10 Ways Writing a Book is Different From Writing 963 Blog Posts o.0

BGFTF_MEME_Thick Bricks_1

Last summer I finished writing “Black Girls Are From the Future: Essays on Race, Digital Creativity and Pop Culture.”

I will be doing a book launch in Oakland, Saturday March 22nd, @ Betti Ono Gallery. Tix are $10.

1. There is a tie for number one. But I will say that being able to edit in real time was one of the major differences. With the blog, I also have an idea of who the audience would be. With a book, I had no idea where the ideas would travel. So I had to learn how to write in a way that assumed that I’d have to explain more.

2. Book formatting is the DEVIL. There was a template provided by Create Space, but I didn’t know that it would take me the better part of a week to actually format the page numbers, the text and fonts. Really, really stressful.

byrd lady

3. I had thought that writing a book, I’d feel lonely and away from my friends. But it was just the opposite. I was busy but I still saw folks; just on off hours or at planned times. But I was out, because I don’t write well at home. I remember one day in particular when I was writing at Whole Foods and the Delta Centennial was taking place and Keondra just came to the Whole Foods on P street to sit with me as I wrote in the cafe. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have extreme periods of solitude, because I do. But it ended up being more manageable than I expected.

4. Going digital. I had no idea the Kindle contract was 17 pages long. So I had it and read it, and thought about it for a long time. I wanted to be certain with my digital publishing choice. The book has been on Kindle since last week.

Zora+ Dilla

5. Getting book blurbs. The work flow process of doing a second edition is HELLA non-linear. I actually have two blurbs and an academic review coming out (Peace to Perez) but I had no idea that when I started this process these were the kinds of things that I’d want to add to the back as a blurb and that I’d have to wait, plan and coordinate adding the blurbs to the book. All things I am grateful for.

6. I have NO idea what people think of the book, unless someone actually TELLS me. Blogging is a feedback system. Writing in print is not. Folks found me to tell me on social media, but it just isn’t the same. I am not complaining, just marking the difference.

7. The internet isn’t a respected medium. It was deep to me to learn that having written 963 blog posts isn’t as significant as having 16 essays in print. I get it now, books are tangible, they require waaaaay more resources, and books can travel to places where digital cannot. Which brings me to my next point. I felt like the same person but folks will see you different in print. It just is the nature of the game.

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8. You never know who is going to show up when you shine your light, and I was scared at first, but now I am fearless in it. Why? I learned in February that the book was selected by Ruth Nicole Brown to be taught in the Education Justice Project. Reading what men and women prisoners had to say about my work (typos and all) changed.my.fucking.life. Like to know that brothers and sisters TOOK my words so seriously AND  that a sister took it upon herself to teach it (And folks say Black women don’t support each other. Some do. Some don’t.) My God. You have no idea. I felt like whatever book writing hangups I had, I needed to address them at the root, because there are, in Ruth’s words “folks who are ready to read Black feminists words on Black feminist terms.”

9. I’m ahead of the game when it comes to a lot of folks who are independent because I’ve been blogging for so long and interacting with folks, I don’t have to over rely on traditional mainstream media gatekeepers. @MarquetteJones has been telling me this for years. But I HAD TO EXPERIENCE it in order to believe it for myself.  This is important as Black feminists have been writing and creating public work in the US for at least the last 100 years, and I am grateful to be a part of their legacy on the internet. (More about my project on this later.) You cannot build a community overnight, and in many ways the game is saturated right now. It isn’t impossible to start today. Just work.

10. Marketing, marketing, marketing. In some ways writing the book was EASIER than the marketing. There is maintaining Good Reads, Twitter, Instagram, Tumbler, Facebook, doing events, creating promo material, getting blurbs, finding places to do a pop up shop. The marketing piece is IN SOME WAYS, the bigger part of all of this and I now see why many creatives don’t do it. I had NO IDEA that this was the case. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that it would be work in its own right, but I didn’t know that writing the book was just the beginning. I felt like a crossed a finished line and jumped into the deep end of the pool.

If this is your first time reading my work here are some examples of my blog posts:

1. On Kim Kardashian’s Empire and Race

2. Is A Black Web Browser Racist: BET x Kevin Kelly, x Blackbird

3. Race, Class and Prostitution in the City: Washington DC’s Black Madam, Odessa Madre

4. How Zora and Dilla Helped Me to Claim My Crush

5. Black Women and Pleasure

6. For Colored Bloggers Who Consider Sexism and Racism

7. Are Black Men Really That Homophobic?

8. Kill Me Or Leave Me Alone: Street Harassment as a Public Health Issue

9. The Gender Politics of the Dance Floor

Sign up here to receive  Newsletter,  and here is the Facebook page. I am excited to see you old friends, and I am excited to meet you new friends.

Is there anything else you want to know about moving from the blog to the book. Let me know, and Ill answer your questions.

Saturday March 22nd-Black Girls Are From the Future x Oakland: 6pm- 9pm @BettiOno Gallery: $10

MYMC_MARCH 22nd FLYER_Book Covers_Final_Friday 3.28

Saturday March 22nd, at Betti Ono Gallery in Oakland California, I will be doing an Oakland book launch. Tix are $10 on Eventbrite and you can get them @ the door as well.

As you know I have been writing about Oakland, for a VERY, VERY, VERY long time, so it is really surreal to go home to the place that made me and say “Look ma we did it,” literally and figuratively.

Honestly I am happy to go home too to pay homage to the Oakland Public Library, specifically the ones in West Oakland and Martin Luther King on East 14th (yeah, I know it’s International Blvd now, but when I was a kid it was E14th, so there) and see about getting the book into their library system. The West Oakland Library was so extensive in terms of their fiction and nonfiction by, for and  about Black Women and Women of Color.

Peep game. In the 90’s the dope game was eating Oakland from the inside out, so there are two places that I didn’t have to plead with my mother to let me go to; the grocery store and the library. Hence my Love affair with the MLK library on 66th Ave.

I feel safe in libraries.

For me it is really important for little bears to have access to books the way I did. AND BGFTF is now on the Kindle, so folks can download them and get it cracking, “We Are Living in Your Internet” ~Ms. Erykah Badu. By May of this year, I’ll have broader distribution so that I can get in libraries. (Let’s not even GET into the indie publishing politics around getting into the Library of Congress, book stores, and libraries. I will save that for another day.)

I can’t help but thinking all the times I was a little bear walking up and down telegraph avenue, buying cd’s and tapes at Rasputins, now I am selling books on the internet. What!?!?!?

Oakland Haunts Me.

Oakland Made me.

Here are 5 Things You Can Do Before the Event

5 Things you can do before

LINKS

1. Video

2. Newsletter

3. Audio Book Chapter “Oakland Haunts Me, Why I Will Not Be Going to See Fruitvale Station”

4. Facebook

5. Digital Story

Here are some of the topics we will discuss.

MEME_Questions Discussed

Please leave a comment below, ESPECIALLY if you were one of the people who encouraged me back in the day. I have something I’d like to send you.

Reading anything good lately?

What do you see on the horizon for Black women’s stories in 2014?

Oh and if you bought a book and have something nice to say, please leave couple of sentences on AMAZON. Ya’ll have my page looking thirsty, and I KNOW I’ve sold some books in from August to September. I know you are busy, so a few sentences are fine. Do it on the bus/train on the way home. I’ll hug you for it.

Is 2014, #BlackgirlTime, as I say?

What do you do to relax before a big day, I am kinda pressed, and all I want are tacos, #snowedin. #notacoyet.