There are two key moments common to every published author/poet/playwright. The first is when you completed your work, edited it, and sent it off for a professional edit. The second is the moment you hold the first copy of your work, the fruit of your labor, in your hands. I had that second moment today, and it never gets old.
Today, Never Give Up: A Christopher Family Novel is officially launched. Now that I’m involved in the marketing and promotional side of being an independent author, it’s exciting. The work involved is all part of learning new skills and ideas, discovering what’s a good fit, and connecting with people. It involves putting myself out there. If I don’t speak up, if I don’t stand by my work, who will?
For those who are wondering where my idea for the title came from, it is a basic lesson I learned as an independent author: never give up. Given the dynamics of the Berry family in my novel, it became one of the family mottos (the other one is, “Never sacrifice your family on the altar of your career”). Today, I think back to when I started writing my first novel over 20 years ago, and the progress I’ve made to where I am today; back then, I never dreamed that I would have five published novels, much less novels that are also part of library collections.
Part of that success involves paying it forward, by supporting other African-American authors. Due to the racism in the traditional publishing industry, it is no surprise that I’ve found more African-American authors who are independent, or they have built their own publishing companies. Here’s to Kujichagulia (self-determination).
No one said the road would be easy. I’ve certainly experienced my share of challenges, both internal and external. Despite that, I love what I do, and I recognize the importance of keeping my “eyes on the prize.” Success has different definitions for everyone; I’m thankful that there’s no “one size fits all.” It’s important to recognize every small success as well as the big ones; those small successes often get a writer through the rough patches. I’ve been in contact with many writers who are dealing with self-doubt, the “imposter syndrome,” etc. We never know where inspiration will come from to deal with these issues; for me, it came from a quote by Aretha Franklin: “Be your own artist, and always be confident in what you’re doing.”
For those who supported me during this journey–especially those who have been there from the beginning–know that you are appreciated. For those like myself who have launched a new novel–hey, it’s all worth it.
So yes, my “new baby” whodunit is out there, available at your friendly neighborhood Amazon and Barnes & Noble libraries. Meanwhile, I’m doing the happy dance to some Old School funk (and yes, that photo was me back in the day, when I was dreaming)! Until the next installment, I’m out!
At the end of the day, it’s all about the love. Believe in dreams and never give up.