Authorpreneurship 201: Building Your Catalog is Vital

This journey of being an author, a self-published but willing to pitch my book to an agent or larger publisher authorhood, has been filled with so many lessons and now it’s time for me to drop a few nuggets. So if you haven’t subscribe yet, you definitely should!

Today’s Authorprenuership lesson comes from the five year in review lens; in other words this if for my 0-3 year experience range indie author. It’s so easy to keep pushing the same book over and over again but guess what’s the biggest obstacle for a self-pub author: growing our audience.

Water Your Audience and They Shall Grow

Yep, not selling the book–as long as it has a good storyline–isn’t the biggest issue. Not getting it out to your audiences is definitely easier now since we have retailers like Amazon, Bookbaby, iBooks and others who can get us in a reader’s queue. Plus if you have a social media following (big or small), you can bet that 1 out of 30 followers will buy your book.

But what happens when your audience slows to grow, and even though I know this is a completely abnormal situation, but what if you can’t travel to events or there are no events going on for you to hustle your book at? How can you possibly grow your audience?

Enter lesson 201. What I’ve learned since I first published my book in 2015, is that if you keep pushing the same book and your audience doesn’t grow, your following will plateau and interest will dim. But before the light completely goes out, you can do one thing that will make the sunshine bright once more–write mo!

Mo Books, Mo Books, Mo!

I just released my fourth book, which is the second release this year, and I immediately saw my readership grow. Even though my following didn’t drastically change, it did increase and so new readers took a chance on me because my old readers were excited to share my new books with their audience.

Of course there are other factors that play a part; make sure you have reviews for your current book(s), stay active with you audience, write or do anything that pertains to your writing career whether it’s blogging, vlogging or joining TikTok. But keeping things completely transparent, I knew this step was essential years ago, like literally the third year that I pushed the same two books.

What kept me from dropping more books faster? Answer: Excuses. “I don’t have enough time to write,” or “it needs to be perfect” were my favorite excuses but the latter was the greatest one of all.

Trust in the process and instead of looking for perfection, write toward passion. Write a story that makes you feel something and trust that even though a comma is out of place or maybe the a sentence is a run on that the editor will catch it.

Write and then release and then do it again.

I’m thankful that I can now open a bookstore online with Square and have several options for readers. I’ll share how that goes too because I’m testing it to see if managing my own store is worth the work or if I should just stick with the mass-producing book retailers.

Now Open!

Today is the Day

Patreon-Announcement

Today is the day that launch a new way of getting more books and stories out to you all. I know it’s taken me a while but you can now join my Patreon page (patreon.com/dncwrites) to get everything from unpublished (meaning never hitting this blog) short stories and poems, extra scenes, book previews of my upcoming two books and so much more.

It’s time for me to push myself and my passion so that I can live the fiction writing lifestyle I’ve always dreamt of. There are many roads to get to that dream, most of which take a decade to fulfilled but you know–I’m too ambitious and focused to wait that damn long. I’m working to make it come true now and your support will help to get me there faster and books in your hands sooner.

What I do, the words and stories that I write are not just a “thing” for me. It’s so damn fulfilling that I’m willing to just throw myself out there and see where God points me next.

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Even though it would be so dope to quit my day job and just do this full-time, it’s not realistic…yet. So in the meantime, I giving you all, my passion-fy family, exclusive stories that have been catching dust on my hard drive and real uncensored videos and post about life stuff, just not writing tips, and then, when we hit a goal or two, I’m dropping my podcast!

So as you can see, I’ve listened to your requests and as promised I’ve figured out something that works sooner than later.

Go and visit my page, and if you’re ready, there is already a story, or two waiting for you!

With passion and gratitude,

DNC

P.S. Patreon is for my 18+ years and older family 🙂 You know what that means.

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Hard Facts about Being an African American Romance Writer

I read an article today that resonates so well with my writing journey that I have to share it, vlog it, and just sit on it for a moment.

It’s a #Longread from the Guardian title “Fifty Shade of White: the long fight against racism in romance novels“. The writer of this piece, Lois Beckett, dives right into the past and current issues with romance writers of color; it’s hard to break through when the industry is slow to see that change it needs.

As it stands, when it comes to the Rita Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the romance industry given by RWA (Romance Writers of America), there has never been a black winner, like ever. The first official RWA meeting occurred Dec. 1980 – yep not one winner for the past 40 years. But to be honest, as a black woman, I’m not shocked. I grew up watching black romance books being separated from all the others to fall into an Urban Romance category. Segregation comes in many forms, and that my friend, is one of them. I remember never being able to find them, they were always tucked somewhere in the back, as if a white woman with a flowing dress falling off of her shoulders with a guy raising her leg was so much more sophisticated than a black woman’s eyes or lips.

It was then that I picked up my first Zane book and got lost between the pages. Her words reminded me that the black POV of love and lust were different but still viable for all that read it. Zane inspired me to write my own romance stories, using imagery and words that resonated with my generation and my friends. She gave me the courage to go about this writing journey in my own way.

Fast forward to now, as I continue to push my own voice through my writing and pitch an African American romance, women’s fiction, upmarket/commercial erotic fiction book (it may fall into to some other categories but I didn’t want to go overboard), I’m wondering if there will be a delay in understanding the worth and message behind my words. My romance looks and reads differently, but it feels as good as other romance stories. Can a predominately white industry recognize its value? It’s in Beckett’s article that I find some hope that it will. I just pray that it’s sooner than later…I’m so ready to take this passion on full-time.

Here’s an excerpt from Beckett’s article:

For all this diversity of genre, the romance industry itself has remained overwhelming white, as have the industry’s most prestigious awards ceremony, the Ritas, which are presented each year by the RWA. Just like the Oscars in film, a Rita award is the highest honour a romance author can receive, and winning can mean not only higher sales, but also lasting recognition from peers. And just like the Oscars, the Ritas have become the centre of controversy over unacknowledged racism and bias in the judging process.

Last year, however, many observers felt that this was sure to change. One of the standout novels of 2017 had been Alyssa Cole’s An Extraordinary Union, an interracial romance set during the civil war. The book had already won a number of awards and made multiple best-of-the-year lists.

When the Rita awards finalists were announced in March 2018, An Extraordinary Union was nowhere to be seen. A novel rated exceptional by critics had been not even been deemed as noteworthy by an anonymous judging panel of Cole’s fellow romance writers. The books that had beat Cole as finalists in the best short historical romance category were all by white women, all but one set in 19th-century Britain, featuring white women who fall in love with aristocrats. The heroes were, respectively, one “rogue”, two dukes, two lords and an earl.

What followed, on Twitter, was an outpouring of grief and frustration from black authors and other authors of colour, describing the racism they had faced again and again in the romance industry. They talked about white editors assuming black writers were aspiring authors, even after they had published dozens of books; about white authors getting up from a table at the annual conference when a black author came to sit down; about constant questions from editors and agents about whether black or Asian or Spanish-speaking characters could really be “relatable” enough.

Then, of course, there were the readers. “People say: ‘Well, I can’t relate,’” Jenkins told NPR a few years ago, after watching white readers simply walk past her table at a book signing. “You can relate to shapeshifters, you can relate to vampires, you can relate to werewolves, but you can’t relate to a story written by and about black Americans?”

Read the full article.

 

How to Support Your Favorite Indie Writer

As an indie author, or independent author (i.e. I do everyone myself when it comes to the business and writing aspects), I’ve been asked by several people how they can support my journey and other indies. Outside of buying our work, there are several ways that you can support your favorite self-published author. Here are four ways to love on them.

  1. Buy their book, preferably directly from the writer and don’t wait for a discount. One of the hardest things a writer can do is get paid for their craft, directly. When I say directly, I mean without something or somebody taking a piece of the pie (after taxes that is so IRS don’t come after me). Choosing to buy directly from that starving creative guarantees that they see more than 50 percent of the revenue. This may seem a bit confusing seeing that we keep also sell our books on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other platforms but to be honest, we have to. Everyone won’t see this blog and for those who prefer to go through a larger distributor, we have to spread our words as far and as wide as we can. But for those of you who are reading this…ditch the big distributor and reach out to the writer.
  2. Leave a review or tell a friend. Another reason we must put our books on large distribution channels is to encourage and streamline reviews. Reviews are one of the most important actions you can take as a reader to support an author. We need honest and specific reviews to encourage others who you can write or even talk directly to take a chance on our book.  Word of mouth changes the game for all companies and it’s the same for indie writers. Pass the word around.
  3. Follow them on their channels, including social media. This is an easy, quick and free way to support your favorite wordsmith. The great thing, and at times annoying feature to social media, is its like/share algorithm. When you follow or like someone’s post, the platform creates an algorithm to share out what you liked or shared with others in your community. In other words, like away and don’t forget to comment.
  4. Give the book to someone who could help. As I stated before, word of mouth is a powerful promotional effort. If you are able to get your favorite author’s words into the right hands, it could change that author’s life forever.

So, help an indie author out. We love what we do and if they are like me, we won’t stop because it’s our purpose.

Don’t have my book but want to read or support? Visit my Passion-fy Bookstore and pick-up Untraditional or/and my poetry collection Like. Love. Lust.