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.
I have learned a lot as an independent author and let me tell you, the experience has been one heck of a roller coaster ride. I started off writing my first novel Poka City Blues as a challenge to myself to see if I had what it took to not only pen a good story but also to be a good writer. After months of brainstorming, editing and proofreading (over and over until I was red in the eyes and blue in the face), I was finally able to self-publish my debut novel five days ago all thanks to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. To get my novel noticed as an independent author, I knew that I had a lot of work ahead of me. I did not have a literary agent to help build the anticipation of my debut novel, and I did not have a team of promoters to help me get the word out about my novel. So what did that mean for me? Well, that meant I had to find ways to spread the word about my novel, and I had to think of other ways to get my novel into the hands of many readers. Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is, but that is okay because I am used to getting things done on my own and getting things done the hard way. Nothing ever comes easy for me, but that is what pushes me and motivates me.
I have to admit that I was hoping with everything inside of me that I was going to get thousands upon thousands of downloads the first day my novel was published on Amazon, but that was just wishful thinking. Success for an independent author like myself does not happen overnight, and that is what I had to keep in mind. Just yesterday, my novel garnered a few downloads, and I cannot put into words how exciting it was for me to see that. One or two downloads may not sound like a lot, but to me as an independent author that is huge! I still have a lot of work ahead of me to get my novel “out there” but I have the drive and the determination to do it. If you believe in something that you feel deep down inside has the potential to do something great, stick with and see it through. Giving up is the worst thing you can do.
The South, specifically the Deep South has a long standing history of racism, discrimination, and hate. It comes as no surprise that the states with the most violent history of those three horrible acts include Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee. Now that is not to say that racism is only found in the four states that I just mentioned or that racism, discrimination or hate is found only in the South. Truth be told, racism, discrimination, and hate is everywhere; it just happens to be more prevalent here in the South. Poka City Blues touches on racism and discrimination while also recognizing the individuals who had the courage to rise above the racial hatred and to see beyond a person’s skin color. Everything does not always have to be seen as black and white because there is beauty in every color, hue or tone. If everything were in black and white, the world in my opinion would be plain and boring.
To download your copy of Poka City Blues follow the link below:
Once readers begin delving into Poka City Blues, they are going to be confronted with touchy issues such as rape, murder, racism and poverty. As readers delve deeper and deeper into this gritty novel, some readers may be tempted to stop reading because of the graphic details. Since this is a fictional story inspired by true life events, I want readers to see and feel exactly what the main character Sedelia once saw and felt. Why? It is because I believe that the only way readers can appreciate a heart-wrenching story such as Poka City Blues is to be as vivid and as detailed as much as possible. They say every family has a dark history or a dark past, Poka City Blues happens to be mine.
Here are a few things readers can expect to see when they download a copy of Poka City Blues:
• Sedelia’s graphic account of her mother being harassed and abused by the Ku Klux Klan
• Sedelia’s graphic account of her best friend’s rape and lynching
• Sedelia’s graphic account of her Aunt’s rape by the Ku Klux Klan
• Sedelia’s graphic account of her own rape and abuse
Poka City Blues is now available on Amazon and I am extremely excited seeing how this has been a long time coming. It is my hope that Poka City Blues will resonate with the minds and hearts of readers and inspire those who have experienced severe trials or hardships. Poka City Blues is about finding the strength and courage to make it through tough situations while never losing hope or sight of who you are.