not cringe because of the book’s publication. I cringe because letting people know you have a book out on the day of release is not a good idea. And while I am no expert in the least, I do know that authors who release books their audience has been in on in some capacity has a greater chance of spreading the word in a wider capacity than those who pop up from nowhere with “My book is out!” Your book? What book? I didn’t know you were writing a book.

While I’m still learning concerning those major book release campaigns and will be soliciting the advice of many of you pros, I do know that there are some things we authors can do on the smaller scale in advance of our book’s release that may help a great deal:

The Process – People feel differently about this but if it’s your thing, go for it. One way to get the word out is to inform people of your process. Are you in the first draft stage? Have you finished your first draft? Have you met today’s word count? Are you revising? Beta readers? Editors? Let your blogger friends or social media buds know you’re cooking up something in the kitchen.

Sharing – If you’re feeling brave, share some excerpts on your blog (you do have a blog…right?). Again, people feel differently about this since not everyone wants to share their work. Some people feel it’s to an authors detriment and some feel it is to an author’s advantage. The truth is that no one really knows. The experience is different for each person and a solid list of rules for self-publishing does not exist. That said, it’s really up to you.

If you are feeling up to it, be sure your excerpts are the best of the best but don’t give away spoilers. You may go far as to be sure it’s a little bit edited for grammatical errors prior to uploading it. It may not be final, but it’s all about giving readers the best experience even at the early stages. You can use Grammarly or another program to help edit your posts.

Milestones– This is something I do a lot because it helps keep me on track. Set a series of short-term goals and share your milestones with your social media buds. Maybe you plan to have a book cover finished by the end of the year. Decide on a date for this and do a grand book cover release on your blog. When I say big, I mean be super-duper crazily excited about it. Plaster it across your social media. Use the book cover release as your official come out. People are highly visual. Use that to your advantage. This year, my book cover release will probably coincide with the official release date for my 2017 novel “Renaissance: The Nora White Story”. It will probably include social media headers and images of the book cover with the pending release date and perhaps a quote or two from advanced readers.

Flyers – Offline, print flyers of your book cover and pending release date and drop those babies off to libraries. They usually let you sit flyers around on the front desk or in the display glass (I’ve done it before). Or you can just deliver them to the people in the library directly! lol. Just don’t be rude about it.

Blog Hops, Guest Postings, Author Interviews – Believe it or not, even if you’re not talking about your book, being a guest on someone’s blog or doing an author interview can help generate buzz. Not that you should stalk people, but usually interviews end with something like, “So, what are you working on now?” I put blog hops in here because I’ve seen many authors doing it and it seems to work. Though I haven’t tried it yet. I am considering it but I’m not sure. Have you blog hopped? Tell us how it works!

Strategy – As Self-Publishers we can really do what we want with our release but I would still recommend doing so strategically. Release your book around high book reading cycles. A book reading cycle is a time where people purchase books the most or do the most reading. We’ve all heard it before: selling books are not like other businesses, nevertheless, there are ways selling books is similar to other businesses. One way is a cycle. Usually, businesses bulk up and do sales and all sorts of things around popular sales cycles. Could be a holiday or whatever the product is popular for. For your book release, consider releasing it around high reading cycles:

  • Holidays
  • Weekends
  • Summer

…and if your theme is AFAM historical in nature, February for Black History Month.

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Epic Book Release – Make your book release day a special one. Since 2014 (when I started this blog and got serious about book publishing) I’ve been releasing my books online and in person on the same day. If my book goes live on Amazon on release day, I’ll spend that same day pushing paperback sells at a hotel lobby or library with book signings. This gives me a chance to speak, sign hard copies, increase total launch day sales, and takes pics of my newborn to post online. I mean my new book of course.

Things to remember when you’re up close and personal:

– Purchase books in advance of event (like 3mos in advance. Live events are more expensive since you’re renting space, possibly traveling, and purchasing items so purchase books in bulk ahead of time).

– Include promo items: Bookmarks, business cards, flyers, post cards, whatever you can bring to liven up your table and give away as gifts

– Laptop – You can use your laptop two ways: You can have your eBook page open for staunch eBook readers. They can approach your station, which you’ll have set up nice and professional like they’re applying for a job at Walmart, and they can purchase the eBook there, supervised by a personal assistant, while you sell the paperback to those wanting hardcopies.

Or, you can use your laptop to show your book trailers. Of course this is all dependent on the internet. If the place has no internet, throw a QR code on your flyers. They can scan it with their phone taking them to your site and you won’t miss a sale.

– Make sure you have change and something to carry it in, and an electronic payment method. I used Square, a credit/debit card reader you can attach to your smart phone to process card payments.

– A bunch of writing pens for autographs.

– Optional. Print large Posters of your book cover and hang them around or attach to a board so that people entering know you’re in the place to be. Have an arrow next to your lovely sign that you, the awesome author, is selling books around the corner.

– Be sure to have someone designated to take pics, a photographer or your sister with the HD camera. Trust me, you won’t have time to do it and you wouldn’t want to miss capturing the moment.

Even if you release strictly online, there are things you can do for your electronic release:

  • Giveaway – have a major giveaway (include a bookmark, business cards, and flyer in package) or something exciting.
  • Blog Release Party  – Do a blog release party or a game related to the theme of your book. You can host this on your blog or by throwing a Facebook Launch Party. To learn more about how to plan for a Fb Launch Party, google it. No, seriously, everything is on Google pretty much.
  • Start a thunderclap campaign. I did this and its great. Instead of paying for social media  people pay in a tweet or facebook post. You set a goal and those who sign up pledge a tweet or post. On the day of release, their accounts simultaneously post about your book release!

To succeed in anything, we often look at what we know but the key is what you do not know. Only when you can understand that you don’t know anything, can you come to truly understand. The Stella Trilogy is not my first work. My Self-Publishing career did not begin with The Stella Trilogy.

I’ve actually been publishing since 2008 but it wasn’t until 2014 when I realized I knew nothing about publishing, that I truly started to learn a little and it is why I am most known for Stella and consider it my best work. My hope is that my next series does better, garners more reviews, and reaches a wider audience. Now that I know I know nothing, I am ready to understand all.

The same can be said for blogging in general. Do you really know how to blog or do you just perceive to know?

In short, this is why I cover the very basics of Self-Publishing. This is why I talk about the ABC, goo-goo, gaga. Because until we can admit that we don’t know anything, only then can we begin to see. If you don’t understand the simple, how can you understand the great?

And so, I am for building strong foundations so that from there, I can build on what I build.

In closing, we want to start letting people know that yes, we are writing a book and plan to publish it at least six months before the book is to be released. Funds are limited, at least mine are! That said, it doesn’t have to be anything grandiose, but set goals. Will you get lots of reviews? Probably not. Will you sell lots of copies? Probably not. But, what if you do? The truth is you don’t really know until you try. Don’t wait three months or two weeks before the book is to be released to let people know about it. A general rule of thumb is that when you release your book, no one should be surprised.

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Missed the first 3 episodes of Laying Bricks? This is a great time to catch up before next week!

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 (More on revision with a focus on editing)

Sign- Up for my Newsletter  for a chance to read more Self-Pub Tips, Updates on my latest projects, and a free PDF of Book 1 in The Stella Trilogy: Between Slavery and Freedom.

Thunderclap: 1 Day Left!

Soooo we are only one day away from the conclusion of my Thunderclap and two days away from my next release. Friday is release day for the 3rd installment of The Stella Trilogy and my Thunderclap is at an amazing 30%, not bad for a five day campaign!

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Now, for the fun part. I have only ONE day left to raise the other 70%!

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I am not going to be on Facebook any time soon but for those of you who are, I’d appreciate it if you told your friends about my thunderclap. You can tell them how nice of a person I am and how I would LOVE to have their support :).

OK, tell them what you want, just don’t forget the Thunder Link! Hey, I like that, “Thunder Link”. Has a nice ring to it.

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Thunder Tip:

At this point I just like saying Thunder. Any who, here’s a tip:

Obviously, I started my Thunderclap late. When participating in any crowd funding, make sure to launch at least 2 weeks in advance. This will give the extra busy people in your life time to catch up with you. Secondly, if you are going to launch a campaign late (yes, like me), work smarter, not harder. This means you can’t be afraid to take risks. I knew it would be a challenge to launch a Thunderclap so late. I also knew I would possibly not reach my goal in time. So, to make up for what I’ll miss, I made sure to upgrade my plan to Thunderclap Lightening. Under this option, even if I don’t make my goal I will still get your support. That’s right! No one has wasted their time! To the 30 people who have supported so far, your social media messages will still post and your support will still count on friday! So you see, weigh your options. Know what works and what doesn’t. Know what will be a benefit and what won’t. With my campaign getting off to a slow start, it was a major benefit for me to go with the paid plan to ensure positive results.