I keep saying that I am going to update this blog more frequently, but I just can’t seem to find the time. It’s been six months since the last time I wrote a blog post and boy and have I been busy. I’ve been writing two books- Licked Into Submission and Hoop Dreams Deflated. I also started writing the screen play to A Thug’s Redemption and I must say, it is turning out to be much better than the actual book. That’s always been my thing about turning books into movies; it should either be like the book, or BETTER than the book. Movies like Cujo, the original It, (can’t wait to see what they do with this remake) and others disappointed immensely. They didn’t do the book justice and I don’t want to disappoint my readers. One of the reviews that I got a few times about A Thug’s Redemption is that Jamal wasn’t a “thug”. (Tell that to White America…) But by “hood standards”, Jamal was not a thug. And they were absolutely correct. Jamal wasn’t a thug. Maybe a little rough around the edges, but he was never meant to be a thug. It’s just unfortunately because of some of the things he had gotten into, he was perceived and pre-judged with many seeing him as a thug. But in this screen-play, wooo, y’all about to see a side to Jamal that I don’t think y’all are ready for. I made him much more ruthless and “thuggish”. I also changed a couple of things and there’s a major plot twist. So get ready. Now does that mean A Thug’s Redemption is going to get a re-write…? Hmmm… the idea has merit…
In other news, I have signed my first author to Anitbeet Productions. Woo hoo! I am so excited for this author. His penmanship, style and way with words is not only charismatic, but artistic. He paints a vivid picture with his words that brings his story to live and gives you a taste of “the game” raw and uncut. Hood Boy: I Am What I Am by LeRoy Payton is the first of a trilogy telling the story of a young man Javon aka Slim who has a strong desire for freedom and independence, a desire that was brought on by being locked down by his father due to his behavioral problems. He gets a taste of that freedom and independence after being introduced to the street life of hustling and reaping the financial rewards that he technically does not need, but wants all the same. The seduction of the drug game pulls him in deeply and he soon faces what most street niggas face in the game: deceit, hate and threats to his street credibility that he’s worked hard to establish. Like many others, peace is sought outside of the hectic street lifestyle, but with that comes the strong possibility of it being compromised and even destroyed. Author LeRoy Payton definitely has done a great job with putting this book and series together. The ending is sure to leave you craving for the second installment in this amazing book series. So stay tuned! Hood Boy: I Am What I Am will be dropping July 27th 2017 which also happens to be his 37th birthday. I’m teaching myself how to use InDesign so I can design better and more high quality book covers. I am also looking to give Anitbeet Productions website a makeover. Starting in September, I will be taking submissions for urban fiction, erotica, Christian Fiction, thrillers, and more. I am excited to be taking Anitbeet Productions to another level! Lastly, I will be in Harlem, NY for the Harlem Book Festival. I will have all of my books with me with the exception of Terrors from Beyond since that is only in ebook format. Not only will readers be able to get signed copies of my paperback novels as well as Hard Cover copies of Love’s Deadly Masquerade, but I will also have my paypal debit card swipe device to accept credit and debit card transactions and you will be able to purchase ebooks from me as well. I will also be doing book bundle deals and giveaways with purchases to show my support to my readers. I have not been to the Harlem Book Festival since 2013 and I am super excited to be going back! So readers in New York, be sure to come check me out!!! That’s all of the updates that I have for now! I’m super excited for what this summer is going to bring! Until next time folks! And I promise it won’t be another six months before I post again. LOL!
What is happening to urban fiction? That seems to be a question that I am coming across a lot on Facebook. A question was posted the other day asking what people are tired of seeing in urban fiction and quite a few things came up that I’ve been saying since I first came on the scene.
The same story-lines again and again by different authors
Authors using the same models for their covers
Hip-Hop and R&B song titles/lyrics as Book Titles
Just to name a few. And those were answers that were coming up more than once. Let’s address these issues.
When I first came out with A Thug’s Redemption, I ordered 50 paperback copies. How embarrassed was I when I was reading it after having sold damn near all 50 copies as well as a few that was given away for reviews and promotional reasons not to mention the hundreds that were sold on Kindle, only to see that I had given the wrong PDF file to the printing company I was using which had MAD errors in it. Oh nigga I almost died. I wanted to crawl under a rock and DIE! I corrected that shit real quick and apologized to my readers for the mistake. I will admit that I was so excited to get my work in print that I confused one file with another. (AThugsRedemption1 was sent instead of AThugsRedemption1a) With my books after that, I scan through them with a fine tooth comb and have a back-up set of eyes (beta reader) to check for what I may have missed. So far so good. But man, I’ve read books where the author used hear instead of here (how sway???) didn’t know when to properly use there, their and they’re (how sway???) had two different names for one character and I don’t mean on some the character had multiple personalities and those were their names, just a complete rookie move on their part. Indie Authors are too busy trying to put out a large quantity of work instead of making sure they are putting out QUALITY work and it’s not a good look.
Same ass tired story lines! Example-
Hood chick snags big time drug dealer for boyfriend and lives the glamorous life until he is tragically killed.
Kingpin of whatever city is betrayed by his workers and doesn’t know who to trust
Project Chick is abused by her mom and meets prominent drug dealer who rescues her. She falls in love only to find out he has another family
Chick is molested by father, uncle, whoever and grows up to be a stripper with low self esteem sleeping with any man who pays her a compliment
Chick takes over drug business for slain or incarcerated drug dealing boyfriend
I’ma just stop right there. How many times are the same damn stories going to be told? Why are the same damn stories being told? Where is the originality? Where is the thought and effort in putting together a well thought out plot for an engaging story? Where, damn it? Where?
Authors using the same model for their covers
Whooo this one right here is grinding my gears and is the reason why here on out I’m using my own models or no models at all. When I first did the cover for A Thug’s Redemption back in April 2012, I specifically wanted a black guy in a hoody. When I came across the young man I’m using, I scanned the urban fiction section of Amazon Kindle to make sure nobody was using him AND THEY WEREN’T. Now all of a sudden I’m seeing his ass on so many different covers its a damn shame. And the only reason why I haven’t stopped using him is because number one, I used him first FOH with the rest of those covers and for two he fits my character Jamal to the letter.
Here are all of the covers that I have him on and he will be on the next cover as well.
These are all of the covers that I’ve been using him on since April 2012 when I first began prepping to release A Thug’s Redemption. Now his fine ass is everywhere. Ya’ll gotta fucking chill! Let me be GREAT!! Maybe I should find him and pay for custom photos that only I have the rights to use…
There is also a light-skinned chick with curly hair that is overly used in urban fiction. I’ve seen that chick on so many covers it makes me not want to read the book because my take on it is, do your research first! If you see another author using a person on more than one of their book covers, (whispers) use another person. It’s really that simple.
Man I’m not even going to get into that again. Go back a couple of blog posts and you’ll see my take on that. We’re getting raped. Period.
Hip-Hop and R&B song titles/Lyrics as book titles.
This is just lack of creativity and originality, period. If I can look at your book title and start rapping or singing a song, you’re dead wrong. I don’t know about some of these other authors, but I don’t want to be remembered as the writer who was too corny to come up with her own shit so she combed through the latest hot songs and used the titles or lyrics as the title of her book. Before I pick a title, I Google it to see if there are any other books with the title I have in mind or songs. If there are, I scrap it and go back to the drawing board. I had to change the title for Love’s Deadly Masquerade four times before I finally came up with Love’s Deadly Masquerade and honestly it fits better than the other titles I was thinking of. I’m at the start of a legal battle right now because I have to trademark A Thug’s Redemption since some chick decided to use that as her book title too. Oh hell no the fuck you will NOT! I changed that book title 3 or 4 times as well nine years ago when I first went with Publish America and was originally going to use A Thug’s Life but that was too Tupac-ish and I believe there was either a song or another book with that title. Any author who strives to be creative and original with their work would take offense with that fuckery as I did. I’ll update y’all soon on how this turns out because I do not like the idea of my books being confused or associated with hers especially after seeing some of home girl’s reviews. Not only did she STEAL my title but she had the nerve to use the same guy I used on her cover. Dick eating shit. This is what I mean when I say do your fucking homework because had she done so, a simple Google search would have shown her that my shit was EVERYWHERE. Who knows, maybe she did and just didn’t give a fuck. Well, she’s about to learn the hard way. I can’t get her for copyright infringement because titles aren’t protected under copyright law. But because my book was a series before her book came out and I also have merchandise and am working on the film for the book, A Thug’s Redemption will be trademarked and she can either take that shit down and change the title, or get ready to pay up.
Back to the matter at hand though…
There are still so many things wrong with urban fiction that is keeping it from being the well respected genre for African Americans. Urban Fiction is losing its flare because too many hacks (yeah I said it) are jumping into this field with poorly written novels. Blatant grammatical errors, authors being unoriginal with their titles, STEALING titles from other authors, hip-hop and R&B song titles and lyrics, and telling the same damn story again and again. It doesn’t take much to be original, to think outside the box, and to tell a story that has not been told before instead of remixing story lines and rehashing the same shit that was written time and time again. How many different ways can you tell the same story about a poor black girl who falls in love with the notorious dope boy only for him to be killed? We are so much more than strippers, dope boys, trap kings, and trap queens. There’s a beauty to our culture that is being left untouched because too many “writers” are putting out bulllshit because it sells. The beauty of our culture is being overlooked by the ratchet shit. Sadly, urban fiction is becoming stale like today’s hip-hop and R&B because not enough writers are being original, they are just hopping on the bandwagon for what’s selling at the time being. The mistake that too many writers are making is thinking that urban fiction is only about drugs, sex, money, designer clothes, bags and shoes and crime. Think outside the box for a change! There are readers out here who won’t touch an urban fiction book because they are worried it’s going to be the same shit, different toilet. We’ve gotta do better or soon White people are going to take this shit over too.
I don’t give a damn how many authors love Kindle Unlimited, how many authors who swear by it, that shit is a rip-off. How the hell do you pay somebody a half of a cent per page? I can’t hold half of a cent in my damn hands, are you shitting me? Brace yourselves, as you can see this post is about to get so ugly.
I wrote a blog post about this before back in March about Kindle Unlimited when I really began researching it after putting my books back in Kindle Unlimited in January but not at all happy with the pay out for the number of pages being read. At the time I had four books out and for January I had over 25k pages read. (Not bad considering I put the books in KU in mid January.) Since Amazon only paid $0.0047/page read that amounted to a whopping $117.50 (thank the lord for the paperbacks I sold on my website and the ebooks that I sold on directly on Amazon outside of KU)
Since Prince died, the main thing I kept hearing about him was he was adamant about ownership- own your own business, own the rights to your music, your work etc, whatever it is, just make sure you OWN IT! Prince had his music wiped from damn near every music streaming site and I don’t too much blame him because it takes away from the artists’ pockets and we have to eat too! So I took a page from his book after analyzing some things. Amazon takes 30% of our royalties for ebooks sold through kindle as long as it is $2.99-$9.99. Anything under $2.99 or over $9.99 they take 65% and you, the author, only get 35% which makes absolutely no sense to me. Many authors like myself put blood sweat and tears into our work, writing the book, editing the book, formatting the book, designing the cover, marketing the book, promoting the book yet many are getting a lower cut since $0.99 ebooks seem to be the new wave to appease cheap readers. (I’ma get to that shit in a minute) That’s like going to a job and doing 95% of the work yet when it’s time to get paid, your boss gets 95% of the pay and tosses the scraps to you. Huh? Hell naw!
I’m hearing that a lot of authors are jumping ship from KU and I don’t blame them, in fact… I’m diving overboard right along with them because this is madness. It’s ludicrous to think it’s okay to pay an author $0.0047/page read. Two things wrong with that is again, I can’t hold $0.0047 in my hand and I don’t sell pages. I sell books. So if a reader downloads my book, I should be paid for it. When an mp3 is downloaded, the artist isn’t paid based off of how many minutes of the mp3 is listened to. When an album is downloaded off of amazon, the artist isn’t paid based off of how many songs are listened to. They are paid for the song downloaded and they are paid for the album downloaded. Pay me for my book when it’s downloaded.
If anything, Kindle Unlimited is more beneficial to readers and not authors. Yes it is an all you can eat buffet for readers who want a huge library without breaking their pockets but over-all it does nothing for many authors and I’m reading that more and more on different blogs in the comment sections. How dare Amazon require that we make our books exclusive to their site but then pay us pennies for our hard work? Oh I’m sorry, half of pennies!
People/companies/corporations can only treat you the way you allow them to treat you. Authors need to demand more and demand to be paid for our work because without many of our awesome books, KDP would not flourish as it does. We have to stop being afraid to stand outside of the box and work harder. For the writers who put out great books, our work will speak for itself and the payoff will come. For the hacks who hide their not so good work behind pretty covers and cheap prices, well eventually the jig will be up and either you’ll get it together or fade to black. The choice is yours. I don’t see myself being on KU or KDP by the end of the year. I know my worth. Do any of you know yours?
Hello everyone and thank you for visiting my blog. I’m still not over Prince checking out on us but with life comes death and we all gotta go some time. I just wish God had done the sensible thing like get George Zimmerman and Donald Trump the fuck outta here and let Prince continue to contribute great music style and history to our culture. But as the saying goes, if wishes were pigs…
You know, being the author of urban fiction books and African American erotica as well can be exciting but exhausting all at the same time, especially for self-published authors. While it is fun to have the final say over cover designs, release dates and the price of paperbacks and ebooks, it is EXHAUSTING! I’m positive I put in 20 hour days. But what is more exhausting is dealing with people who do not respect my craft! Why is it strangers show more support than a lot of family and friends? Why is it that I can play a game of Ruzzle with someone thousands of miles away and mention my books to them and they run out and buy them but family sitting right here along with so called friends expect to get a book FOR FREE! Da Fck?? So you can spend money on weave, cases of beer, alcohol, and the latest whatever but you can’t fork over $15 to support your daughter/sister/cousin/home-girl etc?
While I see nothing wrong with free urban fiction books as that is a tool used to gain more readers and reviews on sites such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads and others, an author, a self-published author at that, cannot afford to give out numerous free copies of his/her book to friends and family. We still gotta eat! Do folks realize how much it costs to print copies of these books? It’s not cheap! Do folks realize how much it costs to market and promote our work outside of social media? It’s not cheap! At the end of the day, if it don’t make dollars, then it don’t make sense. I’m not talking about the people who have bought books in the past and are hoping for a gifted copy. I’m talking about people who expect a free copy every single time a book drops on the strength that “we grew up together” or “that’s my blood”. Yeah, but will that pay my bills or for these next batch of books that have to be ordered? You know you can’t roll up in Hibachi’s or Outback Steakhouse and say “Hey, the manager is my bff from back in elementary school, let me get a t-bone and some mashed potatoes on the house.” It’s not going to happen. So, put some respeck on my craft and genuinely show support. Otherwise, wait until I am doing a giveaway and hope that you are selected. If not, pay like you would pay the next man/woman for their services.
Alright, rant over! LOL
So! Readers are LOVING A Thug’s Life Revisited! That is always good to hear. For those of you who are new to my blog, A Thug’s Life Revisited is my newest novel that I wrote in NINE DAYS! It is a spin-off to the Amazon Best Selling Urban Fiction Book series A Thug’s Redemption and it starts off with drama, suspense and thrills and doesn’t slow down not even in the end. Everybody is loving that book and just about everyone who has gotten that book so far has read it in one day! They couldn’t put it down. Every page that was turned had readers on the edge of their seats! It’s amazing how my readers have become so attached to Jamal, D-Ball and Andre. They love those characters as though they are related to them or are the best of friends with them. LOL! So I thank you for your support.
Now I know many of you are Kindle Unlimited subscribers and I don’t knock you for that. For readers it is a dope program. But for me, I ask that if you are going to purchase any of my books in ebook format to please purchase from my website at www.theauthoryani.com/ebooks.html. In the near future, I am going to be implementing a big change in the manner in which my books are distributed and I will post a blog entry explaining why I have chosen this route. While Prince’s death was devastating, I’ve learned something from the way he conducted business and I think it is time that I step away from what most of the other self-published authors are doing and focus on doing something more unique.
Intrigued? Well you should be! Stay tuned as there will be more to come!
African American Literature, Urban Fiction, Street Lit, Thug Fiction, Erotica, Quality Novels, Reviews, Trendy Topics