I had to share my most recent journey with you all in blogger fashion which is something that I don’t normally do. However, my experiences from the past two weeks have been nothing short of interesting. Now as you are all well aware I have released my debut book “Let it be Known” and have been diligently doing whatever it takes to get the book into the hands of the reader. One of my first moves since releasing the project was returning to my hometown after being away for two years due to my transition from the concrete jungle to North Carolina where I set up my publishing company. To be quite frank, my return to the big city from a life in the suburbs is taking me some time to readjust. My entire premise in coming to New York is to get in front of the people and mainly begin to execute my direct approach in expanding the visibility of Let it be Known. One thing I have taken heed to is that everyone wants to make it big without taking the necessary grinding steps which is usually left out of the equation. My first week, I spent just making my rounds in seeing family and friends before I even delved into the project. By my second week, I begin to hit the streets and feel out the people throughout the Bronx and Harlem.
Let me share that in being both a writer and publisher I must take both sides of the business into consideration—the reader and the operational side of the project. By sustaining my independence and doing what I can to be innovative, my approach has come in layers. One thing that I have always been adamant about is making the human connection. It doesn’t matter what product you have if you are not able to connect with the people it will not be received. I have been aggressive in exercising my rights to be a “First Amendment Vendor” which enables me to utilize the public sidewalks to not only showcase my book but also sell it. Being on the streets and touching the people has provided me the opportunity to meet new people, network, sell my book and keep me in the mix of what is going on each day. A lot of authors presently believe that they can just sit in front of the computer and sell their books through Amazon or Barnes and Noble and NEVER have any direct contact with people. You have to get out there and market your presence right along with the product. I wanted to share that real quickly but allow me to continue….. So I set up tables and dived right into pushing the product. For any of you that have done any form of vending on the streets of NYC know that this is a very interesting yet difficult process. You come across a very fickle consumer that will show you so many different faces right along with the competitive vendors that you are sharing the same sidewalks. The tons of different personalities that you come across are beyond words with each and everyone having a different approach.
THE PEOPLE………With this being my stomping grounds I know that a New Yorker needs a lot of convincing which is why I always give them more info before they even ask. What I’ve noticed about the NYC avid reader is that they are very misleading and you can’t judge them by their cover. Understanding the demographic, I investigated what other vendors are carrying to notice that they are fictional driven and very rarely do you see any non-fiction on the tables. I have immediately deciphered that substance is something that is needed and this provides an opening for me. (Sidebar: You can’t execute an attack without watching the board). Based on my conversations with consumers I found that their expectations were very low for what content they are seeking out which also baffled me. What has become the general consensus is that people are just not willing to exercise or broaden their perspectives to anything that they deem different or fresh. The mere mention of the word substance is like mentioning the word submissive to a woman these days. Some of my encounters have gone like this……..“Is this a HOOD Book?”, “What’s this S*** about?”, “Is this about the street life?”...... So I definitely have my work cut out for me.
THE ATTITUDE…… I have consistently come across so many angry and frustrated people that are not even approachable. Attempting to be cordial with someone that is rude and obnoxious is just not a good mix. It can be very easy to be brought out of your character if you allow it to get to you. I have a chapter in the book titled “Black on Black Grime” and I have seen my own words continuously play out right in front of me. I’ve had some very supportive and positive people say to me with so much conviction that it’s troubling how my own kind are not instantly supporting something that has so much to offer to us all. It’s definitely a sad reality and challenge that we must work on correcting. We are less inclined to come behind the things that can actually promote our forward movement as opposed to those things that constantly set us back. We have so much to repair inside our mindsets that spills right into our attitudes that it will require a mass collective of HARMONY. I tell them all that I will continue to do my part and keep pushing for better.
As I continue to push to Let it be Known I take each day as it is granted knowing that I represent a large portion of the solution and for each book sold it’s a step toward that difference. No vision can surmount to higher heights without the support of others. If you believe in substance and want something different, you have to get behind what is a representation of that source—don’t talk about it, be about it.