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Writing That First Book (488 hits)

It took me forever to finish writing my first book, "The Burden of Sweetberry." I started and stopped so many times that if I hadn't had a passion for it, I'd have given up. But something kept telling me I could do it. And so I'd pick up the pen (before I got comfortable with a computer) and try again. I learned that what people have always said is true, "To make your dream come true, you must stick to it, or quitters never win and winners never quit." So I finally finished the book. But this was after starting other books and not finishing them and somehow finding the courage to listen deeply for my voice, the one that had something to say.

Then came the next step: getting the book published. Remember, this was after years of starting, stopping starting over and then just doing it. Next came proofreading and editing and rewrites, and rewrites and rewrites.

Now I'm at the publishing stage. I'd worked with New York agents and editors for years and this was my experience. "You're a good writer, but this needs to change and that needs to change." Once I wrote about an experience I'd had at my integrated high school. It was a true experience. My agent said, "You made the teacher seem too harsh." Well, she was harsh, and mean, and prejudiced. And there were other instances like that. So, what I learned was, New York controls publishing and if you want to play with them, you have to write what they want you to write. In other words, you have to write what they want to read about black people.

I was so discouraged with my last agent that I gave up on agents. So the next step was doing it myself. And that turned out to be the best move for me. Amazon has changed the game of publishing forever. They will publish just about ANYTHING! So it's up to you to put out a quality product. But Amazon knows how to sell books. I had no expectation for "The Burden of Sweetberry" except just to get it out. I've been so surprised by the support. My targeted audience is African-American women and they've come through for me. I've had book signings and discussions and "sisters" constantly coming up and asking where they can buy my book. So it's definitely been a journey worth taking.

Our voices are important, and we have to claim our truths and tell our stories. If we don't, others will, and what they'll tell will be stereotypes, lies, and fantasies. If the success of the movie, Black Panther, teaches us anything it's that the world is listening for what we have to say.

On that note I will say, follow your passion, it may lead to a wonderful, extraordinary place.

Chronicles of the Hamlet of Sipsey can be purchased at https://www.amazon.com/Carol-Gosa-Summerville/e/B01G72SH1S/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Posted By: Carol Gosa-Summerville
Tuesday, February 27th 2018 at 8:11PM
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