Monday, December 27, 2004

Re-writes are done! Man, re-writes are more involved than I thought. Not hard, but just more involved. Once you get through the line edits, the real work begins. The toughest thing is to put yourself back in the groove of when you wrote the scene. I needed to feel it. Feel it so I could let the scene re-write its own correction, if you will. Like I said, it wasn’t hard, just more involved than I thought it ever would be. But it’s done. So, now I’m working on 2 novellas that I’ve been working off and on it seems like forever. And I’m starting all over with novel #2. I’ve been back and forth so much that I feel like I need to start fresh from scratch.

The book has been pushed back to a release date of March, 2005. Normally, I think any writer would be upset because, especially after you self-publish a book, you want it to come out as soon as possible so you won’t be forgotten. But I need a break! LOL I’m not worried about losing what audience I did build up because I feel like I can get my name out there again. But I’m just tired! I’ve been on the road with this book thing for the past two years straight. It would be so great to have a year where I can do nothing but sit back and read and write. And that’s exactly what I plan to do: write and get some stories stocked up. Plus this will give me a chance to finally put the writing organization together (StL Writers of Color) and make headway with the literacy non-profit agency. I also want to get out in St. Louis to mix, mingle, and support local artists and businesses. That’ll also help me to network and build up a St. Louis following as well. I’m sure I’ll do events here and there, but I’m not planning on any tour this year.
Still moving. LOL Finally moving into and living out of my St. Louis apartment this Thursday, although I won’t have all my furniture and stuff until the end of January. That’s cool though. It’s been a blessing to live with family in St. Louis but I’m dying to have my own space again. I like being alone and having my own space. Do what I want to do. Some people get lonely when they’re alone. I never understood that. I can be alone for weeks at a time and love it. Mainly because I’m either reading books or writing. Matter of fact, that’s one of the things that scares me about getting married. That means you have to live with someone forever. Like, share a space permanently. Too bad you can’t get married but have separate houses. Or can you??? Hmmmm….


Monday, November 22, 2004

Yesterday, I just finished my first round of edits on Counting Raindrops. The way I see it, I have two more rounds to go. I was quite surprised that Leslie, my editor, didn’t change a whole lot. There were quite a few clean and untouched pages! LOL I guess I was expecting changes and red marks everywhere! In this first round, I just went through and incorporated the line edits (word changes, punctuation, etc.). In round two, I’ll create the story changes agreed on with the editor. In round three, I’ll incorporate my own story enhancements.
The publisher and editor kept saying how much they loved the story. Hmmm…I guess they really did! LOL The funny thing is that there are a few things that I plan to change or, I should say, enhance. I was surprised that these didn’t come up with the editor. Maybe I’m harder on myself than others? I don’t know. On the other hand, some of the ideas from enhancement are actually from readers. There are two things that I heard from almost EVERYONE who read the book and I want to touch on that a little more in the re-writes. I’m so thankful for this opportunity. While self-publishing has been hard, I think this is one of the advantages. As a first time novelist, I’ve had a chance to “test” my product with the readers and get their feedback. While you can NEVER write a story that will please everyone, I do have the opportunity to strengthen areas that were pointed out by a majority of the readers.


Friday, November 12, 2004

Man! So much going on! Well, I decided to move back home to St. Louis. It was either home to St. Louis, to Baltimore, or to Atlanta. I chose St. Louis for personal reasons. It’s time to go back home. So, I’m in transition now. Also, since I’ve ended the book tour, I’ve taken on a job. NOT ENGINEERING!!! If I never work another day as an Engineer, it will be a blessing. No, I actually had to hide my engineering degree so I could get a support type job. I don’t want anything heavy. Just something that will sustain me and allow me the freedom to let my creativity flow and expand throughout the day. An 8 – 5 is what I want! LOL So, I’m a “marketing administrator” for an engineering company (purely coincidence) that has no idea that I have a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. Thank goodness I chose a pen name too! I was overheard talking to my agent and someone asked me if I was an author. I explained that I just got a book deal. But if they do a search on my real name, they won’t find anything. J Unless somebody out smarts me somehow. Naaahhhh!!!! LOL

Still waiting on the contract. Even though I know the deal’s official, I’d still feel comfortable after having a signed agreement. I received Hyperion’s author profile that I’m to fill out for the publicity department. Whew! Never knew there was so much information I could give about myself and my book! Edits are due December 1st and I don’t even have it back from the editor yet. I put in a frantic call to my agent to explain my fears. I was worried that if I didn’t get it in by December 1st, that my contract would become null and void and I’d be sentenced to being on the road forever selling my self-published version. But she assured me that wouldn’t happen. I just got word that it was sent to me over night so I will pick it up today and take a look. If it’s a lot, we may have to ask for more time which my agent says shouldn’t be a problem. Whew! Now my next worry, or I should say thought, is now much of a hack job was done on my story? Actually, I’m looking forward to input and want to change the story a little. I’m wonder if my agent Leslie’s changes are the same as the ones I’m thinking. I’ll find out tonight!


Sunday, October 31, 2004

AWESOME NEWS!!!! I got picked up by a publisher this month! And it happened fast too! My agent (she’s such a blessing) explained that once we submit, it could take up to two weeks to start getting responses so I shouldn’t get worried. All along, she was expecting it go a lot quicker than that. She just didn’t want me to get my hopes up. But her expectations were high. She’s like a pit bull too! J Anyway, we submitted on like the 6th or 7th, I believe and she told me about a calls of interest starting to come in the following Tuesday, on the 12th. A matter of days! In the end, on October 20th, my agreement with Hyperion Books became official. I feel like this is going to be a great partnership. I enjoyed talking to them over the phone. It felt like talking to my agent. When I talk to my agent, I feel like I’m talking to my best friend. So that was a great plus. I liked their initial ideas and they seem to be open in forming a “partnership” rather than a publisher-author relationship. I am quite excited. We’re looking to re-write and put Counting Raindrops back out in September of next year and my next novel in September, 2006.


Thursday, September 30, 2004

I’m still doing dates and I’m actually getting tired of doing so. It’s not the events or the people. Once I get there and I meet the ladies (and the occasional men that come out), I’m good. I mean, I love talking to the ladies about their perspectives on the issues in my book, the story, and their opinions in general. It’s awesome to see how others can draw an entirely new idea or thought out of your story. Something you never thought about or intended. Readers pay grave attention to detail too. Sometimes I get questions about the smallest detail, incident, or thought in the book and I don’t know how to answer because I never saw it. LOL And that’s another thing. When I’m writing, it feels like it’s not actually me writing. Something takes over. Other writers call it the characters. I can agree with that, but it’s also like your soul taking over and writing the story. I can recall reading chapters like a week or so after I wrote it and I’m so engrossed because it feels new to me. Like I’m reading it for the first time. Like somebody else wrote it. Sometimes I’m in awe and think, “Did I write that?” Because I honestly don’t remember coming up with the idea. Sometimes I’m thinking that this is crap and it doesn’t flow, so I nix it and start over. But getting back to my point, readers will ask me about something in the story and I actually don’t remember writing it or the specific details, so I have to ask them what happened or what was said. LOL And I know I look strange and maybe they’re wonder if I actually wrote the story. But that’s okay. Because I can actually answer that question, “Yes I did” and “No I didn’t”.


Monday, August 30, 2004

I’m hoping to wrap up the touring this month and concentrate on selling the book to a publisher. I already contacted my agent to let her know I’m ready to sell. Self-publishing is a great way to get your book out there, but it’s a lot of work. The only way I see making a living off this is to constantly stay out on the road or get out there and peddle my book on the street EVERYDAY. Since promoting and selling, I’ve had very little time for writing. I’ll have a spurt here and a spurt there. But nothing where I can consistently write and continue on with an idea for hours or days. Funny. While I was working 10 – 13 hours a day, I could get up at 4AM and use my weekends to write. Now that I’m a full-time author, it seems like I have less time to write. I know I can do this if I have to, but I pray to God that he blesses me with a traditional publisher. If I get one, then try it, then discover that it’s worse than self-publishing, well, at least I would have that personal experience to be able to make that judgment call.


Saturday, July 31, 2004

July, 2004
This has been a really busy month travel-wise. I'm having a great time, but at the same time, I'm seeing myself get tired. When fellow author, Alisha Yvonne, and I went to the Rawsistaz Affair in Richmond, I didn't even have the energy to hang out one night. And that is SO unlike me. Not that I'm a party animal, :-) but I enjoy going out while I'm out on the road because that's the only time I get a chance to do so. But I'm starting to feel drained.


Sunday, June 13, 2004

Ever have two different emotions running through you at the same time? Ha! Ha! That's what I'm feeling right now. Wait, not 2 different emotions, but several.

I'm happy that Counting Raindrops is still being well received wherever I go. It is so great to be in the third print run and to actually see people excited about taking a chance and purchasing a first novel from someone they've never read before. And it's a greater feeling when I go out now and people tell me they've heard of it or have seen info or news on it. And they want to get it right away. And want my autograph to boot! That's still something that's hard to believe. That people want my autograph. LOL

I'm excited because the more I sell, the closer I get to realizing my charity drive goal. That has more meaning to me right now than anything. I'm four months in and half-way to my goal and totally thrilled! Knowing that I can do something positive while sharing something I love is like having my cake and eating it too!

Well, but I'm also tired. I'm not going to lie, traveling every weekend, then pounding the pavement daily when I'm home ain't no joke. It's tiring, it's draining. Sometimes, I just don't feel like smiling. But I have to in order to sell the book. I have to be enthusiastic about it because if I'm not, people are less likely to buy. And it's so funny that I left my job because of all the travel. I'm traveling just as much now. But the funny thing is that I love what I'm doing and this nowhere near compares to the stressful travel that I had before. This time, I'm not going through two bottles of Tylenol a month--almost on a daily basis, in the morning with my coffee I would have Tylenol. Sheesh! I work more hours now, but I'm not that stressed to where Tylenol is my meal now.

My days consist of running up my phone bill, tracking down distributors and bookstores to try to get paid for books sold. Then, I'm making travel arrangements, and preparing promotional materials for the next signing. On top of that, there's ALWAYS some unplanned request or event that happens and I need to drop everything to get that done. Whether it's an interview request, a new opportunity to promote and/or sell, etc. Whatever. Something always comes up to throw off the schedule, but I have to stop to do it because it's linked to more book sales. And that's the name of the game right now.

Oh, yeah, then I'm trying to write books! LOL There's a lot to do and I'm tired. But I keep pressing because I know that I'm paying my dues now and it will pay off in the long run. Nothing worthwhile comes easy. You gotta lay a foundation and put in some work to be able to reap benefits in the end. I know this, but doesn't mean I like every part of it! LOL It's rough at times, but hey, I can take it.


Sunday, February 15, 2004

Whew! Other authors told me this was where the real work began and they weren't kidding. I'm so swamped with everything, I don't know if I'll ever get out. Thank God the sale of the book is going extremely well. January 31st kicked off the charity drive and I'm now pumped about raising money for charity, even though it means we may not make a huge profit. I knew this going in, but it's definitely something I wanted to do, especially with this first book. Especially while it's in my power to do so. There was no expectation to make a profit anyway, but we're hoping to break even on our investment. And since the career change, I'm volunteering for a reading program with a Cleveland organization. I want to give time as well as money. I'm looking forward at getting my own non-profit together this year and having reading programs for troubled youth and the incarcerated. I am so looking forward to doing something much more meaningful than engineering...something that will make a difference.

I was happy to have sold out of the prereleases in Januaury and to pre-sell the final release. Orders are coming in and keeping us all busy. But the toughest part by far is getting the book in stores to meet demands. We have definitely created the demand, but stores are slow to respond and stock it. So there's a lot of calling and following up. Stores say they'll stock, then I announce that readers can pick it up at so and so location, then they go there and it's not in stock. And the store says they can order it for arrival in a couple of weeks. Frustrating. But so are the ways of independent publishing.

I'm really pumped right now to do the best I can. Especially since most feedback has been very positive, I feel even more confident about pushing the book. It would be great to be able to donate 5K to each charity. I know it's small compared to the corporations that donate to these two charities, but it will be huge to me and I'm sure to each inner city child that will benefit. And you know, I actually keep that in the forfront of my mind. I think about being a kid in St. Louis. I think about helping out the little kid that I used to be.


Wednesday, January 14, 2004

I’m quite anxious to see how things are going to go this year. Somehow, I’ve managed to get the book in four nationally distributed publications, which should be very helpful in getting the word out about my book. Well, one of them is a paid ad, but the other three came about by someone approaching me. Seems like I’ve done a decent job so far in getting the word out on the internet, so I think people are hearing about it from there and contacting me. I am so thankful that these individuals have contacted me and decided to either publish a review, news, or interview. Now all I gotta do is try to get them in stores so that people won’t be frustrated if they want to go out and purchase it.

I’m looking forward to the 4-day workshop at the UCLA Extension Writer’s Studio. I went last year and I think that was the most intensive course on writing that I ever took. Not that I’ve taken a whole lot. I took a course on Writing the First Novel and the instructor went all up, down, in, out, and around all aspects of writing. I’m vowing to take this class every year. Plus, it serves as a mini vacation. And this time around, there’s another added benefit. My agent, Jenoyne, and I are meeting up for lunch while I’m there. This year, I’m taking the workshop on Creating Characters. Should be extremely interesting. I’m already ready to apply it to my second novel!


Things are going well at the moment. I don’t think I can ask for more, although I wish it wasn’t so tiresome! I actually SOLD OUT of my prereleases. I thought I was going to have a few copies left over when I picked up my final copies the second week of January. However, Counting Raindrops was selected for 2 online book clubs as well as an Atlanta based book club for January. Orders came flooding in and I sold out of the prereleases. It was actually a blessing that I was able to pick my full release copies up early. I started selling them in advance of the publication date to meet the needs of the book clubs. What’s even better is that my book will be the selection for two other book clubs in February. Things are going okay right now. It’s a matter of keeping the interest out there long enough for people to notice and buy.

Like I said, things are great, but tiring. I’m working on getting books to distributors, bookstores and customers. Also, I’m calling individual bookstores to get them to order. I’m planning my book selling tour and making arrangements. Preparing materials and promo items needed for the tour. This, and I’m still finishing up my move! Through all of this though, I have to somehow make noise about the book so that people will know that it’s out there and go check it out. With there being so many self/independent publishers out there, that can be extremely challenging.

Gotta go finalize plans for the St. Louis book launch party and book signing.