Thursday, November 16, 2017

Google Celebrates the Life of Nigerian Author Chinua Achebe

“A man who makes trouble for others is also making trouble for himself.”
— Chinua Achebe  

Google Chinua Achebe today, and what will you see? How about a vibrant cartoon image in the likeness of Nigerian born author/educator/historian? 

Born November 16, 1930, Chinua Achebe is credited as the father of modern African literature. In honor of his legacy and contributions to African and African American literature, Google has commissioned an illustration to serve as their featured logo of the day.

A titled Igbo chieftain, Chinua Achebe’s debut novel addresses the tenets of Igbo culture when threatened by Western ideology and control. Things Fall Apart was released in 1958 to worldwide acclaim, and has since become required reading and a teaching tool for African Studies courses, workshops and advance writing programs around the world. 

In Nigeria in 1990, a car accident left Achebe paralyzed from the waist down. He relocated to the United States later that year and had since served as professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College and professor of Africana Studies at Brown University. Achebe was the recipient of the Library Associates St. Louis Literary Award in 1999 and the esteemed Man Booker International Prize in 2007. While many believed it an injustice Achebe was never awarded the Nobel prize, in 2010, he was recognized with The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, given annually to “a man or woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life.” 

Throughout the course of his life, Achebe published several acclaimed works. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a mentee of Achebe, is also widely noted for her contribution to literature, Half of a Yellow Sun. Chinua Achebe passed away in 2013. Today, November 16, 2017, would have marked Achebe’s 87th birthday.

For more information or to see the development stages of the Google caption from doodle to illustration, visit 


Eartha Watts Hicks is editor-in-chief of Harlem World Magazine, member of The Harlem Writers Guild and author/publisher of Love Changes. Connect @Earthatone.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Advice to Writers: Do not burn your bridges.

Advice to Writers: Do not burn your bridges. And try to be kind...always.

For self-published authors and entrepreneurs, one of the hardest things to find are freelancers and independent contractors who perform exactly as they claim. The tendency for us when we look for service providers is to put them on blast when they do not meet our expectations. But the funny thing about the Self-published Indie Author is this: we are our company in the flesh...and more often than not, the entire entity. Our entire enterprise might be on our laptops with us praying for a strong mind, perfect health, and reliable Antivirus software.

This past Summer, I had set a deadline for me to release Graffiti Mural by June and had even done some advertising to that effect. It had already been edited, I reached out to a couple proofreaders. Unfortunately (and fortunately you'll soon find out why) for me, the corrected copy was not ready by my anticipated release date. To make matters worse, it so happened that in the midst of all of that preparation and waiting, my computer crashed, taking my Graffiti Mural with it...along with all my other writing. 

I spent the Summer still doing what I could to recover those documents, hoping they could be salvaged. Nonetheless, the file of Graffiti Mural that I was able to upload and release was the file that had been forwarded to me from the proofreader who had been a month late! She was late proofreading the draft but right on time with the only updated edited copy.

So be kind. You never know how kindness will return to you.

Another blessing: my friend and a colleague, a tech expert, somehow recovered all my files. Thanks again, Open Choice IT!

Friday, November 25, 2016


Years ago, the assumption was that by doing the very best writing, books would just fly off the shelf. I know I had the very best intentions and was motivated. I soon learned to fully understand terms that had once only been concepts defined to me in a college business class: buzz, demand, brand recognition, differentiation, quality assurance, dependability, deliverables, and how advances in technology can alter an industry at large. 

For authors, our customers are readers. Nowadays, with an industry steeped with FREE options, we have to do everything in our power, via the social media dance however awkward, to emerge to the forefront of their decision and let sample and assess for them. They need to see for themselves why and how an unknown can deliver something special.

FREE KINDLE (November 25th; 26th)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Writing is art. Book Publishing is a business. Many of the errors I have made along my self-publishing journey arise out of my passion for the art. But at the end of the day, I have to, I have to constantly remind myself (as an artist) that the Book Publishing business bean counting. Cause and effect. Observing trends, changing approach, and tabulating results.

One decision I am proud to have made, though, is not taking short cuts. Doing everything in connection with this project with integrity. I had always felt writing was my gift, my blessing, and as such, I needed to be responsible with my gift so that God could continue to bless my endeavors. I wasn't just responsible, I was extra careful, turning down many opportunities that could have paid my bills quick. But I trust and stand firm.

I know what I am up against. But now, and yeassss, it has taken me almost this long to finally get it, I am NO ARMY of one. Again, I blame my do-it-yourself/if-you-want-something-done-right mentality on Lonely-Only Child Syndrome (a completely self-diagnosed condition and one whose name I coined myself, but other only children will definitely 'get it'). Growing up without siblings, there were long stretches of childhood where my whole world consisted of me and my own active imagination, finding the answers to satisfy my advanced curiosity. But, as smart as I think I am, I've learned that I don't have ALL the answers. 

There are others who are passionate and gifted in those areas that have challenged me. There are others who notice things that I don't notice and care enough to alert me to dangers. There are others who may not know me personally, but respect what I have been doing or how I've been doing it. There are those who are willing to extend their energy, generosity, advice, kindness, network. There are those who believe in me and what I am doing. There are those who love my work. There are those who love me....just because. There are those who love spite of. I am not alone.

And if, by some chance, I were to ascribe every instance of generosity and attach it with a debt, I would spend the rest of my life returning favors and still owing. But today, I humbly accept the blessings that come my way and recognize them as such. Blessings.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Nada es Imposible

When I was a little girl, I went to a bilingual kindergarten by the name of El Coqui. The holiday plays would be in Spanish, and not being able to speak much Spanish (I could already count to 10), I wasn't able to participate.

In high school, though, Spanish was my language of choice. I did so well that I took many of my elective classes in Spanish on a college level and even tutored. Still, I had felt my grasp of the language was not quite there. Although I could read it and write it well, I'd always found when native speakers spoke naturally, that was just too fast for me to catch on.

Recently, I was on a line at department store. And two Latinas were talking, complaining the shoes were overpriced and much cheaper somewhere else. One said to the other, you can do what you want but she herself, wasn't going to buy another single thing in that overpriced store, she was tired, and she was going home now, even if she had to leave her friend there standing in line.

And get this...the whole exchange was in Spanish...and I understood almost every word.
Y pienso que yo puedo entender mas. Si me quiero. Nada es imposible.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


1. Buy the Book. Whether you purchase an author’s book at a book fair or BUY through their website (instead of online retailers), the author retains a greater percentage of the purchase price. If you see their books in a bookstore, purchasing there could potentially add to the longevity of both your favorite indie author and that traditional “brick and mortar” bookstore.

2. Tell Friends. Word of mouth buzz sparks other readers to purchase copies. If you like a book, don’t be shy! Recommend it to others.

3. Write a Review. Readers check the Amazon site to gauge an author’s performance. No one wants to waste money on a book that is poorly written. If you have enjoyed a book, let other readers know and tell them why. Leaving a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, GoodReads, Shelfari, only takes a moment. And be sure to email or message the author to let them know.

4. Join and Support Authors across Social Media. Indie authors typically do not have a staff assisting them. Many are on such sites as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads, Shelfari, Pinterest, SheWrites, Blogger, YouTube. Connect with them. COMMENT, LIKE, and SHARE their posts. And share your excitement! Instagram or Tweet a photo of you and their book.

5. Request a Book at Your Local Public Library. A public library is more than happy to order a number of books (budget permitting).

6. Recommend it to Your Book Club. And if your book club has more than a few members, an indie author may be open to attending and/or reading at your book club meeting.

7. Host a Book Party. Be it in your own home or a community event, gathering of readers, refreshments, and an invited author reading excerpts, selling books and signing copies would be a great way to spend a few hours.

8. Invite an Author to Speak for your University, Company, Alumni or Professional Association or Holiday Event. This could expose your favorite author to a larger audience and bulk sales, especially if the organization is willing to gift attendees with a copy of their book.

9. Gift Book Lovers a Copy of their Book. If your friend is a book lover, it may even be possible to have a print copy autographed and personalized for them.

10. Feature independent authors in your newsletter or blog. If you blog or podcast, write for a newsletter, or other medium...spread the love!

Follow me, Eartha Watts Hicks, on FaceBook, GoodReads, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram @Earthatone and if you find this information helpful in any way, be sure to purchase my novel, LOVE CHANGES, just for good measure.

Visit or purchase from Amazon

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Sarah Forbes Bonetta was popularly known as the "African Princess."
Sarah was born 'Aina' in 1843, a princess of the Egbado clan of the Yoruba people born at Oke-Odan, an Egbado village in what is now southwest Nigeria.

Sarah Bonetta’s village of Okeadan was attacked by King Gezo of Dahomey, the most notorious slave trading monarch in West Africa in the early 19th century. In this 1847 attack, her parents and siblings were all killed and Gezo’s men seized the four year old Sarah. She remained captive at Gezo’s Court until 1849 when the British Navy Commander, Captain Frederick Forbes’s, landed the HMS Bonetta in Dahomey on a mission to persuade Gezo to give up slave raiding and trading.

Captain Forbes noticed the young princess, marked for execution and bargained for her life. He persuaded King Gezo to “give” her to Queen Victoria, by saying “She would be a present from the King of the Blacks to the Queen of the Whites.”

The girl remained with Forbes in West Africa for the next year where she was baptized and given the name Sarah Forbes Bonetta, Bonetta for the British Navy ship. Of Sarah, Captain Forbes wrote that “She is a perfect genius; she now speaks English well, and [has] great talent for music… She is far in advance of any white child her age in aptness of learning, and strength of mind and affection.…”   

Sarah Forbes Bonetta was taken to Great Britain, where she met Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle on November 9th, 1850. The Queen was so impressed by her intellect, she declared Sarah her goddaughter, and paid her tutorial expenses.

In January 1862, Sarah was attendence at the royal wedding of the princess royale, Victoria.
To see more, visit:

I am Eartha Watts Hicks, author of Love Changes.