Building a Better Book

 I can see where it has taken people years to finish a book. I’ve heard stories about how it has taken ten plus years to finish a book. I figured out why that is. Building a better book is all about perfection in the eyes of the writer.

As I have combed through pages upon pages of this novel, I have found new things to either tweak or even add if the story called for more detail. This is why drafts get numbered. The current manuscript is the fourth of its kind. It’s fully edited and complete from my stand point (for the moment). But now it’s time for more feedback and cover designs.

First, I think I need to say that I have a publicist. Before you tell me how fancy you think I am, she’s family. Which brings me to my editor, she’s one of my oldest friends. It’s this type of network that has made me just focus on the writing and less on everything else. The role of the publicist is to help me promote the book as well as get the things I need to make this book happen. She is the one getting me new test readers. These two women have invested time into this novel and has made me believe in the book as much as I’ve made them a believer in me.

Their efforts have helped me make this book better and that is important. There have been many potholes in this journey. Many moments of self doubt when I wanted to just quit this whole process. Let me be real, this novel is rated R. It’s an adult oriented book that discusses many issues and sex is a very prevalent theme. This has made me think twice about if what I’m writing is necessary, is this a narrative that I really want to put out there?

I struggle with that question knowing the book’s content so when I got my first negative review, it hit home. Granted, I knew that not everyone is going to like the book but in her feedback, this lady mentions that Black and Latinos need to do better with their stories. I’ve heard something similar to this in the past with other authors. People wondering why sex has to be so prevalent, aren’t we sexualized enough as it is? Perhaps we are but that doesn’t mean we have to ignore the importance of sex and physical interactions in life. Sex is not in the story just to be in the story, it serves a purpose. Which brings me back to my publicist that had originally pointed out that I will need to figure who my audience is.

Yet, there is something that has been really calling me lately in terms of the book cover. First, understand the the title of the novel is Hanging Upside Down and there are several things one can do with that. However that are things that I’m NOT willing to do, which is anything has to do with a noose. There are too many images out there already that have negative connotations for people of color. So instead, I’m thinking about the real possibility of making the cover have of a comic-booky (yes, I know) feel. Reason being is that I think in a parallel universe I’m a comic book writer and I really want to honor the things that made me want to write in the first place.

Cross Bronx 4laO9dI76zDaYAZwPrtg34n0QJF4oLwMZzf0GVwOsPeoI’ve also come to notice that the way I write comes from reading so many comic books. There are cliff hangers, flashbacks, and of course, a villain. I realize that this may be the case in many novels as it is but I like think that this is where my style has come from. So with that being said, when I saw the photo at the top of this blog, I already knew what I wanted. The background is this, I stopped collecting comic books when I went to college because I could not afford it. So when this series came out in 2007, it reeled me back into collecting again. I love the presence of a strong woman and I can tell you that this picture does resemble a part in the novel.

Building a better book may take perfection in my eyes but it also takes teamwork and I realize that my problem was that I thought I could do this alone. I thought that I can get this book out as fast as possible with no issues but I learned quickly that it is better to trust those who trust me.

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