Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.”
– Andy Warhol
In this world of instant gratification, the concept of making quality work is foreign. The time it takes to make true art is rushed, only to make a quick buck. The reception to this phenomenon varies depending on who you talk to. Casual readers only value a story that can temporarily help them escape from their lives. Avid readers, however, both enjoy and analyze the literary works that they decided to indulge in. They look at the writing style and character development. They read through plots with a fine tooth comb and try their best to look over tacky typos to prevent them from putting down the book altogether.
Although avid readers are tough critics, they become loyal fans if correctly catered to. The only way to captivate an avid reader is through the correct combination of business and art. Making sure the piece of literary work is visible to your perspective customer is important but why not aim to capture their attention and make them loyal fans of your brand? Why rush your respective art when you can craft it to perfection like a seasoned sculptor and get a fan for life?
Writing is a business. Let’s make this fact plain and clear! But putting together a product worth a customer spending their hard earned money on is the most important part of the business process. I had the chance to talk about this topic with author and journalist Jannelle Moore, among other things. Jannelle the author of Uppity, the explosive novel chronicling the life of feisty superstar journalist Kenya Blades as she manuvers her way around the sexism and bigotry of the print journalism industry. She has a wealth of knowledge about the fine line of art and business in writing that readers and authors alike would definitely benefit from hearing.
Randall: As an author, what genre does your work best fit in?
Jannelle Moore: The genre that my work best fit in is African American Women’s Fiction. I’m okay with that label for my work because it gives me a bit of autonomy in my writing. I’m not stuck in only romance, only street lit or erotica. I believe that the product of an author’s imagination shouldn’t be pigeonholed into one genre, especially if that’s not the author’s intended purpose.
Randall: How has writing changed your life?
Jannelle Moore: I must admit, I have a nasty habit of holding on to grudges. I hold on to them like a singer or rapper holds a microphone sometimes! Since I started writing creatively, it allowed me to purge those toxic feelings and to create something positive from negativity.
Randall: In your opinion, should literature from African-American authors or about black culture as a whole be separated from books made by authors of other races?
Jannelle Moore: Sadly, African-American books are indeed separated like you implied in the question. If you go to Barnes and Noble, Target and Wal-Mart, you will see a whole section of African-American books. In most stores around the country, that section is apart from the other books in some way. I think it’s problematic for retailers to segregate African-American authored books from works written by non-black authors. This shows me that the retailers lazily generalize us and our work. All of us aren’t writing in the same genre just like all of us don’t look alike. Retailers doing this is the equivalent of saying that we “look” or, in this case, “write” alike.
Randall: Has your previous work experience as a journalist helped you out in your other writings?
Jannelle Moore: It hasn’t. In my case, it’s the other way around. Being an author made me a stronger feature writer.
Randall: In your opinion, is there a place in the current black literary market for fiction that has an overt message and tackles real world issues?
Jannelle Moore: Absolutely! The response I received from my latest book “Uppity” is great example of that. This book tackles the struggles of being a double minority in the workplace. When I shared a few snippets of the story Facebook statuses earlier in 2014, I received not only likes but a few comments from my Facebook friends saying, “This has happened to me too”, “I can relate to this”, and “This sounds like me”. This book and others like it will create realistic dialogue about workplace discrimination as well as entertaining my readers.
Randall: What’s your take on the “black” book industry?
Jannelle Moore: I believe that the black book industry is as rich as it has ever been and we don’t even know it. I believe we have the potential to create our own version of the Harlem Renaissance but we have to consistently put out quality work. We have to stop feuding and start conducting ourselves like the talented writers that we are. You look at the Walter Moselys, the Terry McMillians, the Zanes and all of those mainstream African-American authors and you don’t see a lot of nonsense that we as indie authors face or indulge in. We all can be on the level of these authors but we have to put the work in and realize that success and money, more often than not doesn’t come overnight. We also have to realize that cranking out the same plots in different covers aren’t getting us anywhere but lumped together.
Randall: What upcoming projects do you have on the horizon?
Jannelle Moore: My second full-length novel Uppity is out now! You can get the eBook and paperback versions on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and dcbookdiva.com.
Randall: By the time this article is published, it will be read by many young people. What is your message to them?
Jannelle Moore: My message to them is to always be true to yourself. Don’t let anyone rob you of your ability to dream or deter you from your purpose. People will try to stop you but that’s all they can do if you’re determined!
You can find Jannelle on:
-We came, we saw, we conquered! My debut publishing effort “Riverview High: Circumstances” reached #2 on the Amazon charts! Check it out on Amazon today. Don’t forget to leave a review!
-“The Diary Of Aaliyah Anderson” is out now! Make sure to go get it!
Do you have any questions, comments or concerns? Was I right or wrong on this issue? I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at: