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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Progress Report

Progress Report

While I wait for my new book to appear in Ingram’s catalog, Amazon and all the online bookstores, I’ve got some free time. So here’s a progress report for 2010.

On Writing:

I’m working on my first novel projects since 2007. For the first time I’m working on TWO novels at once. I’m making an effort to get back into the groove; eventually I want to be able to write one thousand words a day again. No set date to complete either project; after writing screenplays for five years, I wanted to warm up and get back into “novel mode”.

Book #3 Status:

Approved this one at Lightning Source last week. I’m waiting for this one to appear in Ingram’s catalog. This takes 3-6 weeks so I’m getting the resources ready for the promotional campaign. I’m doing research of African-American bookstores and vendors, learning how to get a booksigning at these venues. Writing a series of blogs to coincide with the book’s release about African-Americans in Hollywood. Writing a press release. Designing business cards that double as flyers. Costing out review copies. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Book #4 Status:

Book #4 has been sitting in my box since 2007. It’s an African-American contemporary fantasy novel, like Buffy The Vampire Slayer or Ghostbusters . I definitely want to release this one this year, and I’m going to outsource the editing and proofreading. At 96,000 words and 350 pages It’s just too much work for me to do alone.

If it costs out, I’d love to add a “behind the scenes” featurette to the back of this book. I enjoy writing these and giving readers an insight into what inspired me to write the book. I’d love to add them to all my books so readers can hear from me.

I’d like to sketch up a concept soon for book #4, I have the idea in my head, but trying to find time to put it on paper. The idea is simple, but drawing human figures is not my strongest point

I’m still thinking about it, but I’d also like to outsource the cover art for both book #4. I’m researching comic book artists and checking out their rates. A lot of these guys inspired my writing when I was a teenager; it hurts my heart to hear some of them are struggling to pay their bills now. I’d love to help them out with a job. I don’t know if any of them would be interested in working on a self-published POD cover, but I think it’s an opportunity to open up a new market for them. I can’t pay much (probably $200 tops plus a couple of free copies of the book, and a credit inside on the page with the legal stuff on it) but It would be a dream come true to see my characters drawn up by a comic book artist on the cover.

Book #5 Status:

Book #5 is another original screenplay paperback compilation. It’s a African-Americna teen sitcom, A concept that’s The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air meets Clueless. I kinda like writing these, they’re a fun way to tell a story. I would love to release another African-American screenplay book, but it depends on how the market responds to the first. I wonder if African-Americans would be interested in books of this genre.

On Shows:

Still thinking about whether or not I want to do the Harlem Book Fair again. I spent $400 last year and got only one sale and next to no interest in my titles. I don’t know if it’s worth investing the money to attend that show. Maybe the money would be better spent sending postcards to African-American bookstores and vendors telling them about my books.

I would like to do the Circle of Sisters Expo though. It’s a better crowd, and more people were willing to spend. However, that show costs $1500 to attend. I’d have to sell at least 500 books before I even think about trying for that show. One of my goals is to attend Circle of Sisters as a vendor in the future. I had a great time last year, and I saw some great products. Looking forward to my books being one of them.

If I did shows, I’d love to offer the Isis ankh T-Shirt at them.

On Screenplay Contests:

I’m not doing these anymore. A total waste of time and money. After I found out most of the “readers” aren’t industry professionals, just people from Craigslist and college interns, I realized they were just a waste of my money. I wonder if any of these contest coordinators ever produced a film in their previous careers? Have any of the winners gone on to have their scripts produced and distributed by a studio? Read further and found out well, none of them did.

Then I did the math: $50 entry fee x 3,200 suckers= $160,000. Sales of $200 workshops, $175 script coverage to help the losing writers get an inside track: $640,000 and $560,000 respectively. These guys are practically becoming millionaires on the backs of aspiring screenwriters! Fool me once Shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. My money stays in my pocket from now on.

On me:

In addition to working on my writing, I’m STILL looking for a full-time job a year and a half later. Unfortunately, I found out Civil Service here in New York State is getting ready to have themselves a hiring freeze. So that’s out. I’m also still looking for PC repair or technichian jobs. I'd like to have a regular 9-5 job while using my savings to pursue my dream of self-publishing books. I'm sending out resumes, looking for takers, looking for book sales, praying for a break...

I’m gonna try to have a new article up later next week.

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