Here’s the Proof


Very few things in this process get me as excited as seeing my work in print. I got my proofs of The Book of Isabel yesterday and they look so good. Sure, I have tiny reservations here and there about the cover finish but overall I cannot complain too much.

It feels rewarding to see something like this come to life. I wrote this book about a year ago and when I was done the process of making a book began. I love the cover art. I feel like it looks even better in print than it does digitally. Continue reading “Here’s the Proof”

Inside 30 Days

Life is crazy. Life is crazy busy. My life is crazy busy.

I feel like I just woke up from the haze of spring semester at Barnard College. So many things happening. So many events and so much work. Let’s also not forget that my woman just graduated from The Tepper Business School at Carnegie Mellon University. Life is has been such a blur and yet, somehow, I have found the time to get this book done.

I mean, I wrote this book last year but I’m talking about the other things that need to happen with this novel. The editing and the managing. I’m waiting on a final proof and this book comes out in less than 30 days. Continue reading “Inside 30 Days”

Reality Numbers Check

On the eve of book two, I’m forced to think about how hard this whole self publishing thing is. Writing a novel is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and now to have done it a second time, I have think about lessons learned while being realistic.

I recently received an amazing shoutout during the #blackcomicschat show on Friday. This is a podcast/twitter chat that comes on bi weekly that I love to listen to and during one of their segments, they were giving shout outs to loyal listeners. One of the podcasters, who also runs the Blerd Book Club that I was featured in February, gave me and Hanging Upside Down such a favorable shout out that it pretty much made my night. I’m paraphrasing here but he said something to the effect that my book was one of the best books he’s read in a while and he’s wondering how I’m not making more money on this. I think he even mention wanting to know my numbers on this.

The numbers are what they are. I suppose it really depends on your point of view. I knew that being a self published author would have it’s challenges. I wrote about the things I’ve learned about this industry in the Huffington Post a while back. I knew that writing a book without a publisher would mean I would have to sell books from the trunk of my car so to speak. Then there is the audience I wrote this book for: men. Generally men do not read unless it has to do with sports. So where does that leave me and the numbers?

I’ve been reluctant to share this with people because I’m really not sure how to feel about this. On one hand, I wrote a book and I did that because I wanted to and less because I wanted to make serious money on it. So in that respect, I don’t care all that much. However, numbers sometimes really speak to people in the industry. I was told that unless you sell 5000 units, the industry doesn’t really look at you. So you can understand that when I admit to only moving 210 books that it makes me a little uneasy.

I suppose that unease comes from that fact that I feel people think I’m this highly successful author that’s selling books like hot cakes. What I can say is this, I’m willing to redefine what I consider success by simple continuing to write. The fact of the matter is that I appreciate everything that comes my way. I continue to get favorable ratings on Goodreads and Amazon. I’ve also been featured on the Black Girl Nerds website, which is such a highlight for me.

I don’t makes excuses but I think I’ve done pretty well considering that I have a full time job that I enjoy and I’m the only person promoting this book. I may not have the industry behind me but I can tell you that I know about 85% of the people who’ve bought the book. I think this is great because I get to interact with those people who’ve actually read the book.

So to be honest, I am aware of the number. I remember passing 200 and the end of December. I know that this is a long road and perhaps when The Book of Isabel comes out, I may see a spike in sales, but the reality is, I may not. I’m not there yet. I still know people who will say to me… “oh yeah, I should get your book.”

I don’t take it personally. I just keep writing.

Book of the Month #BlerdBookClub


I’ve been teasing this on Social Media for sometime now but I finally have a date for my guest appearance on the Blerd Book Club chat. Assuming that you have no idea what I’m talking about, I will fill you in on some details of how we got here.

I joined the Blerd Book Club in December when it was recommend by a few writer and host Thelonious Legend. Because I’m a devout listener to Black Comics Chat (a dope podcast) we ended up following each other on Twitter. Once he found out that I wrote a book, he asked me to join the club because every month they read a new book and I can nominate Hanging Upside Down for any given month if I chose to. Of course I was sold.

12195763_10154008417704040_8527905421711099943_nI nominated the book in January but lost to another amazing book called The Mark of Noba. The second time around proved to be a better result. My novel was chosen as February’s book of the month. What that means is that my book is recommended to the members of the book club to read so that they can gear up for a discussion the following month.

So the following month is now upon us and the book discussion is happening on March 13 at 4pm EST. So how this works that the link below takes you YouTube and on this day I will be there along with some peeps and we will discuss Hanging Upside Down. Even if you miss it, you can watch it anytime after the fact. The hashtag to follow along on Twitter is #BlerdBookClub

It should be a great discussion in which I hope to really get deep into some themes about masculinity and identity. I plan on talking very briefly about The Book of Isabel and my work behind that. I would also like to talk about my on going project of Naked City. Lastly, I plan on releasing the title of the Third Book.

I’m very excited about this and I hope you check it out.

Final Stages of Book Two

BOI Cover blog

This is the 3rd week of February and I feel like six months has passed since the new year. I guess that’s not a bad thing. I’ve been busy plugging along with edits and revisions to The Book of Isabel. I’ve finally reached the final stages where I can take a breath and hand it back over for proofing.

I feel as if I took this time to read more and soak up some general knowledge from writers and authors that I listen to podcasts or read on blogs. I also took time to really get into test reader feedback of my novel, which has been spectacular. I enjoy the fact that I’m really beginning to hit a groove with this whole writing thing.

Last night I finally added my acknowledgements and dedications. I almost felt myself getting emotional because I know who I’m dedicating the book to and why. Many people know that cancer changed the way I view life since it has impacted much of my family and friends. When I think about the people I lost and have almost lost, it almost brings a flood of emotions to me. I can almost feel the eye sweats.

While Hanging Upside Down is a very personal piece of work, The Book of Isabel represents the spirit of my youth that is very much tied to those people I’ve dedicated the book to. I hope that people who read the book will be able to understand the book’s underlying message.

I’ve also come to the realization that in finishing this novel, I’m adding to my journey towards being the author I want to be. I really don’t know if I’m going to be this best selling author. I don’t know if I will be more than just an author that people don’t know about. I certainly don’t know if I will more than the person that people will say “Yeah, I need to read his work” but then never really do.

What I do know is that none of that matters to me anymore. I don’t know if its because of the anti-establishment sentiment I’ve been feeling lately or if I simply have no more fucks to give. What I do know is that I love the anonymity of all this. I love that people are still surprised that I’ve written two books with a third one on the horizon.

I suppose that as I start completing the the final stages of the book, I’m also completing the final stages of me. Make no mistake, I’m writing for me. If I was writing for fame or the need to be in literary magazines then perhaps I would drive myself crazy. Maybe, one day, I will make it there and maybe I wont.

In either case, the final stages of who I am is almost complete.

Reading Out Loud

In need of Shave

Last night I decided to be more engaging with the world. I created a video about the ahem finer points of reading your work out loud. This was all based on a tweet that I made a few days ago about how reading your work like you’re performing an audio book helps with evaluating the flow of your story.

I’m all about the flow of a book or a story. I think it’s one of the most important things that makes a book interesting. If a book is easy to read, regardless of vocabulary, the reader enjoys it more and absorbs the message better. I’m a firm believer that anyone should be able to pick up a book and read it from cover to cover. That is why one of the questions I ask my test reader is, “Does the book flow?”

I will also admit (again) that I have gotten in audio books. I find myself imagining what it would be like to have someone read and perform Hanging Upside Down in this medium. I’m sure I can do, but there are some really great voice actor that can do it much better than I could. That, of course, makes me think about the general flow of my writing even more. That’s why tone and dialogue become so important.

I’ve gone through five audio books in about 6 weeks. While three of those are Star Wars books, the other two were Dracula by Bram Stoker and Kindred by Octavia Butler. Both of these classics got me really to love how words sound and thus lead me to read my current project, The Book of Isabel, out loud.

This explains the video I created last night. I will admit that I’m a bit goofy and it’s awkward to hear myself but fuck it. I need to start having fun with the work that I do. Enjoy the video and leave some feedback.


Behind the Cover

BOI Cover

My plan had been that I would wait 6 months before The Book of Isabel comes out to debut the cover. I didn’t have a date in mind but I knew that I had to stick the plan. So last week, when I was in Miami, I posted the cover on social media.

I explained in a previous post that I started out with my own vision of what I wanted and when I gave that vision over to a graphic designer, this is what came out. The point of this cover to produce something flashy. I wanted this cover to be very different from Hanging Upside Down and yet I wanted the two books to connect.

First, I want to thank Sam Wilson, a fellow Syracuse Alum, who worked with me on this. He is the graphic designer that deserves the credit for making this cover look so good. After the first book came out, we talked about a possible collaboration and when I had a vision of the book, he took it and made it tangible. I appreciate his patience with all the tweaks and edits that I’ve sent over to him. Sam is a true professional.

The book itself is about Luis (the protagonist from the first book) and his version of who Isabel is. So when the reader gets to know and understand her, it is through his lens which is why she’s bare on the cover. The words in the background are the same words from Hanging Upside Down that sparked her creation in the first place.

The cover was not initially meant to be sexy. I wanted to show the importance of words when thinking about Isabel or any other character in the book for that matter. I consider all my characters to be a blank slate or naked until words fill in the all the blanks.

The Book of Isabel is slated for release in June, you can get more info about the book on Goodreads.

The Little Things


Editing of The Book of Isabel has taken more of a priority as 2016 gets closer. The little things are becoming more important. There are things that don’t seem uniquely important by itself but become huge when you put it all together. There are things that have to get done now so that I wont have to do them later.

I always talk about how it is to be a self published author in terms of the mild successes and the pitfalls, but I’m not sure I’ve really gotten into the little things. What I mean about these little things, I’m talking about things that are not ultimately related to the act of writing the text in the novel. These things include but are not limited to the book synopsis, the dedication, and the head shots. The difference between where I was the last time I wrote a book and now, is experience.

In 2014, I felt that I rushed through everything. I rushed through the editing process. I had no real head shots and had no real idea on how to describe Hanging Upside Down. Much of everything I’ve done leading up to the book coming out seemed to be on the fly. As much as I loved the way things happened, I feel like I could’ve done so much better with time and planning.

The cover for the new book is 95% done. Draft two is about 60% done. What keeps me ahead of the game is that I now know what I’m doing when it comes to creating book pages and descriptions. These are the little things that most authors who have agents and book deals don’t have to consider.

This has also led me to think about things I need to consider when it comes to book promotion. I feel like I’ve done a decent job at creating my own marketing and my own buzz but now I have to take things a step further. I’ve been told that I will need to really consider putting more of my work out there. I need to start looking at getting officially published.

I will be hard work and I may start out with short stories. I need to try because it is the little things that will make the difference.


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What does that even mean?

So recently I found myself with more than 700 likes on my Facebook page and I wonder how good that is. How many like translate to success? I’m not one to believe that because I have a certain amount of Facebook likes or Twitter followers that I’m a famous or a successful person. However, it may mean that I know a thing or two about interacting with an audience which may mean a little more.

I do see this as way for me to get my name out there but I also feel that it isn’t enough and that perhaps I’m doing something wrong. The question that I immediately ask myself is how does all these likes and followers translate into new readers? This is something I still have trouble answering.

This year I realized that it didn’t matter. None of the likes or followers matter because at the end of the day, I’m still a new author with one book. Of course, this may end up changing as time goes on but as for right now, each new follower has to get acquainted with me. Each new like is a vote for the foundation of success and each new person is a potential customer.

As I push toward the second book, I start to look at things that worked and didn’t work over the past year. I’ve battled with the idea of just posting nothing but quotes and pictures of Hanging Upside Down on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook. The problem is I don’t want to be that guy that people think uses social media as a spam platform. I would hate to lose anyone on social media if they felt I was being too commercial.

But here I am with 700 likes. When I made that page I didn’t know what to expect and I supposed I shouldn’t always write about it every time I get 100 more likes but It does make think about how this will play out once The Book of Isabel drops.

Will I sell more? It’s hard to tell.

I Write Everyday #NaNoWriMo

Blog picI’m at a point in my life where I have the chance and the opportunity to write as often as I want for as long as I want. It’s something that I feel that I have to do. While that’s not translating into more blogs, it is translating into more text. What started out as something fun has now turned into a possibility of something new and exciting.

I made a goal when I started all of this two years ago. My goal was to have 4 books out by the time I’m 50. Welp, I’m 41 with The Book of Isabel coming out next year and Naked City currently being written it seems that I’m almost 3/4 done. The thing is… I didn’t expect to be this inspired. I didn’t expect the longevity in all this. Sure, I didn’t want to be the guy with just one book but I also didn’t expect to have this much time.

The time I have is based on several things. The fact that I don’t watch as much television as the average American helps. While I do get into certain shows, I tend to watch what I need to and then shut off or mute the TV. Then there’s also the fact the I’m in a long distance relationship at the moment. This gives me more time than I actually want at times but I use this time to the best of my ability. Lastly, my Playstation 3 died in the summer. So I haven’t played video games in a long time. This has become a perfect storm of sorts.

Even with the factor of family and work generally taking up large amounts of my time, I’m able to find little pockets of extra time to think and be creative. However, when someone asked me when do I find time to write, the answer is very basic. I don’t sleep. haha.

Sleep is relative. Most people know that I can be a bit of an insomniac. It’s not hard to find me tweeting something at 2:30am. I try to make use of the time that I have because time is my greatest asset. It’s this time that has allowed me to write 11-14 short stories over the course of 3 weeks. I haven’t completed them all but it will happen before the end of the month.

I’ve already resigned to the fact that I may not reach the 50k word mark that is set for National Novel Writing Month and I’m OK with that. I’ve laid a foundation and to be quite honest these stories are something I can read at events. Since they are new and don’t really connect to a larger story as of yet, people may just hear me read them. Once I’m done with everything I need to do for book two, Naked City will become my priority.

I feel good about everything and all this writing makes me think that I should readjust my goals from 4 books by 50 to 6 books. I may have to sleep on that.