Dear “Author Who Cringes At The Thought Of Socialising”…

I get that authors are busy… but so is everyone else.

We all have 24hrs in a day, and if you as an author can’t make time for someone who has taken their time to contact you after spending their time reading your book, then at least hire or assign someone (PR Manager) to do so. Because it’s just rude.

This is where social media helps.

I understand a lot of authors are very reclusive, but if something about your book struck deep in your reader, deep enough for them to want to reach out, there should at least be a platform for them to do so.

A lot of people recommend an official author page or website. And these are helpful resources. But they aren’t always practical. It’s better not to have a facebook page than to have one which isn’t active, where you never respond to messages (I learnt that the hard way).

Some publishers and book distributors such as Amazon and smashwords offer author pages. On Goodreads, you could start a blog if it’s something you’re interested in. And if you pick a couple of sites you know you’ll be active and available on, that is easier to manage, less overwhelming and generally better than having an official site and accounts on every social media platform. Plus, your audience knows exactly where to find you.

P.S. if having all those platforms works for you, then go for it. If not, I hope this helps.

Can Your Readers Relate With You?

The number one reason readers buy books is because they know the author.

This doesn’t always mean the reader is a friend of the author. Sometimes, the reader may have read other books by the author, heard them speak or interviewed on a podcast, radio or television. They might have visited the author’s blog or followed them on social media. A connection is made, and this drives readers to the author’s books. 

This is the reason for the “about the author” section in books. Readers want to know who the book came from. They want to know the author is an actual person, just like them. That automatically makes the author relatable. They’re human. And once a reader can connect to an author on that level, it becomes easy to persuade them to buy your book. 

Who the author is plays a big part in the success of their book. If a specialist gynecologist were to write a book on menopause, it’s more likely to be bought by people experiencing said ailment than if a baker who experienced menopause wrote the book. This is simply because the specialist is just that. A specialist! 

Who you are affects how people receive your book. 

Growing up, I never truly belonged anywhere because of my mixed heritage (and the discrimination I faced due to it). For many years, I struggled to fit in because I was too light to be black. Then I moved to the U.K. where I was too dark to be white. And this was part of what formed the basis for Age of The Anathema. I’m a mixed-race author writing about people being persecuted for being mixed race. And one comment I got back when Tainted came out, was by a mixed-race woman who said: “… finally, we have someone who will speak up for us.”  

She bought and read the book because the author was relatable. 

So, as an author, stop and ask yourself:

“Can my readers relate with me? Or am I just another author to them?” 

Glasses: Also a writing tool

 "...And one sunny spring morning, I awoke to find my glasses missing a screw."
***

To all those who wear glasses… you know what it’s like when your glasses just don’t sit right.

For those fortunate enough to never experience such discomfort, wearing glasses that don’t sit right can be really frustrating, especially when you’re writing.

Besides typing, I like to write, draw, and doodle in my notebooks. And recently, my glasses keep sliding off my face. But I get ahead of myself. It all started when…

I travelled for a few months, and got locked down abroad without my spare glasses. One sunny spring morning, I awoke to find my glasses missing a screw. (#crying)

It relieved me to find the screw about an hour later. I fitted it back, thinking that was over and done with.

Until my glasses started zooming in.

I’d be reading, and after a couple of minutes, my glasses would creep down my nose, toward the page. It got steadily worse, and by the time I returned after the travel restrictions were lifted, I was literally having to hold my glasses in place.

Clearly an inconvenience.

And for those wondering, I don’t wear contacts because my eyes water a lot.

Anyway, many reading and writing blogs touch on tools, apps, and equipment creatives need. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen any which touch on glasses. And I know I’m not the only creative who wears glasses (or has had an interesting experience with them).

Glasses are a tool to aid your sight. They’re meant to make your visual experience better, not worse. And I know there are a lot more issues that occur with glasses than them just not sitting right. Things like getting the right prescriptions, and the right shape of frames to fit your face, and the right size so the lenses cover at least 70% of your field of vision. And let’s not even go into tinting and glares.

So, there are many, many things to deal with when talking about glasses. This is just to remind you that glasses are also a writing tool, and as a reader, writer, or just a basic human being, remember to get your glasses sorted.

“When writing a novel, do you add a hook near the beginning of the book after the manuscript is completed or when you start writing it?”

Tell the story the way it tells you…

Sometimes your hook may come right at the beginning, other times, it may come when you’re done with the manuscript… possibly even after you’ve submitted it.

I think when it comes to the technicalities of how to write a hook, different authors have different preferences.

A hook, for those unaware, is basically a sentence (or a group of sentences) that draws your readers in to reading your work.

Based on this, I personally prefer to begin with a captivating sentence and/or add my hook within the first two paragraphs.

This way, a promise is made right at the beginning and the anticipation of the promise fulfilled keeps the readers engaged.

Three ways you can do this:

a). Create curiosity.
Let your first sentence/ paragraph make readers curious. Intrigue them. Your first line should generate questions that lead them to read your book/story for the answers to.

b). Connect emotionally.

If your words can stir up feelings in your readers, more often than not, they will stay connected and stick with the story till the end.

c). Introduce a character.

I’m a sucker for this personally. I read a book beginning with a perculiar character and I can’t help but read on to discover more about them… two of my personal favourites are:

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C. S. Lewis

And

“Kell wore a very peculiar coat.”

A Darker Shade of Magic, V.E. Schwab

There are in fact a number of other ways to write a great first sentence hook but I think it best for each author to practice and find what works best for them… I also think it’s important not to neglect the story and what it wants to do… let the story tell you.

So, to answer the question, sometimes my story is born from a sentence, such as:

“I died a thousand times that day.”
Jenée, Xyvah Okoye & Chiedozie Omeje

Other times, I’ve gone half way through my manuscript before returning to rewrite the first paragraph.

To be honest 🙈 there was a case where I finished the manuscript completely and ended up getting my hook in on my second edit of it.

🤷🏽‍♀️ it all depends on what works for you. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to do it right the first time. It will come when it’s ready… let the story tell you.

The Rose

Her tears lost themselves among the raindrops that now sank deep into the dirt ground, 6 feet too shallow for him to feel them. Maya smiled at the stone marker staring back at her. “You always loved the rain.”

She rolled the stem of the red rose between her fingers as the images of happier times flashed before her, ghosts of a life left behind. “I guess you loved it a little too much.” She looked up at the grey clouds, pregnant and bursting with a grief that could only be expressed through the tears they now shed with her… or for her? Maya couldn’t be sure anymore. 

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The strongest shoulders often carry the heaviest burdens.

A man turned to his friend for help with $100 top up so he could buy a car. Little did he know that the friend he had turned to was also looking to his cousin for $1000 to fix an ongoing issue with his own car engine. And that his cousin was also looking to his own godfather for $10,000 to fix an issue with the plumbing in his home. And his godfather was also looking to his bank for a $100,000 loan to fix up his own home.

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We are creators

ꪖᠻᠻⅈ𝕣ꪑꪖ𝕥ⅈꪮꪀ:

“𝕀 𝕒𝕞 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕒𝕣𝕔𝕙𝕚𝕥𝕖𝕔𝕥 𝕠𝕗 𝕞𝕪 𝕝𝕚𝕗𝕖; 𝕀 𝕓𝕦𝕚𝕝𝕕 𝕚𝕥𝕤 𝕗𝕠𝕦𝕟𝕕𝕒𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕔𝕙𝕠𝕠𝕤𝕖 𝕚𝕥𝕤 𝕔𝕠𝕟𝕥𝕖𝕟𝕥𝕤.”

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Welcome, September

2020 has been seriously bumpy for the most part, but as we step into a new month, let’s take stock of the things that have gone great.

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We are actual human beings…

Have you ever been shopping and seen something that looked sooo good on a mannequin, but when you wore it… Yeah, you realised you and the manikin aren’t the same 😩

I don’t know if guys do this but, speaking from a lady’s perspective, we could sometimes become so bugged down by ideals on how to look and what to wear. This leads us to erroneous diet plans and exercise routines we hate as we try to transform our bodies to look like the magazine and runway super models.

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The Tribe

No man is an island, we are all part of a tribe…

But what is that tribe? And what does it take to be a part of it?

We live in connection with others and our actions affect those around us. But when the good of the masses goes against the good of one, where do we draw the line on right and wrong.

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