Thursday, October 27, 2011

It's a Black Thing

It's a black thing and some people just don't understand. There's a customer discussion group on called how to avoid indie authors. They basically talk about how self published authors should be avoided and that there should be some way to stop them.

Now I am all about freedom of expression, but most of today's top selling black authors are self published. And many others were published by previous self published authors. Self published authors like myself have been able to get our books in Barnes & Nobles and have sold good enough for stores like Barnes & Nobles and Borders to have Urban Fiction sections.

The big publishers won't pick up most of today's black  writers unless they've sold a lot of books already, whereas if write something that will appeal to or not threaten white readers you can actually get an advance before you even write the book. The reason for this is economics. Most readers are white and if you want to sell a million books it's best to write for them.

On the other hand, even though most urban fiction books will never sell a million copies, many have sold in the  thousands and have been very profitable. But just not on the scale that the major publishers would want to deal with unless it was a sure thing like Zane or K'wan.

Triple Crown  started out as a vehicle for the owner to self publish her own book and now puts out other books. If this indie author would not been able to thrive many others never would have had their work read.
Even if you never read a Terry Woods book, chances are you've heard of her. This is more proof that for African Americans ebooks and self publishing in general has created a new Renascence.

Yes there are some books out  there that are garbage. But there are also songs movies and plays that are garbage too. The thing is, we as black people should be glad that so many of our brothers and sisters are trying to write. We should be glad that many of our people who never would have picked up a book a few years ago are reading. Nothing but good can become of this. With all these books floating around, our reading and writing skills can only get better. Any book that can get kids in the hood reading is a good book to me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Don't stop before the miracle

It's hard to figure out how to write a million seller. But it's easy to figure out how not to sell any books. If you don't write them, you can't sell them. I know a few writers that quit after writing one or two books that didn't sell well. And I know a few writers that quit before they even finished the first book.

I've been in this business a little over five years and I've seen that there are many ways to sell books.

The first thing you have to do is write them. This explains itself

If you are not a master salesman, you have to write decent books. They don't have to be classics, but the have written well enough for the people you want to buy them. Some of us are natural story tellers, but learning more about the trade won't hurt. I knew a guy whose self published book was really bad. He couldn't give them away and would get mad when people didn't like his book. When I suggested some books and tips on writing he got offended. Which leads me to the next point.

You have to learn to take criticism. The paying readers are the judges, jury and executioners of our book selling life.

Write for a particular crowd. It makes it easier to market and get the word out about your book. I for example write middle class Urban Fiction for mature African American women. All I have to do then is get my books near other books that these same women are buying. The same thing goes if you write sci fi, horror or erotica. Trying to write for everyone is not going to work. James Patterson has a black character but h writes his books for white readers who love suspense. But he writes well and will pick up some black readers along the way. But most of his readers are white and his character doesn't get too black.

Realize that there is some luck involved. And just like the lotto, you have to be in it to win it.

Another thing I've noticed is if you keep at it, using the above tips, you can grow readership. After four or five well written and marketed books, you might not be able to make a living off writing, but you could have a decent side income.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Don't Give a F**k

This is for the writers who get upset when people give them bad reviews on and

The following post comes from Joe Konrath's blog A Newbie's Guide to Publishing 

Not Caring

One of the greatest skills you can acquire as an author is a thick skin.

Once you unleash a story onto the world, it no longer belongs to you. When it was in your head, and on your computer during the writing/rewriting process, it was a personal, private thing. But the moment your words go out into the world, they are subject to the opinion of strangers. What was once personal is now public.

Do yourself a huge favor, and don't listen to the public.

This goes for more than your literary endeavors. If you blog, or speak in public, or tweet on Twitter, you are a Public Figure.

That means some people aren't going to like you.

And you shouldn't care.

You shouldn't care about people liking you, either. Praise is like candy. It tastes good, but it isn't good for us.

The opinions of strangers, good or bad, should have no power over you.

Now, I'm not saying that your should live in a vacuum, oblivious to how you effect the world. In order to be a good writer, and a good person, it is important to have trusted allies pressure-check you.

These allies include family, close friends, and your agent, assuming you have a good relationship with your agent.

These are the people whose opinions do matter. You trust them, because they know you and your writing.

But anything outside of your inner circle should best be ignored.

Getting angry with reviews, or critics, or anonymous trolls, is a waste of energy, and serves no purpose.

Getting an inflated sense of worth because strangers praise you is one of the shallowest, emptiest ego boosts around.

In all cases, it is better not to care.

If you're lucky enough to be read, you will attract detractors and sycophants. You will be ridiculed, celebrated, roasted, venerated, criticized, analyzed, and talked about.

You have no control over what people say about you.

You have full control over how you react to what people say about you.

Not caring doesn't come naturally. In order to truly not care, you need to be confident, self-aware, and mentally healthy. You need to be deliberate. You need to understand your effect on others. You need to understand your needs, and how they're met.

The world is filled with a wide variety of people. But only a few of them should really matter to you. The rest are just white noise. They can amuse. But don't give them more power than that.

One of the greatest journeys in life is overcoming insecurity and learning to truly not give a shit.

But don't take my word for it. My opinion shouldn't matter to you at all.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Where you at? and how do the readers find you?

How do ebook readers find books to read. Well according to a survey on MobileRead:

29% get their recommendations from fellow readers on online message forums, blogs and message boards.
But only 4% only 4% selected, “Personal friend/family member recommends it to me.

18%  look first for their favorite authors.

Most of the rest find their books by browsing.

But only 3% got their books from the best sellers list.

Basically this means authors need to take multiple approaches to get noticed. But this also means most self published writers have an equal chance to get noticed. So remember, write the best book you can, so when they do discover you they'll come back for seconds.