Pieces

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I’m at the point where I’m just writing pieces of the next book. I haven’t gotten into the groove yet. Most of the time, when I get a chance to think about the final part of this “trilogy”, I find myself brainstorming what it is that I want to do. Which leads me a scattered cross section of what the story may look like.

This makes me think about the evolution of my life. The coming together of various parts of my life like a jigsaw puzzle. For better or worse, I feel that I struggle with all parts of my life. The writing part will give off the appearance of success. What defines that? If simply writing a book is a marker for success then I am very successful but if the industry only looks at the numbers then does that make me a failure? I guess I would have to view things from a glass that is either half empty or half full.

My personal life always seem to be in pieces and that is not to say that is a bad thing but some how I feel that I’m always trying to fit a square peg into a star like hole. Some parts might fit if I angle it a certain way, but it hardly fits unless I take out a knife and start carving and customizing.

It terms of work, well, that is tricky subject. I love my job but there comes a time in a person’s life when tough choices have to be made.

This all reminds me of a few stories that I wrote years ago. I called it Pieces of a Puzzle. It’s multi part story that is very trashy. All about sex and deceit; how people can have such pleasure behind people’s back without realizing how connected we all are. This is probably the best way that I can describe it. I have let very few people read it because, again, there is a trashiness and about it that I just can’t bring myself to let the whole world see.

Of course, when I say the whole world, I really mean the few people who actually read my work. <— That is so petty. haha.

I may have mentioned a while back the I was going to name the new book, The Glass House. I may change that to Glass Houses. I just like the thought of this title because in some way well live fragile existences where one thing can shatter the perceptions of our own world.

I guess that is what this is all about. The books, the reason why I write, is about the fragility of it all. Why else do we do what we do? We try to maintain our strength in a losing battle with fate. We try to mix and match pieces of ourselves so we can have this fleeting thing called happiness.

What happens when all the stories makes sense and all the various pieces finally match? Is there a zen? Do we achieve happiness forever? Or do we open another puzzle box with 5000 pieces and try again?

I don’t know.

Hellova Book Reading

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Last week’s reading of The Book of Isabel went well. It’s always good to connect with old friends, family, and meet new people. I find myself being more comfortable with my role as an author. I think I can really get used to appearances.

I find myself thinking about what kind of person I am when I do these readings. There was a time in my life when I did not like speaking in public. I can remember when I was in the 1st grade having to sing “It’s a Small World After All” in front of the whole school and freezing in front of everyone in gymnasium. That was the first time I has stage fright. Now, I feel that I have the capacity to talk to large crowds if I had to thanks to my various job training.

Not that this was a large crowd. This was more like a small listening session filled with people who support me. I’m so grateful for them and all the love they shown me. I knew going into this that not too many people would show because this is the summer time and any event you during this time can get a low turn out due to vacations and such. There a few people who did tell that they couldn’t when I announced the date so I knew that the crowd would be a cozy size. I still found myself surprised by those who did come.

What I do find funny is my own reactions to events like this. I no longer get nervous by the events themselves but I get extremely anxious because I don’t want to be late. It’s actually quite insane. I’m not sure if it’s because of my event experience that has taught me that events need to start on time and thus being late isn’t an option or maybe I’m turning into some kind of control freak. If it is the latter then I will make sure that whenever I do enter into a contract that I ask for only red starburst in my hospitality rider. lol

Anyway, Hellphone in Brooklyn was a nice place. I enjoyed the venue. Books were sold and signed and a good time was had. Sorry to those who missed it. Perhaps I will do another.

You can still order The Book of Isabel at anytime here on my site. Thank you to Raquel Penzo for hosting and interviewing me on stage. Thank you all for coming out and do not forget to rate the book!

 

Live Chat – 6/19 4pm EST #BlerdBookClub

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Quick update.

I should’ve posted this earlier in the week but with everything being hectic I almost neglected this. I will be a part of a live chat about writing diverse characters and what diversity means in books.

I have been a part of this chat before and I loved every minute of it. It’s an honor to be back on this with some very talented writers. We will mix it up and it will be good times. You can access it on YouTube via the link below and if you are reading this after the fact you can just press play and see what you missed.

 

New & Improved

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I’m in a great mood. In fact, I’m feeling so great that I will write two blogs today because so many things good things are going on right now. Look around this screen. Bask in the greatness that is the new design of this blog. I like here and hopefully you will to.

Besides the obvious look, what is different is the way I wish to engage people who come to visit this site. First and foremost, I wanted people to be able to order books directly from me. So when you visit The Book of Isabel page, you have a choice of where you want to go complete with prices. I love this change because it gives me more ownership of book sales. Continue reading “New & Improved”

Today is THAT day! #bookfofisabel

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This is the day I have been looking forward to the moment I was done writing the first draft. I can now share with all of you the second book.

First, let’s talk about the some of the challenges. Editing and proofing is never, ever, easy and it took me nine months to complete this phase. I estimated that today, June 14th, would best time for this book to come out and I wasn’t wrong. In fact, I was still correcting errors on Friday.

Continue reading “Today is THAT day! #bookfofisabel”

Here’s the Proof

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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”

Read Them or Don’t.

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I know what my problem is. I’ve been trying too hard. It hits me like a ton of bricks when I think about it. I’ve been trying my best to sell people on how good I am. I’ve been trying to convince people that I belong. Here lays the crux of my problem of trying to do something I’m passionate about and trying to get people to like me.

I can’t do this.

I’m actually sick of it. I’m trying not to think about author rankings and book sales. I’m not trying to be tied down to numbers because then I feel like a failure.

And there it is. I’ve said it. I feel like a failure.

I mean, what did I really expect? Was I thinking that I would sweep the nation with a 400 page book detailing male insecurity? My problem was not managing my expectations. I own that.

Look, I hate to admit this, but I am good at what I do. If I ever need proof of that I can look 21 good ratings and 11 positive reviews on GoodReads. I made the mistake of thinking that numbers translate to how good I am. If I don’t sell many books it’s not because I can’t write, it’s because I’m not a great marketer. I never was and I’m not even sorry about it.

I’ve been going about so many things the wrong way and that is why I’ve decided to start putting my short stories on Wattpad. Let me tell you why. I’m currently drafting a blog for the Huffington Post where I talk about the pitfalls of Self Publishing. In this article I talk about two authors who made there were into the light via fan fiction. They posted their stories for free and built an audience. The best part about this is that they were not in it for the money. They wrote because they wanted to.

It’s that simple. I’m tired of trying to convince people of how good I am. So guess what? I will stop trying. I’ve written, at least 15-20 short stories over the last year. I will post them. Read them or don’t.

Otero out.

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

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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.