A Stronger Foundation

It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since I decided to pursue my passion and three years since I released Meji,  my first book. The years have been filled with excitement and revelations as I learned more about writing and the business of publishing. The two most important things I discovered were; 1) I’m a decent writer, and 2) Selling books is tough. It’s good to know that your writing well enough for people to enjoy it, and better still that they enjoy it enough to spend their hard earned money on it. The sobering reality is that there’s a lot of folks writing good books out there and getting attention for yours is a constant full court press. I can understand why folks who just want to write prefer the mainstream route. At least you get some support on the sales and marketing end.

For folks who have been in business you know that three years on the grind is a significant milestone. At this point all the presumptions and hopes have been whittled down to cold hard facts. You know what works and what doesn’t. If you’re good at what you do many people show up to take advantage of your talents for their projects as supposed to supporting yours. This is also the point where your praise is higher that your revenues.  It’s a delicate time that has to be handled carefully, otherwise when the very significant five year milestone is reached you may be done in.

So I’m reassessing my situation and making choices I hope will result in a stronger foundation for my writing and my book sales. I’m blessed to be writing during this e-book revolution. The new technology allows me to get my works to readers faster and less expensively at a higher profit margin. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a prolific writer, so being able to transfer my stories quickly to readers is a plus. I’v also compiled quite a collection of commissioned artwork and it’s about time it starts earning its keep. So I’m posting e-books and e-stories, beginning with Kindle but eventually including Nook, Smashwords and others. It doesn’t guarantee I’ll make millions, but like they say, you can’t win if you don’t play.

I’ve also stepped up my local events. 90% of my sales are local, so the more events I do the more books I sell. It’s not just about selling books, though. I enjoy meeting people and talking about Sword and Soul.  It works out great for me to be out there shaking hands because I like it as much as writing.

So that’s a snippet of what I’m up to. You’ll see other changes over the next few months as well. All of this is in order to keep y’all loaded down with what I hope you feel are good books. Thanks for giving me a chance. I hope I don’t disappoint.

Stanley Weaver, Jr. – Sword and Soul Artist

Imaro by Stanley Weaver

Anyone who know Stanley “Standingo” Weaver would say that he is a man of contradictions. He’s a big man who loves to laugh and has a quick wit, yet he is serious about his artwork. I was drawn to his style because his skill and his outstanding talent in illustrating people of African descent. When I began writing Sword and Soul, one important reason was to portray us as we are; powerful and positive people. Stan’s artwork complements my vision perfectly.

Another outstanding trait of Stan is his work ethic. He’s on a constant grind turning out top notch illustrations for a myriad of clients in a timely manner. Anyone familiar with dealing with artists knows how important this is.  He takes every project seriously and puts 110% into it. The results are outstanding expressive images that radiate emotion, from the stances of the characters to the expressions on their faces.

The Great Swamp by Stan Weaver

Stan was not familiar with many of the subjects that I commissioned him for. But like a true profession, he researched each one, asked questioned, then produced work well beyond my expectations. To say that I am a fan is an understatement.  I commission work from his even when I don’t have an upcoming project. I just like to see his interpretation of the scenarios I envision. I have a number of project coming up that will feature Stan’s art work. One is a Meji graphic novel which will team his artistic skills with the writing talents Robert Jeffery. Another is a dream project, an animation series also based on Meji. The latter is still more dream than project but when the time comes to make that dream come true you can be sure I’ll seek him out.

As you can probably guess Stan has his own projects in the works. The current project is The Street Team, a collaborative project between Stan Weaver and four other fellow artists. This collaboration not only includes a graphic novel but also a video game. As a fan I plan to purchase both. Stan is a rising talent in the industry. I’d keep an eye on him if I were you. If you’re a writer, I’d save up my pennies and get in line now while you can. I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.