I am constantly thinking of new ways to promote my debut novel, Who Is He To You, so I can get the word out and sell some books! While researching different ways to promote and draw traffic to my website, I came across several adds for production companies that offer to make trailers for your book. You know, like the movie trailers you see on TV. I knew I had to have one, but the OMG they cost a lot! Being an independent author, my funds are limited and I need to save as much as I can whenever possible. So, while at the Black Writer’s Reunion & Conference, I met Sophia C. Simmons, author of Love Again. She suggested that I make my own trailer like she did. Hmm…make my own trailer? Why not? It’s free and, if done properly, very effective. So, I opened up my Windows Movie Maker application and went to work. WHO IS HE TO YOU Trailer.
Last week I had the privilege of attending the Black Writers Reunion and conference (BWRC) in Las Vegas. I had my expectations, but I left Vegas on Sunday morning feeling more fulfilled and inspired than I had ever expected. When I arrived on Wednesday, I was nervous. I had never traveled out of state alone and I had no one to rely on to make my introductions and break the ice for me. I had to force myself to step outside of my comfort zone and make new friends and connections. On the first night, the other BWRC attendees and I met at the front entrance of the hotel so we could tour the Fremont Experience. As I surveyed my surroundings, checking out several women and a few men who shared the same passion for writing as I do, I immediately became more comfortable. Still, I was not ready to approach these strangers and spark a conversation. Then, Spoken Word artist, Marc Lacy, broke the ice and started a game to see who could get to know the most people in the least amount of time. That gave me an excuse to break loose and open up to my fellow writers. I met Sandra Hicks LaVenchi, Renee Flagler, Nakia Laushaul, Cherlisa Starks-Richardson, Sophia C. Simmons, Maria Jill Green, and a host of other wonderful writers who came with the hopes of spreading their God-given talent and making an impact on the world. I immediately felt like I was in my element, with people who understood me and my purpose.
Thursday we all attended the first installment of workshops, taught by the elite of the African-American literary world. My first workshop, “So You Wanna Write”, taught by ReShonda Tate Billingsly, gave me restored hope that I could top several best seller lists even as a self-published author. As the day went on and the workshops continued, I realized (even more so than before) that I was made for writing. I ended the night with pages of notes, a host of new friends and connections, and a smile on my face.
By Friday, I was hype and feeling like I was well on my way to a successful writing career. I ate breakfast with bestselling author, Venice Berry. One workshop that stood out to me, was “Fundamentals of Fiction”, presented by N. Kali Mincy. She taught us the do’s and don’ts, ins and outs or fiction writing. Now I pride myself on being pretty knowledgeable about the art of writing, but I left that class with new information and fresh perspectives. Bestselling author, Lutishia Lovely taught me to claim the “Bestseller” title Between workshops, we got the opportunity to visit the authors’ vending booths, chit chat, and purchase books to support each other. I purchased, Mountain High and Valley Low by Renee Flagler, Lyricode 256 by Marc Lacy, Black Rain by Vincent Alexandria, and Everybody Say Amen by ReShonda Tate Billingsley. I will be sure to post my thoughts on these projects in the future.
Even though the conference was over by Friday night, I decided to stay an extra night just to enjoy Vegas and my new found friends. We hit the strip, sipping on drinks, visiting casinos, and checking out the sights. We ended the night at Ray J’s club, Poetry. By Sunday afternoon, I was on a plane making my way back home to Michigan. I feel refreshed, confident, and anxious for the next conference.
Tia Ross, organized an amazing event for black writers and I am genuinely appreciative. She announced that the next conference will not take place until 2011, but I hear she is getting pressured to make it happen next year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that she gives in to the pressure and I get to do this again in 2010. I can’t wait!
Cool Sites you should check out:
Today is a great day! I officially launched my new website and it is nice (if I must say so myself). It was designed by yours truly 🙂 It took me forever to get it to look just right. Then when the book cover was done, I had to redo the color scheme altogether. Overall I am happy with the outcome. You HAVE to check it out! Shout out to Wix.com for making it extremely easy for a tech novice like me to make a beautiful professional looking website. After you visit my site, check out Wix.com too. It’s hot! 🙂
It’s done it’s finally done! No, not the book publication. But, almost just as exciting! The BOOK COVER IS DONE! I have stressed and worried, lost sleep, and suffered anxiety in anticipation for the book release and I now it is almost over. The cover is SICK! I couldn’t imagine it being any better than it turned out. It’s dramatic and in your face. It’s everything I wanted. I mean if I was in a bookstore and saw it, I would surely pick it up. Marlon E. Hines, my graphic designer, is a genius at what he does. Okay, okay, enough talking. Here it is! Tell me what you think….
As I get closer and closer to holding the finished novel in my hands I am growing increasingly anxious. The publishing process has been the source of my overwhelming excitement as well as my anxiety, fear, and nerves. At this point I just can’t wait for it to be over and have the book in my hand (and hopefully yours too). But then that will only mark the beginning of another journey altogether. Selling and promoting. My work is never done.
While I’m waiting on the cover, I’ve been attending events, talking about my book and passing out my promo cards. I’ve been getting an overwhelmingly positive response. I attended an event called “The Rebirth” on Friday night. It was a small crowd of artists: poets, photographers, rappers, etc. The host, Gerrard Allen made me get in front of the crowd and tell them about my book. I was so nervous! I stood there with my hands and legs shaking, talking to these people about my baby, my novel. I read the synopsis while Gerrard passed out my promo cards. It was nerve-wrecking, but it was great! The people were so positive and encouraging. They asked questions about the book and wanted to know where to get a copy. It felt good. I hope after that, it gets easier to approach people and speak about my work. It is a must do.
Right now . All I’m waiting on is the cover to go to print. I discussed design concepts with my designer and we agreed that the cover will be dramatic, eye-catching, and attention-grabbing. The cover is the most important part of the publishing process and I won’t settle for less than perfection. I can’t! I mean it’s the cover. The first thing people see when they are deciding whether to buy my book. Hopefully it will be done in a couple of days. Until then I will be impatiently waiting with my stomach in knots. As soon as I get the design I’ll post the cover for all to see. 🙂