Once readers begin reading Poka City Blues, they may feel tempted to feel sorry for the main character Sedelia as she recounts her days of growing up in Poka City. As Sedelia describes her hardships and struggles in graphic detail, it is kind of hard not to feel sorry for her or even pity her; however, that is not how Sedelia wants her readers to see her. Rather than feel sorry for her, Sedelia wants her readers to be empowered by her strength, determination and resilience despite being slapped in the face time and time again with setbacks and heartache. There is a saying that struggle has a way of making us stronger, and that is certainly the case with Sedelia.
I have had quite a few readers tell me that they were broken up by Sedelia’s story and at times became a little angry which is understandable considering what all she has been through, but instead of feeling sorry for her, I want readers to be inspired by her. Why? Because this is a woman who was able to smile in the face of severe trials while never losing hope or sight of who she is. Sedelia is far from a victim; she is indeed one heck of a heroine.
Have you ever picked cotton? I mean, really picked cotton. For those of you who never picked cotton, picking cotton is hard on the body and it is hard on the soul. I grew up listening to cotton picking stories from my mother, father and grandparents and the one thing they all agreed on was that cotton picking takes a lot out of you. You are bent over long hours at a time and depending on who you are working for you may get a small break in between (which was extremely rare). Think about the hundreds of thousands of Black men, women and children who did that back breaking work for years day after day despite all of their many aches and pains. Just that thought alone brings tears to my eyes and if I allow my mind to think too long about it, that very thought will disturb my soul. Like many Black Americans living in the Deep South, once the cotton fields dried up and there was no huge need for cotton pickers in the fields, many went on to work in the mills. For some, leaving cotton behind in the fields was only a dream because once the mills starting rolling in, the cotton mills came rolling in behind them. Sedelia, the main character in Poka City Blues, worked in the cotton fields and in the cotton mill like so many others, but she never lost sight of who she was. Poka City Blues is a heartbreaking story about triumphing over trials while living in the Deep South. If you are looking for an inspirational story that will have you in tears from laughing and crying, this is it.
Do you know of someone or anyone who has been through just about everything? You name it they have been through it, but they are not bitter or resentful about their past or what they went through. Instead, they use their painful life experiences to help inspire those with their messages of hope and thoughtful words of encouragement. Never are they bitter, hateful or spiteful of the things they have endured because they know that there is more to life than pain and misery. That is what Sedelia gives readers in Poka City Blues: a message of hope, determination, and above all else survival. Sometimes a dark and painful past can lead to a bright and happy future because where there is a storm, there stands a rainbow not too far behind.
Some people see writing as a mere hobby, but to me writing is much more than a hobby. Writing has a deeper meaning for me because it is something that I thoroughly enjoy. When I am flushed with a lot of emotions or my mind is bursting at the seams with new ideas or thoughts, writing gives me that outlet to say whatever I want to say and to create whatever it is that I want to create. Writing, to me, is soothing and therapeutic because when I am writing I can completely be myself and immerse myself fully in my own thoughts. The saying “a mind is a terrible thing to waste” is true because the mind is truly an enchanting thing. Our minds, if we let it, can help change and shape the world for the better as well as inspire and motivate those around us. If we used our minds for the greater good, there is no telling what we could do or accomplish. I have no doubt that the world itself would be a much better place.
As an independent author, you have your work cut out for you because the level of success in which you are aiming for largely depends on you. That thought alone can be scary, even a bit intimidating, but with true grit and determination I believe that it can be done. As an independent author, getting the word out about your upcoming novel or published novel can be daunting, but if you truly believe in your work, yourself as a writer and as an author, you will do whatever it takes to spread the word and the hype about your book. After all, you do not want all of your hard work (and time might I add) to go to waste. It would be nice if we could snap our fingers and viola! our novel is in the hands of thousands of readers, but that is just wishful thinking. I have made a few mistakes along the way on my quest to publish my debut novel and to spread the word about it, but it was nothing that I could not bounce back from. If I made a mistake, I did not fret over it. I just came up with a solution to fix it or to make it better.
It has been exactly two weeks since I published my debut novel Poka City Blues on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, and although sales started off slow, sales are slowly picking up. So far, I have received six five star reviews, and I cannot put into words how great of a feeling it was to see that. Six positive reviews to some authors may not seem like a big deal, but for me as a debut independent author, that it is a huge deal. I am on a mission to get my book into the hands of many readers, and I am going to see to it that it will be a success. So for all you independent authors out there, do not give up and do not get discouraged. Hang in there and keep pushing because in due time, you will get your chance to shine! Remember, success does not always happen overnight.
What is your definition of a successful author? Is it one who has millions and millions of followers on social media? Is it one who has millions upon millions of dollars in their bank account? Is it one who is frequently in the media spotlight? Granted, some or all of those things combined can equate to a successful author, but I tend to see beyond that. In my personal opinion, authors who have accomplished some or all of those things should be commended because they have worked hard to get to where they are at. There are even some popular authors out there now who are doing exceptionally well despite some agencies not believing in them or their work.
To me, a successful author is one who can touch hearts, open minds and generate a discussion whether it be in big or small numbers. I know that there are some authors who may feel like they are not successful because they are not in the media spotlight, have a huge bank account or have not made it onto a best-sellers list. As a debut author, I can truthfully say that I did not write my first novel to become rich or famous. I wrote my first novel because I have always enjoyed writing stories, and I wanted to see if I had it in me to write a compelling story that will touch the minds and hearts of my readers. It has been a little over a week since my debut novel was published, and I have garnered a few positive reviews.
Whether you are a published author backed by a literary agent or a self-published author like myself, if you sold a book or books, and it inspired a reader or readers in some way then you are a successful author. You may not have ranked highly on the sellers list or made it into the media spotlight, but at least you can take comfort in knowing that someone was inspired by the art of your storytelling and that your hard work and effort did not go to waste.
Sedelia, the sassy main character in Poka City Blues, is a quick-witted woman who is very straightforward in her delivery. Sedelia does not believe in tiptoeing around touchy issues since “sugarcoating” things have never been her style, and she does not mind pushing the envelope when discussing topics such as racism and discrimination. Some readers may find Sedelia’s way of delivery as unconventional or terse, but that is the way she has lived most of her life. Although she can be quite facetious at times, Sedelia has always marched to the beat of her own drum.