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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Progress Report-August 2014

Progress Report-August 2014

Two steps forward, several steps back. Still Struggling to make progress.

I’ve been hard at work improving the quality on my books. I’ve heard the complaints about the covers and I’m doing my best to make sure future books have better quality covers.

I’ve spent most of the spring working on the cover quality issue. People have complained about the covers, and I’ve been working hard towards a solution. In the aftermath of the Isis series Kickstarter failure, I spent a good amount of time going through my closets. And after selling toy catalogs, toys, action figures, a Brooks Brothers shirt and a Ninja Turtle Pie wrapper on eBay I was able to raise the funds to pay an artist to draw the Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess cover.

Bill Walko of the Hero Busine$$ did a spectacular job on the cover. It really pops and tells a spectacular story. If I ever published an Isis comic, I definitely would hire him to do the art.

I’d love to work with Bill again, if I can raise the money I’d hire him to do another cover for the Isis series. His style is a great fit for Isis and captures the spirit of the character.

Response to the Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess cover has been extremely positive. Everytime I post it on social media such as Facebook and Twitter it gets a positive response from almost everyone who sees it.

Now I’m just waiting for sales. In spite of heavy promotion, Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube hasn’t sold a copy yet in paperback or eBook all summer long. I’m really urging people to pick up a copy of this story because it has all the action and humor of a big-budget superhero movie.

Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess is a follow up to Isis: The Beauty Myth, one of the best stories in the Isis series. The story reads like Marvel Studios’ The Avengers or an episode of Justice League Unlimited.

I put a lot of heart and soul into Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess and I’d love for readers to give this story a try. The writing is rock solid and the story flows smoothly from first page to the last.

To further improve the quality control on my books I’ve also been revising the previous Isis series books. Isis: Amari’s Revenge, Isis: The Ultimate Fight, Isis: The Beauty Myth, and Isis: My Sister, My Frenemy and Isis: All About The Goddess all were re-edited to fix typos, and grammar issues.

I want all the books published at SJS DIRECT to meet a standard for quality. I can’t guarantee a perfect book, but I want all the titles I publish to be the best they can be. I can honestly say Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess met the highest standard for quality when I published it in July. I spent six months editing, revising, and reading over the text line-by-line to make sure it was as good as any book published by a trade publishing house.

I want to produce more books that meet the high standard Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess met in terms of quality. I just need to see the money from readers.

Unfortunately, the Summer hasn’t been good for my eBook or paperback sales. Many of the books I launched for the summer reading season including Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess did not do well at all.

The Thetas while successful on Kindle, died on Smashwords and Nook. Lots of Facebook likes on the samples, but only one sale on Barnes & Noble through Smashwords.

I’ll release a Thetas paperback in September on CreateSpace and call it a day. I’m pulling the book from Smashwords and I’m hoping to take it back to KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited by Christmas.

All About Nikki The Sensational Second Season was a flop. The book DIED in digital format.

Due to some coding issues on Smashwords I was forced to pull All About Nikki Sensational Second Season from Smashwords and put it on Kindle Unlimited. Not wanting to leave Nikki fans hanging, I’ve given Smashwords readers a free Nikki eBook All About Nikki-All About Cliques featuring a story arc that’s part of the Second season.

From the anemic response Nikki’s last two eBooks have received I think readers are tired of Nikki and I’m just going to move on. So Season 2 will be the last in the series. I pondered doing a season 3 and even started writing a pilot episode, but I’m just gonna end that series. The season 2 finale is strong enough to serve as a series finale, so yeah, I’m just gonna move on.

In unrelated news an actress contacted me about All About Nikki. She likes the character and wants to play the role of Nikki Desmond. After I got a release I sent her a book. We’ll see where it goes.

As part of the Summer YA campaign The E’steem series seems to be going strong. E’steem: Faerie Tale has gotten over 400 downloads on Smashwords and E’steem: The Beast From the bowels is on its way to 200 downloads.

Why 70 Percent of Black women are Single a book based on one of my popular blogs did slow sales. Lots of Facebook likes, very few sales. Did get one UK sale, though.

Due to the slow sales of paperbacks I’m gonna pull the plug on the Lightning Source paperback editions of All About Marilyn and The Temptation of John Haynes at the end of this year. Five years is long enough for a book to stay in print, and with no sales this year, I’m just gonna move on. I’ll put up CreateSpace versions of those paperback editions but I’m just gonna charge both these books to the game and move on. It’s sad more readers haven’t discovered these great stories. Both these books were critically acclaimed when they debuted five years ago, but the sales unfortunately, have not been there since then. Thanks to readers of the blog last year they got a reprieve, but there comes a time when a writer has to put a period at the end of a story, even ones they love.

If you want a paperback copy of All About Marilyn or The Temptation of John Haynes head over to or NOW. Or send me $15.00 in the Paypal link at the top of the page and I’ll send you an autographed copy with free shipping. I have a couple of copies in my closet and I’m looking to clear them out. I might have a few Cassandra Cookbooks in there as well.

I hate discontinuing books, but there comes a point where a publisher has to cut their losses. If the customers aren’t there, then a businessman like myself just has to look at the dollars people aren’t spending and realize it’s throwing good money after bad. That’s money that could be better invested in other ventures.

Dealing with this sales slump has me working to regroup. During the summer I usually make most of my sales and most new readers discover my work. Unfortunately, this summer has been one of the worst I’ve had since I started SJS DIRECT in 2009. Everything just died after July, and I’ve been trying to work through the slump and get sales numbers back up.

I’m working on a plan to salvage the year with a holiday campaign. A major title in the catalog may be headed to Kindle Unlimited.

As part of meeting my goals for 2014 I’ve been doing YouTube Videos in the hopes of increasing my exposure. Hoping to get book sales and blog readers. So far I’ve done about 15 videos over the last few months. I try to post up about four or five videos a week during my trips to the library, but I’m gonna pull back to one this week.

The blog has broken past the 475,000 mark this month and is on its way to 500,000 hits. I’m averaging 1,000 to 2,000 hits a day these days.

This month, I started a new novel. Up to the tenth chapter. It’s the first new adult novel I’ve written in years. After writing and publishing so much Young Adult/Children’s fiction, I felt it was time to change things up.

I’m still struggling to make progress. Looking at the marketplace I see double-minded way of thinking of Black people. Black people say they want Positive Black literature, but I’ve yet to see the sales or hear from the readers in large numbers. I don’t know, maybe I’m not selling what Black audiences want. For all the TALK about wanting positive stories about the Black experience, more and more I see Black people buying street lit, supporting Hollywood Coons and buffoons like Nicki Minaj and making plans watch shows like Scandal. I want to stay in the game and continue providing an alternative to the Negro media minstrel show, but I’m not seeing much incentive to keep going. 


  1. You are not being board in your life's endeavor because you hate. God will not prosper you until you change your hatred of single moms. We hurt. We cry. We love. We help others. We feel. You talk about us, who rely on God so heavily to fulfill our needs and those of our kids, like trash.

    We have enough to deal with already. Our kids are labeled as statistics, we are told we are unloved and unwanted, all because we have kids but not a ring.

    Look at how long you been in the game, with no results. Look at your blogs. Two comments here, four there. You think people feeling you, but they are not. And the men you cater to, who think like you, DON'T READ NOVELS OR COMICS. You cater to black men who have been hurt like you, and who hate like you, and who love that you give them a free outlet for it. Your single mom hate blog had more posts than many of your others combined.

    Yes, hurt, damaged men who have no interest in your art is who you attract with your single mom posts. Other than that, they have no use for you. Allow God to use you to stem hate rather than foster it, and you will be blessed. Leave His beloved beautiful single moms alone.

    You probably won't follow my advice. You probably think your lack of success is due to ignorance, or lack of culture, or being close-minded. You are right on all counts. But the lack is not in your audience. It's within you. Hate kills the hater and helps the hated. Remember that.

  2. And the word I meant to type in my first sentence was not ""board" but blessed.

  3. In true Shawn James fashion, I await to be contradicted, insulted, and disregarded, because of course that's what a serious writer would do----alienate and ridicule potential supporters of your work, and act like a mean man - bully who likes to trash moms without husbands. You make sure serious readers dismiss you in favor of writers who don't try to convince them that their moms, sisters, aunts, friends, co-workers, teammates, and church members deserve hatred, isolation, and demonization from men. Haters deserve to reap what they sow. Stop hating.

  4. Good Gravy.

    Here come the EXTRA EXTRA SALTY tears in the Straw man argument presented here.

    Cue the violins. I hate single moms? Never said i did.

    I merely tell healthy childless men to avoid single mothers so they can actualize their potential and I'm the bad guy.

    So in order for you and single moms to buy my books you want me to be a SIMP like Steve Harvey and Tyler Perry and your neighborhood Pimp Pastor and co-sign your victimized way of thinking.

    I'm sorry but I don't make that kind of compromise. Go back to your Street Lit and Tyler Perry movies where you can live in your delusions Cap'n Save-em will put his cape on and rescue you.

    You probably wouldn't like any of the novels I produce.

    No, at SJS DIRECT I publish books that promote personal responsibility, accountability and taking constructive action.

    And if no one reads my blog why am I'm about to celebrate 500,000 hits. Why do people link to my blogs? Why do other bloggers and writers ask me to write articles for them.

    Obviously you're reading it. And the single mom piece wasn't the biggest piece on here by a longshot for two years.

    I don't just cater to Black men, but White men and men all over the world. Men as far as Austrailia, and the UK.

    I do not hate single moms. I insist they take RESPONSIBILITY and ACCOUNTABILITY. That's something they're never made to do.

  5. Sweetie,

    First of all, I do not frequent Tyler Perry movies, watch Steve Harvey or read street lit. The last movie I watched was the second Hobbit, the last book I read was Jane Eyre, and I think Steve is a buffoon who is unqualified to give relationship advice. Second, you don't know me or any of the single moms you stereotype. We're not just one big group with a single mind. Are you an uneducated, crime - loving thug just because you are black? Third, I have two degrees, and am working on a third, supporting my kids, and because I worked in the professional world was able to pay MYSELF to stay at home with both my sons. You criticize without knowledge, hate without cause, and categorize without care.

    Get. Out. Of. New. York. I can say that because I know a guy who's from the Bronx and has told me plenty of treacherous stories about the devious and dangerous games chicks play where he's from. If he had stayed there, he would still think that all single moms are low down and out for theirs. He left, traveled south, and got a new perspective. The lack of good men for the nice women, kids or not, made him realize that in the rest of the world, single moms are just moms without rings. No treachery. No passing the buck. No whining about the situation. No waiting for daddies or husbands. Just working, going to school, spending time with family, and trusting God. We take responsibility and accountability every day by caring for and loving the next Shawn, Oprah, Maya, Alex, or Ray, even when their dads refuse.

    If you're such a great blogger, stop spreading hate in your blogs. Do you see whites blogging about the uselessness and worthlessness of segments of their population? Yet you regularly dog our people to the public, calling them all kind of raggedy names where everyone can see, including those who love seeing blacks hate on other blacks. A gifted writer can see things from several different angles and write about it. Do your research. Find a way to highlight some of the good things that blacks are doing: holding down forts, smashing stereotypes, and making it despite obstacles such as single parenthood, the demonizing of our race, and the subjugation of our women.

    Lastly, please understand that women have a God-given vulnerability to men that ensures the survival of mankind, and that unless she is protected from the advances of wrong men, taught to resist them, or made aware of her own self-worth, she easily falls for the wrong ones. Listen to a woman on this one. Men like you think you have us all figured out, but you're missing a lot. And stop blaming women when men leave. Men leave for lots of reasons, and women can't always tell in advance that they are that type.

    I love my beautiful boys, and they are growing up healthy and loved, in a wholesome neighborhood with education as their goals. I hope with God's grace and mercy they grow up to be strong, loving, stand up men who work, worship, and marry, having come from a single mom or not. Between sports, church, friends and family, they're receiving intervention from positive men. And yes, my fiance helps, but whether you're married or not, it takes a village to raise children.

    Most of my friends are happily married, some after they had kids, some before. Weekday matters is the commitment of both adults to make it work for each other, the kids, and themselves. Yes, it takes selflessness and sacrifice, but that can be said about anything worth doing.

  6. And you don't "merely tell healthy childless men to avoid single mothers." That is an unmitigated lie. You trash, dog, name-call, stereotype, criticize, and demean moms for simply being single. I would be ashamed in front of my Lord to carry on and think the way you say we do. I can say the same about every one of my friends who has ever been a single mom. And guess what? Men are marrying them, fathering their kids (theirs or not), and making successes of life: going on trips, celebrating milestones with friends and family, and enjoying the fact that the paths to happiness are diverse and not limited to the nuclear family.

    And yes, they are happy. All families go through ups and downs. I'm not married, but I still have things married couples envy: I OWN, not OWE on, all my possessions, I live in a small, safe neighborhood with a constant police presence (my neighbor who parks his police car outside his house), my kids go to schools voted top in the country, and I don't work and don't depend on handouts, charity, or a "Mangina Simp" to pay my bills.

    We went on vacation this summer, I had birthday parties for both my kids, and everyone had nice gifts for Christmas. All this enabling, and living dirty, messing around with various no-good men, repeating cycles, and wallowing in mud you say is the single mom's edict is not how many of us are living. We're doing things like pledging celibacy, leaning on God, and hoping our efforts pay off in the long run.

    And who you cater to isn't about color, it's about mentality. Do you honestly think men who spend much time thinking about ways to dog single moms and the men who made them that way have the intellect and higher outlook to appreciate your work? If you want the clientele that honors works of a different plane, stop catering to the "Simps" you claim to frown upon.

  7. I'm not going to keep going back and forth with you Sweet Lady. It's clear tome you just want to argue. And I have no time for arguments.

    If you don't like the content of this blog, I suggest you move on to one of the three trillion other webpages out there.

  8. And I suggest that if you can't stand up to real, educated, logical rebuttal, stop putting out unsubstantiated BS.