The book that changed my life

A few years ago someone gave me a book. She has been in the practice of sending me books she has enjoyed and I bless her every day for it. She knew I was at Uni and could not afford to purchase novels.

One of the books she sent me was Seed to Harvest.

Prior to this book, I had not read any speculative fiction that had a character who looked like me who I wanted to be. I was in my 30s and my sense of place in story telling was completely transformed. There was no turning back. If you have not read Octavia Butler’s work, please add it to the list of things you MUST do.

With Ms Butler on my mind, I launched into telling stories of a fantastical nature (Chapter One & Two), and the ride through my imagination was a rollercoaster.

So when I’m surfing online and I find pictures like this,

I’m ashamed to say that envy creeps up like a long discarded lover and tries to throttle me for leaving it.

I wish there was a way to tell Ms. Butler how much her work changed my life and my journey through imagining. You are missed, by those who knew you, and those who wish they had.

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Confidence

Karibu Reader!

Have you ever experienced doubt? You get that question coming up through all the other noise bugging you and asking if you really are what you say you are, if you’re really doing what you think you’re meant to be doing.

When the little doubt I still possess creeps up on me, I have to do some serious ninja moves  to get back to writing and enjoying the process. I heard someone say something that inspired me to try and attack it from a different angle, PRACTICE.

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It is very easy to forget to be confident about the things you do sporadically.

Mapenzi!

It’s your thing. Do what you wanna do.

Karibu Reader and Happy Father’s Day!

Toronto is finally warm and I find myself inexorably pulled outside basking in the sun.

As an author trying to offer entertainment to readers, I’m often baffled by the notion of trying to get fans. If I were to approach a random person (she’s a black woman like me) and ask her to purchase my book, what would I say to her? What exactly is she looking for in a story? A heroine who battles aliens? A dark handsome hero in whose arms she can rest safely? A challenging socio-economic situation that has been solved in the future using a solution currently unthought of? What does she want and how can I satisfy her?

That is a trap. Don’t ever succumb to the pressure of trying to sell your story to anyone. The beauty of art is that the audience falls in a spectrum (regardless of what genre you write) from those who love it and cannot live without it, to those who end up abhorring you, the writer, for coming up with such a story.

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I’m a big supporter of supporting black artists, whose work is often marginalized. Watch this and support.

The Cost of a Story

Kulika yo!

What a super sunshiny day it is in Toronto! I wish you were here to share it. We could have a proper discussion.

I have the privilege of being part of a few writing groups online. I have always thought that if you’re seeking support for your work, you should give support. Some people are incredible at the social networking thing. I’m still learning.()

Sometimes an author will be done with their work, pay an editor, pay someone to format the book, pay someone to design a cover and then post it online for sale at $2.99. $2.99 for a 300 page original story!!!

If this were a business and I was counting $$s…

  • Idea generation (collecting them from the “Ether”) – $100
  • Writing for about 3-4 hours a day for six months at minimum wage (in Ontario $10.25) – $10.25 x 3.5 hours x 5 days a week x 24 weeks = $4,305 before tax.
  • Paying an editor 2 cents per word for an 80,000 word novel – $1,600
  • Paying for someone to design your cover – $500, generic $40, doing it yourself 3-4 hours at minimum wage – $36

So the book that is sitting on the shelf (real or virtual) is worth anywhere between $5,900 and $6,400 without the cost of marketing, packaging, printing, distribution, shipping, Amazon.com fees or taxes. To break even an author would have to sell  over 2,100 copies of the book at $2.99 to break even.

Really… I can’t e’en.

Support your local author, don’t be a Grinch.