Any advice for new writers?
Write from the heart, not for notoriety. Be honest. Write about what you're passionate about and it will show in your work. Write from your perspective. This is how you find your authentic voice. Don't write for a group of people that you don't belong to. You cannot drown out their voices and exalt your own. The marginalized must speak for themselves.
How did you self-publish your poetry book?
I self-published the paperback on Createspace and the e-book through Kindle Direct Publishing. There is no charge. If you're ever confused about the process, there are forums on their sites, YouTube videos, and various articles online. Researching was very helpful in my self-publishing journey.
How did you create your book cover?
I created my book cover (for the self-published ed.) for free on Canva. I hired a freelancer on Fiverr to do the illustration. Gigs start at $5! Both are great sites to use if you’re on a tight budget.
How do I get more followers on social media?
Post more frequently, like, comment, and follow other accounts that are similar to yours. Don't spam their feed or inbox! It could affect your brand and turn off potential readers. Advertise but do not overwhelm.
How did you market your book?
I boosted posts on Facebook and Instagram by creating ads. Did giveaways on Goodreads to generate book buzz. Networked with other writers. Built relationships with readers. Created websites and social media pages. An attractive book cover helped a lot too. People judge a book by its cover so make sure you have one that stands out.
I'm not getting any sales? What am I doing wrong?
There were times I felt like I was shouting into the abyss for someone to buy my book. I didn't sell over 100 copies until the 6th month. Patience is key. If your desire for sales outweigh your passion, you're probably in the wrong field. There's a lot of trial and error in self-publishing. You will have up and down periods. You have to trust the process.
I'm afraid to publish my work. How do I get over this fear?
Putting yourself out there can be scary but the world needs your voice too. Just do it! I wrote my book off and on for years. I had many doubts and was worried about how others would perceive me. I had to get over my fears in order to make my dreams come true.
What inspires your writing?
I draw from my personal experiences as a woman of color, trauma and mental illness survivor, and being a hopelessly hopeful romantic. Music also inspires me.
What is your writing process?
Every writer's process is different. Mine is erratic. I don't have a writing schedule. I let the words come when they're ready. Sometimes they flow freely. Sometimes they don't. I write down certain words and phrases and deconstruct them later. I listen to music. I reflect on past experiences. I write to my former, present, and future self.
Did Andrews McMeel reach out to you to republish your book?
No, I submitted a book proposal to them. I got a response within 90 days and the rest is history!
How do you write a book proposal?
There are plenty of templates available online if you're unsure on how to write one. Publishers give you a guideline to follow. Do not to stray from it. Editors are quite busy so, keep it short but informative.
Is it better to pitch my book to a traditional publisher or self-publish it?
Honestly, either way is fine. I found success using both avenues. Other writers have too. Don't see self-publishing as limiting yourself. You never know where it could take you.
Can you write me a book blurb/proposal? Critique/edit my work?
My apologies but I do not read unsolicited work. Thank you for understanding.
Can you submit my book proposal or put me in touch with your publisher?
I have no influence over Andrews McMeel's publishing decisions. Guidelines are set in place to give everyone a fair chance. Please seek out a literary agent if you need additional help.
Who are some of your favorite poets?
Some of my favorites are Maya Angelou, Saul Williams, Lucille Clifton, Ocean Vuong, Pablo Neruda, Nayyirah Waheed, and Warsan Shire.