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Friday, December 20, 2013

Meet Our Author - Kai Storm

I am Kai Storm, author of Alani's Bigger Hustle, Alani's Hustle Gets Bigger & You Just Don't Know. I do some freelance writing for a Christian magazine called, Elation Magazine. I run the author feature section for Elation called, KAI'S CORNER, I have written pieces in the book called, Sistah's With Ink. I have an upcoming piece in a collaboration book called Lipstick 3. My first book is being turned into a short film for the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. I have 2 kids, I'm married and I somehow find time to sit, chill and give thanks for all that I have and all I have worked for! As you read all of this you might be wondering to yourself....HOW DO YOU POSSIBLY KEEP UP WITH ALL OF THIS OR HOW DID YOU EVEN GET THIS FAR?


It sounds obvious but that's what it is with me....anything in life that you really want you work hard for and when people around you see your and/or feel your perseverance they either want to get down, help you or get out of your way, lol! Anyone that stays in your path with bad intentions gets handled by karma for sure. Never worry about them and when you are down, your strength and perseverance gets you right back up! To be honest with you, it's funny for me to talk about my writing career as I didn't really think of it as a career until I was published, before then it was just my release; my oh-so-needed mental release from....EVERYTHING! Now 3 books/3 years later it's a career and I am doing everything I can to keep it going! I'm learning a lot and still have more to go and I love every bit of it, even the low moments when I'm out all day and only get to sell 3 books or I have to chase a store to pay me for my books, it's all part of the hustle! #alanishustle!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Social Media and the Urban Author

Most likely if you are reading this blog, you have some type of social media account. Social media is an excellent way to communicate to the masses, quickly, easily and inexpensively. It has been an absolute blessing to the urban author... most of the time.
More and more often, I am seeing some downright ign'ant  ish <---no typo* on FB, Twitter, IG, and other social media outlets. The most surprising thing is I have witnessed grown men participating in this foolery. I probably sound a little sexist, but I am from the old-school where men don't participate in bitchassness. I see that is another quality lost via modern technology but that is another post. 
I must admit, I do get amused... Okay - I am freakin' entertained some days by the ignorance and nonsense and have even messaged a friend so they can be entertained for free and laugh with me while watching the fuckery unfold. Years ago, I may have even participated in the madness.
I've seen some people take the position of, Well this is me, if someone doesn't like it, they don't have to buy my work. And if that is how they feel, than that is their prerogative. However, if your goal is to be a full time (insert your title your networking on social media under) and be respected by everyone (not just your social media clique) then we need to do better expressing ourselves. 
I have stopped following many, many people after seeing insensitive remarks that were even to stupid of a statement for even me to tolerate. They may have a great novel out there but I'll never know it. There are a few where I've seen their books on the free giveaway days on Kindle and still wouldn't download it. I refuse to support any people with obvious intolerance to others  regarding race, religion or the sexual preference of others, even if their view is the same as mine, but intolerant to others. I think unless the service you are providing is geared strictly to the pro/anti view of one of these subjects, your opinion is really here nor there to others. Why would you risk losing potential sales with narrow minded opinions or views? That specific person you are referencing could possibly be the key to your success or financially helpful to you. Unless your opposition of what ever it is your disrespecting, is so strong, that you wouldn't accept financial gain from such a person, you are really just showing your narrow mindedness and doing your self possible financial harm.     
The English language has the largest number of words, more than any other language. I am almost positive, you can find better ways to express your self, so that you are making your point clearly, without coming off as ignorant or disrespectful.
I am not writing this blog because I am judging, I am writing this blog post from personal experience! When I started my editing service over seven years ago, I too was one of the entertainers and stupidly, entertained, for free, my peers with angry rants, judgmental tirades and personal attacks which had nothing to do with my business. I am a very passionate person and unfortunately, it doesn't take a whole lot to get me going. I am writing this to hopefully enlighten some of my peers on how I have grown, in hopes some of you will to.
I am always seeing how people complain the urban literary industry is not taken seriously. How can it be when the ignorance is rampant? If you'd like to be considered a professional, respected as a professional and recognized as a professional, you have to be professional!
I can honestly tell you that this behavior may get you a lot more comments or likes, retweets, and all that good stuff but I assure you it does not get you any respect. At least not from the people who could possibly enhance your career. If you are happy with your place in the industry, or feel like your work is so phenomenal, you don't have to respect anyone, then by all means, carry on. However, giving respect to get respect is not just a saying. I have had countless conversations with leaders in the urban industry about this and everyone of them draws the same conclusion and has the same opinion, it does none of us any good. The most good that comes from social media fuckery is getting some entertainment for free. 
If your still feel as though you can say and act however you want and you could care less what anyone thinks, think of it this way, most of you reading this blog are authors. Most of you are in the business of selling your work. Well, when you're putting on social media shows, you're entertaining for free. If your friends, fans, followers want to be entertained, make them pay for it by buying your book. Don't complain about the lack of comradeship among authors if you are not one of the comrades. 
I am not implying you must like everyone of your industry peers. I have a few myself I don't care for in the least. However, I stay in my place and respect my lane. I refuse to contribute to the negativity myself and so many others in the industry complain about and so should you. 
My blog, my opinion.


Dear Novice Author

Dear Novice Author,
When you pay an editing service to edit your manuscript, it is probably best to allow them to do their job. Why would you pay a professional editor, and then not heed the edits to your work, because, you like it better like this, or so-and-so said, I should write it like this, and totally ignore your editor?
If you are not a pioneer in the urban industry, exercising your creative control is probably not in your best interest. (Actually, I've never seen the urban pioneers making up new rules. I do see them doing their best to be as professional as the other genres.) It actually defeats the purpose of you hiring a professional service. If you want to make up your own rules or not abide by literary industry standards or Style Guide rules for fictional writing, here is what you should do. Go huddle with cousin Pookie and 'em, or the 99-cent-I'm-an-editor-but-my-own-work-is-unedited-editor, and share your great new method of how words, sentence structure and stories should be relayed, and have them complete your edits for you, much quicker, and for a much smaller fee.
Ask a trendsetter in the industry, someone who has been successful in book sales and is a career author, do they ignore their editors advice. Go ahead, ask them. I have worked with authors in the urban industry such as K'wan, Al-Saadiq Banks, Vickie Stringer and many others who have award winning, best selling books and they listened to my suggestions, once the rule or the reasoning behind it was explained, and applied it to their work. Why wouldn't you do the same? Are you more knowing than established professionals in the industry? If so, share your secret with all of us so we can all raise the bar.
It always baffles me how some novice authors know better than the editors they pay, but when the book is criticized for the blatant errors, poor structure, and many other issues - the author, the editor, and ALL of the urban industry is judged. It is a guarantee, for sure, the author is not going to shout that creative control theory when them book clubs and critics get to slammin' their arses for poor editing. They will however, whisper to anyone who listen, "Well I paid so-and-so to edit it." They will forget all about the unacknowledged/refused changes the editor suggested they make.
Another important thing the author must do is have your work proofread! Just because your manuscript has went through the editing process, you MUST have it proofread after typeset and before going to print. 
The bottom line is, if you want to be respected as a professional in the literary industry, you must adhere to professional standards. I am disgusted by the lack of professionalism in the process of self publishing in the urban genre, as well as the lack of accountability. I see everyone being blamed for the lack of respect of urban fiction, other than the unprofessional author who is continuously behaving and putting forth unprofessional work. I suggest if you want the respect, YOU behave professionally in regard to critique, go through the proper process in order to self publish, and accept accountability and learn from mistakes as opposed to defending them.