Today was a clean out my inbox kinda day and I was struck by the large number of well-meaning strangers contacting me about things of which I have absolutely no power or knowledge. So I figured this blog post was VERY necessary since these hopeful strangers don’t know me personally and probably are not clear about what I do. I hate seeing people waste time going down a dead-end road (i.e. my inbox or my social media pages).
The following rant is solely mine alone and may or may not express the views of fellow writers who I am sure are receiving similar emails/requests.
BlackExpressions and its readers have been so good to me over the years in not just sales but helping to introduce my books to new readers. I always like to take a moment and thank those readers within my reach. My books are consistently on the Bestseller list and I am so thankful for the support. Currently, my newest release, MISTRESS, INC., is #9 on the Top 100. 🙂
Real talk? Even when I was published and my books weren’t picked up by BlackExpressions (which isn’t a given by the way) I used to check the bestseller list and see some of my favorite authors. I wanted on that list. It was a personal goal of mine as a Black Expressions member and an author. So to see my books on that list is a damn good feeling. I reveal this tidbit to say to aspiring author and newbies and authors slowly but steadily climbing the ranks (like me) that whatever goals you have for yourself to believe in them, work hard for them and relish in crossing the finishing line when you achieve them. I have MANY more goals yet to achieve, but its cool to put a check mark next to one on the list. You know?
Coming from the romance genre I think I’m more aware of themes in a book and how as authors we all take a crack at themes (i.e. rags to riches, bad boys/bad girls, love on the run, etc….). I mean how many times has Romeo and Juliet themed books been done? You know, two young and tortured lovers who wanted to be together but couldn’t because of a major external conflict (family drama, coming from different worlds, race, etc.). Hell, I can think of a dozen right off the top. lol.
Trust me, I wanted to lay my nickel on the counter about this because after ten years of being published, I can admit that I had to tell myself that in the beginning if I saw a book even a little like mine. I had to have a conversation with myself and it went a little something like this: “Whoa chick, just chill, hell you read a book with this same premise twenty years ago so how you going to flex.” lol.
Anyway, my advice as a writer is not to worry about the bare bones and make it your business as an author/storyteller/book attention seeker and receiver to add your unique layers (your voice, your timing, your way of telling a story, your character development, your emotions) that fleshes the book out as only you can.
As I said on Facebook–and I’ll say it again:
When it comes to story lines, it’s all been done before and will be done again. The difference? The delivery.
This post has been on my mind for a while. I never really had the time to write it. As Message from a Mistress continues to do well and all of the Hoodwives series are still flying off the shelves, I felt I had to make note of my observation (and probably the same observation of other authors).
It is indeed all in the title.
Honestly, my writing style and delivery has been the same in Live and Learn, Show and Tell, and Message from a Mistress.
I mean, perhaps I was bit more polished by MFAM but I really feel the drama, the characters, the delivery…comparitive. The main difference? The title.
Live and Learn? Eh. A little too ABC and 123?
Show and Tell? Hmmm. getting a little warmer with it…but not yet.
Message from a Mistress? BAM. Got it. Scandal, drama, juice. A mistress sent a message? To the wife? What did it say? What did the wife do? All of it is evoked from that title. Nail on the head. My breakout mainstream novel.
Mistress No More? Yup. It’s gonna draw the readers. I just know it.
Soooo maybe we should repackage Live and Learn and Show and Tell and give them new, more salacious titles:
Live and Learn to be a Mistress
Show and Tell a B*itch
Okay, maybe not. lol.
There a lot of well written, drama-driven books out there…and you can’t always judge a book by its cover (or its title). Ha!