I invited Sheridan Davis, author of Pretty for a Dark-Skin Girl, to write a guest post for my blog because her book and her passion to encourage and heal people in areas concerning race dovetails closely with what I'd like to see myself do in this next season of life.
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In a Chicago Triune article, Nara Schoenberg quotes Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania: “Fewer than 40 books by African-American authors for adolescents were published in 2015….Every year thousands of books for kids and teens are published, and every year we don’t seem to be able to get that number much over 100.”
The move from twelve years in adult Christian publishing to mainstream children's book publishing was pretty monumental. The only place I've left after years and years of being there was home. Oh and when I moved away from the town I grew up in to come to Florida for the job I held for twelve years then left for this new thing at Scholastic. Yeah, pretty monumental for a tiny person like me. What may seem like everyday, noneventful occurrences not worth talking about are quite the opposite for me.
Yesterday, I left my career home of twelve years. I was a baby when I started and I am still sort of a baby now (at least that's how I feel). And those who are interested want to know what's next. "Where are you going, Jevon?" It's hard for me to just say the company and the job title without sharing the weight of what I feel this next season is all about for me, and, really, for anyone who has an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying to them during what I believe is a time of major transition for God's people around the globe. So I'll start with a little background.
There's something interesting that happens with transition: you literally have to leap to the next opportunity holding on to nothing of the past or you will not cross over into the next thing. I believe that to transition successfully you have to be willing to lose all that you gained in a previous season to seize what is ahead of you in the next season.
One of my favorite things to do is encourage someone toward their dreams. In turn one of the most rewarding part of my job as an editor is to see that encouragement become a dream realized for the dreamer. Sometimes all you need is for someone to give your dreams real and grounded validation and approval. I believe that there is hardly anything impossible for someone who is believed in and believes in themselves.
December 1, 2013 marked for me a completion of ten years in book publishing. I have learned so much these last ten years. But it seems that most of the real, life-changing lessons have happened in the last three or four years. It hasn't not been easy at all (mostly personally), but it has been good.
Today's post is inspired by a question from an aspiring author. Someone heard this person's story and said that she should write a book. This is a very common motivator for people to start thinking about writing a book. She connected with me and said, "Jevon, I have no idea where to begin." This post is how I answered her.
As an independent author, you need to fully consider how much money to budget to get an industry-competitive book product to properly represent you and your message. This post will give you an idea of what to expect from the beginning and will help you navigate the best and most financially appropriate direction for publishing your book.
In the past several years I've had the pleasure of attending a couple conferences more than once (others I've attended only once). What I like so much about going to the same conference year after year is that I get to build relationships and face-to-name recognition with some of the return conferees. I get to see their progress. I get to hear wonderful updates. I also get to hear the same stories I heard the year before...
The standard word count on a typical nonfiction trade book is between 40,000 and 60,000 words. Have you written much more than this? Well, I have been known to take 100,000-word books and cut them down to 60,000 words without affecting the punch, author voice, or quality of information it contains. So let me help you meet your goal of writing a concise, well-developed nonfiction book that will keep your readers' interest and give them just the right amount of content they need to take what you have to offer and build on it themselves for their own lives.
If you are like me and occasionally catch yourself drooling over the awesome bookish scene in some of the major cities, especially New York, but live light years away from all the action, I hope this post will motivate you to CYOBS (create your own book scene).
Staying on the path to achieving your dreams is not easy. Quitting seems like a really good option on most days. Ignore those thoughts. Seriously. When you think of quitting, shun it like the dark evil it is. Recognize it. Call it out. Encourage yourself all over again with stories such as this from Christian fiction author Kariss Lynch. In this piece she shares her story of her journey to publication. I hope it inspires you to never, never, never give up on pursuing what you know you have been specially chosen for.
You have it going on over here: platform, credentials, consumer interest, consumer demand, passion, knowledge, and credibility. But you insist on writing over here in the land where nobody cares, where they have "been there done that" so many times that the books on that subject are on sale at Dollar Tree, where if this lukewarm topic of a book is somehow published the market will spew it out of its mouth, where if one more sentence is read someone is going to jump...
When your desires and expectations for certain parts of the publishing process exceed a traditional publisher's ability to meet them, self-publishing may be a great option for you. Read about 10 signs indicate self-publishing may work better for you than traditional publishing.
I ventured out and tried something different on my blog today and let you hear from one of my dearest friends Becky Van Volkinburg, who just became a published author. Becky and I have sang together, cried together, prayed to gather, dreamed together, vented about "stuff" together... I am so proud of her journey and I wanted to share it with you today.
You are the cream that has risen to the top. You have several publishing offers in front of you. You have your pick of the litter. Advance and royalty rates are basically the same. What now becomes your deciding factor? Does it really matter whom you choose to publish with?
Though a career expert could answer this better and every editor has a different story on how they came upon their current job, I will still share my story. And feel free to leave questions in the comments.
When I launched out into the social media scene, my main purpose was to see what it really takes to build some sort of digital presence, so that I could say to my authors, "You really should have an online and social media presence," without feeling like hypocrite.
New York City is known for being the epicenter of book publishing, and in times past I have often wished I lived in New York--if it had Florida-like weather. But I have decidedly stepped out of my wishing to be there to enjoying being here, and what I've discovered is a flourishing love of the literary arts in my local area.