Guilty

I vomit kindness from my gut
And I am overflowing
(drowning)
in compassion for people
who have none
for me.
Guilty
I let them swim here
for free.

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So This Happened

Me at the Nubian Bookstore in South Atlanta where Renaissance has just been stocked on the shelves.

Those of you already following me on social media are already aware of this….but…

I hate to be so dramatic but I have news…

Yesterday it became official.

I’ve been doing some underground work and….

…on Saturday, December 30, 2017, one of my books made it to the shelves of a brick and mortar bookstore for the first time. Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One) is now available at The Nubian Bookstore in South Atlanta and I am organizing a book signing for Black History Month to help to promote the milestone.

Obviously, this is where the real work begins.

And, obviously, I am excited about this new endeavor.

I am looking forward to learning more about book publishing and networking more offline.

What a great way to end the year!

I’ll be away awhile but I wanted to give you the news for sure 🙂

See you around!

Ya’ll be great.

 

Peace and Hair Grease.

 

-EC

 


“Yecheilyah Ysrayl has crafted an outstanding novel that takes the reader on the migration that black elders have described all our lives. Nora has graduated from high school and run away from her Mississippi town to a northern city, Jacobsville, NY, just 45 minutes outside of Harlem. It’s Nora’s intent to pursue a career as a writer during the 1920’s and the height of the Harlem Renaissance. In Harlem, she rubs elbows with the talented elite or, as some would say, literary royalty.”

– Linda Mims

CLICK HERE TO EXPERIENCE THE NORA WHITE STORY

An Alternative to ACX for Audiobook Production and Distribution – Jane Friedman

Has anyone tried ListenUp for audiobook production? It sounds interesting, though the upfront cost is pretty STEEP. lol. Aside from the service itself, I like what they said about Audiobook sales being dependent on the success of the book in print and digital format. Gave me a new perspective on how to approach audiobooks. My favorite quote:

“Audiobook sales are still dependent on the success of a book in its print or digital format. It’s helpful for authors to think of the audiobook as another edition of their book, extending its presence and reach. So when a reader goes to buy it, every option is available to them. At the same time, when an author promotes a book, there will likely be a spike in sales of all editions. Running an advertisement for a discount on an ebook through a service like BookBub has been shown to increase audio as well as ebook sales.

Much like promoting an ebook or print book, authors should offer review copies to bloggers, reviewers, and social media influencers who have significant reach. For the audiobook, authors should focus on reviewers who regularly review audiobooks and can touch on both the story and the narration.

Check out the interview and entire post HERE. Browse LisenUp’s website HERE.

If any of you have tried it, how is it? Do you like it better than ACX? Does the cost measure up to the service?

Indie Authors and Controversial Posts – Should You? Should You Not?

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DISCLAIMER: This is simply my own opinion. I also stress throughout the post that no one has the right to be disrespectful. Writing is a business and publishing books is a career move. I always encourage you to use wisdom in all that you do. Even if you are speaking truth, don’t put people down. That’s not wise.


I think it boils down to why you write in the first place and what you hope to gain from it. It should be a personal choice, not a commandment.

I understand why people propose you don’t post about super controversial topics. The reasons are obvious and have been stated repeatedly already. I won’t bore you with a regurgitation of the facts (see disclaimer.) But at the same time, I don’t understand why some propose Indies stay clear of it altogether. Even if it can help others. I think about what it means to be a writer. For me, this is not a job. It’s much more.

I know most people don’t take blogs and bloggers seriously, but when it comes to writing, it’s not like the 9-5 you go to every day where there are rules, regulations, and guidelines you must live by. Let me put this in perspective.

I am a part-time teacher as well as an author. I know what it means to go into a place that already has a set standard and to clock in and out.

I blog and I write books but when I am not doing this, I am teaching.

To teach, you have to be certified, have the educational background and follow the governmental guidelines necessary to do so. There is already a schedule, a curriculum, etc. (It is why one day, I would like to open my own school. I try not to do anything without an ultimate end goal.)

When I think about being an author, on the other hand, I think of having a much greater freedom than working a 9-5. The freedom to own my own and to speak the truth. Now, there are some that say that because this is a business (writing is) you shouldn’t talk about things that are controversial because you’ll lose readers. Perhaps it is a matter of perspective because I do not think of it this way.

Losing readers for cursing people out is one thing. Losing readers because you are rude and arrogant and just don’t care is one thing. Professionalism is important. If you don’t know how to talk to people, perhaps you shouldn’t be in business.

On the other hand…

If I lose readers for being real. If I lose readers because they cannot stomach the truth I have to offer. If I lose readers because they do not agree with me, then they were not my readers, to begin with. If I lose these people because I decided to be real and they didn’t like it, then they were not part of my target audience in the first place. I know it sounds harsh, but I see a lot of Traditionally Published authors speaking their minds too  and writing their truths. I see a lot of them using their platform to raise awareness of social injustice and other things. There’s a lot they say that can be considered controversial and it seems that for Independent Artists there should be more freedom.  It is only when I get to Independent / Self-Publishing that I hear this talk about how we should, in short, censor ourselves and I understand the need for it but only to an extent.

Using wisdom is one thing, I understand that. In the words of my father-in-law, “Don’t be a fool your whole life.” However, using your art to expand conversations and to raise awareness cannot be done without some inkling of controversy.  Someone somewhere is going to disagree with you. The whole point of writing, it seems to be, is to ultimately expand the conversation of the book. To not speak about your thoughts concerning the political, religious or social climate of today, to censor this in fear of losing readers, doesn’t make any sense to me. Why are you alive?

If I am going to write then I am going to write the truth and if people feel that it is a truth they cannot accept then they weren’t part of the chosen few I was meant to reach in the first place. I have long given up trying to save the world. I am not that naive anymore. I am only trying to reach those who are interested.

I am not saying to be disrespectful. Be choice with your words. That’s important and I’ve spoken about that a lot on this blog. I am only saying that if you are truly speaking the truth you are going to offend someone somewhere sometimes and that it’s not something you can control. If your job is not to offend anyone, where does that leave you? You may as well go work for someone else.

Listen, my intent is not to offend but it’s inevitable that when telling the truth you will annoy someone. To spend my life writing trying not to do so is to not do my job. In case you haven’t already noticed, I do not write to get rich. I don’t care about being famous, political correctness and offending people who can’t handle the truth and all that. It would be nice for my books to reach a large audience of course, but that is not why I write.

“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” – Elbert Hubbard

Renaissance Ebook 99cents from now through Friday 12/29

CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW

After letting Revelation: The Nora White Story Book Two, sit for about two months, I am right back into revisions and getting excited all over again. As such, I decided to give those of you who have not read Book One an opportunity to do so.

Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One) is now available for just 99cents in eBook on Amazon from now through Friday, December 29, 2017. Also, be sure to leave me an honest review if you feel so obliged after this short read.  Reviews greatly help readers to understand what to expect from these books and are a great source of feedback for Indie Authors. As always, your support is golden.

CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW

 

“The writing is of a very high quality, evoking period and place so well that I was transported to the Jazz Clubs and writers’ circles of nineteen twenties New York and to the equally hot and humid atmosphere of the Mississippi Delta.”

– Frank Parker

CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW

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.

Premade Book Covers: 2 Things to Keep in Mind

There’s a quote floating around somewhere that says:

“Don’t go broke trying to prove to broke people that you ain’t broke.”

Exactly. The reality that many authors are on budgets has created an entirely new source of income for graphic designers, many of whom offer premade book covers as well as custom made. These artists have made our life a little easier by offering professional covers at lower rates than custom covers. While custom covers are preferred, not everyone can afford a new custom cover for every book (the exception are those who make their own covers) so consider this post for those of us “balling on a budget.” I believe in investing in your best and if you can afford to pay for a custom cover and high-priced editing, go for it. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, just know you don’t have to go broke to publish your book. The same way we can find reasonable editing prices is the same way we can find reasonable book cover prices for covers that won’t look generic.

But Premades have a unique struggle.

All of the factors that go into articulating your story to a designer in a way that will help them to design a good cover is internal. By internal I mean that if you are choosing the premade, you have to make these decisions for yourself. You have to understand your target audience, your genre, and identify the key features enough mentally to know if the cover is a right fit for you.

Many people have asked me about the cover for Renaissance. The truth is that it was premade and I am blessed to have stumbled on this gem. All the artist did was edit the text. Here’s what a reader said when leaving a review for the book on Amazon:

“The first thing that drew me to this novel was its beautiful cover. A deep blue sky fading into a sunset which bakes an old country road golden brown.”

Guys, I didn’t spend a lot of money on this.

As soon as I saw the cover I knew it was the right fit for Renaissance. Though it’s a premade, there are some things that made it unique:

  • The photo is a real photo taken by Brittany Cox and then sold to designer Najla Qambers to be used for a premade book cover.
  • The elements fit the context of my story.
  • The book matches other books in it’s genre.

I looked at other covers and thought about purchasing a complete custom cover but my money wasn’t agreeing with that so I just went back to that same image, praying no one had taken it. It’s not out-of-this-world beautiful but it was perfect for me. The use of a real country road photo really set it apart. It was also the only of its kind being sold so I was anxious to get it as it was literally just one available. When I was ready, I contacted Najla Qambers of Brick-a-Brack Photography, and secured my cover.

So, two things to keep in mind:

  1. Watch Out for Overly Used Stock Photos

One of the things that made the Renaissance cover unique is the use of a real photograph. There are some great premade design covers out there but many designers use the same stock photos. All designers will have a message that says the book cover is not sold after you buy it, which is true. The same cover cannot be sold again but this doesn’t mean other designers won’t use the same stock photo in a different design. That particular cover may not be sold again but the same stock images can be used again. Keep this in mind when looking for your premade. 

Joshua Jadon sums it up pretty well:

“You also may get less attention from a generic cover because it may be a little easier to ignore. Readers are looking for something interesting and exciting that grabs their attention, and a book that might have the same cover—or at least the same images—as several others often won’t get that kind of attention. A unique style or look can influence readers’ selection process. If your cover doesn’t reflect that … well, it may not get noticed.”

But, your premade does not have to look generic.

It is possible to find a stunning premade that looks custom made. I got tons of compliments on this cover and requests for who designed it. People thought it was custom made.

When choosing your premade (which is great for those of us on budgets and timelines as they are usually both cheaper and delivered quickly), choose premades that are as set-apart as possible and preferably, premades that look custom made. (And speaking of timelines, once you are sure you want to publish a book, it helps to start saving for editing and book cover design months ahead of time. )

2. Watch out for Bulk Premade Deals

Book cover design is a skill. Period. Even though there are designers offering bulk book covers at discounted prices you can edit in Photoshop, it won’t do you any good without skill. I made the mistake of falling for this and while some are nice (and I am competent in editing covers in Photoshop), it is not something I will do again.  A clever move by designers but not too good for authors. Unless you are Photoshop Savvy or have someone on your team who is Photoshop Savvy, it will do little to benefit you. Unless you’re a Graphic Designer or you have a Graphic Designer on your team, you don’t want to put yourself in the position to edit the cover yourself IF YOU ARE NOT COMPETENT IN USING THE SOFTWARE NECESSARY TO DO SO.

While it may start off looking professional, your lack of skill can make it look generic  because graphic designers are skilled in typography, colors, blending colors, and anything else that may require a keen eye. You can mess up a nice cover not knowing what you’re doing which will lead you back to square one. If you go this route, choose covers that do not require much change.

So, two things to be aware of:

  1. Overly used stock photos

  2. Bulk Premade Deals

Here are some websites with some unique premade book covers. There are more, I am sure, but these are ones I’ve investigated myself. I rarely see the stock photos from their covers used by other designers.

For more posts on Indie Publishing, be sure to visit the new Writer Tips page.


Be sure to pick up your copy of Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One) HERE.