Lessons from a Book Signing

It’s time for another edition of “Lessons from a Book Signing.” If you have been following, I am coming off two book signings one week apart, and I always write something about what I learned from my signings. I am a believer that everything must teach me something. Everything I do or am a part of must serve a purpose; every relationship and every experience must have value.

Instagram

Book Models 🙂 lol

You wouldn’t believe the number of times I was asked at both signings (especially at the mall) if I was on IG. This question told me that if you’re a writer, Instagram is one platform you want to be on right now (especially if you’re a black writer, a lot of black readers on the gram). What I loved about both signings is that I gained something even if people didn’t buy a book. Those who didn’t purchase stood by my table and looked up my IG handle and followed me. Not once did someone ask me if I was on Facebook. Facebook is still an excellent platform, don’t misunderstand me, it just didn’t come up much except among the older crowd of authors at the Festival who wasn’t on Instagram. All I know is, I won’t be ignoring this real-time data. If IG is where readers are, that is where I want to be. (Follow me @yecheilyah 🙂 )

Cash App

Ladies and gents, brothers and sisters, I believe we have hit a technology shift in the way people do business. I have a card reader, but I didn’t have to use it, and I rarely had to give change. Instead, money passed through the air through Cash App. If you’ve been living under a rock, Financial apps like Cash App and Zelle allow people to connect their bank account to an app and send and receive money in an instant. No swiping and no chips. Many businesses are using these apps as currency. “You got Cash App?” was a constant question, and I am wondering how much longer I will need to carry my card reader (I didn’t use it at all). Are you hosting an author/business event? Consider having a Zelle or Cash App account just in case!

Keep Working: The right people are watching

aanndd we are off to a great start!

I posted to my SM early Saturday morning stating that a young woman approached me at the venue to meet me. I was setting my table, and someone tapped my shoulder. She said she follows me on SM and wanted to come over and meet me. We hugged, chatted, and took a pic for the gram. She also gifted me a copy of her book. It was an exciting start to the day and caught me by surprise. But even more surprising, this kept happening!

I didn’t post every occasion to SM, but this kept happening throughout the night. Other young women came up to me and said they came to the event because of me, that my face popped up first in Google, and that they had been to my author website.

She caught me before I left. Yayy!

Even as I was packing up to leave someone ran up to me and bought a copy of I am Soul. She was so excited to have caught me before I was gone. Another young woman went further. She said that she had messaged me through Facebook (which I saw last week but went back to look, and it was gone so I forgot about it), because she wanted me to headline an event next month featuring Renaissance. (I will talk more about this later and how you can support it.)

Stuff like this happened to me all night, and filled me with gratitude. I don’t look for outside validation or anything like that, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t feel good to be appreciated.

Your book is always new to the people who have never read it

There is a widespread belief that I am Soul (which I just noticed spiked again and is #28 on Amazon’s Best Seller’s List) is a new book, but it’s going on almost two years now since its release in December of 2017. My Stella series has been out since 2016 and Renaissance just passed its two-year mark 7/15. The only new new book is my short story series; Even Salt Looks Like Sugar.

I did not order enough books to cover both my signings. After I sold my copies of, I am Soul at Greenbriar Mall I had to leave an additional four copies with Nia to restock on the shelf, leaving me with only four copies of I am Soul. I also only had two copies of Renaissance, so I put in an order for more of these books. But they told me my books wouldn’t arrive until July 23-24th.

I. Was. Livid.

The Festival was on the 20th; I didn’t need them after the fact. (insert eye-ball roll)

After getting out of my feelings, I stepped back and looked at my inventory. I grabbed the four Soul, two Renaissance, five copies of Beyond the Colored Line, and five copies of The Road to Freedom. These are books two and three of The Stella Trilogy series, but they can also be read as standalone novellas. I also grabbed a handful of Even Salt Looks Like Sugar (which I had plenty of).

To make a long story short, Stella showed out! Beyond the Colored Line sold more than I am Soul. It surprised me because Stella didn’t do very well at last year’s Festival and I intended on leaving it out of this one. Renaissance did sell out as I predicted it would (I only had two copies) but bringing some of my backlist books helped carry me. I guess Stella said shoo, don’t forget about me! (This mix also gave Renaissance, and I am Soul value being they were in limited supply. One reader was excited to have grabbed up the last copy.)

And as for those extra books I bought that will be arriving this week? They will go toward my reading event next month which will save me money.

Lights, Camera, Action

Be ready to talk about your book on the spot, just in case someone sticks a mic and a camera in your face! This is what I walked into returning from the bathroom. The ladies were hilarious and we talked for a good while.

 


Be sure to check out the photos of both signings HERE.

Don’t forget to preorder
Keep Yourself Full in ebook.
>Free with Kindle Unlimited<
*It is #126 in Personal Transformation and Spirituality.
Help me make it #1 by preordering today! *


The Poetry Contest is ending! Get involved before August 1st!

CLICK HERE for the original post with all the important information on rules, guidelines, and prizes.

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Dear Author: Stop giving everything away for free if you are trying to run a Business

Not everyone doing well for themselves have “sold out.” Not everyone doing well for themselves are chasing the American dream. Not everyone doing well for themselves are seeking worldly success. These kinds of self-limiting beliefs will leave you stuck, broke, and dimming your light (because, ya know, you don’t want people to think you tryna get rich or die trying…)

Stop giving everything away for free if you are trying to run a business.

I have a few free services I offer to authors as my contribution to the writing community and my commitment to putting other writers on. (Author Interviews are one of them and they are free. Click Here to learn how to sign up.) As an author myself, I feel it is my responsibility to do my part to help others. I truly believe in the saying, “do what you love and the money will come,” so money has never (and will never) be my focus. My focus is on doing what I love while providing as much value as I can to others so that they can also do what they love. I am passionate about writing so it doesn’t feel like work and I am happy to help no matter the circumstance. In addition to my free services and tutorials, I also give away the first chapter to my latest book (whichever is the most recent) to new subscribers to my email list.

However, I keep my freebies to a minimum because I do run a business.

Would you go to work a 9-5 for free? So why do we expect entrepreneurs to do everything for free? Would it be more righteous for us to wait for a corporate promotion than to run our own business? Why is working for someone more admirable and respected than someone working for themselves?

While freebies are good, keep them to a minimum. It’s okay (and I would even recommend it) to give stuff away for free every now and again but if everything you do is free, you are teaching your audience not to take you seriously and they will get so used to you doing everything free. Set a few things aside as freebies (maybe they get a free book when they sign up for your author newsletter) but charge your worth in other areas.

Advice is a consult and comes with a price, teaching is a service and comes with a price and I’m sorry but no, my ebooks are not 99cents (except for preorders on new releases and when there is a sale..I also don‘t think there‘s anything wrong with giving away books to your email list or ARC team). This is not a game, I did not come to play and neither should you. YOU are important. YOU are special, your work is special, and in 2019 you simply deserve more.

  • Educate yourself to ensure that what you are charging for is in fact valuable (research, research, research)
  • Charge your worth
  • Ask your clients to leave reviews. They are witnesses that your product/service is of good quality and worth the time / money investment.

This isn’t about the love of money but let’s stop acting like you don’t need money to live in this world. Let’s stop acting like your children don’t need to eat, your bills don’t need to be paid and your books don’t need to be edited.

This is about knowing your worth and your value professionally. Financial literacy and management is the backbone to successful businesses. You don’t have to spend hours of blood, sweat, tears, and money, sacrificing your time and energy writing and doing all these AMAZING things just so you can give it away for free. Not everything that is free is valuable. Paying for something of good quality creates more of a commitment to follow-through. Meaning, when someone pays for something they are more likely to listen to, watch, apply, or read it. If they didn’t pay for it, they are more likely to put it off for a better time and a better time may never come. I can’t tell you how many ebooks are on the Kindle that I got for free. I intend to read them all but the ones I read first are the ones I paid for. That’s just real.

How serious are you about your writing? Either this is an expensive hobby or a writing business. You choose.


You Are Somebody

Someone gave birth to you. Pushed you out into the world like they knew you were somebody. Wrapped you in all the passion that led them here and anointed your body with a name fit for royalty. Do you know your name? Have you sought its meaning? Do you know your own somebodiness? And even though you made mistakes, consistently proving the universe wrong (like you aren’t worthy of this name), it is still yours. No matter how many times you fell, your somebodiness didn’t leave you. It was there all along, far before you were formed in your mother’s womb. And even when you were so depressed that you ain’t think you were fit to live, you did it. You did it because you are somebody. Your value does not fade just because you are a little scarred, a little blue. You are still somebody. We only work within the confines of how we perceive ourselves. We cannot be successful until we believe that we are truly worth it. We cannot be successful until we believe that no matter how insignificant we feel, we are still somebody.

“Number one in your life’s blueprint, should be a deep belief in your own dignity, your worth and your own somebodiness. Don’t allow anybody to make you feel that your nobody. Always feel that you count. Always feel that you have worth and always feel that your life has ultimate significance.” – MLK

YouTube: New Poem Added! Listen to “Cheap” #Poetry #SpokenWord

This started out as something I wrote for myself. It wasn’t necessarily a poem. But I decided to turn it into something for you as well. I rewrote it in third person instead of first person. Do not be cheap with yourself. Know your worth. Know your value. Be you. Love you.

Poet Spotlight – 2-Day Special: Grand Prize Winner | Jahkazia Richardson Part 1

This week we are spotlighting the winners of the 2nd Annual Poetry Contest! For the next two days, you’ll get to learn more about our grand prize winner.

Jahkazia reminded me that it’s never too late. How so? Because her poem came in exactly one minute to the deadline of this contest and won the entire competition. If she had thought, “maybe it’s too late,” then we would not get to meet and learn more about this beautiful soul. Let’s get into it.

Introducing Jahkazia Richardson

Jahkazia Richardson

Jahkazia (Jah-kay-asia which translates to Goddess of the land) is a slam poet hailed from Durham, NC. She studied Clinical Psychology at William Peace University and will be continuing her vocational path in Art and expressive therapy next fall. She appreciates going to live shows in the area as well as trying different recipes from all over the world. Currently, she is an insurance agent in ‘Bull City’ where she teaches clients how to protect their financial assets.

Welcome Jahkazia! So nice to meet you beautiful. We almost didn’t get to witness your beautiful writing and voice. Please, tell us what inspired your poem.

Jahkazia: In my darkest moments, I saw myself as a victim for a long time, and I always had a pretty negative outlook on life. When things got cleared up, I truly felt more powerful than I have ever felt before. My inspiration for my piece was a deep reflection of my overall growth and healing journey as well as wanting to honor my ancestors in their struggle to find their own power also.

Beautiful.

We’re going to stop here because tomorrow we will go a bit deeper into the mind of Ms. Richardson. For now, let’s get into this poem!

What if I Knew My Worth?

Copyright©Jahkazia Richardson

Thunder thighs was my name growing up,

Thunder that cracked like the whip on the back of my ancestors

Too bad I didn’t have their strength

Head hung low and shallow

my back hunched and broken.

How did I get here?

Words that cut deep into my skin like razors,

But I didn’t let anyone see me bleed

Times that I would cut into my own self

with the perpetuation of my thoughts

Lies that I would tell the little girl inside myself

Cut – excise the light from their eyes

Until darkness became my reality

Pain my reality

Depression my reality

Shujaa – warrior

That’s me.

Ripped out, open, and beaten.

Boom, boom, boom, I’m an African drum

Don’t let them see you break

Don’t let them see you bleed

Wrap them like the bastard’s child away and out of sight

Until the blood began to drip through

Until the universe can no longer ignore my cry

Cry likenegro spirituals echoing through the Earth and waking up the light

Somehow there was refuge in my brokenness

Deep in the soul of my being,

I awakened

Like sunrise

Up I came from the waters and introduced my light

Shujaa – warrior

Shujaa – strength

That’s me powerful with my pen and I write:

“Thunder thighs was my name growing up,

I hear thunder that cracked like the whip on the back of my ancestors

Passed down like tales they used to speak,

I now know that power

I am worthy. I am warrior.”

From Yecheilyah…

Whew. That’s some powerful stuff. I highlighted some of the lyrics that really spoke to me. What did I like about this poem and why did I think it was worthy of the win?

Self-love is a journey and a journey is called that because you never know what you will find. It’s not always about being where you want to be but the journey. It’s about the process and all of the challenges and emotions that come along with it and the willpower to endure those challenges and to overcome those emotions.

This piece embodied the personal touch that all of the poems had. It was set-apart in that it told the story of how one person went from self-hatred to self-love in a deeply honest way. This is not just someone who had conquered the demon of self-hatred, but someone who had fought it and could show that fight in words. Someone who had gone through the journey and had fought to reclaim that power. This is a fight we’ve all had and this poem showcased that process. You get to see someone who did not just suddenly arrive but who evolved and endured the way we all do when we are coming home to ourselves. At some point, we have all asked ourselves, “What if I knew My Worth?”

Very well done.


 

Be Sure to Follow Jahkazia Online!

IG: @chamelaninaire 

Facebook: Jahkazia Richardson

Tomorrow, we will be asking Ms. Richardson some more questions and learning more about her as a person with an extensive introduction interview. You don’t want to miss this. Stay glued.


Missed our other poet spotlights? Please be sure to show our winners some love:

Click Here for Kiyana Blount

Click Here for Nia Elise

Click Here for Nailah Shami

Cheap

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

You will not shy away from the sun. Your melanin is a gift, do not fear a darker complexion. You will not tuck your stomach in for pictures. Work it off or show it proudly. You will not hide your smile from laughter. Let the joy crawl its way out of your throat and seep its way from behind your teeth. You will not ignore your gut when it hurricanes its wrath. Listen to it moan of unpleasant vibes and wait for it to prophesy your next steps. Wear discernment like a cape and superwoman/man yourself to the next step. You will turn not a blind eye to boundaries transgressed. Let the world know when it’s in danger of tainting your integrity, of shattering your kindness, of disrespecting your soul. Do what makes you happy without regard to how that happiness looks to others. You are a diamond undiscovered, a masterpiece unknown, a treasure to be dug up and valued. A precious stone. You are a rarity, something to be searched for. Something to be honored. A bumblebee may be the smallest among the fly, but her honey is the sweetest thing. You will be honey. And you will treat others as you are. You will be to others as sweet as honey. A diamond undiscovered, a masterpiece, a treasure. Treat those who love you like treasures and turn away from those who do not. You will not be meat. You will not be snack. You will not be feasted upon by those without palettes and cannot taste. Do not rob yourself by forcing friendships. Do not force connections. Do not smother them into loving you. Love liberates. Love them into freedom. But do not lower the price of your worth. A mountain does not become small for those who refuse to climb. They will climb or they can remain on the ground. You are search-worthy.  Drink humility like water and taste its fruits on your tongue but do not clip your wings. Do not be cheap with yourself.

Remembering Martin and Maya

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hatred cannot drive out hatred; only love can do that.”  – Martin Luther King Jr., 1/15/29 – 4/4/68

Martin’s Top 10 Rules for Success

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

– Maya Angelou, 4/4/28 – 5/28/14

Angelou’s Top 10 Rules for Success