Sunday, May 29, 2011

What’s in a Name

bar chartI have been working fast and furiously trying to get everything ready to launch my new eBook. It occurred to me that I can’t go any farther until I settle on a title for the book.

Here’s where you can help. On the left sidebar is a poll offering you three titles to choose from. Select a title, vote, and then tell me in the comments why you chose that particular one. Or if none of these suit you, write your own in the comments and tell me why this one is better.

It would probably help you to know a little bit about the book. It takes place in the ancient kingdom of Nubia. Kandake is the youngest daughter of King Amani. All she ever wanted was to be a Nubian warrior, but her grandmother has chosen her to be the next ruler of Nubia. The story is about her struggle between her grandmother’s choice and her desire.

Follow this blog to keep tabs on the poll to name the book and find out what I decide, with your help of course.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Slow Down

Focus_ubtI have been trying to get so much done, lately--finding a designer for the book cover, making a costume for the cover model, looking for a formatter, looking into the price of printing and posters. I have so much to do and I’m trying to maintain my writing schedule at same time. There is such a thing as attempting to do too much at one time. I need to slow down.

The other day I was working on a new story for my website. It was a very short piece with an uncomplicated plot. I read through it (or so I thought I had) and the sent it off to a writer friend, Lynn Kelley, to critique. She is the sweetest and really good at catching mistakes and making suggestions.

As usual, she sent it back full of corrections and suggestions. When I reviewed her edits I almost fell off of my chair. What I had sent her was a story that made no sense!  It made about as much sense as the script in the picture, for me. My brain was so tired that what I thought I had written was definitely not what was on the page.

I really need to slow down, take some time to rejuvenate, and hopefully my writing skills will return.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

BusydeskOh my gosh…Since I made the decision to e-publish my manuscript, my mind and my desk started looking like this. There are so many things for me to do. I’ve decided on the designer for the cover art. I’ve nailed down what I want the costume to look like. I’ve even engaged the photographer. And that’s only the beginning.

Next is making the costume. Then I have to get the pictures to the designer and find a formatter. As soon as the cover is done I have to get posters made.

All the while, I’m walking through the manuscript one last time to be sure there are no errors and it reads smoothly. I also have to line up reviewers (I’m open to one or two extra if you’d like), set up school visits and book signings. Because the book ties-in neatly with Black History month, I will be launching it at the beginning of February. I have a little time, but not much.

On top of all of this I have to maintain my schedule for the other novels I’m writing. I also have to make time to create the flash fiction and short stories that I’m uploading to my website. Take a look.

I feel buried, but it’s a good feeling!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hard Work Ahead

399px-WeeSpoonI have begun the process of getting my book ready for publication. I’m taking a long slow walk back through the manuscript to make sure it is all that it can be. At the same time, I am searching for a designer for the cover and a formatter for the text.

You wouldn’t believe how many artists are out there. I’m talking about the ones with a reputation for good work. Sheesh! I have gone to countless websites and searched through portfolios looking for a style and passion that I want for the cover. There are so many choices. I have settled on one whose work has the feel I’m looking for.

The model I have chosen for the cover is a beautiful and brilliant young teen whose eagerness and determination totally embodies my main character. Because she is a minor I will not release her name until the project is closer to completion.

Now on to the costuming. I am scouring the internet and history books for just the right garment. I want to choose/create several so that I have sufficient options for the photo shoot. Once that is done, I’ll have to coordinate the schedules of the model and her mother, the photographer, and myself to set a date for the photos.

Then it’s on to the formatter and planning school visits and appearances. Oh My Gosh! There’s so much to do. That brings me to the tie-in of the picture. This is a Wee Spoon. The Wee of Africa award this spoon to a very industrious woman in honor of her hard work. By the time I get everything done, I will have earned my own spoon!

Monday, May 09, 2011

I'll be Taking the Left Fork

F a road devidedI have decided to publish one of my favorite manuscripts (ms) as an e-book.  The decision was not an easy one. I have been working to get this ms published through traditional channels, but I keep coming up against roadblocks.

It is not the quality of the story or the writing that has been the problem. It is more of a business/investment issue. The traditional publishers and agents have a difficult time seeing this as more than a niche-market item and they're looking for something that is more of a sure thing for the mass market.

At first the rejections didn’t make sense. How could they say that the ms is a very good story, or extol the characterization, dialog, or even setting and not take it. Then I started researching the whys of publication and things became more clear.

I was looking at the from the  wrong perspective. I had personalized something that was simply business with monetary goals. Essentially I had not realized we have different ends we are attempting to achieve and it has little to do with my skill as a writer or choice of subject matter. Publishing companies are in business to make money. They have a lot of ‘mouths to feed’ and limited investment capital to with which to do it.

I, on the other hand, am looking at the ms from a needs perspective. I originally wrote the story for my granddaughter so that she could have a princess that looks like her. From there it grew to be a story of girl empowerment and endless possibilities. So I guess the argument comes down to this: monetary needs vs. social needs.

Once I arrived here it was a short jump to realizing that I need to publish it myself. It occurred to me that I was upset about someone else’s choices about their own investment. What I realized is that if I truly believe in the ms and the need for it, I should be willing and able to invest in it myself. Will it be an easy do? No. Will it cost me financially? Yes. Will I do it anyway? ABSOLUTELY!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Choosing the Right Road

Fork in the roadI have come to the fork in the writing/publishing road and must make my next move. I have made a decision to e-publish one particular piece of work. This manuscript has had great difficulty finding a home. Agents and editors, alike have given it great feedback, but don’t think it’s ‘right for their list’ or ‘not a big enough book.’ So I have decided to turn it into an e-book.

Will I do this for every manuscript? I’m not sure about that. There are stories that I have written that fit the current market and do not present the same dilemma.

Having said that, the publishing industry and its reshaping to become a part of the digital age may change my view of what I want for my work. There is much to consider. Granted, there is considerable prestige to be had in following the tradition publishing route. Will that always be the case? That remains to be seen.

For now I will make that decision for each manuscript based on its own merit. What about you? What are you choosing?

Sunday, May 01, 2011


Decision TreeI am on the precipice of a decision, as they say. I must decide whether or not to go ahead with an e-publishing choice. The manuscript I am choosing is one that attracts a lot of attention from the industry, but it isn’t one they believe will sell big enough to take a chance on.

I’m wondering how they determine what will sell big and what will not. Or, what does it mean to sell big. It’s easy to point to the success of the Harry Potter or Twilight series, but who could have predicted their success? Both authors received multiple rejections and then a couple of savvy agents and editors took a gamble. And as you know, their gamble paid off bigger than anyone could have imagined.

How often does something like this happen in publishing? The answer is, not very. If we look at the more popular authors like Stephen King, John Grisham, or even Nora Roberts, we don’t see that instant meteoric climb to the top. They are at the top all right, but they worked and worked to get there.

Please don’t misunderstand. I am in no way suggesting that Rawlings or Meyers didn’t work hard, because there is not any doubt that they did. I would say that they each worked very hard. But what has happened for them does not happen on a regular basis. Unfortunately authors, agents, and editors appear to be searching for the elusive ‘it’ that will bring them this kind of success.

I don’t know if a manuscript of mine will ever make such a mark, but that’s not what I’m aiming for. My sights are set on writing a story that will leave the reader satisfied, but also have them yearning for more. Right now I I have a completed manuscript that works on several different levels (as stated by the industry professionals) and could be a commercial success. The problem is that they don’t believe that it is the blockbuster they’re looking for.

So here’s the decision part. Do I wait for them to come around, or do I go it on my own? Your input is very welcome.