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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Need Some Editing Before Editing?

<<<< ------ Need a copy? Amazon has them available now for just $2.99!

In Need of Editing before Editing! 


Just sharing a brief excerpt of an email to me from one of our 21st Street fabulous editors...

"There are a LOT of problems with this manuscript. I am almost done fixing up the grammar and such, but stylistically, with the plot errors and the way the story is laid out, it's going to need some major overhauling on the author's end.... " 


"There was literally almost no sentence punctuation throughout the whole manuscript, few paragraph distinctions made, no quotation marks anywhere to indicate dialogue, and no chapter headings at all...."


"....there are major issues that need to be addressed before this goes to print. I don't want to make any of major changes myself because I don't know what the author intends (especially as far as chapter headings and such) and I don't want to put my voice in this author's story...."

This is not the first time I have got an email such as this, nor will it be the last. For the first time recently, I had to TURN DOWN a PAYING customer because the manuscript was so poor- we would have had to re-write almost every single sentence and that is not what we do. 

The editors we have are TERRIFIC- however, it is up to you as authors to research and learn how to write a book if you are serious (and paying for editing indicates to me that this is something you are taking seriously.) 

Research via reading, the library, the internet if FREE. Utilize these free outlets and at least try to develop your writing. We are an EDITING SERVICE, not miracle workers. Research what an editors ACTUAL job description is. Our editors go ABOVE and beyond their job description for 7 out of 10 scripts without complaining (and I GREATLY appreciate them and their dedication and hard work.) 

We will do are very best to polish and assist you in putting out a great story. The better you give us to work with, the better the end result can be. We can also refer you to some great developmental editors if need be. When it gets to the point that there aren't even periods or question marks at the end of a sentence- that's a little ridiculous. If you're in need of an editing service, please check out our site for more information. I am also always available for questions via email at

Come on writers. Respect your chosen craft.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Another one of my favorite articles... We got a Black President - Now what?

We got a Black President…Now what?
  Now that Obama’s in office has young America stopped voting? Who and where are our Senators? Here I go again with my statistics.
  On February 23rd, 1870 the first African American was elected to serve in the United States Senate. Since 1870, there have only been five (yes, I said ONLY five) other African Americans ever to serve in the Senate and only seven Hispanics.
  How come this is something that young America, especially young African Americans and Hispanics are not more concerned about? The United States Congress is the legislative branch of the Federal Government. Shouldn’t we be more involved?
  Not surprisingly, President Obama is the first and only President to appoint an African American to Senate. Of the only six African Americans, President Obama was the fifth and won his election by the popular vote. That goes to show you right there that your vote does count!
  The fact that Illinois has a high rate of voters as well as a high African American population may account for the fact that the last three Senators, Carol Mosley Braun (1-3-93 – 1-3-99), Barack Hussein Obama (1-3-05 – 11-16-08) and Roland W. Burris (12-31-08 – incumbent) were all from the state of Illinois. Come on America, let’s take a page out of Illinois book and start voting for our Senators as well.
  On February 3rd, 1870 when the amendment was ratified and everyone was given the right to vote why hasn’t this advantage been taken yet? What are you waiting for young America? You think just because we got a Black President, everything is all good now? Why aren’t we exercising this right? This is a privilege we are being given. Many people died and are still dying to this day just to make sure we maintain this right. Have we become that complacent that we are leaving all of the decisions regarding our future to the few people that decide to get out there and vote?
  It just absolutely blows my mind that these statistics are true and correct. How can we not be more aware of who are government is.  I wish this article would have been my topic last month and maybe I could have encouraged just a few of you to vote. Hopefully, this time next year you will remember this article and get out and vote. You may think your vote doesn’t make a difference but it does. When it comes to our Alderman, Mayors and Senators, the popular vote makes a big difference.  I hear constant complaints regarding discrimination. How can we even have the nerve to complain when we are not using our right to vote and starting in our backyard by getting the proper people in place to insure that discrimination does not happen?
  I said all of that to say…If you didn’t get out and Vote, you have no “Right” to complain about anything.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Choosing a Child Care Provider... or an Editor!

I often get the question, “How do I choose an editor?”
I often equate it to finding a childcare provider. Sounds silly, huh? Let me explain. When an author creates a manuscript it is much like a pregnancy. The author is creating, growing and producing something from within side of them. They prepare for the birth, which would be the release of the book and then they continue to help it grow which would be the marketing and promotion. So I suggest, finding someone with the same qualities you would want in a childcare provider for your child.
First of all, you want a professional. You will want someone whose references you can check and confirm. You will not want to hear what their best friend or sister thinks about them but what actual clients of their service think.
You will want someone firm yet caring. You need to work with someone who is not going to be afraid to reprimand mistakes and tell you about them, but will also be able to do it in a kind way. This will insure productivity as opposed to putting the author on the defense.
You will want someone educated in that field. Unfortunately, there are no licenses or boards governing the conduct or education of editors. There are no mandated continuing education classes as there are with most professional careers. It is up to the editor to stay active in educating themselves and keeping up with changes. A lot of people think that since they can spot typographical errors in their favorite books, that they can be an editor. This is not true.
Ask your editor what Style Guide they will be using. Most fiction uses The Chicago Manual of Style but some publishers such as Triple Crown Publications prefer The AP Style Guide. Your script needs to have a consistent style so it is imperative that one of these is used. Your editor should also include with his or her service, a style sheet that is specific to your writing. If they don’t know what this is or don’t do this, don’t use them.
As with any type of service, make sure that your editor provides you with specific contracts detailing their obligation to you and your financial obligation to them. When making payments via Pay-Pal, be sure to mark it as payment for a service should there ever be any disputes. If you are paying via check or money order, be sure to designate specifically what the payment is for in the memo section.
Lastly, make sure you have an open line of communication with your editor. There are a few terrific editors out there who can help introduce your baby to the world in style. Unfortunately, there are also several want-to-be editors who are looking to take advantage of people and their dream. Make sure you are as careful and as thorough as you would be if you were choosing a childcare provider and you should be just fine.
You can check out our editing service at or if you have any specific questions, you can always email those to
Niccole Simmons
Co-Founder of 21st Street Urban Editing & Publishing

One of my Favorite Interviews... Author Terry Wroten

“Being sentenced to ten years in the California State Prison at the age of fourteen was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.”
Imagine my surprise upon hearing this coming from twenty-five year old debut author, Terry L. Wroten.  At the age of ten, Wroten who was a resident of South Central, Los Angeles joined the infamous 4trey gangster crips street gang.  At the age of thirteen, Wroten was shot six times by rival gang members. At the age of fourteen, Wroten was taken into custody and charged with three murders, robbery and assault. Inevitably he was exonerated of the three murder charges but was sentenced to the California Department of Corrections for a period of ten years for the other charges. At age twenty-five, Wroten is the most anticipated street literature author coming from the West Coast.
At the time of his incarceration, Mr. Wroten was illiterate.  He would have to have cell mates read him letters from his mother and also write his letters to her.  He was unable to even address an envelope. He spent the first two years of his incarceration in a juvenile detention center where he began to learn how to read and write.  A few months short of turning sixteen, Wroten was transferred to Tehachapi State prison.  Here, the older inmates would help Wroten with his reading and writing. Sometimes the guards would even give him a hand.  An older cellmate taught him how to use a dictionary at which time he learned how to look up words he couldn’t understand and inevitably expanded his vocabulary. Wroten reports that his comprehension skills seemed to almost immediately become enhanced upon learning how to utilize the dictionary.  After being stabbed while engaged in prison riot at the age of eighteen, where inmates and correctional officers were injured. Wroten was placed in the Segregated Housing Unit (SHU) for term five years for battery on a peace officer.  It was at this time he read the book entitled “Gangsta” by K’wan and thought that he could write a similar tale. This is when he started to write.
In 2007 at the age of 22, Wroten was released to a half way house in order to become un-institutionalized and learn how to find his way back into society. He had a counselor which he reported to daily. After several meetings the counselor told Wroten that if he could not find gainful employment soon, he would be revoked and sent back to the penitentiary.  When the counselor questioned Wroten about what he was able to do or what kind of skills he had, his reply was, “I don’t know how to do shit but read and write.”
Wroten’s counselor then asked to review some of his writing.  Upon completing eight years of his ten year bid, he had approximately seven manuscripts completed.  While being placed back in custody on a parole violation, Mr. Wroten had the opportunity to finish his scripts for a total of twelve completed novels upon his release. His counselor was extremely impressed by the content of Wroten’s stories and felt as if his writing was comparable to other urban street lit. authors. 
Wrotens counselor decided to try and help him find a publisher.  After being incarcerated at the time of the internet boom, Wroten was completely unfamiliar with how to use a computer or the internet. The first thing the counselor taught Wroten was about the social networking site, My Space.  It was there that they reached out to the inspiration behind Wroten’s writing, author K’wan. K’wan recognized the talented young man’s writing skills and for two years the two corresponded while preparing for the release of “Natural Born Killaz”.
Now that Wroten has signed a book deal under K’wan’s publishing house Black Dawn Inc. he is hoping to open some doors for others on the West Coast. As of now, the East Coast has a strong-hold on the urban fiction-street lit. genre. Wroten also aspires to show kids in urban communities that may be going down the path that he once did, that illegal hustling, selling drugs and gangbanging isn’t the only way.  He currently does free motivational speaking at high schools and community centers in the Los Angeles area.  Also, Wroten has penned an anthology; out now, with authors K’wan, Jrod Nider, JM Benjamin and Randy Ski-Thompson titled “The Massacre”. His debut novel by Black Dawn Inc. entitled “Natural Born Killaz” is also available now.
Mr. Wroten is also hoping to break into the film industry.  He is currently in the process of writing screen plays and continuing to work on manuscripts.  He also wants naysayers of urban fiction to know that had it not been for the gritty street tales urban fiction portrays, that he most likely would have remained illiterate and a lifelong menace to society.  Wroten went on to point out that most characters in urban street lit do tend to redeem themselves at the end of the novel.  “This is something we can relate to, not Judy Blume, Stephen King or JK Rowlings. This is what life is. I’m just bringing it to the frontline,” he stated humbly.
As the author of this article, I do have to say that Mr. Wroten humility was a pleasant surprise.  Having a little bit of background information before speaking to Mr. Wroten, I assumed I would be talking to a rough and gruff thug; however, Mr. Wroten was kind, soft and well spoken whose passion and desire to write, not for fame and fortune but to find a way out and to inspire others was made evident throughout the entire interview. His gratitude and thankfulness to author K’wan for giving him an opportunity to fulfill his goals is inexpressible. His desire to be a role model and help others is also like nothing I have ever seen before.  
If you would like to contact Terry L Wroten, you can reach out to him at or Facebook
Niccole Simmons
21st Street Urban Editing & Publishing, LLC

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Book Trailer for Betrayal. The sequel to 21st Street's best seller, Loyalty and the Bed You Lie In by Author TR Nairn

Have you got your copies?

"Betrayal" by Author TR Nairn. 
The Sequel to Loyalty and the Bed You Lie In also by Author TR Nairn

Free Shipping at but available for purchase where ever books are sold. Make sure to get "Loyalty and the Bed You Lie In", as well!

Diamond, Rae and Meko started out as three with an unbeatable female empire, but once jealously reared its ugly head the trio quickly became two. Diamond's love and loyalty to her husband landed her in jail behind his battle.

T.O., Diamonds husband, has heat on him from every direction and it's time for him to step things up and find a way to get to his enemy first without getting his self killed before he's able to put all the pieces together.

Rae is left behind by Diamond to fulfill the needs of their empire. With her own drama unfolding, her back is against the wall and she needs help. Will her choice of help pose a threat to them? Will Diamond be freed from the belly of the beast? Will T.O. find out everything he needs to know before it's too late?

Get ready for another ride of suspense, surprises, in this murderous tale and learn the true meaning of the weak and the strong, as you read the sequel to the best seller, “Loyalty and the Bed You Lie In” by Author TR Nairn appropriately entitled “Betrayal”.

21st Street Urban Editing & Publishing: Literary Awards... Talent or Popularity?

21st Street Urban Editing & Publishing: Literary Awards... Talent or Popularity?: Literary Awards – Talent or Popularity? One of the first revelations I had when beginning in the literary industry is that it is ext...

Literary Awards... Talent or Popularity?

Literary Awards – Talent or Popularity?
One of the first revelations I had when beginning in the literary industry is that it is extremely cliquish. It was quite disturbing to realize that a lot of popularity didn’t actually come from talent, it was more about who you associated and social-networked with.
There are those few that have a natural God-given talent that were inevitable to be successful but for every one of the rare people that applies to, there are ten more who just know and associate with the right person. Unfortunately, we have even made the mistake of making a talentless person relevant in the industry just because of their association with us. Unfortunately, we are still paying for that mistake. But that is not what I wanted to share today. I am wondering what my fellow peers think about the Literary Award winners and nominees.
Obviously, we at 21st Street Urban Editing & Publishing specialize in urban fiction. I will have to do an entirely different post regarding my feelings surrounding the exclusion of mainstream publishing awards and well-deserving urban authors. 
Because of this, the urban industry has come up with a few of their own award ceremonies. The nominees for these awards are often the same year after year. Some of these are well deserved nominations as these authors are continuing to put out quality work but in my humble opinion, some of these are based strictly on a popularity contest and nothing to do with skill or sales; therefore, are the awards being given worth any merit? I know popularity is a factor, but in the urban industry, it seems to mostly be the only criteria for winning an award. 
Should we respect these wins or just congratulate them for remaining relevant? 
Should it be based wins on actual numbers of sales and talent or are the only numbers important the amount of Twitter followers or FB friends the only numbers relevant? 
I always assumed awards were given based on talent, sales, etc. I am curious as to what my industry peers opinion is on this. Maybe it is a popularity contest and I am just na├»ve to believe that hard work, hustle and dedication to a craft should be award winning as opposed to who has the most time to social network and beg for votes. What say you literary friends? 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

21st Street Urban Editing & Publishing: Cash Money’s New Leader, Icon and Trendsetter

21st Street Urban Editing & Publishing: Cash Money’s New Leader, Icon and Trendsetter: Cash Money’s New Leader, Icon and Trendsetter K'wan Foye The world of urban fiction which seemed to be stagnant after Donald ...

21st Street Urban Editing & Publishing: Self-Publishing Package

21st Street Urban Editing & Publishing: Self-Publishing Package: Want assistance Self-Publishing your book? All you have to do is provide us with the manuscript... Allow us to take it from he re . We ...

Self-Publishing Package

Want assistance Self-Publishing your book? All you have to do is provide us with the manuscript...

Allow us to take it from here. We will apply for your ISBN Number, Priced BarcodeLCCN Number, Professional Editing, Typesetting, Book Cover, (Front Cover, Back Cover and Spine).  

We will also provide you with 100 copies of your final product and all of the completed files so you can continue to do print runs for the low price of $1799.00. Individually, the cost for all of this averages around $2700.00...

Payment arrangements are available as well as excellent references. 

Contact us. 

Cash Money’s New Leader, Icon and Trendsetter

 Cash Money’s New Leader, Icon and Trendsetter
K'wan Foye

The world of urban fiction which seemed to be stagnant after Donald Goines and Iceburg Slim gave it a genre has made a comeback in the last ten years. With the self-publishing craze in full effect and Amazon and Barnes & Noble allowing anyone to upload and sell a story, there are thousands of books now available. Amongst the now thousands of urban authors, there is one name whom every single one of them will recognize. K’wan. He is the definition of a mononymous person in the urban industry and has been since his debut over ten years ago.
A lot of urban authors have found their niche for writing while incarcerated for lengthy periods of time. This may be the reason a lot of urban stories are so true to life. They are quite often, experiences the author has lived. Although K’wan’s story of tough times and strife as a youth growing up in Harlem is similar to other authors who write urban fiction, incarceration or reform is not what drove him to pen novels.  
K’wan’s mother was an aspiring writer. She unfortunately passed away before her ultimate dream came to fruition. Because of that, K’wan was inspired to begin writing as a way to honor his mother and fulfill her dream. Entering the literary industry with only his mother’s dream and a pen and paper was not easy. He had no ideal of the industry politics he would incur or how to handle them. In his words, “You are only as good as your last favor.” This revelation came to him through many trials and tribulations during the onset of his career. People he trusted had totally taken advantage of his eagerness to write and entertain readers just so they could make a dollar. He still to this day, has work out there that he has not been compensated for. Instead of allowing the frustration of deceit to get the best of him, he took all of the bad situations and turned them in to learning experiences that would make him the successful, savvy author he is today.
K’wan did have a few blessings as well. One of those blessings was L.A. Banks (RIP). She directed /encouraged him to submit to St. Martins Press. Banks told her editor, “This kid is gonna be huge one day and you need to check him out.” She helped him in a big way but most have never heard this story because she wasn’t the type of person to do something to say she did it. When Leslie helped him, it was from the heart. Although Leslie is no longer here, she is thought of often by K’wan who still appreciates her recognizing his raw talent. K’wan humbly contributes her encouragement and belief in him as a big part of the reason his success came so quickly.
Anyone dabbling in the industry knows, being a genius writer is just not enough for long term success. K’wan had to learn industry standards, the ins and outs of publishing a book, and monitoring who his social interactions where with in order to remain one step ahead of the game. He also learned that always staying true to his self would be in his best interest. He is not one to jump on bandwagons or follow fads which have been the unfortunate demise of a lot of authors before their career has even taken off and he now has a wonderful agent that he works very closely with when making business decisions.
After recently becoming a free agent for the first time in eight years, K’wan has signed with a new publisher. Cash Money Content recruited K’wan and the announcement for his decision to accept their contract was made in December, 2011 at a private celebration. He is very excited to be working with Ashley and Jaquavis Coleman, two authors whom he respects very much. Being able to confide and consult with them encouraged his decision to sign with CMC. Congratulations to Cash Money Content. Cash Money Content is an extension of Cash Money Records whom we all know for bringing us some of the greatest talent in the hip hop industry such as Lil Wayne, Drake, Juvenile and the Hot Boys, and will now without a doubt, be the new powerhouse in urban fiction.
Hopefully K’wan’s next goal of writing and directing films will be as successful. The determination and drive he possesses is like no other. He is definitely a leader, icon and trendsetter in the literary community. If you’d like to follow K’wan, you can click here to join his fan page K'wan's FB Fan Page directly on Facebook at  or if you’re on Twitter, you’ll love the tweets. Click here to  be directed to K'wan's Twitter page .