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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Shawn’s Five-Year Plan

30 titles in Five years. Hard to believe I’ve published so many books and eBooks in such a short time.

Time flies when you’re working hard.

When I lost my job in 2008, God told me to keep going. And over that time I’ve set a lot of goals and met a lot of my goals. And even as I struggle through hard times, I’m still working towards getting to the next level.

Way back in 2007 when I had my first blog I wrote a list of things I wanted to accomplish. And when I ran down the list, I found that I accomplished all those goals.

So I decided to write out another long-term plan. I don’t know if I’ll accomplish these goals, but it doesn’t hurt to put them down on paper.
This is what I’d like to do over the next five years:

Keep a nine-to-five job. I’ve been working longer in self-publishing than full-time for someone else. Every nine-to-five job I’ve had hasn’t lasted that long. I’d love to have a job for three, five or even ten years, and build a savings.

The main reason I’m working for myself is because it’s hard for me to find work. And when I do find work, I get sabotaged by ratchet Black females and jealous Mangina mangers. While self-publishing has been a rewarding experience, but I’d like to have a more stable income so I can do some things like get out of the ghetto of the South Bronx.

And If I had full-time employment I feel that kind of stability would give me the capital to work on new approaches for promoting books and developing new book products like a comic book/YA novel hybrid. Yeah, I work days so I can build my own business on evenings and weekends, but that’s what you’re supposed to do. The work you do on A nine-to-five job is supposed to help you build your own business. I just get tired of the stop all the work I started at one point because I run out of money and don’t have the connections to expand my audience.

Purchase 4G internet access.  Right now I’ve been hustling for the internet. Thanks to these ridiculous two
Do a book signing at another bookstore. -year contracts I’ve been priced out of owning a cell phone or an internet hot spot. If I had a more stable income, I could buy a USB modem with some 4G internet access. That would allow me to spend more time on writing and target my book promotion to those peak periods on Twitter and Facebook instead of spending an hour or two just trying to get e-mail over Wi-Fi.

In addition, 4G internet access would allow me to make more YouTube Videos. I’ve been wanting to expand my presence online by actually reading some of my blogs I’ve written or read chapters of my books. I believe showing a people a face that goes with the content will allow them to form a connection with me and allow me to build the Shawn James brand.

Expand my book promotion outside of the internet. Right now most people know my writing from my blog, and my promotions on Twitter and Facebook. A few from my comments on YouTube videos and the YouTube Videos I’ve done.

Most of my book promotion is done online because my resources are limited. I’d love to do more promotion, but money is tight. And most promotion like newspaper ads and flyers don’t sell books. Especially in ghetto neighborhoods like mine where people just don't like to read. I’m thinking of ways to get my titles exposed to a larger audience.

Even though the Harlem book Fair in 2009 and 2010 was a bust, I’d like to think there’s a way to reach that larger audience of readers.

Have a book make a best-seller list. My books are known by readers and my blog is building an audience. But I’d like to have a book on the best-seller list. If I can get 100,000 hits on my blog, I know I can sell 100,000 copies of a paperback or eBook.
I really enjoyed doing the book signing at the Monroe College bookstore back in 2010. And I’d like to do more book signings. I really enjoy socializing with readers and I like seeing the looks on their faces when I share my stories with them.

Release all my paperbacks with updated covers. Yeah, I know paperback sales are…nonexistent. But I’d like to think one day a Shawn James book will be on the shelf of a Barnes & Noble. And when I get the chance, I’d love to update the covers with quality art from professionals.

Some people have complained about the covers on my books. But with my limited budget, I have to draw them. And Yeah, I know my art ain’t the greatest. If I ever got the capital I’d love to update the covers of my paperbacks and eBooks with something more eye-catching and visually compelling.

I know my limitations and I’m not afraid to ask for help. And in asking for help I’d love to help comic artists get their work out there seen by a larger audience of casual readers. People who have never been to a comic shop.

I’ve seen a lot of comic book art that I think would fit the stories I tell. And I’d love to have their work on updated covers of some of my books like the Isis series. When I see the work of guys like Bill Walko, Terry Beatty, John Byrne, Darryl Banks and Josh Howard I can envision it on the cover of my titles like All About Marilyn, All About Nikki, The Temptation of John Haynes or A Recipe for $ucce$$. I think their art could make the difference in sales.

Expand the comic book art medium into the literary market. One of my goals is to get the art of comic book artists seen in other mediums. I feel that with the comic book market contrtacting, one of the ways the artists can adapt to the changing market expand their exposure is on the covers of paperbacks and eBooks. I think this could be the next hot market for comic artists.
I’d love to re-release the Isis series paperbacks with color interiors featuring comic book art as covers, and interior illustrations in between the chapters. As a life-long comic fan I love comic art and I feel it pops. It’s got a lot of color and I feel it can really make that younger tween or teen reader pick up a YA fiction book like the Isis series or All About Nikki on the bookstore shelf.

Publish an Isis graphic novel.  Back in 1999, I wrote Isis with the original plan of turning it into a comic book. The “Bad girl” craze was in full effect back then, but my goal was to create a positive Black female superheroine.

Instead I wrote a contemporary fantasy novel that mixed Egyptian mythology with African-American history.

I’d love to see that original vision make it into comic book form. Many have told me Isis reads like a comic book, and I’d love to see it drawn out and adapted into comic panels. Again, unfortunately, I just don’t have the capital.

With Isis catching the attention of readers over the past decade in paperback and eBook, I’d love to finally get that graphic novel out to readers so they could see what I imagined in pictures. With the comic book market changing, and readers wanting more products like graphic novels and trade paperbacks, I feel Isis and the Isis series would be a good fit for today’s casual readers who want to read a bunch of comic books in one single volume. And a great way to reach readers who don’t buy comics in comic shops.

Get an interview on broadcast media.  I almost had an interview on online radio for All About Marilyn if it weren’t for jealous insecure family sabotaging me. But I’d like to have another opportunity to promote my work in broadcast media. Whether it’s blogtalk radio, or broadcast radio, or a cable talk show or even a local newspaper or a newsletter, I’d like to have the opportunity to talk about my books and share my stories with a larger audience. I feel the more exposure my work gets the more readers will take a chance and try it.

Produce an independent pilot of All About Nikki.  The feedback I’ve been getting on All About Nikki screenplay eBooks from readers all over the world has been incredibly positive. The All About Nikki eBooks get double digit facebook likes on Smashwords and sell very well with online retailers like amazon and Barnes & Noble. And I’d like to capitalize on that momentum by producing a pilot episode.

Unfortunately with me being out of work, I just don’t have the money to produce it. Hell, I don’t even have the resources to start fundraising for it.

But looking at the deals Byron Allen made for Mr. Box Office/The First Family and Tyler Perry made for House of Payne and his other sitcoms gives me hope for producing a show outside of the Hollywood system. I feel All About Nikki could be the next That’s So Raven or True Jackson VP if it made it to television. This generation of tweens and teens are looking for the next big sitcom to watch and Nikki could be the next big hit with them.

I believe All About Nikki is the perfect program for a producer, a teen sitcom that evokes memories of classic Black sitcoms like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and The Cosby Show with older viewers and has characters younger viewers can relate to and identify with. It has a small cast and a low budget. It’s a cheap show to produce per episode like the Disney/Nickelodeon  sitcoms and has a growing international audience. So it can be sold to audiences all over the world and make high profits in proportion to cost.

Produce an All About Marilyn film. Yeah, this is a 99-1 longshot. I know the script is 135 pages long. And the Artsy material isn’t exactly a box office blockbuster with car chases, explosions, and superheroes.

But women all over the world seem to love Marilyn’s story. The eBook is #1 in screenplays/Screenwriting whenever I offer it free on Amazon. It beats out other screenplays every time I offer it. During one KDP offering in 2012, All About Marilyn had 750 downloads over the course of two days!

Is there potential for box office there? Is there potential for a large viewer turnout on Lifetime? Who knows? But it’d be fun to produce an independent production of All About Marilyn and see how the script reads.

Host an official website. I’ve been asked by some why I don’t have an official website. Well, my money is real tight. So I can’t afford hosting a site right now. Blogger works for me in promoting what I do…writing.
Would I like an official Yeah. But I think the name is taken. So while I’d like to have an official site, I’m gonna need a lot more cash to buy the name from that singer or from whoever has that title. So until then, it’s blogger for all your Shawn James writing on the web.

These are some of the goals I’d like to accomplish over the next five years. Can I do it? I’d like to think I could.

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