Writer Wednesday: Events

Contrary to popular belief the internet isn’t the only way to sell books.

Live Events are another way to sell books and network. 

Sales

A live event can be hit or miss. I’ve attended events where I’ve sold lots of books at full price and I once attended an event where I only sold four books. 

Here’s the deal though–you may sell out you may not, but one sale can translate into life long sales. For example after attending the BWABC in Tennessee I released Tempted to Touch and someone for Tennessee contacted me directly to order the book. 

Networking

This is your opportunity to meet other authors. You can soldify relationships formed over the internet or you can just learn and grow through some real life interactions.

Those interactions can lead to collaborations and you can gain insight about what other authors are doing to promote their businesses, establish their brand, and sell some books. 

After attending the National Black Book Festival a year ago an author from the MidWest told me about in-home books signings. I asked a few friends if they would host and praise be to God at least one person said yes. It gave me the chance to connect with real readers. 

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Challenge

For 2016 The Neophyte Authors wants you to attend a couple events. If you’re strapped for cash stick to local events in your city or create your own. Call up a coffee shop or the library and ask them to host you. 

And you’re going to say, I don’t know about any events or it’s too late for me to book now. No way. Obviously, it might be hard to get into an event going on in January, but there are events in the middle of the year that are still accepting vendors or taking participants.

Check out these sites to get started:

AALBC.com

Writer’s Digest

Poets and Writers 

What’s your dream event that you’d like to attend? Do have questions about attending events or preparing for an event? Do know any events that authors must attend? 

To Keep Up with the Neophyte Author sign up for my newsletter because I’ll be on the go. I already have two events booked for January. 

 

 

 

#WriterWednesday: Tackling Theme

So, it’s onto the fourth book for me now and I thought maybe I should try outlining now. Children of God is a different type of story for me. Each one of my books (Born at Dawn, Seasoned with Grace, Tempted to Touch) have been stand alone books, but none of them have ever been set in the midst of an external conflict.

Children of God is set in the Dominican Republic and will deal with the ramifications of the governments antihaitianismo (anti-Haitian prejudices) which led to a massive overhaul in citizenship status of the Dominican Republics Haitian residents. Particularly this summer. Many Haitians and Dominicans of darker complexions were sent to Haiti (voluntarily and by force). I usually don’t write such charged literature, so I figured I’d need an outline.

Outlining is terribly stifling to me and time consuming when I have so little time to write as it is, but upon engaging in this activity I discovered in addition to the characters and conflict a writer must have a theme in mind that they want to work with it.

Theme is the illusive element of the story that teachers use to torture students with and any good con-artist posing as a student can use it to trick a teacher into thinking that they’ve done some great analysis of a story with the right blend of evidence from the story, but what is theme really for an author?

Tackling Theme

Generally theme is considered the message of you want readers to take away from the story, for example Love conquerors all. When you work in a particular genre there are often themes that are associated with that genre. I write Christian Fiction. Stories in that genre don’t just honor morality, but often take a biblical theme like there is healing in forgiving someone and expound on that using the narrative.  

Sevgiliye
Theme- the message hidden within the text.

Let’s elevate the status of theme. Instead of theme being shoved into a car that is driven a character with a huge personality or flaw or riding on the back of a motorcycle with a crazy plot what if theme became the driving force of the novel? What if when outlining and planning we crafted scenes that would illuminate theme?

As I attempted to outline Children of God the less I thought about conflict and plot and the more I thought what’s the point of this? What are the characters supposed to get from these experiences? What is the reader supposed to get from these experiences? 

Now, in true Neophyte Author fashion I can tell you that I have some working themes. Will they remain I don’t know because when I write I’m never writing alone I’m working with the author and finisher of my faith, Jesus and His will must supersede mine. 

Exercise

What is the theme of your most recent work or WIP? 

Name at least three scenes that develop this–try finding one from the exposition, climax, and denouement (or around there)?

How would you reconstruct those scenes or what would you add to them if you had planned the story with executing the theme as your main objective? 

How can you use this thought process to influence your next piece of writing?

 

#WriterWednesday: Periscope for Writers Branding and Building a Community

Just when you think you’ve gotten a handle on your social media management another app pops up. I’ve never really done a post about social media before, but I really want to talk about this new app, Periscope ( I LOVE IT).

What is it?

Periscope is an app for streaming live video. As you record your followers can tune in. They can comment on the broadcast periscopeas you stream and they can share your broadcast with their followers on Twitter or their followers on Periscope. Within the app the replay of your broadcast is only available for twenty-four hours. There is another app called katch me  or periscopevault.com in which your broadcasts can be replayed. 

Is it for Writers?

Yes!!! It’s your own channel. You can talk about your books, talk about writing, talk about crocheting. Whichever way you use it make sure that your scopes are consistent with your brand. I write Christian Fiction, so it would be totally crazy for a viewer to log on and find me on there talking about how worried and stressed out I am. I’ve basically been dividing my ‘scopes into book ‘scopes and my faith ‘scopes. I am not too technical with my ‘scopes, but there are several others who you should follow that are using Periscope to build there brand and share their brand message. 

Building a Community

Since Periscope is so new you can establish you own community and expose your work to new readers. Periscope is not dependent on your Facebook friends following you or your followers from any other network. This is a place for you to network with new authors and readers. Hashtags are currency on Periscope. Add hashtags to the title of your broadcast to put yourself in front of new a readers. Be sure to engage with the viewers as they comment on your post. 

I Don’t Want  to Set Up a New Account

You don’t have to. Periscope is connected to Twitter. You don’t need to establish a new profile and every time you ‘scope the app automatically sends out a tweet to your followers. So, you don’t have any excuses. 

Who to Follow

So, you want tips on using Periscope. ]If you’re on there already but expand your network and community or you want to get a feel for the app before actually ‘scoping follow the people below. Of course you’ve got to follow The Neophyte Author.

@NewNigeria

Tiphani Montgomery @TiphaniMontgomery (entrepreneur)

Shelley Hitz @shelleyhitz (author coach)

Lashaunda Hoffman @SORMAG (author coach and book promoter)  

Are you on Periscope? Drop your handle below and what you ‘scope about in the comments.

#WriterWednesday: When Inspiration Strikes or Not

This is a late night edition of #WriterWednesday, but if you’re anything like me this is when you get your best work done. That is if you feel inspired, but what happens when you’re not feeling it?

I’m going to tell you what to do when you’re not feeling it. Treat your writing like your faith–keep walking anyway. As Christians we walk by faith and not by sight. It doesn’t matter what we see or what’s going on around us we’re supposed toGood idea stand. What do you think you’re supposed to do with your gift? Only write when the muse strikes or when you’re wearing your lucky green socks?

No…don’t worship the muse or wait for the muse that is idol worship. Worship the Lord, who is the giver of every good and perfect gift, in spirit and in truth and watch the words flow. Watch how you’re fingers fly if you just sit down and say “It’s not me, but it’s in you, Lord and I want to be used by you no matter the time–day or night and regardless of how I feel.” 

How do I know that this method will work? Because I’m doing it right now. I wasn’t feeling it. I wasn’t inspired and I have nothing to say, but I want to be consistent (as a good blogger should be), I want to be encouraging to new authors and share what I am learning (I am The Neophyte Author, right), but I don’t want to sound like a broken record either rehashing all kinds of lessons on writing that are available all over the internet. So, as I tried to think of what to write about this Wednesday I said a prayer and left my computer alone. I went about my day the way I normally do (pick up Boogie from camp, eat dinner, and hit up Bible Study).

Now it’s after ten and I said this night will not end with me offering something. In this moment the Jesusmet me (that’s the Lord I’ve been referencing if you want to get to know him see the What Must I Do to b Saved? page) and gave me these words. Don’t trust your gift, talent, or calling for they come without repentance (God gives you what you need to be who He wants you to be before you’ve even considered serving Him), but trust in the one who gave it to you. Yield yourself to him and do what you have been called to do, share your gift, and cause your talent to be multiplied and bring the bounty all back to him. That means work in spite of feeling inspired work as unto Him and He will take care of the rest.

And the Winner Is…Wheatley Awards Recap

Ladies and gentleman it has been a wild weekend for me that started with the Phillis Wheatley award ceremony on Friday. 

For those of you who regularly follow The Neophyte Author, you know that I was nominated for a 2015 Phillis Wheatley Award for First Fiction for my debut novel Born at Dawn. In June I became one of three finalists and I am pleased to announce that my God is faithful and as His word says He has blessed the work of my hands. Born at Dawn took home the 2015 Wheatley Award for First Fiction. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!! 

There are not enough words to describe the level of emotions that washed over me when Omar Tyree (yes, the Omar Tyree, author of Flyy Girl) called my name. It was a wonderful night and I have some pictures of the other winners and I would like to congratulate all of the finalists and winners. 

Categories and Finalist (Winners in Bold)

YOUNG READERS

Granny’s Helper by Selma Jackson

Midnight and the Man Who Had No Tears by Tiffany Golden

Tate and His Historic Dream by Bernard C. Turner

YOUNG ADULT

Dear Diary, The Bullying Won’t Stop by Delicia B. Davis

The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis

Willow by Tonya Cherie Hegamin

FIRST NON-FICTION

Daffodil: A Mother’s Journey by Demetria Hayes

No Doubt: The Murder(s) of Oscar Grant by Thandisizwe Chimurenga

Regina Anderson, Harlem Renaissance Librarian by Ethelene Whitmire

NONFICTION

A Light Shines in Harlem: New York’s First Charter School by Mary C. Bounds

Breaking Grounds: My Life in Medicine by Dr. Louis W. Sullivan

Businessman First, Remembering Henry G. Parks, Jr… by Maurice W. Dorsey

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POETRY

Brief Evidence of Heaven: Poems from the Life of Anna Murray Douglass by M. Nzadi Keita

City of Eternal Spring by Afaa Micheal Weaver

Tears for My Ancestors by Malik Canty

FIRST FICTION

Adinkrahene: Fear of a Black Planet by Jeffrey A. Faulkerson (Check him out, please :)) 

Born at Dawn Nigeria Lockley

Shifting Allegiances: A Nigerian’s Story of Nigeria, America & Culture by Amaka Lily

FICTION

Every Day is for the Theif by Teju Cole

Glorious Sunset by Ava Bleu

Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique

#WriterWednesday: What’s Your Writing Super Power?

One of my student’s walked up to me the other day and asked me, “Is it true?” I squinted at him and asked, “Is what true?” “What they say about your writing,” he said waving a photocopy of Publisher’s Weekly Review of Seasoned with Grace. “They say dialogue is your strong point. Is that true?”

I really hadn’t considered that whether or not what Publisher’s Weekly said about me was true. I was just to glad that the Lord had moved on my behalf and caused them to review my book. I thought about it for a moment and I decided I didn’t agree with Publisher’s Weekly (relax, I’m not crazy). I never considered dialogue my strong suit, although I run my mouth more than enough, so I ought be good at writing dialogue.

To me my strength, my writing super power is my voice. I think that early on I was able to subconsciously develop this very

girl power super hero confidence in kids or children

sharp and hard voice that reflected my city life. I didn’t know it until I was working on my Masters in Creative Writing. Every week my peers (mostly white) would praise me for my how well versed I was with the vernacular. For awhile it stung. I didn’t want my poems to be praised for the vernacular I wanted people to praise my poetry for its beauty. I attempted to write a beautiful poem one week for our workshop and they praised me, but they noted that this poem was different from all my other work. I confessed my feelings to them and nearly broke down crying–for once in my life I didn’t want to be this black writer with a voice that echoed the concrete. I wanted daises to be birthed on the wings of my words. I wanted to prove to them and to me that I could write like them. Once class was over and I had successfully won them over I went back to writing lyrics about the feel of asphalt under my feet. I found it took too much thought to write like someone else. It was too difficult to fill my mouth with the words of other and make them pretty.

I reclaimed my voice and went back creating pieces that reflected the beauty and ugly I found in the world using my own tongue. For me that is my Writing Super Power that’s another way I am able to be a trailblazer.

What’s your writing super power? What’s your strength? What sets your writing apart from everyone else in your genre?

If an answer doesn’t come write away maybe read a chapter or two of your most recent work and a chapter or two of someone else in your genre and look for the nuances–are you a master of setting a scene? create strong characters? write good bad guys? teach lessons subtly? Often our focus is on improving our weakness, but what would happened if we embraced and nurtured our strengths?

Don’t forget to post your strengths in the comments section. I might need your help.

SEASONED-WITH-GRACE (1)Don’t forget to order a copy of Seasoned with Grace or to tell a friend or two about it. It’s coming out this summer, July 28th.  Pre-order on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Books-a-million. Stay tuned for details on the  Seasoned with Grace Launch Party and Style Session as well as the virtual party.

BIG, BIG, BOOK NEWS!!

This is late breaking news and I would have gotten this to you sooner, but it’s been crazy since I came home. The news I have to share with you is so awesome that a regular ol’ blog post just wouldn’t do.