3 Lessons from a Book Festival

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Book Fest, 2018. Georgia State University

Saturday, I attended another live book signing event, the inaugural Atlanta African American Book Festival. It was not my first signing but it was my first festival. Here are some things I learned.

Spend Modestly on Your Decor

I saw many beautiful, grand banners and signs at the festival. The authors did not come to play ya’ll. They DID that. I couldn’t stop smiling. Of course, my main focus was on my table but I wouldn’t be EC if I didn’t observe the environment around me, if I didn’t seek out a learning opportunity.

I noticed that the tables that were neat but modest sold at the same rate as the tables that were elaborate and fascinating. While captivating, without the personal appeal of the author talking and engaging with the people, the large banners and signs didn’t add anything extra far as I could tell. Not to mention that many of these banners are very costly. I took this lesson from it:

Spend modestly on decor. It’s nice to go big (go big or go home right? Lol) BUT, if you can’t afford it, don’t overthink it.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to attend a live event. I got lots of comments on this poster:

Most loved table art goes to: The I am Soul poster!

I got it made at Walmart for less than $20. You don’t have to have a boring table but you don’t have to spend a fortune. Between Walmart, Dollar Tree, Hobby Lobby and, surprisingly, Ross Dress for Less (go in the area with all the household stuff, usually in the back…you’re welcome) you can find some expensive-looking stuff that’s actually pretty cheap. Also, don’t forget that you are a big part of the experience. You are the star. Without you, it’s just expensive plastic. I didn’t even get to use my card-reader and no one paid much attention to the bookmarks. I am not saying to have these things is wrong. There are some very basics (like a card-reader and apparently that cash app is hot) you must have at a live event. I am saying not to stress out if your table isn’t grand.

Don’t Overcharge Your Readers

 

Book Fest 2018, Georgia State University

I was surprised to discover many books in the $20 range. For non-celebrity Indie Authors people never heard of, I thought this was a bit much. Personally, I wouldn’t charge over $10 for a copy of my book at an event. I say this not to indicate you should just give your work away, but I think it’s a good idea to give your readers the exclusive by offering them books at a price lower than if they had to pay for shipping. By showing up readers can purchase a discounted copy of some of their favorite books of yours in paperback. They have probably traveled to see you and you probably bought your books in bulk at a discount anyway and you don’t have to ship the book to them. I think that’s deserving of the people who choose to support you. People may pay $20 for a book at a celebrity signing or for a book direct from Amazon or your author website, possibly, but I think it’s a good idea to give readers something special at signings.

Live in the Moment

 

 

I did something different this time around. I didn’t post images of the event until I got back to the house. I didn’t live stream or rush to upload anything. I enjoyed the moment laughing with my husband and friend, talking to the authors and guests and taking pictures. We are so caught up in “Live Streaming” our lives these days so that other people can “see us” “in” the moment that we forget to enjoy the moment for ourselves. I had a much more enjoyable time selling books, practicing my pitch, mingling with guests and passing out my business cards than I would have trying to add hashtags to an Instagram post as someone walks past my table, buying nothing because my head is down. Personally, I attend live events because I enjoy networking with the people and creating memories I can look back on in pictures, not because I think I must. We only have one life to live and I want my children and grandchildren to look back on these pictures as proof that they can do anything they want to do if they only believe they can.

 

View all the festival pics plus more on my author website here.

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Yecheilyah Needs Your Help

Hey guys,

Soooo….lol

I need a little bit of help and, you know what they say, “closed mouths don’t get fed.”

I am looking to increase my reviews.

I don’t have to tell you how important book reviews are for Indie Authors, we’ve been over this a million times. But, in case you don’t already know, book reviews help to enhance book sales, helps readers to make buying decisions, and helps with an authors ranking. Realistically, an Indie Author should strive for at least 10+ Amazon Customer reviews which is why I am looking to spice up my up my ARC Team.

ARC is short for Advanced Reader Copy and I am looking to add more readers to my team who are interested in reading Black History, Literary Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Poetry, Inspirational Self-Help or Women’s Fiction. I am looking for readers who are willing to actively participate in reading my books and offering feedback. Specifically, I am in need of more reviews for Revolution, book two in The Nora White Story. While this is book two in a series, it can be read as a standalone. Furthermore, book one is available now on Amazon at just 99cents if you’d like to read it first CLICK HERE. (If you sign up you can get both books free.) Either way, I am in need of more reviews all around.

If you would like to help me, you can SIGN-UP HERE.

Once I see you have signed up, I will send you a Kindle copy of book one or book two (your choice) of The Nora White Story. My only request is that you leave an honest review of the book on Amazon. You are not required to, but this team is specifically set up for me to receive feedback so my hope is that you will both read and review (Readers who sign-up agree to review or email me feedback.)

About Revolution

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When Nora White is drugged by her friend she is forced to deal with the harsh reality of life in the North. She meets Keisha and the women catch a ride to The Den, a gambling and numbers hole-in-the-wall in Jacobsville New York. Unlike the upper echelon of Harlem, Nora’s new friends are hustlers but down to Earth and feels more like family. They take her to Liberty Hall where she is introduced to Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (U.N.I.A.).

Meanwhile, Nora has no idea her father has been arrested and back home Molly is hanging on by a thread. When the community discovers the truth of the alleged crime they devise a way to get Gideon out of jail but their actions could mean life or death for everyone involved. Will Nora come to her senses and return home in time to help the family or will her naiveté lead her astray once again?

About Renaissance

Nora White

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 embarks 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.

Again, if you are interested in reading any of these books you can SIGN-UP HERE and thanks so much!

(Serious readers with time to read only)

(pps. If you are here for poetry, let me know you would like to read and review my latest poetry book and I will add you to the appropriate ARC group.)

Black Indie Readers: African American Historical Fiction is Important Too

Kanye West, Waffle-House, Childish Gambino, Roseanne, and elderly Black women being manhandled by police is but a snippet of what’s going on. I can turn on my television or more precisely, open my computer, and see a similar scene as a 1960s protest march. I see people sitting in again at restaurants, I see people marching down the streets, I see cops fighting young black boys, and I hear of black bodies being found hanging from trees again (often ruled as suicides.)

This is America.

They say a people without knowledge of its past are doomed to repeat it. I wonder how many of us realize that the past is repeating itself? And I am reminded this is why I write the kinds of stories that I write and why I think Black Historical Fiction is important (and also maybe a tad bit underrated). Often, I see Romance, Urban Fiction and Street Lit praised as the epitome of Black Literature among many Self-Publishers / Indie Authors and Indie readers. But let’s not forget that black history is important too, and should not be left out of the Indie Author revolution.

After my most recent book release, I was amazed at how many people (Israelites, so-called African Americans, Blacks) didn’t know who Marcus Garvey was, what the Universal Negro Improvement Association was, or could make the Marcus and Malcolm connection in the book. (More on this later but briefly, Malcolm X father was a follower of Marcus Garvey and Malcolm’s nickname was Red among other names. I named Nora’s boyfriend after Malcolm X in his honor and gave him some of his characteristics.)

I know that many of us have been awakened to the true knowledge of who we are and have reclaimed parts of our lost, ancient and biblical heritage. We are waking up in droves and understanding the important role that identity plays in the state of Black America today. I am talking about the Hebrew Israelite movement and the number of people returning to the bible as a source, not of religion, but of black history and instruction on how to live on the earth. But that does mean we should toss aside our history in this land as unimportant since it has all played a role in who we are and where we stand today.

To be a true educator, you must first be educated and with extensive knowledge of what you’re teaching and if this is history, it’s even more critical to understand it all. (I am no one special and I don’t know everything. I am only repeating what I have already told myself about how important it is that I study history. All of it.)

Yes, it’s important to know who Moses was, King Solomon, Queen Esther, King David, and all the prophets, prophetesses and servants (who were all Black). But, it’s also important to know who Mansa Musa was and his influence in Timbuktu, Queen Yaa Asantewaa (Phonetic spelling Yah asante wah), Haitian Revolutionary, Toussaint L’Ouverture, Hannibal, Nat Turner, Marcus Garvey, Ida B. Wells and so on. These are the people whose shoulders we stand on and knowing their stories are still important. As well as other facts. If we talk about the European Slave Trade let’s also talk about Islamic slavery. If we talk about white slave owners, let’s also discuss Jewish and Native American slave owners as well.

History is important in general because if you don’t know what happened before, how can you properly arm yourself against ensuring that the bad things do not happen again? You cannot focus on repeating only the good things if you don’t know what is good.

Dear Black Indie Readers, African American Historical Fiction is important too.

“Once you change your philosophy you change your thought pattern. Once you change your thought pattern, you change your attitude. Once you change your attitude, it changes your behavior pattern. And then you go on into some action.” – Malcolm X

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey
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For more Black History Fun Facts, be sure to visit the Black History Fun Fact Friday page and to follow this blog for Black History all year around! Revolution, part 2 in The Nora White Story is also now available on Amazon. Free with Kindle Unlimited.

The Revolution is Here

About.

When Nora White is drugged by her friend she is forced to deal with the harsh reality of life in the North. She meets Keisha and the women catch a ride to The Den, a gambling and numbers hole-in-the-wall in Jacobsville New York. Unlike the upper echelon of Harlem, Nora’s new friends are hustlers but down to Earth and feels more like family. They take her to Liberty Hall where she is introduced to Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (U.N.I.A.).

REVOBUYNOW

Meanwhile, Nora has no idea her father has been arrested and back home Molly is hanging on by a thread. When the community discovers the truth of the alleged crime they devise a way to get Gideon out of jail but their actions could mean life or death for everyone involved. Will Nora come to her senses and return home in time to help the family or will her naiveté lead her astray once again?

Universal Buy Link

REV

“I found myself enthralled with this story. The way the author blends the actual events of the past with her fictitious interpretation is compelling. The visual depictions of the surrounding had me inside the room when Nora was waking from one of her spells. I could smell the open air of the South and feel the breeze on my face at the lake. I had the feeling that if I took a step, I would enter into the realm of Nora and her friends as they prepared for the huge Marcus Garvey event at The Garden.”

Lisa W. Tetting

Universal Buy Link

“The author uses each scene to push the story forward so that it doesn’t lag. The pacing is so good that I was eager to know what would happen next. The cast of characters is large, but the author has already proven her skill at balancing multiple arcs and POVs. Like Book 1, Revolution is also well-researched. The author weaves history with her fictionalized narrative seamlessly. The scenes with Marcus Garvey delighted me (I’m Jamaican). I always keep an eye out for a connection between the title of a book and the heart of a story, and found it both in the Garvey sketches and in particular events that unfolded in the South.”

Nadine Tomlinson

Trailer

 

This Book is Now Available.

Universal Buy Link


If you’d like to grab a copy of this book in person and you’re in the Atlanta-Land area this summer, I’ll be at the Atlanta African American Book Festival at Georgia State University on July 14th from 10 am to 5pm Eastern Standard Time. I’ll have copies of Renaissance and Revolution available. This is your chance to hang out with me in person and grab these babies in paperback. To check out my AAA interview, click here.

 

Author Spotlight: Yecheilyah’s 2nd Annual Poetry Contest Judge: Tehilayah Ysrayl

Today we are introducing and spotlighting Tehilayah Ysrayl, mother, wife, poet and our 2nd Annual Poetry Contest judge! Join me as we catch up.

Copyright©2018. Tehilayah.

Tehilayah, whose name means song of praise, is an aspiring author and poet who was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She attended IPFW and Ivy Tech Community College and currently works for a life insurance company. Tehilayah has been happily married for six years, has four beautiful children, and a Jack Russell named Sevyn that is selective in who he deals with and has a “big dog” mentality.

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Tehilayah and her Hubby

This mother is not afraid of the stage, presenting her poetry at various venues and impromptu poetry gatherings in her city. She enjoys singing, sewing, reading, wine, whiskey and, most importantly, words. Some of her favorite poets include but are not limited to, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, Countee Cullen, Sonia Sanchez, Steven Willis, and Rudy Francisco.

Tehilayah is also a voracious reader and fell in love with Urban Fiction because of Donald Goines. From there she branched off to discover other authors like Sista Soulja and the love stories that Eric Jerome Dickey brought, Carl Weber and many more. Currently, Tehilayah is enthralled in the Ashley and Jaquavis novel series. Tehilayah reads not only for the entertainment but also for the techniques in writing.

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Currently, this karate mom is working on her first book, a collection of poetry! “No Idle Word” is about encouraging the faint at heart, providing awareness to the ignorant, and healing to the broken.

Blog: https://nolineleftbehind.wordpress.com/

IG: @tehilayah/

Twitter: @tehilayah

Email: tehilayah12@gmail.com

Coming Soon

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Photo by Tamarcus Brown on Unsplash

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Peace and Hair Grease

Yecheilyah

Breaking: Readers Can expect a New Zora Neale Hurston Book in 2018

For those of you familiar with my latest novel, Renaissance, you know that Zora makes a guest appearance so I am excited to dig into her newest release from Harper Collins next year. It sounds like a powerful one. Here’s what’s going on:

HarperCollins will launch a never-before-published book by Zora Neale Hurston. Barracoon is a non-fiction work of anthropology, rather than a novel.

As Daniel Johnson writes for the Black Youth Project:

Barracoon tells the story of the last known person to survive the transatlantic slave trade, a man named Cudjo Lewis. Many know that Hurston was an acclaimed fiction writer, but here it is her work as an anthropologist that shines. Hurston was able to sit down in the Black community of Plateau, Alabama, which was founded by Cudjo Lewis and other ex-slaves from the ship that brought them to America, and talk with the then 95-year-old Lewis about his life in 1931.

The book’s name comes from the type of ship on which Lewis was held and brought to America. In Barracoon, Hurston captures, largely in Lewis’s own words, the horrors of his passage to America, the brutality of his time as an enslaved person in America, and the story of his life after the Civil War.

This sounds like it’s going to be a powerful read.

Click through the ORIGINAL ARTICLE here.