Thursday, December 26, 2013


I believe I was a sophomore in college when almost twenty-five years ago at my school's Café 9 Asian Night food event, I received this message in a fortune cookie: "He who has a thing to sell, and goes and whispers in a well, is not as apt to get the dollar, as he who climbs a tree and hollers." I had long lost that itty bitty strip of paper but never forgot that fortune.

I heard another piece of advice several years ago and found it to be SO true. A Best Selling Author is not necessarily a "best writing author." If we want to sell our books, we should study aspects of sales, marketing, publicity, and promotion or have someone in our camp who does. I personally know writers who could write circles around me AND half the "Best Sellers" list. But not every self published author has a staff. Sales and marketing gives authors an audience; honing craft gives style, versatility, and longevity. We need to cover the spectrum.
I was a Business major in college but studied the craft of writing independently at the public library, and then later, workshops; and then fellowships and major writing/arts grants; and networks AND business networks. I extended myself by lending a helping hand through volunteerism. I recently won an award for fiction and was also named NYCHA/NAACP New York City literacy ambassador. But for many years, I was a hermit who stayed at home, wrote in secret, and only shared my gift with those close to me.
My best friend Karen had to speak some sense into me. She said, "It's not who you know, it's who knows you. You could know everybody, but if folks don't know who you are, what you do and how well you do it, they won't care or give you the time of day."
By the time, I was able to receive and absorb this advice, talent-wise I was overripe fruit. I had been studying the craft for years and years and years, so doors just seemed to magically open. But for many, many years, I was that quiet, inquisitive girl in all the workshops, at all the readings and book fairs, walking with the journal and pencil in my hand jotting details, and with that Titanium flashdrive around my neck, because the makings of an entire publishing company was on it.

1 comment:

Love and Happiness said...

Again, I agree with you that i know of practically unknown authors work that would make some bestsellers look like undercooked cupcakes. But many of these beselling author have audiences that will buy their books regardless to how they are written. The unpublished authors are not known and sometimes people just don't trust to branch out and spend money since some have been disappointed so much by new authors that have not delivered a good story until they are afraid to trust. However, in the other hand, Book Publisher are looking for something different and something that they can present as salable.