I hope you are all doing well and all that good stuff. I have not blogged much lately because I am working on The Women with Blue Eyes and tons of other projects, including our 4th Annual Poetry Contest I want to get underway next month.
If you are new here, welcome to The PBS Blog! This is a great time for you to learn more about who I am through my most recent interview.
Below is a snippet of the interview and links with WRDE-TV, an affiliate of CBS. Also find links to Fox 34 and WBOC, affiliate of NBC. (If you read one, you’ve read the others cause it’s the same article, just on different platforms.)
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
Y: Faith without works is dead, so my best advice is to do your work. Get on your knees and pray and then get on your feet and work. I hate to sound so overly simplistic, but sometimes things are a lot simpler than we make them out to be. We must be willing to do the work necessary to manifest all that we believe we can achieve. Belief is good, but alone it is not enough so I cannot tell you to just believe in yourself. You must prove this belief with action. What you say you believe is one thing, but what you do exposes who you really are. Whatever it is you say you want, you must act on it for it to become a reality.
Not only must we love ourselves and believe in our ability, but we must also be prepared to do the work necessary to turn the unseen into the seen. Consistency is also key because while actions speak louder than words, consistency speaks louder than both. These skills Yah has blessed us with are not intended to serve only us. They are meant for us to multiply. This is possible when we combine a steadfast belief with a compelling work ethic.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
Success to me means to genuinely enjoy what you do with your life without sacrificing your authenticity. It means to multiply your gifts to serve as many people as is destined for as long as the breath of life is in your body and you are walking this earth. To do so with as much grit and love as possible, and to do it all while staying true to your integrity.
That’s right. Greenwood Dist is named after the Greenwood District of North Tulsa, home of the renowned Black Wallstreet. [You can learn more about Black Wallstreet in an older version of Black History Fun Fact Friday here.]
Greenwood Dist. is passionate about “proving that a black-owned business can celebrate black excellence while still making the market’s dopest clothing.” Greenwood believes that “fashion, culture, media, and art can and SHOULD help advocate and ensure that people’s voices are heard. Black culture is the biggest determinant of what’s “cool” and popular. Our culture determines everything from the way society talks to the brands that are popular.”
And I’m here for it ya’ll!
Like this “I am Black History,” shirt and those dope sweaters at the top? There are many more like it! Shop Greenwood Dist. by clicking the link below.
Be sure to use discount code Soul at checkout for 10% off!!
Since I got my butt kicked editing the hard-copy of my author media kit yesterday (the longer one I print out, not the one in the sidebar) I figure it will be the topic of today’s discussion. IT owes me that much!
I have slowed down my writing articles a lot lately so I figure we were due for one. I’ll discuss why I’ve slowed down at a later time. Anywho, the author media kit…
Though “It is always worth it” (See my most recent guest post here), that doesn’t mean it’s not important to focus on putting energy toward the right things (balance is seriously everything!) Energy and time spent directed toward the wrong thing is just as ineffective as no energy toward the work at all. Running into a wall will produce the same thing as standing still. It is insanity, repeating the same thing and expecting a different result. Posting everyday on your blog will not bring more views if you aren’t also networking with others or people can’t even find a follow button on your blog at which to follow your blog (my most serious blog pet peeve!) That is why I have shifted my perspective and started to focus on activities that will give me a return on my time. It is about growth.
At some point in your writing life, you are going to have to get a bit organized. Whether that is posting sticky notes on your computer as reminders (guilty), keeping a notebook filled with notes you may or may not be able to read (guilty again), or having an author media kit.
I’ve been updating my writing life in more ways than one and have found that being able to go to my author media kit for links has been a great help in getting things done. What is an author media kit anyway?
An Author Media Kit is a collection of marketing material that anyone wishing to know more about you as an author can access and use for articles they may want to write on you, interviews, and other forms of publicity. It is a collection of branded hype-free marketing materials and collateral material for journalists.
The media kit is always a work-in-progress. It is something that must be revisited and added to as you gain more exposure for your work and should be both electronic and hard-copy. (You can find my e-copy on the sidebar of this blog HERE. It’s a little bootleg but I’m working on it). It doesn’t matter where you are in your career, every writer can use a media kit. This means that your “status” as a writer has nothing to do with it. Whether you have twenty book reviews or none, whether you are a Best Seller or novice, whether you’re a Self-Publishing “Pro” or not, whether you are visible in the community or not. All of this has nothing to do with the Author Media Kit. Easy to put together if you invest the time, you do not need any special skill set, training, or experience. In fact, the author media kit can be bought if you have the money and is not something you send out to people in the form of a “Buy my Book” Ad.
“Luck is preparation meeting the moment of opportunity.” – Oprah Winfrey
Look at it as an opportunity to prepare. When the door opens for you to appear on someone’s radio show or your article to be featured in a magazine or whatever you consider “doing it big”, the media kit will come in handy. In fact, the interviewer will refer to the kit for basic information on you as his form of preparation and research.
The Author Media Kit is:
A major marketing package
Anyone should be able to access it through your website/blog
Journalist expect it
Ensures accuracy in news stories
Helps people to promote you and your book
Free publicity – Free publicity beats paid Ads
7 Key Audiences Who Will Access Your Media Kit
Journalist – Broadcasters, Talk Show Hosts
Bloggers – Easy access to photos bloggers can use, social media handles
Reviewers— Amazon reviews in your kit
Anyone Who Wants to Promote you or Your Book
The primary goal of the media Kit is to make all these people’s job easier. By making their job easy, they are going to promote you and your book.
Caution. The Author Media Kit is not something you send out to people as a “Buy My Book” Ad. It is something that is offered in the event someone needs more information on you. It is also there in the event someone happens to organically come across your website. All the information they need to know about you is right there. It is not even for you, but for others.
Personally, it helps me to stay organized and cut down on a lot of time. It helps me to:
Easily access social media links and photos for guest blog posts
Easily update my author website or anything else that may require such info as contact emails and links
Copy and paste needed info into emails of inquiry
Share across social media in the event someone is looking for more information about me.
I can go on but you get the point. It even helps in the case of Book Reviews! Are you tired of having to send your social media handles out? Author photos? Send the reviewer to your Author Media Kit. There, they can find author photos, social media links, and anything else that they need and so can you.
Not only does the Author Media Kit help others to find you but it helps you too. My online Media Kit (which needs work itself but that’s the kit for you. It will always need an upgrade!) is working for me right now. I can go to it for my social media links and my bios for the website, cutting down on time I can now spend doing something else.
(Speaking of Bio, it is good to have at least 3 different sized bios in case someone wants to write something on you and they may not have a lot of time. They can copy and paste the short one or the extended one according to their schedule. It is good to have a short bio, a medium length bio, and an extended bio.)
It’s about taking the steps needed so that you do not drown in this sea that is Indie Publishing by making yourself easier to find. Just like genuinely supporting others, by making the job of others easier you naturally become better. (Also, write your bio in 3rd person so people can cut and paste it. Again, the job of the Author Media Kit is to make the job easier for whoever is reaching out to you.)
Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the author of The Stella Trilogy, Blogger, and Poet. She is currently working to release two books in “The Nora White Story” this year–about a young woman 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 July 15, 2017. For updates on this and other projects be sure to follow this blog and to subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list HERE.
I love book trailers, though lots of people don’t. They do not feel that they add value to the marketing of the book and that it is a waste of time. I do not agree. While Book Trailers may not appear to contribute a whole lot to the process, they do provide visual stimulation for potential readers in understanding what your book is about. Making them is also a lot of fun! Which is primarily why I make them because I enjoy doing so. A Book Trailer is, in short, a visual representation of a book. In a world dominated by technology, more and more people learn best by way of media: moving pictures and music for instance. The same way people read more e-books than paperback, in the same way more and more people are drawn in by movies and TV shows.
It is not just the Book Trailer itself that makes people skeptical of Book Trailers, it is the quality. The reason Book Trailers are not very popular is because the production of most of these videos is not very good: cheap graphics, still frames, simple fonts, and cheesy music. And this is the part where I tell you not to buy book trailers. I just told you they are fun to watch and good to have so why not pay* for them? Because you don’t have to. If you’re going to pay for a collection of still frames behind cheesy music you may as well learn to make your own.
*The only time Book Trailers should be bought is if the quality is on point. I’ve seen some of what people have claimed as some of the best Book Trailers and so far I’m not impressed.
Using Your Skills
One thing I’ve noticed immediately about the Self-Publishing business is how to invest in my own talents and skills first before seeking assistance that’s going to cost me lots of money. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll always need professional help somewhere, but you are a professional at something yourself too. You may not know it yet but there is something that you do very well and yet you pay someone else to do it for you.
One thing I am passionate about aside from writing is photography and video production. Now, I don’t know much about photography, but I developed an interest in taking pictures in High School when I was on the yearbook team. It was my job to go around the school snapping pictures of assemblies, basketball games, meetings, and interviews. Because I was the only person on the team, I received valuable one on one instruction from my English teacher who ran the program. She taught me how to transfer these pictures to a computer where they will be organized on the template that will become the yearbook. As I look back, I was in the infancy stages of understanding how to put a book together and also how to produce a video.
I am not very knowledgeable concerning the technicalities of photography, but video production is another topic. I’ve worked with a number of video software programs to include: Video Explosion, Pinnacle, I Movie, Power Director, and I am in the process of learning Final Cut Pro. What I like about each program is that they basically have the exact same foundation. The concept of how to build a video from the ground up, even if you’re just using Windows Movie Maker, is the same. Hollywood movies even use the same basic format! There is more they can do of course and the technicalities require more brain power, but the basic make-up of how to put clips together, add background music and text is essentially the same. It is fascinating to watch movies and see the text come across the screen because I know exactly how they did it. On a much lower level of course, but I have a basic understanding of how it is done.
Book Trailers can be done in so many creative ways. Here is one that is very simple but that caught and kept my attention:
What this trailer achieved is making me want to read the book which is what the Trailer is all about. While this isn’t my style of production, the voice and constant moving of text keeps us captivated to the end.
I started experimenting with video production seven years ago and for this reason I’ve never paid for a Book Trailer. Instead, I’ve done my own research and utilized my own skills to produce the best quality videos possible.
My style of production is the Movie Trailer. I produce Book Trailers that are as close to that movie trailer feel as is possible without going too far. Did I say too far? Yes, you can go too far. If it’s produced to look too much like a movie with actors and all, as is some book trailers produced by Hollywood directors, it can draw away from the audience desire to read the book. Take this trailer here for instance. It’s OK, but I think it’s too much. I don’t want to read a book; I want to see the movie:
I’m not sure if there is a movie for this book but the point is this trailer is to promote the book. We must keep in mind that Book Trailers are designed to draw attention to the book, not the possible movie to the book which is why this fall I will be launching a video series to help you to learn to make your own Book Trailers. You will learn how to acquire royalty free photos, instrumentals people actually want to listen to, and even video footage that does not transgress copyright laws for your next bestseller.
These videos will not be available on this blog so please make sure you are Subscribed to My Newsletter to receive this valuable private instruction free of cost and to also receive notice of when this series will begin.
In the meantime, below is a video I put together for my Stella Trilogy Presentation in Atlanta this past February. You’ll be amazed at how easily you can put this together.
Have you ever wondered about those people who were part of history but who you never hear about? Sometimes people get lost to history. For whatever reason, their stories don’t make it to mainstream news, most of the time until years or even centuries later. Below is a list of four random people who were involved in major historical events in some way but whom we never hear much about. I will list a few every Thursday time permitting.
Irene Morgan – We have all heard of Rosa Parks, but there were at least three women who refused to give up their seats on the bus in the Jim Crow south over the course of history. Eleven years before Parks, Irene Morgan, later known as Irene Morgan Kirkaldy, an African-American woman, was arrested in Middlesex County, Virginia, in 1944 for refusing to give up her seat on an interstate bus according to a state law on segregation. The Irene Morgan Decision inspired the men and women of CORE to create a nationwide protest movement called “The Journey of Reconciliation” when groups of civil rights activists rode buses and trains across states in the South in 1947, a sort of precursor to The Freedom Rides of 1961.
The Irene Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia, handed down a landmark decision on June 3, 1946, when they agreed that segregation violated the Constitution’s protection of interstate commerce. Irene Morgan v. Commonwealth served as a catalyst for further court rulings and the Civil Rights movement. Eight years later, the Supreme Court decided in Brown v. Board of Education that segregation violated Equal Rights Protection.
Irene Morgan died on August 10, 2007.
Sarah Collins Rudolph – We’re all familiar with the story of the Four Little Girls who were killed in the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham Alabama. However, there were five little girls who were injured, four died but one remained. Sarah Collins Rudolph is the fifth little girl who was injured in the 1963 bombing. Her story touches my heart because she was blinded and there is nothing like losing your eyes. In 1963, the Ku Klux Klan bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Sarah Collins Rudolph survived the blast, but her sister Addie Mae and three other girls were killed. Today, Sarah still struggles with the aftermath of the bombing.
Speaking of Addie, another lost to history fact (something that is just becoming known but that didn’t make news upon discovery) is concerning Addie’s missing body. Thirty years after the bombing, her sisters visited the grave. Seeing the condition, the neglected state it was in, they decided to move the body to a better-maintained area. However, when they dug up the grave, they discovered the corpse was gone but not only was the corpse gone but so was the casket itself. Addie Mae’s body was missing. The last reported update came in May of this year (2017) when an underground radar company searched and found what appears to be a child’s casket. Read More Here
Virgil Lamar Ware – Emmett Till wasn’t the only youngin who perished in that day. Virgil Lamar Ware is a name we don’t hear very often or probably never did. At 13, Virgil was riding on the handlebars of his brother’s bicycle on September 15, 1963 when he was fatally shot by white teenagers. The white youths had come from a segregationist rally held in the aftermath of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing. Talk about six degrees of separation (Six degrees of separation is the theory that any person on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries.)
Lamar Smith – We have all heard of Emmett Till who was murdered August 28 of 1955. What we don’t hear a lot about is the murder of Lamar Smith just two and a half weeks earlier of this same year. On August 13, 1955 in Brookhaven, Mississippi, a man named Lamar Smith was shot dead on the courthouse lawn by a white man in broad daylight while dozens of people watched. The killer was never indicted because no one would admit they saw a white man shoot a black man.