Write On Wednesday – My Date with Digital Publishing

“Lovers of print are simply confusing the plate for the food.”  ~ Douglas Adams.

By Tameka Mullins

I have lusted so long after print books. Way before I put pen to paper myself, I was smitten. As a child, I thought there must be magic in between the pages. I loved everything about books whether they were hard or soft. They fit perfectly in my hands. They even smelled good. Nothing beats that new out of the box book scent. Even when they have matured, books hold an essence that permeates the senses and creates an indescribable perfume of sorts. 

When I started writing, it began as a love affair with lyrics and lines. My poetry then evolved into college essays, articles for magazines, hard news copy, public relations releases and then dialogue. 

I had entered foreign territory. At first, I was hesitant. Could I really have enough words inside of me to write a book? I knew that I had read hundreds of them, so even if only by osmosis, I should too, be able to craft a book. 

A life situation unfolded and shortly after that, a story emerged. I decided to take it slow, though. I was intrigued, but didn’t want to rush into anything. I kept the courtship private until I was secure. As the days and months passed, I had become consumed. I was spending hours and hours with my story and releasing words at all hours of the morning and night. At times, I would barely eat or sleep. I had it bad and after a while, I had produced a baby. A novel.  

Boy was she made from love! I was thrilled and wanted to show her off as soon as possible! I immediately began shopping her around and just knew a literary agent would love her just as much as I did and would want to marry us!

I was wrong. After going on what seemed like hundreds of dates, I received some call-backs, but I never got to third base. I began to doubt myself and then my own child. What was wrong with her? Hadn’t I nurtured her properly? Why didn’t anyone want her?

I had built up in my mind that there could only be one legitimate way for my child to be introduced into the world. So I stuck to my guns until one day I realized that nothing was wrong with me or my baby. We were fine. But I needed to change my perspective on how to get her out into the market place. 

With some apprehension and fear, I decided to diversify my dating partners. I’ve heard how charming the digital publishing world can be so I’m taking the plunge! 

A lot of writers are doing well in the digital world and it brings liberation from the usual publishing norms. I’m happy to say I’ve now challenged myself to focus more on the meal I’ve created and less on how it will be served! I haven’t given up hope for a traditional publishing wedding in the future, but I owe it to myself and my book to explore other alternatives until that time comes. Wish us well! 

Tameka – Artsy, creative media professional and Lyric Fire blogger – is a poet and author of “Letters to Chyna – A Novel.” (Soon to be released as an e-book!) Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.

Congrats to Tameka for diving into self publishing! Fam, what’s are your thoughts about dipping a toe in?

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Fam, before you go, check out Tameka’s recent follow up to this post. Find out the progress of your self publishing journey!

28 thoughts on “Write On Wednesday – My Date with Digital Publishing”

  1. Nichole Christian said:

    More power to Tameka Mullins for writing her novel on her terms. Tameka speaks truth when she says those of us committed to this craft owe it to ourselves ” to focus more on the meal … and less on how it will be served!”

    I will for sure check out her book.

  2. Welcome. As someone who is reluctant to bear the title “writer,” I identify with your journey and your ‘baby.’ I have many. I now lovingly embrace this calling to give birth to lyrical expression.

    I salute you and wish you well. You may indeed have to induce labor a time or two and self publish or produce. That’s what I did. Though I hope to make the best sellers list, the Oscars or The Grammys, I cannot predict how an audience will respond or $upport my work, but at least I can free my soul. So happy that u are doing the same.
    Peace & blessings,
    Jazzy Rita
    (Mr. President’s Girl now avail at itunes)

  3. Tameka, I love this article! Your baby is in good hands…yours. You are an amazing writer and once out there I’m sure there will be plenty of takers. Just stick to your guns and move forward! I can’t wait to meet your baby;)

    I am in the same boat as you, having created a baby, I was unable to find any takers. So, I have moved forward. I am currently very busy seeing to all the details involved in self-publishing: POD contracts, ISBNs, formatting, website building. The list is endless but the rewards are mine!
    Please keep me posted on your progress. I’m so excited for you!
    Love,
    Leah

  4. Tameka, you’ve given me such encouragement here! I, too, thought everyone would “fall in love with my baby and marry us” when I tried to get a literary agent to no avail. I felt the disappointment and the self-doubt, too. Now, however, I’m looking to get off my duff and go the self-publishing route as well.
    Thanks for sharing your journey and inspiring other writers to “Just Do It”!
    Blessings to you!

  5. Oh how we nurture those babies of our creation. I am pleased you are taking the initiative and publishing your way. This is a wonderful piece in itself of overcoming and mastering.

  6. Hi Nichole, Bealadyfirst and Leah! Thanks so much fellow sister scribes! To know that you can relate and are pushing forward with your own dreams leaves me feeling bolstered with the belief that we can all make it! Words are the ingredients and we are the chefs! As long as we stay true to the recipe, we will create winning dishes that we can serve up how we want!

    Blessings to all of you and keep on writing!

  7. I’m glad to hear you at least tried the traditional routes before moving on. I think that is the way it should go. Many people are skipping the basics and you can learn a lot while going through the hard stuff. I hope your digital publishing adventure is everything you dreamed of! 🙂

  8. tameka, girl, you put your foot in this one.

    i was right there with you when i published my first book. went the traditional route – had a literary agent, got close with a few houses, the whole nine – but after two years of waiting, it just didn’t happen.

    when i finally took my book back into my own hands, it was the most terrifying, empowering experience of my life. go forth and prosper, girl. and when you need some advice or just a listening ear from someone who has been there, i got you.

    thanx again for being my first guest blogger. you have set the standard high. 🙂

  9. Thanks so much Monice! You have always inspired me. When we were in college and you wrote your play I was like, yes, she did it! So to be here now in this moment is especially sweet. Writing is in our DNA. Or rather, DMA (Detroit Made Authors)!

    I do feel excited, terrified and empowered! I may need some help managing all of these emotions, but I know I am surrounded by creative love! Thanks for all of the engagement here! Stay inspired & always reach higher!

  10. Jan, Martha and RhymeMeASmile, thanks so much! I truly value you ladies!

  11. Hello Tameka.
    I see a lot of similarities in this post.
    I’m not much of a book reader, never have been, but I love to write & write & write. I drive my wife crazy when I jump up in the middle of the night because I have some thought or idea that’s just itching to get out (smile). I too have been waiting…waiting…waiting…waiting for the day when some kind publisher gives the “Yes, you’ve got a deal” signal. So far, that hasn’t happened and with each rejection slip I receive, I lose a little of my gusto & start doubting myself.

    You have so much enthusiasm & desire that I just know you’ll succeed at whatever you do. The good thing about these groups is that we are surrounded by others who have already traveled down the road you are now heading & one which I hope to start in the future and who I’m sure will be more than willing to offer a helping hand if required.

    Follow your dreams Tameka, for they do come true. I;ll be routing for you!
    Thanks for this inspiring post & good luck! ❤

    Thanks also to Monice

  12. I wish you all the very best Tameka. Sometimes it is more sensible to change your tactics and I am sure you will do great with digital publishing without giving up your dream to publish in the traditional way. xoxo

    http://rimlybezbaruah.blogspot.in/2012/03/aftermath.html

  13. Fantastic, Tameka. So glad you’re looking at other options of introducing that baby to the world. She’s going to be a star, no doubt – like you ♥

  14. Janaki Nagaraj said:

    Wishing you luck…very nice post…will be delightful to read your book too.

  15. I am betting on You Tameka.. Keep us informed

    Jim

  16. Nichole Christian said:

    Tameka: Are you a Wayne State ( JIM ) grad?

    By the way, here’s a resource for indie writers that you might already know about. http://www.theindiespotlight.com/
    Stay inspired, ~Nichole

  17. Nichole, I was a JIM member, but I transferred to Fordham University and got my degree in New York. I remember the day when Ruth Seymour recruited me! She came to one of my classes at Denby High School. When she asked to speak to me after class I thought I was in trouble! LOL! I loved being in the JIM family. Were you as well? Thanks for the article. I look forward to diving in!

  18. Jim! Thanks so much! Your words mean the world. I will!

  19. Janaki, I will hold you to that! Thanks so much dear lady!

  20. Corinne, that means a lot! I really am touched by the support here. You guys have no idea how much this is helping!

  21. Also, RhymeMeASmile, that was a great point you made about people skipping the basics. Even though I didn’t get the result I wanted, going through the process was amazing! I did feel like a true tortured artist! LOL! Seriously though, learning abut agents, publishers, query letters, different literary genres, and attending book expo’s and writer’s conferences are things every writer who wants to be published should do.

    You meet so many people and learn so much about the craft from the business and creative end. It is imperative, I think. I wouldn’t change any of my learning experiences. I find a lot now that some would-be writers are focusing so much on selling and making a name for themselves due to sales that the writing is getting lost.

    I loved Monice’s post about taking her time with her writing instead of just banging out content for volume’s sake. Mo, please re-post the link in this thread so folks can read that. We all have different styles and write at a different pace and that is fine, but I love to see people who take their time because it shows they care about what they are putting out into the world. I am also that kind of writer. The publishing game can sometimes make you lose perspective on why you write. We all want deals and to be published, but the work (writing) should come first.

  22. Rimly, thanks as always for your positivity and encouragement! Coming from such a wonderful writer as you are, your words mean a great deal.

  23. Andy, in the words of one of my favorite Michael Jackson tunes, “You are not alone!” I can totally relate. It is normal to feel deflated when you get those rejection letters. I have a whole drawer filled with them. I am glad that I finally turned the corner in my thinking and decided to enter the digital publishing world. Knowing that my story still has a chance to been seen, touched and read makes up for all of the angst I have felt in the past. I know that your words will be in print too, because you are one of the most heartfelt writers I’ve ever read. You care about your work and readers sense that. That’s why your blog is so popular. Thanks for always supporting me Andy! Cheers to you and your upcoming books!

  24. Tameka, your experience with books, reading and graduating to writing is parallel to my own. I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t consumed with reading and writing. Ohh, that new book smell! Divine.

    As for being published, I, too, have walked a similar path, struggling to break through that glass wall of the traditional publishing world. Finding literary representation and that ideal agent. So far, I’m still working on that. I applaud you for investing time and focus on the digital publishing world. It is a growing force and one that we shouldn’t ignore as aspiring authors. Good luck to you, chickadee! I look forward to hearing that you’ve cracked the code and are experiencing huge success!

    – Dawn

  25. More power to you, Tameka! The world sure has changed and it is no longer necessary to give up dreams of being published. It’s a great time to be a writer. Best of luck!

  26. Thanks so much Dawn and Sweepy! You guys inspire me with your words!

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