The Mirror Box

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Next year will be a pretty big year for me.  I plan to devote quite a bit of time writing the third book. I’ve been working on Chapter One for a few weeks now and it’s coming along slower than expected but I believe that the promise of a new year will bring better tidings.

I’ve always planned for this book to come out sometime in 2018 and from the looks of it, I may just make all my intended deadlines. If I finish in the way I want to then I’m probably looking at winter 2018.

This will be the last book in this series.

I feel I need to say this. The self publishing game is a tough one and I think the time is fast approaching in which I have my writing of this to another level. The thing about all this is that no matter what I’ve done, I will feel inadequate as a writer. There will always be questions in my head about how much of an author I truly am. It’s not lost on me that many authors I follow and aspire to be all have  publishing deals and truth be told, I never tried to get one.

So the future plan for me is to finish The Mirror Box (which is a title change from The Glass House). I will explore the final path of Louis that started in 2014 with Hanging Upside Down and then continued in The Book Of Isabel. When I’m done with all those obligations, I will dust off an old unfinished story and make it into a manuscript. Then we will see what happens.

I’m sure that it will fail spectacularly because it will be my first attempt to try something totally out of my comfort zone.

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Book Giveaway Part 3 #bookofisabel

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I realized that I will end up giving away more books than I thought and I’m okay with that. This past weekend I giveaway two books at the Lit Crawl I participated in. It was a short reading for me but I had a lot of fun. It wasn’t just me who read their work so I felt even better to be a part of a larger collective.

In terms of things I’m involved with and doing… I’m not done this month. I have a reading on October 15th in Washington Heights and I’m also going to be in the LETRAS – Latino Self Published Book Fair on October 23rd at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. I will talk about these on a later post. To end the month, I will be going to Georgia to visit family and speak at a book club.

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I just plan to be in more places as I continue this thing called writing. When I started this, I found myself being frightened by the readings and the public appearances. But, as I’ve come to recently learn, if there’s fear in a opportunity then I must take it. It means that I might afraid of potential success. As we know, fear is paralyzing and I cannot have anything stop me.

Of course during my adventures, I take pictures and post on them on Instagram. I tend to get a warm reception on this platform so I will I will give my Instagram audience a chance at a free copy of The Book of Isabel.

The rules are pretty much the same as the other two. If you follow me on Instagram comment on the photo accompanying this announcement (on Instagram) and give me the name of good book you’ve read written by a Latinx author. I will randomly choose a winner. This giveaway ends on Friday, 10/7.

Let’s Go Mets!

Book Giveaway – Part 2 #bookofisabel

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Despite my business, I can say that I’m still doing this. Yup, another book giveaway during Latinx Heritage Month. The first one was… well someone won and it was a no brainer really.

Before I announce the rules, I want to mention that I will be doing a book reading this Saturday in Lower Manhattan. See details below. Let me also add that this Saturday is the 2 year anniversary of Hanging Upside Down. I can’t believe it has been two years already. If you haven’t read it… now would be a great time.


Okay! So this one is for my Facebook peeps. If you follow me on el Facebook either on my fan page (I hate saying that) or my personal one, comment on this post on one of those pages and give me the name of good book you’ve read written by a Latinx  author. I will randomly choose a winner and they will get a copy of The Book of Isabel. I will close this giveaway on Friday, 9/30.

Good Luck…

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.

 

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”

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.

Final Stages of Book Two

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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.