Thursday, March 25, 2010

What's an Author To Do?

Okay, for a minute there my books were selling like hotcakes! At work I was selling like 2-3 books a day as the word spread about my recently published novel. It was really cool! Things have slowed down quite a bit, but that was to be expected. What I didn't expect to learn is that, rather than some people buying their own copy, they've been reading a book purchased by someone else. WTF??? One coworker was walking past me the other day, and she was like, "Girl, I didn't know you wrote a book." Then I'm thinking, cool, she wants to buy one. WRONG! Then she says, "Yeah, so and so gave me a copy and I was like, L.A. Jefferson...that woman on the back cover looks just like LaCharmine. Then OHHHH that is LaCharmine. I'm liking it so far..." While I was glad she was enjoying it, I would have much rather preferred she bought her own. But, it happens, I know. I, myself, have borrowed someone else's copy of a book. Not because I was too cheap to buy my own, but because they offered it to me. Soooo I won't cry over spilled milk. What I will do is push my book sales even harder to compensate for the those darn book sharers!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Oscars 2010

I'll be the first to admit that watching award shows is not always the most entertaining way to spend a Sunday evening. However, as an artist, I just can't help myself. When I watch shows like the the Oscars and the Grammy's my heart swells with grand admiration that, many times, has brought tears to my eyes. Now, I could be extra sentimental, but either way, after I watch these shows I'm always inspired to never stop pushing towards accomplishing my dream!

The most moving moment of this years Oscars--next to Mo'Nique's acceptance speech for her award for the Best Supporting Actress--was Sandra Bullock's acceptance speech. Towards the end of her acceptance speech for Best Leading Actress, she paid homage to her late mother who always made her practice whatever it was that she was interested in at the time--ballet, piano, acting, etc. "An artist must practice their art if they expect to be any good at it," Sandra quoted her mother.

Those words made me wish that I'd had that kind of support from my mother when I initially showed interest in the art of writing. But, the difference between my mother and Sandra Bullock's mother is that her mother was an artist and artist know what artists needs. What's good is that even though my mother didn't encourage me in my younger days, she's like my number one supporter now, passing out my business cards and telling people about my book more than I do :). And now I have a whole slew of artists--Mo'Nique, Sandra Bullock, Halle Berry, Whitney Houston, Alicia Keyes, India.Arie, the late Alliyah--who encourage and inspire me everyday. They worked hard be able to live their dreams and that's what I have to do. So as advised by Sandra Bullock's mother I have to practice my art everyday in order to perfect it, which means I have to write something everyday, whether it's daily blog entries, story ideas, character creations, etc.

To all my aspiring writing buds, happy "daily" writing!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

1st Book Club Discussion of Unfinished Business

Needless to say I was pretty geeked up about the book club discussion of my book, Unfinished Business, on this past Saturday with The Sistas Book Club. In fact I was so geeked up that I couldn't even attend a coworker's birthday party on the night before the book event. I needed a full night's sleep so that I could have all of my barrings about myself. This was, after all, my first time talking to a group of readers of my book in such close proximity. Talk about getting down to the nitty gritty. As an author, the bottom line is the readers, right?

I went to bed and woke up with thoughts of how this event was going to transpire. What was I going to say? Most importantly, what were they going to say? What were they were going to ask me? Would my responses flow like water running from a faucet or be lumpy & bumpy like rocky road ice cream? Believe me, unless you rehearse talking about your book--like my mentor, Sylvia Hubbard, advised me years ago--it is possible to stumble over your responses about your own work. Not because you don't know it through and through, but because of simple nervousness. Anyway, I didn't want that to be me. Even though this would be my first group discussion of my book, I didn't want it to appear that way, you know what I mean?

At the end of the day, I came through with flying colors. I was thrilled that my story was so well-received and created so much fun conversation! An array of topics was broached, including: friends' involvement in friend's relationship decisions, the revolving door factor of relationships, how ones personal atrocities can affect ones career, and can a man be as forgiving as a woman when he's been wronged in the relationship? If I didn't say the discussion was lively, it was!

As much as the book was liked by the book club members, I'd be lying if I said there was no criticism. One woman commented that she would've liked more sex scenes--details, details, details. Honestly, I won't be feeding into that one. I'll leave that for the romance and erotica authors. The most surprising critique by two of the members was that the story started off slow. As the author, I thought I pretty much jumped right into the story. In fact, I wondered if jumping in so quickly was a mistake. But, the harshest criticism one member noted was that she could tell this was a first book, BUT she wants to read more from me. Hmmm. How would you take that? My first inclination was one of negativity, even though it is my first book. However, an author doesn't necessarily want readers to be able to tell it was a first. We want it to appear as though we've been writing for years. But I'll take it for what it's worth--there is room for improvement and I look forward to doing so with my next project.

So, as I continue on my path to literary stardom, I thought it was important to share this first major stepping stone. Hopefully, this will be the first of many book club discussions that I'll be involved in as the feature author.