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.

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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.

Fight For Your Dreams

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“Who are you?” That was what I was asked a few days ago by a former student that is still getting used to the person I’ve become. I’m an author and a vegetarian which is vastly different from where I was about 4 years ago. But to answer the question, I am a person who has fought for my dream.

So who was I before that? Was I some person wandering around not knowing what I wanted? Actually, I was that person who didn’t listen to that little voice on the inside. I took life for granted thinking I should just be grateful for what I have and not take risks. I wasn’t willing to change my life because I was afraid I might fail.

I was afraid that I might lose.

Well the thing is, I stand here now saying that I’ve taken risks and that I have won some and I’ve also lost some. Life is about fight and I feel that I’m in that fight everyday. I battle against the toughest opponent I will every face and that is myself. I have expectations and dreams that have become a real part of the goals that I set for myself. Every year I have risen the bar higher, sometimes I make it and sometimes I don’t.

I saw Creed this weekend and it really took me back to a time when I believed that anything is possible if you work hard for it. I may talk a good game about goals and how I’ve accomplished a lot of what I wanted, but the reality is that I find myself feeling a little disappointed about not doing enough. Am I not writing enough? Am I not marketing enough? What am I fighting?

I’m fighting this idea that my first plunge into the literary world is not as successful as I thought. Yet, I’m not sure what I thought would happen. Perhaps I thought I would sell more books. Maybe I thought I would have more meaningful interactions where people actually believe I wrote something longer than a blog post. Whatever the case may be, I realize that this is all in my head because I’m my biggest critic.

Creed reminded me of the fact is that I still put myself out there and I continue to take on the brutal writing schedule where I don’t sleep because I need to prove to myself that I can do this. There is this need for me to do all this on my own with help from a select few people that I’m privileged enough to call a team. I could win or lose, but I get nothing if I don’t but my hat in the ring. So yeah, I was a bit hyped when Adonis Creed did his work outs and ran through the streets of Philadelphia because I understand that passion and the need to achieve that one goal.

I fight for my dreams because no one will do it for me. There will always be naysayers and there will always be supporters and I used them both for motivation.

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.

Naked City #NaNoWriMo

New_York_Midtown_Skyline_at_night_-_Jan_2006_edit1Naked City is the name of my new project and that has nothing to do with fact that it’s like 75 degrees in New York City right now. I started this as a writing project for National Novel Writing Month just to see how far I can go with this.

My idea for this project is to write a collection of short stories. Over the past several years, I’ve written a few but have kept them close. This is now my chance to write new stories and rehash old ones that haven’t seen the light of day. I’m actually excited about this because, to me, it’s not the same as the everyday grind of writing a novel. I can write a story in a chapter’s length at not have to really worry about how I’m setting up the next one.

What Naked City is about a series of situations where different characters show their true nature. I believe we all wear masks that hide our various ulterior motives. Much of the same thing can be said about clothing as well, we tend hide our bodies from people we do not know. This collection goes into situations where character’s show what they are truly about, thus becoming naked in a sense.

For those who don’t know, November is #NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. While I have unofficially written under this banner in previous years, the stars seem to be aligned for me this year to complete this quest. Which means, I will try to write every day with the goal of reaching 50k in words by the end of the month. While, I’m not entirely sure if I will make that goal, it is the journey that I’m having the most fun with.

So far, I’ve completed 4 stories in 6 days (technically 5, since I started a day late) which I think is pretty good. However, saying something is completed is not actually true when it comes to writing drafts. The reality is that the concepts for 4 stories are completed. Once editing and revising are done then it will be something different. At this point, I just want to see how many stories I can write by the end of the month.

Which leads me to my point about timeline. There is absolutely no timeline for this. I’m doing this one for fun as I get back my edits from The Book of Isabel. Coincidentally, I just started receiving those a few days ago. So there will probably be a point where I stop writing Naked City stories and focus on draft two of the second novel.

All this to say that I can never really stop writing and with any lucky I may have another book out in 2017.