Self Published? Are You Really An Author?

 

Self Published? Are You Really An Author?
by Nanette Buchanan
Questions posed by Black Pearls Magazine:
As a self-published author, do you get the same respect as authors produced by traditional publishing houses? Are you really an author in the eyes of your peers?

I really found this conversation quite interesting. Being a self published author and consistently looking for opportunities which include, literary agents, publicist and other avenues, I’ve found that each path has it’s ups and downs. It depends on what you’re willing to pay for, have the patience for or have had an experience with. I decided to self publish, not to duck the traditional guidelines but after being scammed by a few of the “so-called” people of the industry, I decided if I should lose another dime it will be because I tossed it in the well not someone else.

As far as the editing, marketing, advertising and sales I agree we all need the win win path. Most of us will complain about what others have or have not done but there are only a few willing to share the concepts without a cost.

Again, the competitive edge…….so why complain if you have the perfect novel, the desired genre, the distribution and your sales? Why worry about the self published author that lacks the knowledge, courage or intelligence to know that with research they could have a best seller? If they are making phenomenal sales, it’s because they have captured what we often forget, an audience.

I don’t have time to worry about your method as a writer…..I wish you success. I wish you the best in what you do. I wish you all the blessings and hope to read your methods, your path and learn from your experience as I grow as a self published author. Some traditional authors use this term “self published author” as though it was a virus that was rapidly spreading. A disease that should have been quarantined and forbidden to resurface. There are so many readers, so many genre’s, so many paths to promote and sale that we should be encouraging each other.

We all agree that this is not a get rich venture, only those who take it serious (proper editing, promotions, marketing) will succeed. The readers may read the “new” novel but will they follow that lazy author. I seriously doubt it. There are many best selling authors that started as “self published” authors. There are many markets that have those who create their own method and audience and still do well. So does the “self published” author. Those in the industry who have those query letters that have not been answered, the dreaded pain of trying to meet the deadlines, the arguments to save their creativity while working with the editor, and yes finally being signed, do deserve kudos.

But, honestly, just because they do doesn’t mean that the “self published” author doesn’t deserve to share the world of readers who really don’t care…….as long as the story is well written and holds them captive.


Self Published? Are You Really an Author? Yes, I am definitely a successfully, published Author!

Thank God the decision to publish is not left to those who decided they would NEVER self-publish……..the success is not how it’s published but rather or not it’s purchased. Self published books do sell…..ask Stephen King or Tyler Perry.

 

About the Author
Nanette M. Buchanan was born, raised and educated in Newark, New Jersey. After graduating from Arts High School in Newark she attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. It was then that she first set her pen to pad, written expressions of her love for poetry. She is a proud mother, wife and grandmother, now residing in Somerset, New Jersey.

Her pad to pen accomplishments include three volumes of poetry; Thoughts, Thoughts & Reflections, and Quiet Times; five children stories and seven novels. Nanette’s first published work and debut novel was “Family Secrets….Lies & Alibis”.

Since then the publication of the sequel, “A Different Kind of Love” and the release of her first volume of poetry, “Thoughts” an e-book hit the market. In October of 2009, Nanette’s murder mystery, “Bruised Love” was released. It is her goal to become a successful author without limits. The author is available for personal appearances, chats and signings.
• Bruised Love
• Family Secrets, Lies & Alibis
• A Different Kind of Love
www.ipendesigns.net
www.Amazon.com
www.bordersbooks.com
• Website: http://www.ipendesigns.net
• View the Video Postcard: http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/CR5Q90VQ

Books by Author Nanette M. Buchanan

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A Different World

April was filled with a series of firsts in my writing career. It was the first time:

  •  I traveled to a new state alone without the intention of meeting family, friends or coworkers.
  • I attended an RWA sponsored writer’s conference.
  • I attended an African American writer’s conference.
  • I visited Chicago, Illinois.
  • I considered truly being self-employed without feeling a panic attack brewing in my chest.

 When I attended the RWA sponsored Desert Dreams conference in early April, I had every intention of comparing and contrasting that experience with my participation in the predominantly African American focused Romance Slam Jam set to take place later in the month.

 These two experiences really reflected the industry distinction between two groups who have the same appreciation  for love and romance but operate on different levels of support.

 At Desert Dreams, which was hosted by my local RWA chapter, I was the only African American author and the only author who wrote interracial romance.  Despite that fact, I felt the readers and writers in attendance really took an interest in my platform, because to them it was unique and different. One Caucasian woman took an extreme interest because her daughter was the product of an interracial relationship. Talking with an editor from St Martin’s Press only solidified my conclusions.

 While Desert Dreams was a great experience, one that I will repeat again in the future, I really felt at home at the Romance Slam Jam conference. There were a lot more readers in attendance who were hungry for great romantic stories and excited to meet the authors of those stories. Even though I was a newly published author, I was an important contributor to these attendees. It was nice to be around people who looked like me and appreciated what I was called to do. While I didn’t have any agent/editor appointments at this conference, I actually had one seek me out. She was an editor at Red Sage and she introduced herself to me because I seemed familiar to her. Upon hearing that I write interracial romance, she invited me to submit to her.

 The conference was nearly a week long and it was great to laugh, learn and party with my sisters and brothers. It was great to put names to faces and personalities. It felt like a reunion although all of those in attendance were virtually strangers to me. I was able to meet some of my virtual critique partners and it was like vacationing with sisters. I made so many contacts and so many new friends that there’s no doubt the next Slam Jam will be even better.

While Slam Jam didn’t have the exposure to the New York publishing market like Desert Dreams did, it is clear that we are garnering attention. Representatives from RWA were there as they were a low-key sponsor as well as Avon and a local Chicago book-club. It becomes obvious that we are growing in numbers and our economic power is being watched when those in mainstream start to take notice.

 On returning to the regular day to day, a raging fire was ignited in me. I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Writing, reading and being around those that appreciate these endeavors is how I see my future and now I have the courage to pursue it with laser-like focus. Since arriving home, I have been up late every night writing and researching ways to freelance full time. It is still my primary desire to write novels, however, freelancing appeals to me as well. I am no longer satisfied being at the mercy of one company no matter the industry. Even in writing, I plan to write in multiple genres for various publishers and companies.

 I’ve search for many years for that one product I would market in order to stake my claim among the self employed, and these conferences have taught me to look within. The product I can promote the best is inside of me.

 As long as there are readers looking for stories that reflect their unique experiences in a world that is not just black or white, I will be striving to meet the demand.

 

 

 

 

 

Camaraderie in Meeting a Need

This weekend I attended my very first writers’ conference. It was not only my first writers’ conference, it was the first time I networked in-person among readers, writers, editors and agents as a published author.
The Tempe Arizona Desert Rose RWA chapter hosted the 2008 biannual writer’s conference in Chandler, Arizona. It was a busy weekend packed with workshops, mixers, editor/agent appointments and book signings.

Over 225 men and women descended upon the San Marcos Golf Course and Resort to serve or satisfy a need or desire. Editors and Agents were on site to offer advice and hopefully spot the next bestselling author, while writers were there to connect with readers, other writers and hopefully get recognized as potentially the next bestselling author.
Despite an allergy-induced head cold, I arrived on Friday afternoon, ready to meet a fellow author who would be my roommate for the weekend and anxious to take advantage of all the conference had to offer.
Being hosted by a chapter of Romance Writers of America, the attendees consisted of USA Today and New York Times bestselling authors, as well as lesser known successful authors all the way down to aspiring romance writers both male and female from as young as 20 to as aged as 80.

One point of interest to make is the fact that I was the only African American present. Such ethnicities as Chinese, Korean, Hawaiian, and Hispanic writers were present but there were few of them as well. Equally low in attendance were the number of men as to be expected. There were a couple of men who were there as aspiring writers, but most of the men were husbands of the attendees or employed on the sales side of the publishing field.

Although I was the only African American there and obviously the only person focused on African American romance, it was a test to my commitment every time I answered the question regarding my genre of choice. When asked, I would reply “I write interracial multicultural romance”. Most of those inquiring were pleasantly surprised. Their response seemed genuine many asking follow-up questions. The best response I received was from an aspiring mystery writer. She was a middle-aged Caucasian woman who expressed strong interest the moment I mentioned my genre of choice.

As it turns out, she was in an interracial relationship in the 1970’s and a baby girl resulted. She went on to express the difficulties she and her mate experienced and the difficulties her biracial daughter still encounters today. She seemed excited and flattered that someone was interested in telling the stories of people with experiences like hers. She beamed with excitement and laughed as she imagined her daughter’s response in hearing about my book and platform.

I asked her if she had pictures of her daughter. Unfortunately, she did not but her eyes twinkled with pride as she compared her features to that of Lisa Bonet.

An obviously shy woman stepped out of her shell as she shared snippets of her experience with me. In addition, the fact that I was a black woman interested in her experience was not lost on her. It made her feel even more comfortable as she began to chat like we were old friends.

I gave her my card and a bookmark with the realization that my audience just tripled. I assumed my writing would appeal to African American woman aged 18 to 55, but I realized in this exchange that anyone touched by the romantic bonding between ethnicities would be drawn to my stories.

Although I never say her again the rest of the weekend, I know with that encounter that biracial stories are important and need to be told and I am happy to be that vehicle as we inch closer toward acceptance of our differences and similarities.

Perception of Image: The LeBron James Controversy

The interpretation of images is as varied as the people exposed to them. Perception of an image’s intent is often based on the individual’s experience and the analysis of that experience. I came face to face with this notion this week while watching the morning news. The newscaster’s teaser implored me to “stay tuned” to find out why many in the media and African American society were upset with the basketball star, LeBron James.
Certainly I was intrigued as I could not imagine where this scenario was headed. After the newsbreak, the April 2008 cover of Vogue magazine was splashed on the screen. LeBron James and supermodel Gisele Bundchen were front and center. Gisele was long and shapely in a green evening gown, while LeBron was wearing a blue sleeve-less athletic shirt and matching warm-up shorts. The supermodel had a look of sheer glee while LeBron, who was dribbling a basketball and palming Gisele’s waist, displayed a powerful snarl. Opponents of the cover argued that the image perpetuated the stereotype of aggressive and dangerous black manhood. Many likened it’s symbolism to the 1930’s King Kong, where a huge black ape grips a fair maiden in one hand while growling and swatting at her would-be rescuers.
Admittedly an ape, or more specifically King Kong, was one of the first thoughts that crossed my mind when I saw this cover. However, I was not offended. I marveled at how striking LeBron looked. In addition, there was something sexy about that image. After years of all the oppressive images of black people in general, I never want to see a black man in a position of subordination. Being a long-time spectator of basketball, I am well aware of the raw facial expressions these athletes make while driving to the hoop. To me, LeBron’s expression was nothing more than that. I was far more impressed by the image of power and aggression he displayed. When looking at this cover, it is LeBron who grabs your attention. Gisele is a mere after thought; a beautiful after thought, but an after thought nonetheless.
Opponents argue that there were many other shots Vogue could have used for its cover, many fine shots which are displayed inside the magazine. However, if one of those shots would have been used, would we all be discussing this issue? The cover’s image also took away from another surprising fact. LeBron James is the first African American man to grace Vogue’s cover after over 90 years in circulation. While Sean “Puffy” Combs and Naomi Campbell appeared on UK’s Vogue in October of 2001, I could not find an instance of an African American man appearing on the cover of the U.S. version. Over the decades the covers ranged from abstract art often with only objects depicted to tarot card-like images to silly carefree snapshots and finally to glam-goddesses in every branch of the media/entertainment arena.
There is an underlying objection to April’s cover that has less to do with the pose LeBron chose and more to do with what Gisele and LeBron represent together. Many on both sides of the racial coin are still uncomfortable with seeing a white woman and a black man together. Unlike the damsel in King Kong, Gisele looks elated with her partner, not terrified despite LeBron’s exaggerated snarl. Some feel it plays to the myths about the dangerous criminal minded black man and his desire to possess the white man’s woman. Interestingly enough the contrast between Gisele’s fair skin and LeBron’s ebony beauty was evident throughout many of the other pictures as well. Pictures of Gisele’s curvy five foot eleven frame dressed in white and LeBron’s towering six foot nine inch body dressed in black on the inside pages of the magazine played up their biggest differences. The contrast would have been more interesting if LeBron had been wearing white and Gisele the dark garb. Maybe the images would have then played upon the integration and perceived intimacy instead of drawing stark differences.
Once I was able to look past the controversy of the ape stance and the interracial coupling, I became more intrigued as to why LeBron was the first African American male to be immortalized on Vogue’s cover in the first place. Nothing against LeBron, but certainly there were more debonair African American men that would have kept with Vogue’s fabulous fashion image. Names like Denzel Washington, Muhammad Ali, and Michael Jordan come to mind.
This issue not only demonstrated our continuing struggle with cultural image and interracial intimacy, it also speaks to the conflict of gender identity. Gisele and LeBron are no doubt excellent representatives of their gender but does a woman always want to be depicted as a possession and the man as predator?
Vogue has brought to light many conflicting ideals with a simple picture. Isn’t that what we expect from art?
References:

http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2008-03-24-vogue-controversy_N.htm
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/678805/vogues_lebron_james_cover_evokes_negative.html
http://www.nationalcenter.org/P21PR-LeBron_James_Gisele_Bundchen032808.html
http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5gWaMDbRUCgZF2-v1DAiHnJ-lrdig

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Ebook Publisher – Amira Press One year old this week!

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY AMIRA PRESS! Today, our doors have been opened for one year and it’s been a wonderful year! In our newsletter, we have a great anniversary contest going on! If you’d like to find out how to win MONTHS of free ebooks from Amira Press, email me back and let me know you’d like a copy of this months newsletter for details! Spread the word, let everyone know that Amira Press is honoring their 1 year anniversary with MONTHS of free ebooks to give away to 3 people. Hurry though, the deadline to enter is March 1!’

The Official Release of Mismatched

Can the traditional development of love survive cyber dating and the complications of ethnic variation?

Laura Major’s debut release of the multicultural contemporary romance, Mismatched takes a lighthearted yet sensual look at what happens when love is presented in a form that is unexpected and a manner that is unconventional.
Mismatched, which is set in the center of New York’s financial district and the New Jersey Suburbs, tells the story of Tessa Dennison, an African American finance professional who decides to option love on the Internet after a series of busted blind dates. To improve her odds, Tessa incorporates the gender expertise of Justin Martin her childhood friend and secret admirer.

Join Tessa and Justin for a matchmaking game like no other.

Laura Major has an English degree from Arizona State University and is an active member of the national organization Romance Writer’s of America and Interracial Multicultural Romance Readers online group as well as several other readers and writers groups.

ISBN: 978-1-934475-40-9

Amira Press, LLC
Baltimore, MD 21216
http://www.amirapress.com
http://lauramajor.com

Coming Soon to Amira Press: Mismatched

Tessa Dennison, an early-thirties finance professional, resolves to define love on her own terms after a series of busted blind dates.

Justin Martin, her best friend, has secretly loved Tessa since childhood. However, risking their friendship and their differing ethnic backgrounds holds him back. But it’s now or never when she convinces him to screen Internet bachelors for a love match.

Will Justin continue to let societal forces dictate his happiness or will he opt for full disclosure before Tessa finds a cyber match? Is Justin too firmly planted in the ‘friend zone’ to advance into Tessa’s dating portfolio?

Power in the Stance

I’ve been in my own world for the past few weeks while I edit my contracted novel and lay the foundation for my next work. In my short 33 years, I have never been known to take the easy road and the focus on igniting my literary career is no exception.

I write Multicultural Interracial Romance.

I’ll say it again….

I write Multicultural Interracial Romance.

I write about a society where people of differing cultures, races, religions and orientations positively interact with one another and in many cases fall in love.

I knew when I joined a couple of mainstream national writers’ groups and their local chapters that while I would be embraced for my passion of writing itself, they may not understand my chosen topic. So for a while I wrote in a vacuum, not sharing my work just calling it chicklit because of my knack for sarcasm and humor. But my work is much broader than a female coming of age story. My work is about families, friends, lovers, and society coming of age. 

I emerged from my self-imposed coccoon to discover, on the first day of Black History month (gotta love the irony), that the possibility that we are evolving to a true melting pot of cultures in the publishing industry is not nearly as evident as first perceived. Yes, we are in the bookstores, but we still fight for shelf space and appropriate categorization.

While the list of African American, Gay/Lesbian, and Multicultural/Interracial romance titles are growing, there are still many agents, publishers and the like, who refuse to acknowledge the growing demand for this literature. Middle class Caucasians are not the only market for literature, and literature based on the white middle class does not speak to everyone. Why is it that we as people of color are expected to read and enjoy literature based on the white experience, while accepting the lie that our experience holds no interest for anyone? The answer isn’t to be prejudice against the white experience, but for everyone to equally value all cultural experiences.  

Well, this post is the result of an uproar regarding the 2007 Best Book of the Year contest posted by Ecataromance. A very active multicultural/interracial group of writers and readers discovered that two of their own published members were among the nominees. They were both writers of interracial romance. Not only were they nominated, but they were in the number one and number two spots for their categories. The group urged it’s members to visit the ecataromance site and place their votes for Aliyah Burke & Shara Azod.

Then suddenly the voting was halted and the poll was replaced with a new poll minus these author’s books.

http://readerslounge.catanetwork.com/?page_id=305 

The only explanation was that some books were miscategorized and the organizer wanted to ensure that all books nominated were correctly categorized. As a result, the new poll was re-posted and the voting deadline was extended. Why hadn’t this due dilligence been exhausted prior to the initial release of the poll? And why did recategorization constitute removing the works of the interracial authors?

After the ever- growing multicultural audience expressed their disgust via blogs and chatrooms and a barrage of questions from publishers of multicultural and interracial romance flooded the ecataromance webmistress’ in-box, the poll was restored and the original deadline upheld.

http://www.ecataromance.com/index.php?page_id=323

In the end, Azod came in first place in all three of her categories and Burke took second place in hers. Now we are left to wonder what the end result would have been had this poll genuinely ended on it’s own natural volition.

Nevertheless, this is a prime lesson for the power of standing firm in what you believe. We may not be fighting lynchings, church burnings, fire hose assaults, and police baton beatings, but we are still striving to maintain every inch of progress those we honor this month have acquired for us.

Are you a dream killer or dream builder?

Some men see things as they are and say, “Why?” I dream of things that never were and say, “Why not?”                                           George Bernard Shaw

Have you ever thought you had the million dollar idea? Once you implemented it, you would change the world and become filthy rich. Then you happened to tell a close friend about the idea, only to be told that it wouldn’t work. The high you felt when you thought about the idea banished. What happened? You met a dream killer.  Your friend consciously or unconsciously sabotaged your idea based on his or her own belief system. Not all people intentionally try to destroy your dream; most will have your best interest at heart. They may be looking at the time, money and effort it takes to make it happen. Good advice is priceless and practical; however, we must remember that our dreams are gifts from the Divine. So before you go tossing a dream out based on someone else’s knowledge and advice, you might want to consider doing this simple but powerful exercise: Sit on it for awhile, and I don’t mean forever; write down the pros and cons; and ask yourself do you have the passion for it. Once you have answered the above questions then share your idea, if you are seeking support for it and not validation. The next time someone shares a dream or idea with you, don’t shoot it down. Praise the idea and suggest that the person do the above exercise. This way you won’t be a dream killer; you will be a dream builder.

 JJMichael is an intuitive numerologist and author of Path to Truth, Life is Never as It Seems, and It’s Not Over Yet. JJ is also the publisher of Path2truth ezine that promotes self-realization and world peace.  Find out more about JJ at www.jjmichael.org 

Don’t Let a Setback or Disappointment Stop You.

Anytime you suffer a setback or disappointment, put your head down and plow ahead.                                                                                                               Les Brown 

I was disappointed last week when Barack Obama didn’t win the New Hampshire primary. It became personal. I spent a lot of time on the phone and net with family, friends and other Obama supporters trying to figure out what went wrong. I was stressed. Meditating is my way to debunk the stress and to get answers from a Higher Source. I wasn’t finding peace from those stimulating conversations. Besides the campaign was just getting started and I needed to get grounded in my truths and not buy into all the combative energy of the campaign. Obama stated that the lost of the primary was more valuable at this time in the campaign, because it taught him that America was not going to hand him the nomination, he had to work for it. And that’s the truth. You have to work for whatever you desire.  As a writer, I have received many rejection letters and critical reviews of my work. I didn’t give up. I realized I had to work for it and not give up based on someone else’s perspective. I did what Les Brown said: Anytime you suffer a setback or disappointment, put your head down and plow ahead. I plowed ahead and I am now a published author.  Setbacks and hurdles are put in our path as lessons. They teach us strength, perseverance, concentration, self-improvement, and humility.  It’s not always about the outcome, but about the effort you put forth. Your job is to give it your best and leave the rest to God. For all those with goals and dreams put your head down and plow ahead.  

JJ Michael is an intuitive numerologist and author of Life is Never as It Seems, It’s Not Over Yet and the Path to Truth. She is also the editor of Path2truth ezine that promotes self-realization and world peace.  

Spiritualdiva Speaks: An Obama Quote

“If we cast aside our fear and cast aside our cynicism and we stand up for what we genuinely believe, this is our moment, this is our time, you can feel it, you can see it,”Barack Obama

Obama speaks to the energy that is setting the tone for how we can achieve oneness as a human race. Isn’t that what we are here for, to learn to love and be in harmony with one another?  With that in mind, let’s look closely at Obama’s statement because he definitely gives us the formula to make oneness a reality. Cast aside fear—negative thoughts and emotions create unhappy experiences. Fear feeds on separateness and disharmony. Release those negative thoughts and emotions and you cast aside fear. Cast aside our cynicism– let go of judgmental thoughts that keep you locked in doubt about your own abilities and distrust of others. Stand up for what we genuinely believe—look inside yourself and see if you really believe in oneness, love, harmony and peace because if you do, then you will genuinely stand up for them without any hesitations.  This is our moment, this is our time—-live in the moment and not the past (it’s gone) or the future (not promised). Put your attention in the NOW. You can feel it, you can see it–there is a dynamic divine energy that is sweeping the universe. It is called living in the heart and you only have to open your heart to receive it.

JJMichael is an intuitive numerologist and author of Path to Truth, Life is Never as It Seems, It’s Not Over Yet and the Path2truth ezine that promotes world peace and self-realization. You can find out more about JJ and her books at www.jjmichael.org or www.myspace.com/jj_michael_author.