Category Archives: Straight

Writing is an Outlet

I’m very pleased, to have had the opportunity, to interview the remarkable Ms. Rocky Rose. I’ve learned that we share something extraordinary, in that, we are both raising physically challenged young children. Every time I talk to her, I am renewed, as I feel her passion for writing and children.

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Author Rocky Rose, born and raised in New Haven, CT. is the third of four children. Her parents are both ministers. Rocky’s love of writing began with her love of reading; the two going hand-in-hand. Rocky, first, thought about pursuing writing as a career, after being given a short story assignmement, by an English teacher, during her sophomore year of high school. After he read it he told her she had a great talent, but soon after that writing became a distant memory for her.

In, 2010, Rocky met Karen E. Quinones Miller. After talking to Karen, for about two hours, Rocky, then, decided to take the necessary steps to pursue a writing career. So, after attending seminars, by Karen, and other well-known authors, Rocky, started putting the pen to paper. In ,2012, Rocky’s, first work was published. I Win You Lose, was a co-authored compilation of six short stories, dealing with issues of domestic violence. In, 2013, Rocky, released her debut solo novel, My Man My Abuser, a tale loosely based on a relationship she was in, for three years, where she was physically abused. Rocky is currently working on, Stirred & Shaken, and, Bruised Never Broken,which are the two novels that come after My Man My Abuser. Rocky resides in Connecticut with her son and daughter.

Sheri: Tell me a little about yourself and your literary background?

Rocky: My love for reading and writing, I would have to attribute to my mother and my sophomore high school teacher. Every summer when school let out, I was required to read a certain amount of books and do book reports which I had to turn in to my mother. It got to the point where I would literally read a book a day, I loved it. As far as writing goes, it really all started, my sophomore year in high school, when my English teacher made us all write a short story. Needless to say, my story was one of his favorites, even with my very racy sex scenes.

Sheri: What are your goals for your writing career?

Rocky: My ultimate goal is to be a full-time, self-employed author, in the very near future. Writing is a gift God gave me and I want to use it to my full potential. I also want to be a motivational speaker; I want to be able to speak to people about my trials and tribulations, and how I have overcome them.

Sheri: What have you written?

Rocky: I have written countless short stories that have yet to be released. I have a compilation book out titled I Win You Lose, which was released in ,2012, and my solo novel, My Man My Abuser, which was released in 2013.

Sheri: What are you working on now?

Rocky: I’m currently working on a few different projects, namely Stirred & Shaken and Bruised Never Broken, which are the two novels that follow My Man My Abuser, both are set to be released early 2015. I’m also combining some of my short stories into a compilation novel, but no set date for it to be released.

Sheri: Why do you write?

Rocky: Writing started out as an outlet for me, because I never really had the type of relationship, with my parents, where I could go to them and talk to them about different things. Instead of talking to people about my problems or what I was going through, I wrote my feelings out. Then, after doing the short story assignment, my sophomore year in high school, I became hooked on writing and I haven’t put the pen down since.

Sheri: What was/is the hardest thing about writing your newest book?

Rocky: The hardest thing about writing these next two books, is rehashing the memories that I’ve been trying to block for the past six years or so. Writing these books has me reliving all of the hurt, pain and sorrow I endured.

Sheri: How do you deal with writer’s block?

Rocky: I don’t get writer’s block, I listen to music when I write, which helps me with the flow of my story.

Sheri: Shout out your editor! Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?Rocky: I have worked with two different editors, Allyson Deese and Tiffany from Tiff’s Editing Café. Allyson and I had been in talks around the time I completed I Win You Lose . She mentioned the fact that she does editing, so I went with her. For my novel, My Man My Abuser, Tiffany came highly recommended by, the brother, Treasure Blue. When someone of Treasure Blue’s status recommends you, you must be good. I am also currently working with Editor Carla Dean for another project of mine.

Sheri: Shout out your graphic designer! Who designed your book cover/s?

Rocky: I have worked with three different graphic designers, Brittani Williams, Allyson Deese and Gregory Goodwin. With all three of them, I simply told them my vision, gave them an overview of the book and allowed them to take it from there. Not one of them has disappointed.

Sheri: How do you work out being a mom and an author?

Rocky: Being a mother is my first and most important job. If I didn’t have my daughter, I, honestly, don’t think I would have a career as an author. After having her, I vowed to do any and everything I needed, to ensure she had all that she would ever want or need.

Sheri: It takes a lot to raise a disabled child. How much time do you put into writing, marketing and perfecting your craft?

Rocky: I don’t like referring to my daughter as being disabled, it just seems so negative to me. But, raising her and maintaining my career isn’t really all that hard, I think the toughest part is traveling to different writing functions and having to find a sitter or having to have someone come with me to watch her, while I attend literary events. My aunt and my sister are my biggest helpers; they watch her when I need to attend literary functions out of state. My daughter is pretty independent. Even though she is not yet walking, over the years, she has learned ways to maneuver and get around. To be 5, she’s very smart. I try to write everyday so I don’t lose my flow. For now, I am only marketing via social media, radio interviews with Blog Talk and local radio stations.

Sheri: What are your thoughts on reviews?

Rocky: I like reviews. Reviews help me to know what my readers like and dislike, so I’ll know for the next book, what I need to fine tune and work on. I respect my readers opinions, feedback and constructive criticism is great.

Sheri: In what formats are your books available? Rocky: My books are available in paperback and eBooks

Sheri: How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Rocky: I can be found on Facebook as Rocky Rose, on Instagram as authorrockyrose and Twitter @naughtyrocky85.

MMMA

Available Now on Kindle 

Sheri Henry-Harrigan started writing at the age of twelve as an outlet for depression. In March 2012 her first project Tales of the Broken Hearted was published. Since then she has penned several titles. She started writing strictly urban fiction. Her most recent work, The Imperfect Love Series is more geared toward the romance genre. As she continues on with her writing career, she plans to move into the crime fiction and thriller genres. Besides writing she is pursing her other passion of becoming a lawyer. Sheri lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.

Self Publishing vs. Publishing

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To sign or not to sign, that is the question. Everyone seems to have an opinion  about this, nowadays, yet, no-one’s truly addressing the real questions. It’s  easy, from an egotistical standpoint: why split my money with someone else  when I can keep it all for myself?.  And, this is especially true, when it takes  only a couple hundred bucks to go from manuscript to ebook, then, pay a  small bit for promotions, with the over-all intent that successful ebook sells  will lead to a (paperback) book printing budget, at which point you’ll sell  hand-to-hand, build a buzz, then formulate a “take over” while paying  relatively no start-up costs, overhead, office expenses or taxes. Verily,  verily, verily, life is but…
Not to say that dreams don’t come true, or that hard work and effort don’t pay off. I’m only saying that there’s a point where dreams and reality must confront each other or else it’s just a fantasy. And, many of us are living in a fantasy world; one step never quite leading to the next. Perpetually trapped at a stand-still, with nothing more than an ebook link and cover graphic to show for it.
While I am personally signed to Dc Bookdiva Publications and Ben Official Books, it is in no way my intentions, here, to advocate one way or the other, but, simply to offer an open and honest understanding of both options, and what the overall choices entail. It seems kinda dry, to hear people shout about do this or do that, without rightly explaining the overall challenges or taking an author’s, most times limited, budget and reserved introvertedness, into account.
Writing is a lonely job. Most writers are loners but a writer’s success is not measured by the greatness of his/her writing. For, just as the most intelligent kid isn’t always the most popular or successful, there’s a-whole-nother something which must be taken into account. Some might call it the “it factor” but, more specifically: writing a book and making it a bestseller are entirely two different things, for, you see, selling is an extrovert’s job. It’s that stand in front of a crowd “Hey you. Over here!” Approach that gets some noticed, while others are simply ignored. Now, to look at the points of money and distribution.
  The cost to create and launch an ebook is relatively nothing at all. Especially where so many simply skip the editing process, go with the most basic/inexpensive cover, pay a little bit for social media marketing and then spread the word to their family and friends. Printing/publishing and selling a paperback, however, is a-whole-nother thing, with a slew of other costs, especially if it is to be done right. These costs include, though are not limited to, the costs of bar codes, ISBNs, book printing, print advertisements, book shipping, packaging, storage, accounting, business/corp. start-up, opening business bank accounts, office services/record keeping etc. Not to mention the countless hours needed to network and develop meaningful

distribution channels. These costs and distribution networks are where a publisher’s meaningfulness is found.
Ebook publishers are everywhere. Everyone and their monkey can get signed to an ebook deal. If you’ve got a book, an ebook publisher will take you on, do a quick test read (call it an edit), split the book into 3 to 4 parts (.99, 1.99, 3.99) slap a cover on it and let’s go!  You’ll see your ebook posted and links floating within 30 to 60 days, for 33 to 50% of the profits. What do you gain? The chance to be a part of a large team (usually 15-30 or more authors) who all come in with their own family, friends and legions of followers. These team members will repost your links and yell salute, Salute, SALUTE!  And, you won’t have to worry about the little start-up costs either. So, it’s a pretty hassle-free, fun and exciting trip.  However, though ebook publishers seem to do okay over time, based on their shear ability to continuously crowd the market with new material and new authors almost every other week, the same can not be said for the ebook author who quickly comes, then, goes, relegated to go sit in a corner, write a part 2, 3, 4 and yell SALUTE, SALUTE, SALUTE for their next team member in rotation. At least, I don’t personally know of any such ebook author who’s managed to quit their day job and live off of the profits. For this crowd, writing is not a career, but, merely an after work hobby that gets them a bit of spare change and gives them a cool group to hang out with on line.
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 The paperback publisher, dare I say, is a-whole-nother animal entirely. It’s not just  about who can cover the print costs or who has the largest following on Facebook or  Twitter. A paperback publisher must be more selective, for, they must be willing to  go out there on the limb and risk their money and their name on your product. Look  at it this way, if a book flops the author can shrug and move on, but, all of the books which don’t sell, the publisher  gets stuck with while also tarnishing their brand, image and trust in the eyes of the  book sellers in their distribution network. Thus, they are not so quick to skimp on  costs such as cover designs or editing, as they intrinsically understand that what sells  on Facebook is NOT necessarily what sells in stores.  And, that there’ll be no team of  people standing by to yell salute this or hashtag that to encourage the purchase.  Unlike the .99 ebook craze, which is more like handing a friend or a panhandler a dollar, for a book they’ll probably never read, paperback buyers are a lot more picky and determined to find a good book. They are spending top dollar and they demand to get their moneys worth.

So, in a nut shell, it depends on how far you want to go, how big a network you have, what type of product you’re bringing and what kind of distribution you have available to you. To sign or not to sign?  Ebooks or paperbacks?  Remember (all costs considered) 10% of 5000 paperback copies sold, adds up to a lot more than 1000 ebooks, or even 1000 paperbacks sold on your own (minus all print, shipping, returns and other costs) and, then, there are those who simply don’t have the time to properly build and push a brand/book as a business or those who are trapped in a cage, or otherwise restricted. In those cases, getting signed is a dream come true. There’s a lot to consider, but, in the end, it’s all about what works for you. However, if you do choose to get signed, be sure to look for someone you can trust and someone with the distribution network to get your book on shelves and not just have you yelling BUY MY BOOK on Facebook.
Trust me, it happens.

Wesley “Godfather” Hunter

“GODFATHER” Hunter is an incarcerated author from Los Angeles, Ca. He has  written several books covering a variety of genres, to include self-help/how-to/advisory, autobiography, poetry, urban romance, erotica and street lit. Godfather has even taught urban lit during his many years of incarceration. He makes an added effort to lace his writings with history, social-political consciousness and other such pearls of wisdom while penning  in a style which many have compared to the likes of James Patterson, John Grisham and Michhael Connelly.

Quick Tip: GET RIGHT TO THE ACTION/DIALOGUE

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Remember, the narrative is the authors voice and you should try to be invisible because you, rightly, have no voice. So, get to the dialogue and give it to the characters. I like to use the Grey’s Anatomy example: notice, when the show starts, the scene is set with a brief narrative and ,then, it’s right to the action.

[EXAMPLE]

Martha never could stand Patrice and, when given the chance, she made good on the hatred she felt in her heart, in a way poor Patrice, of course, never could’ve imagined. After all, it had been years, but, then, how does it go? Oh, yeah: revenge is best served cold.

 “Oh, hi,” Martha exaggerated as she spoke, “I haven’t seen you in ages.”

 “Martha, is that you?” Patrice turned, leaned forward and kissed the shorter, chubby, girl on the cheek. “It has been ages, hasn’t it?”

 “Yes it has. Yes it has.” She smiled with just the faintest hint of a sneer. Not that Patrice noticed. “But, it seems like just yesterday doesn’t it?”

“Well, maybe for some,” Patrice kinda smirked as she shook her head, “for me, it was so long ago, it seems like a-whole-nother life time.”

“Oh, does it?” She was trying not to raise a brow and hoped Patrice wasn’t the wisest. “Oh, wow. Well, time is the great equalizer isn’t it?”

“Excuse me?” Patrice had an eyebrow raised now.

“Oh, nothing’,” Martha hurriedly said, “just something I’ve heard somewhere.” She waved it off. “So, how is Jordy?”

“You mean Jordan?” She corrected with a drip of venom. “Jordan is fine.”

“Oh, good. Be sure and tell him, I said hello.” And with that, Martha made her exit.

The Wild Wild West

Written by: Wesley “Godfather” Hunter

 

 The West is the new frontier. Hip Hop lit has taken a course quite similar to that of hip hop music in the 1980’s and 90’s. While the South has been a strong participant, like rap music in the 1980’s, urban lit first saw its real market on the streets of the Eastern shore. Where writers such as Teri Woods, Vickie Stringer, Relentless Aaron and others literally took to the streets on a hand-to-hand sales campaign and kicked the doors open to help create and, for the most part, define an entire industry. All the while, the West has been all but silent, with no big names in the game to truly speak of.

Not to be ignored, the West Coast has produced such authors as Stanley “Tookie” Williams (Crips co -founder and author of BLUE RAGE BLACK REDEMPTION), Sanyika Shakur aka Monster Kody (author of MONSTER and several others), Cupcake Brown (A PIECE OF CAKE), Colton Simpson (INSIDE THE CRIPS), Cynthia Miller(IN RARE FORM), Terrell “Loko” Wright (HOME OF THE BODY BAGS), Frederick Staves (GANGSTA: SOME TALK IT, I LIVE IT), myself (TRANSITIONS IN THE HOOD) and even Freeway Rick, among others. However, it is importantly noted, that the above are all autobiographical accounts. Aside from myself, there were literally NO urban fiction writers in the game. Until recently, that is.

First, there were authors such as Biz E. Bee (BE LIKE THAT SOMETIMES), Nyerere Jase (THE END RESULTS OF A SNITCH) and my own lesser-known Print on Demand (POD) items published through an online company called Infinity Publishing [that’s a-whole-nother article] and then came along a young fiery up-start by the name of Terry L. Wroten.

Though Terry was in California’s New Folsom maximum security prison, at the time, Terry was young (23 I believe), handsome, well-built, knowledgeable about the industry, fresh off of the streets (about to return to them) and, quite importantly, Terry stayed on top of his game, and while networking on social-media sites such as Myspace and Facebook. Terry met Kwan as well as several other authors, he kept up with the trends and was eventually signed to Kwan’s own Black Dawn Inc., just two weeks before going home. Terry subsequently went on to release TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. and several other urban novels, officially becoming (TLW) The Leader of the West, in that he was the first, true young street cat signed to/with a known/established urban writer/publishing company, and several others, including Nyerere Jase (G Street Chronicles) and myself (DcBookdiva Publications and Ben Official Books) have gone on to follow.

The West is now wide awake. Sitting in prison since 1989 writing and begging for any and everyone to give me a chance, many inmates would ask why I wasn’t signed, all the while, I was continuously being overlooked, and ignored, until it truly began to create a hopeless depressing feeling, as I watched so many lesser talents just hop on and pass me by, all because they had the resources or could simply get out and about, while I remained trapped with an energy bordering on combusting. I threw money at the problem, made [many costly mistakes] and still I couldn’t find my way. Yet, I continued to write and believe I’d one day have my day. I amassed an arsenal and, finally, the playing was leveled. Ebooks came, the industry imploded and publishers were everywhere actively scouting talent, willing to take on new challenges and consider new approaches but, I’m one of the lucky ones, for, there are still many trapped souls just waiting their turn. But, this is a West Coast tale so let’s get to it.

With the Facebook/Ebook thing so easy and accessible, all of those young West Coast urban authors finally had somewhere to turn to get on, or, more appropriately, they no longer had a need to wait in line or hope to be discovered by some non-existent West Coast brand. Instead of waiting, they began putting themselves on. And, this is how the West was won.

Our stories, our streets, our slang, our gangs, our troubles, our world. Just as hip hop showed with “Gangsta Rap”, the West simply has a style of its own. A different structure (or lack thereof) and an all out sense of lawlessness that only those of us from the West can rightly capture.

l look now and I see upwards of 60 young West Coast authors doing their thing and though only Nyerere Jase, JDee Cooper [of Da Lynch Mob] (Ghettoheat Publishing), Chanel Jones (Peach Dollhouse/SBR) and I (as far as I know) presently remain signed to already established non-West Coast brands, many are self-published and/or building their own brands. There’s a storm on the horizon y’all. We’re quaking, on the West, with that chronic. We’re coming and we’re coming hard, and, just like we did with the rap industry, in the 90’s, we intend to make our mark. So, when you hear that rumbling and you don’t know what to do, stop and salute.

Welcome to the Wild Wild West. 

Meet West Coast pioneer Nyerere Jase. Nyerere came hard, with nothing but a book and a dream. He had no one to guide him or direct him, but, he gave his all to the cause, hitting the block, dumping one book at a time, learning as he went. Til, finally, becoming frustrated and losing focus. In December 2013, Nyerere signed on with G-Street Chronicles, and, when asked why, he humbly stated, quite simply: “I needed help, I needed a family to support me and I felt that G-Street was that fit”. After this interview, Nyerere went on to turn himself in to begin serving a 10 year bid. So, let’s stand up you guys, let’s help this brother who’s done all he could to help himself. He’s going to be in prison for a while, and, every little bit we can share will count something MAJOR. Will you do your part? Stand up and show out! Now meet the man himself.

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Godfather: How long have you been writing?

Nyerere: I have been a writer for 10 years.

Godfather: What made you start writing?

Nyerere:  My final years in prison. I became board and wrote as an escape.

Godfather:I noticed that you started off self-published. What made you first go that route?

Nyerere: The challenge. The millions I thought I would make.

Godfather: Did you invest a lot, in the beginning?

Nyerere: It costs me zero dollars to publish my first book Gangsta Jake: The End Result of a Snitch, which I revamped to She Did It for A Gangsta for marketing purposes.

Godfather: Many say it’s best to self-publish. What made you decide to sign?

Nyerere:  I signed for exposure and the fact that I’m on my way to prison. 

Godfather: Who did you sign with? When did you sign? How did it happen? How did you reach them?

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Nyerere: I was contacted By George Hudson Sherman Ceo of G Street Chronicle Via Facebook regarding a book deal. I ultimately Signed with George because I felt comfortable with every step of our negotiations. He and Shawna have a winning combination that has been proven to work; that was a key fact that made it easy for me to sign. I signed December 13,2013.

Godfather: Besides yourself, Terry L. Wroten, (originally signed with Black Dawn Inc.), JDee Cooper [of Da Lynch Mob] (Ghettoheat), Chanel Jones (SBR) and myself (currently signed with DCBookdiva Publications and Ben Official Books) are you aware of any other West Coast author picked up by an established urban publishing company?

 

Nyerere: I heard of Black Dawn Inc., but not the other company’s that you mentioned. Freeway Rick is signed, but most Authors from west coast are self published.

Godfather: How many books have you written?

 

Nyerere: Five books.

Godfather: Where can your books be found?

 

Nyerere: Amazon.com, Barnesandnobles.com and smashwords.com.

Godfather: What’s your opinion about the future of the West Coast book scene?

 

Nyerere: I feel the west coast market is basically untapped however do have great potential.We are in a uptrend, more and more authors are getting on board with the west coast movement , the Eastsiders and Rick  “Freeway” Ross both just dropped books.

Godfather:What do you see for the future of urban lit. As a whole?

 

Nyerere: The future of urban fiction  has a lot of potential for movies, plays, video games, etc.

Godfather:What advice would you give someone trying to get in the game?

For new authors, just know that your first book will more than likely not get you rich. Stay the course have a solid game plan and know that its going to cost you some of your personal money to get exposure.

Godfather:  You’ve had some recent legal troubles how much time you facing? What’s the charge?

Nyerere:  I am facing 30 to life under the California 3 strikes law for residential burglary.

Godfather:Final thoughts: what have you got in the oven? What should we expect? Anything else you might want to share?

Nyerere: Currently working on Jase publishing house , G Street Chronicles imprint. First author JPH will be releasing is Toure Jase his story is entitled “The Opposite of a Square”.

How can you be reached?

Nyerere: You can contact me at Facebook, Twitter, instagram and LinkedIn

 

GODFATHER” Hunter is an incarcerated author from Los Angeles, Ca. He has  written several books covering a variety of genres, to include self-help/how-to/advisory, autobiography, poetry, urban romance, erotica and street lit. Godfather has even taught urban lit during his many years of incarceration. He makes an added effort to lace his writings with history, social-political consciousness and other such pearls of wisdom while penning  in a style which many have compared to the likes of James Patterson, John Grisham and Michael Connelly.

 

Balance is Vital in the Process

Clean water is a goal for many Americans.

Written by Jannelle Moore

 

As authors and publishers, we revel in our late nights and early mornings. We pride ourselves on parking our asses in that chair with our eyes crammed in that computer, as we crank out thousands of words and multiple chapters a day. For the publishers out there, you cradle that phone or that tablet and strategize and network. You battle distributors to make sure your label is represented. You gloss over countless submissions, draw up contracts, and set the prices of books.

Pandora, drinks and junk food our chosen fuel, pushing us through to completion, as we charge towards that dead-line. We sacrifice sleep, decent food, and time away from our friends and family to get our creative statement, our latest vision out to the masses.

This way of life is the standard for us  in the literary world and while some of us  like to brag about creating and handling business under “extreme” conditions, I think that it’s imperative in our creative processes (and for the sake of our sanity and health) to take breaks in between. There’s no shame in slowing down to regain focus, when it starts to drift or when you are getting consumed with your project to the point where you are so tired that you can’t even walk outside to your patio without wanting to collapse. Without rest and some time away from the manuscript, you will lose focus. You’ll lose focus because your need for sleep, a break, and food will eventually trump your will to keep going and it will show. Your daily performance will fall off, making those sacrifices in vain.

Recently, I finished writing “Uppity”, which is my second full- length novel, after a three novella series, and my outlet was my p90x workout and a mid- book break of a week.  During my break, I caught up on rest, my friends and family.  My workouts gave me an outlet and for an hour a day, I didn’t think about “Uppity” or the fact that this was my first time writing in the first person. All I was focused on was the workout and the foundation of a lean, toned body. I know if it weren’t for those two things, I’d be a wreck and those habits would have caught up with me and knocked me on my ass.

To break it all down, what I’m trying to say is this: We are authors and publishers and we do work odd hours.  We sacrifice meals and sleep to get our voices out to the world to entertain and inspire. In our process, we shouldn’t forget who we are and our needs outside of the business.  I am far from the most balanced, but, it’s worth it to at least try to create some. It will be worth it for me, as an author and as a woman, to balance. And it will be worth it, for all of us in the industry to remember to take time for self and those around you, to unplug. Your bodies will thank you as well as your novels.

 

Reader vs. Editor

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by: Wesley “Godfather” Hunter

Test reader, Proof-reader, Editor. Verily, verily, verily, I say unto you, one is NOT equal to the next. So, please, let’s break this down, so that you are never confused or duped, like so many others before.

(1) TEST READER: A test reader is just a reader. Preferably a reader who has read quite a bit and is familiar with the type of story you have written. The test reader is most often a friend or a family member. What I like to call the “YES MAN” crowd. Thumbs up or thumbs down. They may not know much about structure, dialogue, POV or the literary rules at all.

For the Test Reader, I always advise that you try to find the most direct, straight forward and critical person you can (a “hater” if you will) someone who will be bold and point out the flaws or areas of needed improvements. After all, you don’t want to be like that one standing in line, all day and night, at American Idol, who goes on stage in front of the world and makes a fool of themselves, all because some yes man was too ashamed to tell them they couldn’t sing. A yes man is your biggest hater and your worst enemy, because the end result means you no good.

(2) EDITOR: Urban editors are a breed unto themselves, as many have no degree or training what-so-ever. Many simply do a spell check and add a few ideas (as a test reader would) and call themselves editors. Basically, getting paid hundreds of dollars to read the books they’d normally buy, and, incorporating learned bad habits picked up from other urban books they’ve read.

To be sure, despite all of the tips I share, etc. I am NOT an editor. But, I know a whole lot more than some of the ones who call themselves such, and, when I read their work, it angers me to think of the author who’s been duped; paying a discounted price for a wholesale job, which adds up t,o a piss-poor product. My advice? Before paying anyone any price, ask questions: Ask if they’ve ever studied or been educated as an editor? How long have they been editing? What editing manual do they use? Do they have any references? Have they ever read/studied the rules of writing or anything outside of the lawless urban genre, etc?  Then, take a moment to read a book they’ve edited. Also, ask for a 10 page sample. Any editor worth his/her salt should have no problem providing you that. Finally, if you read a book that rolls smooth for you, ask the author who their editor was.

(3) PROOF READER: A proof reader is a person who reads a piece with an eye for detail. They should have a trained eye for structure, rules, dialogue, pacing, POV and the rest of it. They are the final hurdle; the last door, who keeps you from heading out to make a fool of yourself. They are to check for how the story flows, the realness

of the dialogue, the smoothness and believability of the plot, catch any remaining errors in spelling and find whatever else they can, as the last set of eyes before the reveal.