It’s taken me a really long time since my book was released to actually set about promoting it. I tossed some things around and asked a lot of people (literally everyone I encountered since my book was published). Nothing really stuck and if it did, it didn’t feel right. And it had to feel right. It had to feel just the way it did when I finally wrote the book after years of thinking about it. However, when I sat down to finally do it (you know create the social media, put out the website, etc.), someone asked me what do you think people want to see?
I was stuck?
I had no clue.
It’s the running joke in my family that I am an old lady born to another generation, because social media is like quantum physics for me, I just don’t get it. I needed it though, for my book’s sake. So, I came up with all these ideas, even made a couple posts, but didn’t post a thing.
Something was missing.
I was looking for the fast-track solution to fame and fortune. But that wasn’t why I wrote the book in the first place.
When I first decided to write the book. I was lounging around with my mom reminiscing on all of my favorite children’s books that she used to read to me. The conversation snowballed into discussions about how me and my cousins would get into some fun situations when we were little.
I, off handedly said, “That would be a cute book idea. To put the worlds, we made up into an illustration.”
And as my mother was apt to say, whenever I thought of something we could or should do.
She said “So, do it.”
For years after, the idea rolled around in my head, never really taken seriously, because I’m not an author or my favorite that’s just not what I do. I had a plan for my life, and that was not it. Looking back, I realized my mother already knew what I’ve come to know now. That is, that life is what’s happening when your busy making plans. You know that old adage: You wanna hear God laugh, tell him what you’ve got planned. Literally, me!
Well, years later and I’m finally listening. (I have a point, just stick with me!)
So, I wrote Bree and Tae, as a way not only to honor her, and the beautiful life she has given me. But to get back to that life as I knew it. Which was light years away from what I had planned. I wasn’t writing it to make money or even to have anyone outside my family and friends read it. I just wanted to know that I did it and it existed.
With that in mind, I realized that I was going about this promotion thing all wrong. I was never going to be the next Hayao Miyazaki, poignant and lyrical (I know! For a moment there I had some lofty aspirations) or the next Oliver Jeffers, witty and whimsical (Still lofty, but have you seen his work, amazing!). I could only be me. And finding what I want to say was the hardest part of the book publishing process, because as I’ve been told by so many people (remember, all the people I asked about promo, have you been paying attention 😉), they buy you not your book.
I think I’ve finally figured out what I want to say. So here it is…me…and us.
My books (and I do mean books…more to come!) Are about me and my weird, nerdy, and silly self. But they are also about us. They are about black people living life. They are about us being ordinary and extraordinary at the same time. About us having families, and pets, and adventures. They are about the small everyday minutia of our lives and the great big spectacular moments in between.
Growing up, I sometime felt removed from my blackness or felt a complete lack thereof, because I couldn’t relate to the images and representations of blackness around me. (Can’t braid to save my life!)
I didn’t grow up in the common perceptions of black life.
I lived on a cul de sac in the suburbs!
Retreating to fantasy and imagination was the only way for me to find my place. That is what I want children to find in my stories. Their place, in their world and in ours.
I hope you enjoy the adventure either way. 😉