Someone I know asked me recently what I would say to baby me about writing and publishing as a Black woman who has a lot of loud mouth opinions and who deploys them at will.
There is a Hed(pe) song where the dude says,
“Welcome to the Pit Mother Fucker.”
I am pretty sure that covers it. When I was a baby writer, I did not express my actual opinions on industry business. I fully believed that if The Industry found out how I felt about a lot of publishing and writing shenanigans.
I lurked industry boards and saw the racism and sexism. I gently tried to engage with White writers and other industry folks in my gentlest, sweetest Negress way about their racism.
Y’all, I tried.
I did workshop type things and kept my opinions about Magical Negroes and other terrible things to myself. I whitewashed characters, I didn’t share stories that did not cater to Whiteness.
I remember once talking to an older White lady author who told me that I was doing the right thing. That, to keep my “radical” (YES she said that, I remember it clearly) and “militant” thoughts to myself so as not to alienate the folks in power.
I thought it would lead to more publication, more visibility. Money! Recognition! Respect!
I WOULD GET TO BE IN THE FUCKIN CLUB!
But not really.
What happened was I was not writing the shit that moves me.
I felt frustrated, trapped, invisible and the worst, the very fucking worst part was that I felt like I was contributing to my own oppression with no pay off.
I was pretty miserable.
And then at some point after someone threatened to tell my dayjob that at the time I was writing custom smut for weirdo fetishists I decided to stop giving any fucks.
All of this is on my mind because last night I was doing research and working on some of my indie writer hustles and I came to a few conclusions.
- I just do not have the energy to promote things as hard as I need to in order to make my indie writer hustles financially viable. Likely if I didn’t work full time with the commute and whatnots, I would but that’s not gonna be a thing.
- The above being what it is, I’m cutting down on side hustles. It hurts my soul to lose the potential of that side hustle cash, but my fatigue is getting worse and there’s not a lot I can do about it at this point.
- I’m not putting stuff out by myself anymore. It’s been a losing venture and cost more time and money than it’s been worth.
Okay, I’ll stop there because #3 is important.
I decided to pull the lid from Etsy because frankly, it takes a while per piece, to get it ready make the cover and frankly nobody buys the shit. I know it’s not the prices really, but yeah. I do feel a bit sad, but whatever fuck it. I don’t know if I’ll just post them for free or what I’m gonna do.
So if you’ve wanted a thing from the Etsy shop, now is the time. I’m pulling all the lit stuff at the end of February. Go here. I was going to do a huge price slash per item but it made me feel shitty. SO if you add all 8 pieces, (for a grand total of 17$) then use the coupon code WORDSWORDSWORDS that’ll net you a sweet little discount and put your total at 15.75$.
I have been convinced to not close the shop all together and start putting out some of my crocheted items. Shawls and scarves. Maybe my tactile stim objects. That’ll be a while yet.
I am going to focus more of my energy on producing stuff. Writing new stuff. Maybe doing a Queen Poems chapbook this year. My grand experiment in essentially rage quitting the publishing industry and only publishing either myself, with Milcah or in super select venues hasn’t been a real win for me.
A lot of that is largely due to #1 up on that list as well as, it’s just not my skill set to do it all indie and not feel like I’m wasting precious time energy and money.
I had a come to Jesus moment with myself about what kind of support my work gets and when and whether or not it’s enough to support my indie DIY ways. Frankly, it’s not.
Last time I had this out with myself, I decided I just wasn’t good enough (this was just a couple of months ago, well a few more than that it was post SCLAB release) and I really felt like my body of work was/is something I should be ashamed of because obviously if I was better at writing, marketing, rewriting, doing things the way I am supposed to- everything would be successful.
That might be true. Some of it or all of it, I don’t know.
What I do know is that me punishing the fuck out of myself for failing so hard, SO fucking hard did not contribute to shit.
So I’m not doing that.
Changes is coming.
Welcome to the Pit Mother Fucker.