Supporting African-American Authors

Today I want to talk about African-Americans supporting African-American authors. The movie The Help will be released soon. A lot of us got a little up in arms because this book by a Caucasian author about African-Americans was picked up for a movie. The book sold millions because it was supported, not just by Caucasian readers, but by a lot of us too. Here’s the thing, African-American authors produce wonderful stories that we know should be told on the big screen. But putting a book to film cost $. The film industry is no different from any other business. The bottom line is ‘the bottom line’. If you can’t show numbers in the book stores (online included) then how do you expect to show numbers in the movie theater? Its simple economics—demand and supply. James Patterson or Nora Roberts will have a book release and thousands will purchase that book. There is a demand; therefore, the supply is met.

If we want to see more our favorite African-American author placed on a demand list we truly need to step up our game. Many of us will go into a book store to purchase that James Patterson or Nora Roberts novel, but will borrow the African-American author from a friend. If you enjoyed that novel, why not purchased the next release by that author? Let’s face it, we don’t’ support each other the way other communities do. Yet, we complain when we see others succeed at what we fail to do. If you want to see your favorite African American author’s story about African Americans on the big screen, support them in the bookstores. Let the money people in HOLLYWOOD or wherever know what your demand is…Let’s stop complaining about who got what. Turn that negative energy into a win-win for you and the authors you love. SUPPY AND DEMAND people! I’m just saying.

Adventures of a Self-Published Author – Part II

Adventures of a Self-Published Author

Part 2 – Action

Sorry, it’s been a while since the last post, but I’ve been a little busy with the self publishing business. The last time we were together I shared the beginning of my journey into the literary field – The Plan. You always have to have a plan. The next step is putting your plan into action. Believe me when I say, THIS IS EASIER SAID THAN DONE.

The most frustrating part of my journey was determining where to go once my first great master piece was complete. The 50 pages I told you about last time turned into 800 plus pages. The large number of pages didn’t bother me because I was telling a story. As long as the story flowed it didn’t matter how long it was—right? WRONG! The number of pages did matter, or so I found out. I digress; let me go back a little.

After completing my master piece, I began researching where I should go from there. The answer was The Writer’s Market. It’s a book that is published every year on where & how to sell your fiction novel, or short story. It has a wealth of information for anyone that is looking for an agent or a literary home. It tells you who handles what type of stories. For example, if you are writing a romance novel you wouldn’t want it to go to a publishing house that handles science fiction. You want it to go to a publishing house that handles romance. Here is the main lesson for this blog, DO YOUR RESEARCH.

Research? Hum, what are you trying to find you ask. Good question. You are trying to find a good fit for your master piece. You are trying to find the right publishing house and/or agent to market your novel. Some publishing houses have different imprints, so you need to research that also. For example, an imprint could be sweet romance, suspense romance, urban romance, erotica, or Christian romance. If your book is erotica, you don’t want to submit it to the Christian imprint, though the visual of the Christian agent reading your submission would be interesting, you are setting yourself of for a rejection. So take the time to research where and who you want to submit your master piece.

My research was enlightening, to say the least. There are hundreds, if not thousands of publishing house out there. But I persevered and found several publishing companies that I wanted to submit my novel to. Did I mention THIS IS EASIER SAID THAN DONE? Oh, I did—okay. This is where my problems began.

To submit a manuscript, to an agent or publishing house you have to do two things, other than write the book. You have to write a synopsis and a query letter. WHAT? WHY? Don’t they understand I’ve written a 190,000 word master piece? I don’t have any words left to write a letter or a synopsis. He–, (four letter word) I don’t even know what a synopsis is, for real. Sigh—, more research!

According to Webster a synopsis: a condense statement or outline; an abstract. Yeah, that helped—not. In the literary world a synopsis tells the major point and events of your book in a concise and accurate manner. In other words tell someone what your book is about without re-writing the entire story. I am going to be very honest here; I still have not acquired this skill. This is probably the number one reason why I self-publish. But I did try to write the synopsis.

Then there is the query letter. Well, this is a little easier than the dreaded synopsis, but still a difficult task for me. A query letter, as I understand it, is the attention getter. This letter is sent to an agent or publishing house as an attempt to get them interested in your novel. If your query letter is done well, the agent or publishing house may request your complete manuscript for review. So, what do you put in a query letter. Ahhh—more research.  You definitely want the opening statement to catch the interest of the reader.  Agents and publishing house received thousands of letters each day from eager new authors, and some of us not so new authors. Their time is limited, so you need your letter to capture their attention with the first line or two. Paraphrase the word you use when you are telling a friend about your book. How do you get them excited and eager to read your book? Do that with your letter. Then tell them about you—your experience or your connection with the topic of your novel. Most of all remember, you are trying to get them to believe in your story as much as you do. Sell it to them. Okay, I did that.

Now, it was time to submit my master piece. I sent the query letters, the synopsis and the first three chapters of my book to the top three publishing house of my choice. Now, all I have to do is sit back and wait for the bidding wars to see who would have the honor of selling my novel. LOL! Ahhh, that was so funny.

Let me tell you, when I received the first rejection letter, I shrugged it off saying, “they just didn’t see the greatness.” The second one came, I simple said, “oh.” The third one gave a little more than “I’m not interested.” It stated the general story was good, but the word count was off the chain. You may want to consider making it two books instead of one. Hence, the creation of Once You Touched The Heart and The Heart of Him.

Writing the next great master piece is one thing. Getting it into the readers hand is another. Publishing is a business, whether you are with a publishing house, or self-publishing. Like any other business you have to work, and I do mean work hard at succeeding. The first step is learning all you can about the world of publishing. Take the time to research any and everything about how to get your great master piece into the hands of the reader. That, after all is the goal—right?

Well, let’s see. We talked about planning and action. So what’s next? Ahhh yes, making the decision—Traditional or Self-publishing.

Until the next time,

Iris