Tag Archives: marketing

NAACP Image Award Nominees

If you’re a Black writer (or a Black person in entertainment), the NAACP Image Awards is on your radar (up there with the Hurston Wright Awards, and for children’s books the Coretta Scott Award, and if you’re in the Caribbean Bocas and the Burt Award). There are so few opportunities for us to be the cream rising to the top, we can’t be out here lukewarm with our ambitions. And unaware of the niche opportunities. So, it follows that Wadadli Pen welcomes the opportunity to celebrate the winners (yes, nominees are winners too) of these awards (if you’re a book lover these long and short lists are always good for ‘discovering’ books you might not have heard of before). Here (with random ramblings so that this isn’t just another list) are (some highlights of) the NAACP 2019 literary winners and nominees (full list after the link)– shout out to the African American Literary Book Club for always being on the ball.

In the memoir/autobiography category, I recognize Francesca Ramsey’s face if not her name or the book (Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist) as I’ve watched episodes of her de-coded series on MTV on Youtube, where she tackles topical issues with a humorous spin – sort of like a comedy-esque wiki.This is the first one I saw (I think) You might also remember her from the What White Girls Say video series.

Years on from his death, Nelson Mandela (also a nominee in this category) remains an inspiring global figure. If you haven’t read his Long Walk to Freedom, you should; his nominated book this time around though is The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela.

If the Harlem Renaissance is of interest to you (and if you like the writings of Zora Neale Hurston, check; Langston Hughes, check; Claude McKay, check; and others of this transformative time in 20th century Black literature, it will be), another nominated book The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart will catch your eye as it did mine. Locke is described as the father of the Harlem Renaissance.

Speaking of, a book that is quite possibly the literary find of the past year or so (and one on my TBR), Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon: the Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo’ is sure to be interesting reading (I’ve read excerpts and that’s my opinion, and would be even if she wasn’t already one of my faves). I only wish Zora had realized how much her writing meant to all of us while she was still alive (check out her classic work Their Eyes Were Watching God if you haven’t already).

You knew this one was going to be on the list, the bestselling before it even dropped biography of our US First Lady forever Michelle Obama – it’s fascinating to me how public attitude toward Michelle transformed between the campaign during her husband Barack’s first run to, well, now where she is quite possibly more popular than him. Her book is Becoming.

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In the children’s category, there is Facing Frederick: the Life of Frederick Douglass by Tonya Bolden. I hadn’t heard of this one before but I can testify to how inspiring the life of the enslaved man turned abolitionist can be for a child, as it was for me when I first came across his autobiography (a section of it at least) as a child.

Can I just say that picks in this category remind me of our own lack of vision (because I know I have, and perhaps I’m not the only one, pitched to the powers that be – separately and on more than one occasion – for funding – because researching, writing, and producing takes time – for a book and TV mini-series re Antigua and Barbuda’s National Heroes as a way to inform and inspire our young people… and, ah well).

That brings me to a children’s book treatment of Hidden Figures, the story of the black women whose brains made America’s achievements in the space race possible. It has already received the big screen treatment in an award winning film; and now it’s an award nominated picture book with Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly. Point of interest, there are four women on the book’s cover when only three were featured in the movie; so, more to discover. hidden figures.jpg

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One of the books in the debut author category is one I’ve been seeing around the book blogs for awhile Small Country by GaëL Faye Gael.jpg– I think the universe is trying to tell me something.

Tyler Perry and gospel music fans will likely be excited about this one – Us Against the World: Our Secrets to Love, Marriage, and Family by David Mann and Shaun Sanders – so this one’s for you.

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Then *blows loud horn* the category I love because I love fiction and I love the first author among the fiction nominees Tayari Jones and her latest novel An American Marriage – critically acclaimed and well received – with extra boosts for being an Oprah’s Book Club pick and a pick for Obama (yes, that Obama, Michelle’s husband’s) summer reading list. Hey now! – p.s. I highly recommend Tayari’s immediate previous novel Silver Sparrow.

Envy: A Seven Deadly Sins Novel by Victoria Christopher Murray – I haven’t read this one but this is another of those authors who’s on my radar as a past participant (very cool and down to earth and forthright as I remember) in the Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival (yep, we had one of those and attracted high caliber talent too…never forget).

Oh, oh, oh! Imma just drop this one right here Who Is the Black Panther?: A Novel of the Marvel Universe by Jesse J. Holland. Make that who is the three-time Academy award winning Black Panther.. I actually just read a novelization that features T’Challa before he was King, Storm: Prelude to the Wedding of the Century.

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In the Instructional book category, fans of the now cancelled The Chew (and other sisters opting to embrace their funky grey locs) will likely appreciate Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration by Carla Hall.

Politics junkies and fans of another sister in funky greyness (Donna Brazille) may find For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics by Donna L. Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry, Minyon Moore, and Veronica Chambers interesting. I’ve seen some of their interviews about this book and I may read it someday, as I’ve very much enjoyed – and been baffled by – the bits I’ve heard.

Or how about this one, anyone remember FUBU (yeah, yeah, I know he’s on Shark Tank but since I don’t truck with reality TV he’s the founder of FUBU to me) – Rise and Grind: Outperform, Outwork, and Outhustle Your Way to a More Successful and Rewarding Life by Daymond John.

Of course, the one in this category that sounds right up my alley is Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves by Glory Edim – not because I am but because, as many books as I’ve read, it feels like I’m discovering more and more books everyday and when will I have the time to read them all. Sigh.

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Brazille and co’s book is also nominated in non-fiction, as is Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon: the Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo’.

As is Black Girls Rock!: Owning Our Magic. Rocking Our Truth. by Beverly Bond, a brand you already know as a dope annual TV special. (goosebumps RIP Queen of Soul)

Do you know all the words to the Negro Anthem? Do or do not, this might be the book for you (or me, since I love this song and I’m also the music nerd who likes reading liner notes and lyrical annotations and cultural history): May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem by Imani Perry.

Alice Walker, a forever fave (for books like The Colour Purple, The Temple of My Familiar, In Search of A Mother’s Garden, Living by the Word, and my most recent read Possessing the Secret of Joy), is also on this list for Taking the Arrow out of The Heart.

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There is also a poetry section and a teen/young adult section with Chasing King’s Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin by James L. Swanson as a nominee in the latter category , as well as Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson who has been winning alllll the awards of late.

Props to all the nominees. See the full list here.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and Oh Gad! ). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page Jhohadli or like me on Facebook. Help me spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

 

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Filed under Links We Love, Literary Gallery, The Business

RESOURCES

Over time, Wadadli Pen has added a fair amount of writing and publishing information – from interviews with authors and publishers, to the reading rooms, to the opportunities pages (technically posts not pages). This post-not-page is something slightly different, though there’ll probably be a bit of overlap. Like the reading room, and opportunities and opportunities too page/post with pending deadlines (which you can use the search box to find if the links don’t work), it will be updated from time to time; its purpose is to gather and share information related to publishing that writers need to know – information that too many of us have to learn the hard way. Hope you find it useful on your writing and publishing journey.  Also visit the Writer’s Toolbox. Disclaimer: We don’t take responsibility for the information provided on any of the linked sites. Remember, do your own due diligence and seek the advice of an agent and/or lawyer if you can.

Authors – Getting Paid

11 Frequently Asked Questions about Book Royalties, Advances and Money

The ABCs of School Visits with an Independent Bookstore Some good tips here but worth remembering that we live in the Caribbean where the gumption of an author asking to be paid for school visits (in any form) is often met by a … huh? (and likely some behind-the-back grumbling about the author lacking community spirit). These posts are however a reminder to value what you do (give what time you can and/or choose to, of course, but don’t let anyone shame you for valuing what you do or for not giving what you cannot or can no longer afford to give). Shift the paradigm.

Festival Appearances – Guidance for Authors (UK specific but the principles, especially the breakdown re why authors should be paid, applies to authors everywhere)

How to Set Your Speaking Fees

Rate Guide for Authors

School and Library visits – a Guide

Copyright

10 common—and crucial—copyright questions for communicators

Antigua and Barbuda Intellectual Property and Commerce Office

Basic Copyright Concepts for Writers

Carib Export webinar
“Don’t assume, ever…definitely register your copyright, definitely sign a split sheet if you’re collaborating with anyone.”

Copyright Information for Writers

Following Copyright Law while Blogging 

The Fuss about Fair Use

Permission Guidelines for Using Copyrighted Material

Two Easy Steps for Using the DMCA Takedown Notice to Battle Copyright Infringement

A Writer’s Guide to Permissions and Fair Use

On the Hustle – Tips for Freelance Writers

“One thing to keep in mind: Once you’ve been published …, it is almost always worth sending them more ideas, even if they don’t ask for them. You’ve already started the relationship with them, and they know you as a writer, so they are more likely to give your queries consideration.” – How to Write and Get Paid: 11 Cases of Freelance Writing Success edited by Jacob Jans (don’t have a link but worth sharing)

7 Contract Stipulations All Freelancers Should Know About

7 Nudges to work in to your query letters

7 Things You Must Do To Survive A Recession As A Freelancer including
1. Prioritize adding income over cutting expenses
Your first reaction to a big drop in income may be to cut back your expenses. That’s not wrong, but it’s more important to focus on bringing in more work. If you already live frugally, as many freelancers do, there’s only so much you can eliminate from your budget. Earn more and you won’t have to cut as much. When you have a good month—and you will, even in a downturn—save as much as you can to improve your cash flow for the next month. We could devote an entire article to getting more work. But a few ways to expand your roster of clients is to ask your current editors to connect you with their colleagues, update your online portfolios and social media pages, scour freelance job boards, and keep an eye on social media for calls for pitches.

7 Ways to get paid on time as a Freelancer

5 Red Flags to look for in a Contract

5 Tips for Aspiring Features Writers

31 Ways to Freelance Yourself to Financial Freedom

Buying Yourself Time

“The time you spend working for clients who underpay or don’t appreciate you is better spent seeking great clients who love you, understand your value, and pay appropriately.” – Carol Tice

Case Study: How I Get Paid $100 a Week to Write Rants About Video Games

Case Study: Collecting overdue payments and holding clients accountable

Content Syndication

Editing Tests (I’m not a fan of these but they can be part of the hustle – this article debates the value and cost of editing tests)

“Find your minimum…and charge no less than that. If someone comes to you and says ‘…can you go lower?’ just say no… If you’re getting a lot of low paying work, you just need to learn to say ‘no’ more…You are worth a certain rate as a writer and when you go below that you are undervaluing yourself and as a result that paints the wrong picture of you to your clients.” Very good webinar on navigating the freelancing life.

“As a writer, you set the bar for acceptable pay. Don’t settle for less than you deserve and look for opportunities to upsell your services.” – Five Ways to Upsell Your Writing Services

Freelance Fees (insights to how freelancers charge)

How much should book editors charge (or, if you’re looking to hire a book editor, how much should you expect to pay)

How much should I charge for freelance writing services

How much should I charge for freelance writing services

How not to Pitch Editors

How to become a Professional Ghost Writer

How to deal with a Bad Payer without giving in to Anger

How to Market Yourself without selling Your Soul

‘While coaching me and my almost exclusively female classmates, Brodesser-Akner declared the following: “Always ask for more money!” It was a habit she’d developed after noticing that men did it all the time, without thinking twice about it. People respect you more for knowing what you’re worth, she told us.’ – How to negotiate your rate like a pro

If the client doesn’t budge, it might be time to walk. Being forced to find new clients is often a blessing in disguise—especially if you take it as an opportunity to level up.”

Landing Clients

“If you’re still a little unsure of your abilities, keep telling yourself that you have skills and experience that people are prepared to pay for. You’ve been invited to a meeting for a reason. You’ve won their approval thus far; you now just need to bring home the business by impressing them face-to-face.” – Learning how to sell yourself: how to win over a new client during a pitch by Katy Cowan

Negotiating tips

Publication Rights for Freelance Article Writers

“Most freelancers spend about 30 percent of their time completing non-billable work like pitching, researching, interviewing, responding to emails, marketing, networking, and invoicing…That means an eight-hour workday only leaves you with about five billable hours. So when finding your own rate, be realistic with what you can charge and how many hours in the week you can work.” – Rates

Rates (a sample of some freelance publication rates)

“So be bold. Go after the writing you want, keep yourself at the forefront of editors’ minds, ask for fair compensation, and see what happens!” – Reminder to Be Bold when pitching

Should You write a Free Sample to get a Freelance Writing Gig?

A Smarter Way to Price Freelance Projects 

Spotting Writing Scams

Tapping in to local business

Troubleshooting not getting Paid as a Freelancer

The Ultimate Guide to Recurring Income for Freelancers

What to do about freelance writing when you update your resume

What to do at every stage of a late payment

What to do when asked to give away your work

When they don’t pay

When your publisher goes out of business

When your editor ghosts you

Why what you write matters more than where you publish

Writing for others – what to charge

Publishing – Books

The 10 Most Common Manuscript Submission Mistakes

An Author’s Guide to Praise and Endorsement Best Practices

“I highly recommend a professional editor such as Joanne Hillhouse (jhohadli.wordpress.com/writing-editing-coaching-services/) or Virginia Hampton (hampton.virginia19@gmail.com) who have provided excellent service to me and other writers in Belize and abroad.” – Belizean writer Ivory Kelly in an article providing publishing tips for authors in Belize which authors in the wider Caribbean and beyond may find a useful resource

The Best Advice I can offer- on getting published

The Best Advice I can offer – Fear of Being Edited

Caribbean Writers Discuss Publishing – Lessons, Breakthroughs, and Rights

Carly Watters – Literary Agent Blog – I’m sharing this here because I don’t really have an agents’ blog on this site but I find, just perusing her comments section that she’s quite responsive and has some insights about the industry that might be useful, whichever agent you pitch.

Don’t Fall Prey to Publishing Scams: 7 New Writer Mistakes to Avoid

Everything You ever wanted to know about Book Sales

GATE opens a window to the world of e-publishing

Guidelines for formatting your manuscript before submission and more guidelines BUT remember to check the publisher website for any guidelines specific to her.

How I got my literary agent – part 1, part 2, and part 3 by Barbadian author Shakirah Bourne,

How to get published

Negotiating an e-book contract

Nine Ways to a Faster Book Deal

The Pros and Cons of Book Awards

The Pros and Cons of Traditional Publishing

Publishing 101 with Eugenia O’Neal

Publishing an Ebook

Publishing Contracts 101 (Protect Your Work)

Publishing-related

Query letter – tips 

Self-Publishing Conference 2019 Materials

Ten Principles of Fair Contracts

Vetting an Independent Editor

What to do When Your Book goes Out of Print

Why You need an Author Platform – and How to get One

Why your blog is your best promotional source

Publishing – Journals, Anthologies

Formatting manuscripts for submission

The Legal Side of Writing for Anthologies

Submitting Something Somewhere: Things to Consider

Publishing – Promotion

10 Ways to blog Your Books to increase Sales without being Pushy or Annoying

The Art of Publicity: How Indie Publicists Work With Writers

The Best Advice I can offer – Increasing Exposure

Book Marketing Mistakes

Connecting with Readers

How to Tame the Social Media Beast (a primer for writers on the use of social media as a promotional tool)

“Consider the topic being more than about the book’s release, and instead more about the impact of the book, a strange intriguing fact about how the book came about, how the book meets an urgent need, how a famous/semi-famous person reviewed your book and what they thought. In other words, the book isn’t the news…something else amazing related to the book is.” – Press Releases: a Blast from the Past by Greta Burroughs

Reaching Readers – Blog Tour Magic

Social Media Playbook for Authors!

“Don’t make the mistake of just replicating your content across platforms.” – Tips for Better Social Media Marketing

What Facebook’s 2018 Change Means for Authors

You and Your Wiki – Caribbean Writers Edition

Writing

Bad Habits

It’s not about how fast you write but how well

On Writing Dialogue

Three Plot Structures

Classes, Services (Writing and Publishing) – short sample limited to people who have had some connection with Antigua and Barbuda and especially Wadadli Pen

Joanne C. Hillhouse

Marita Golden

Professional Writing/Writing-related Services (Antigua and Barbuda)

Xtras

10 Things Every Blogger Should Know About Working With Brands

Caribbean Literary Resources

Design Tips for Non Designers: 8 Dos and Donts

Dis ‘n Dat

Dominican writer Lisa Latouche talks about the road to the MFA programme in one, two parts (inspiration)

About your e-signature and how to utilize it as a marketing tool

Guidance Sheet re Recording and Sharing Author Archives – Guidance sheet recordkeeping and transferring archives – “Authors should take time to ensure that they make the right choice of archive service for donation or deposit, and this may require a period of negotiation and discussion. It is important that there is sympathy and synergy between the author’s collection and the archival institution which will be responsible for its care and promotion. Seeking to change archive service once the process is underway can be a difficult process.”

Grants and Artists-in-Residences are Awesome Opportunities

How to do a Live interview on YouTube (You Tube Live with 2+ People) + How to Livestream on You Tube (Complete Beginners’ Guide)– for other tech challenged authors. I linked those two links because of their comprehensive presentation of the options but I found Sara Nguyen’s videos particular helpful for novices though more narrowly focused on comparisons between two browser platforms and a slow walk through one of those. This article might also prove helpful.

How to Hire a Skilled Editor and What You’ll Pay (because some writers really do need to consider what’s involved before pushing back on the rates – negotiating is fine, disrespect and derision is not) – rates and reasons vary but this isn’t a bad guide

How to lose a third of a million dollars without really trying – a lot of this may feel like another world (every author isn’t getting advances of this size, for one) but posting just as a cautionary tale for any writer trying to navigate the publishing world (because it can be very confusing)

How YouTubers get paid

Joanne C. Hillhouse’s musings on Writing and Publishing

The Literary Diaspora

On merchandising fictional characters – a legal primer

Presentation tips from a puppet

This writer says, be professional and do your own research before asking (i.e. respect another writer or editor’s time – which is not to say, don’t ask, but do your leg work)

Writing and Writing-and-Publishing related services (including illustrations, editing, formatting, and more) in Antigua and Barbuda

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen, my books, and my freelance writing-editing-coaching-workshop services. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, The Business, Wadadli Pen News, Wadadli Pen Year by Year, Workshop

Reading Room V

Like the title says, this is the fifth reading room. Use the search feature to your right and the term ‘reading room’ to find the others. Four came before, pack-full-0 good reading: poetry, fiction, non fiction, and some visuals too. Good reading makes for good writing. So use the reading rooms like your personal library and enjoy. And remember, keep coming back; they’re never finished. As I discover things, things get added. And don’t be shy about sharing your thoughts re not only what you read here but also possible additions to the reading room.

POEMS

The Nakedness of New by Althea Romeo Mark is a haunting piece about what it is to be a stranger in a strange land trying to find your footing. It gives one pause re their sense of feeling encroached upon by foreigners, non nationals, immigrants, whatever you want to call them. We are them sometimes when we find ourselves far from home:

‘A “foreigner” is dust in the eye
and many believe I have come
to plunder their treasures.’ Read more.

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Paper Boats by Trisha Bora.

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The Call by Danielle McShine.

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Etiquette for Fine Young Cannibals by Simone Leid

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Where Mine by Hal Greaves

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De Poem’s Birth by Opal Palmer Adisa

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What is a Poem? by Althea Romeo-Mark

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A Creed by Kei Miller

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Street Violence by Oscar Tantoco Serquiño Jr.

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Sliver of Light by Sanjulo

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A Testament to the Cycle of Truth by Martin Willitts

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Chameleon Thoughts by Danielle Boodoo Fortune. Read more of her poems here.

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Don’t exactly know how to categorize this but it’s beautiful and poetic to me.

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Ernestia Fraser’s My Caribbean Mother is rich in imagery and symbolism that’s a feast to the senses. Read it here.

STORIES

Gaulin Child by Helen Klonaris, director of the Bahamas Writers Summer Institute (I really need to do some more research on that, btw).

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Barbara Jenkins has won prizes from Bocas and the Commonwealth; this – Something from Nothing – is one of her winning pieces.

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A children’s story about growing up from a new and fun perspective @ Anansesem by Latoya Wakefield. A good bed time read-along.

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In this clip, the first story Kincaid reads in the audio ‘Girl’ is one of the stories we read during the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing project. I don’t think it read on paper to them “a bit like a horror story” as suggested in the commentary supporting the video; rather I think they recognized it as being the somewhat familiar protective and proprietary tension in the relationship between Caribbean mothers and daughters, albeit heightened and from another time. Perspective is an interesting thing. I like to use it as an example that form is not written in stone (form can in fact be formless) and that characters and place can be clear as day without being plainly stated. The story is 90 percent monologue about 10 percent dialogue; I first read it in Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction and it is one of my favourite Kincaid stories.

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2012 Commonwealth Short Story prize winners.

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A bleak and sobering insight to life in a Haitian ghetto; Ghosts by Edwidge Dandicat.

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A Fish-eye Country by Ashley Rousseau

NON FICTION

Kei Miller’s eulogy for dub poetry that interestingly had me thinking of calypso. Perhaps you too will see the connection.

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An interesting encounter stirs a discourse on language, arwe language in this blog posting by Dr. Carolyn Cooper.

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Less than Great Expectations by M. J. Rose is one of those hard truths about the business articles for those of you thinking of being writers. It says, among other things:

There are the occasional meteoritic rises to success. Every year, of the 10000+ novelists who get published, there will be five debuts that make the list because they were anointed and the system worked.

Those five aren’t worth analyzing. They are the lottery winners – the five with just the right book and just the right agent at just the right time to just the right publisher who has just the right line up with just the right foresight to make it happen.

The list of authors to pay attention to and learn from are the other 99% on the bestseller list who got there after 5, 7, 10, or 18 books. Jodi Picoult became a bestseller with her 8th. Janet Evanovitch with the her 18th. Carol O’Connell, who is one of my favorite writers, made it with her 10th.

It’s a rare author who gets anointed right off the bat.

I’m four books in, seven if you count the ones I’ve co-authored…and those are some daunting figures; but I’ve never been picked for anything so I continue working hard, learning, growing, hardening myself to the realities, while holding on to the dreamy girl who loves to read and still wishes on a star.

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Life opens up when you do by Rilys Adams (Wadadli Pen alum)

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I’m sharing this not because of the poster of one of my favourite movies that accompanies the post but because it’s a process and affliction any writer can relate to – the war within.

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I’m not an exhibitionist but I do love playing mas at Carnival; I see no contradiction. This blog post by Brenda Lee Browne explains it all.

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A charming, engaging, and thought provoking read on the danger and impracticality of a single story. By my old Breadloaf roommate and author of Evening is the Whole Day Preeta Samarasan. True Stories.

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Every writer needs an editor, Maria Murnane asserted at Shewrites.com and she’s not lying. And I’m not just saying that because I provide editing services.

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Insert writers (and perhaps every other type of artiste where it says singers and musicians) and the LA Times’ David Ackert speaks the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

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I’m sharing this one because hearing that someone wrote a great novel in six months or two weeks, landed an agent on the first try, and licensed film rights and re-publications in various languages before the book was even on the shelves can get discouraging. The truth for most writers can be a lot more bleak; but as my mother is always saying nothing happen before it’s time…yeah that and wha fu you is fu you. Anyway, read Randy Sue Meyers’ journey to literary success. It’s a reality check…but oddly encouraging.

This is one of my pieces, an article I did for Bookbird about Wadadli Pen.

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This was a blog posting that caught my eye. It’s about the business of promoting your book (a business I’m still trying to master). Have a read.

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“An alarm clock or a ringing telephone will dispel a new character; answering the call will erase a chapter from the world.” Isn’t that the truth? Try getting people to understand that though. In this article on writing, African American author makes a strong case for exercising discipline and prioritizing writing the way we do other things that matter in our life. But he makes clear it’s not about word count but about keeping the world of the story alive by engaging with it every day…as it can become like mist with time.

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This article is about how Reagan K. Reynolds, a self-described “a white American in my early twenties, raised in a privileged home where education was never considered an interference of cultural ethics but a foundation for them”, engaged with the writing of Antigua and Barbuda’s own Jamaica Kincaid. She said, among other things: “Kincaid uses her pen to reach over and poke at my own social constructs built within the boundaries of gender, race, occupation and education. The floor beneath who I think I am and who I think others are comes apart in an earthquake of literary moments. These moments exist because authors like Kincaid are brave enough to create them…I have become addicted to the uncomfortable sensation that occurs when discovering a perspective that is unlike my own.”

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Preeta Samarasan is the author of Evening is the Whole Day. She was also my roommate at the Breadloaf Writers Conference in 2008. Needless to say, I’m a fan of her writing and this particular piece is both touching and thought provoking. Also it makes me think about how I obsessed about main character Nikki’s eye colour in Oh Gad! – it was a tie to her father, to her sister – but as expected though I knew children, black or, I suppose, mixed children, with just that shade, and did the research just to be sure, some have questioned it, the probability of a black or even a mixed race woman having that eye colour. As Preeta said, though, discussing her daughter’s blue eyes, it can be complex and assumptions can be far off base especially when the person doesn’t really take the time to observe.

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Thinking of publishing? Anthony Horowitz asks a thought provoking question you may want to consider first.

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Garfield Ellis’ testimonial is the stuff inspiration is made of.

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Bahamas-centric but Ian Gregory Strachan’s Columbus’s Ghost:Tourism, Art and National Identity in the Bahamas is an interesting read on tourism’s impact on Caribbean arts. Example: “Governments even attempt to take carnivals and other folk festivals, which have historically been sites of grassroots cultural resistance and commodify them as sources of exotic entertainment for the tourist. And when they are not producing the exotic, the natives are cultivating a colonial past that adds to the visitors’ sense of a quaint island atmosphere. They are keeping alive the Royal Police Marching Band, and preserving the plantation Great Houses. Private concerns occasionally purchase such relics of slavery and turn them into inns for tourists. Seventeenth-and eighteenth- century forts are refurbished and the exploits of long dead pirates are heralded.” It makes the point that the omnipresence of tourism is such that it begins to shape the creative imagination: “So pervasive and overpowering an industry must, through its physical presence, economic presence, social presence, and media presence, impose itself on the imaginations of Bahamians, impose itself in such a way that it begins to influence how Bahamians imagine themselves, how Bahamians imagine the landscape of their country, their community, and their world.” Like I said, interesting.

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Reasons why you should not become a writer and signs that you already are in this Matt Haig article, Why You Should Write.

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I wasn’t sure where to place this but I figure here’s as good a place as any and something all of us writers need to hear at some point. It’s about Processing Feedback.

INTERVIEWS

I’m sharing this not because I’ve read this poet (I haven’t, yet, at this writing) but because I really enjoyed some of her responses, specifically:

I started trying maybe 1988 or so, started calling it poetry around 1990, then tried to write poetry a few years later, but really started writing poetry about 2000. And I say that because that’s when I started to understand my obligation to the craft…

“It’s difficult, not just because I’d like to do more writing, but because one intrudes on the other… a sort of identity disorder. I am beginning to resent this world and all its demands. It has no patience for reading and writing. It pulls at you…

“Just before the printing of it, I looked at the collection and couldn’t find one thing worth reading. It was all horrible compared to what I’m currently writing. Now post publishing, the opposite has happened: I adore them all and everything I write now can’t possibly be as good. I’m sure it’s a conceit! I’m waiting on the scales to lift from my eyes, to be balanced again…

“I have all sorts of great expectations and dread! I’m sometimes afraid of myself. Do people profit from receiving their hearts desire? Are they better off? Will it help or hurt my estimation of my work? Do I deserve it? I am a vat of questions. But all this is accompanied by a resounding sense of life being purposeful! Of being smiled on…”

These responses are from Jamaican poet Millicent Graham in an interview at Yard Edge.

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Catherine Bain and Gayle Gonsalves talk In the Black.

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Sharon Millar is a Small Axe and Commonwealth winning short fiction writer and this ARC interview reveals why. Some of us can only wish we could express so completely and incisively how our stories are born and grow into what they become, what their signatures are and where they fit into the canon. A really interesting read.

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Proust questionnaire answers from Mansa Trotman, daughter of well known Antiguan writer Althea Prince and a poet in her own right.

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Interview with dynamic and innovative Bajan artist Sheena Rose.

VISUAL ART

This is a story we should know (yet another indignity in the history of African people). I’m putting it here because the posting includes a film (a cringe worthy depiction of a cringe worthy but all too real episode in the intersecting narratives of African and European people); the story  of the so-called “Hottentot Venus”. Her name was Sara Baartman. Here is her story.

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This is another one of those not quite sure where it fits things but since it’s a video interview (see, it could have been interview), I’ll add it here. It’s a little known fact that Spartacus was one of my TV addictions while it lasted. The New Zealand born actor in this vid was an actor on that show, one of my favourite characters as a matter of fact. But this isn’t about that. What appeals to me about this vid (actually a single story broken up into about three vids) is the reminder of how important the arts (and a good teacher) can be in changing a young person’s life. Here’s Part 1, Part 3, and my favourite, Part 2:

“Choices…making the right choices.”

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sectionscene from Fish Outta Water by Zavian Archibald. Love her art work.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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