Ay listen.

Hi babes.

Can we talk about some shit I’ve been learning lately?

First thing I’ve not learned but we’ll say that has been reinforced to me is that, a lot of general promotional advice is woefully out of date. It doesn’t account how a lot of us have our links on platforms like FB throttled so hard, even our “close” friends don’t see them.

So I kinda am trying to make a deeper peace with that. I’m working on it.

The other thing is that, I’ve noticed that even with me taking pains to reduce how much stuff I give away, I STILL don’t really generate things that are buyable by my general audience across a few platforms. How do I know?

Medium for instance. I currently have 19 pieces behind the paywall, a good variety of type of content. Here in 2019 I’ve made less than a dollar. I mean…my read ratio regardless of topic or length is under 2 out of 10. Then of course when I can read stuff on medium, I see a LOT of bullshit that makes hundreds of dollars likely.

It makes me tired.

I’ve been using KoFi for almost a month exactly and have three things to read. One poem, two essay type things. And goose eggs.

I talked about it on my main fb account a while back. And funnily enough when I said, don’t blow smoke up my ass if you’re not going to at the very least share, my share rate went from few to literally 2-4. And so did engagement.

So really, I’ve learned that the call to action, the asking my community for help etc etc. Ain’t for me. I’ve tried. I’ve modified my tone, I’ve changed what I’m giving, etc. I think I can make some peace with that. Silence and inaction says volumes. More so when the folks who do the share because they don’t have $$ to support, are literally the same 4-6 people it has been for a decade. That’s my real audience. They are the real Gs and I’m not talking about them.

What else?

In terms of Gasoline Heart here’s some interesting things. (NOTE TO SELF ASK PUBLISHER FOR NEW BOX O BOOKS) Some of the folks who’ve read it, really loved it. one of the things I’ve seen in several reviews are along the lines of, HOW DID I MISS THIS/THE WORLD MISS IT?

Easily. SO the above issues. I mean, a few people (the book has been out for a while now) who’ve known me for a long time have said, I didn’t see X links. Sorta believable. Also I am not represented, I am not a darling, I am not very famous or really even connected in the poetry world. So yeah, you won’t find my lil book in lists and shit. That is just how it is.

Also, I learned that I do not have the cash on hand to be trying to get my lil book awards. Shit is expensive. In secret I spent a few months last fall really dedicating hours of my week to submitting to free publicity or award things with my lil book. The hours cost me in terms of spoons and time not spent writing and netted me one very nice rejection letter.

And real talk. I STILL can’t get poetry published. At last submission spree, even with mentioning the book and including a poem or two from it, I don’t really get no love from the lit poetry world. That’s fine but it also means that I’m chasing my tail trying to promote my fucking book.

So yeah. That’s been a struggle but I’m glad I did it. I can see the whole pathway and what obstacles exist for me in particular and that I don’t honestly have the spoons to try to get around them. So I do what I have energy for.

NON BULLSHITS.

So last year I decided to focus more on getting back into the fiction world and boy howdy. Quite a few years ago I had about a 60% acceptance rate in the short fiction world. That was huge.

My return to it has been fucking lit.

This year I’ve placed stories in two anthologies that are both HUGE DEALS to me. Huge. I got an experimental horrory story into Would but Time Await: An Anthology of New England

I was REALLY nervous because the story was an experiment. It is a Black story and I haven’t really been in the horror community for a while.

THEN I got a little tiny horror story accepted over at Heavy Feather (will announce when it goes up). The editor Jason dropped me a note months ago and I FINALLY made something I’m into.

And then, I got the notification and one of the best damn acceptance notes ever. My lil supernatural noir story got into the Gimme the Loot: Stories Inspired by The Notorious B.I.G. Forthcoming from Clash.

The uniting theme in these is that, I’m at my best when I write what the fuck I want to write. I think freelancing really kind of crushed that in me to a degree. Yes there are some publishers who have been all the way the fuck in with me. But, largely that is not the case. This is the same thing with the flirtations with agents and mainstream publishing.

It is like, OKAY we fuck with you but about 40% so dial it back.

I don’t write great things with that in mind. I don’t write great things when I’m trying so hard to get paid what I’m worth.

All of this is really about me pupating so I can in fact find my place in the lit world. Someone who was trying really hard to be encouraging was comparing me to two very famous, very amazing Black writers and y’all, it made me cry. I like both authors. But, I am not like them and cannot be.

I hate this whole struggle between wanting a seat at the table, wanting some “success” (as termed by our culture) and just wanting to be my weird little self, make some writing, make some pomes, do my shit and maybe sometimes be shown appreciation in the form of coins.

I’m working on it. One lil thing at a time.

A Real Round Up

HEY.

So I’ve decided to do a whole ass second but better year end wrap up for my writing shits this year.

First check this shit out in another window. I minor tweet stormed about my work this year.

All righty then.

I realized as I was doing those tweets that, this year has been pretty lit.

I was feeling pretty down about the failures of the year. None of my side hustles really worked out.

I made less than 50$ with both Etsy and medium and that really sucks. I mean, it hurts me on so many levels.

That said.

I wrote like a mother fucker and wrote exactly what the fuck I wanted when I wanted. I finally fully divested myself from trying to be a freelance super earner. Like there are literally two editors I will pitch to and dassit.

I learned that finally, I can say I’m okay with being unable to financially sustain my creative life. It sucks but I can’t force folks to do shit.

All I can do is do what I do.

I was really feeling like, all this, all the angst and crying and stress just made me the worst.

I dunno y’all. I may not be able to like, pay bills with the words but fuck I write like a mother fucker regardless.

So what is happening in 2019?

I’m making moves.

Patreon stuff is happening, I’ve got a lot of plans.

I’ve also realized that part of what has freed me to write the way I have been this year is that, I’ve been learning to accept some things that are real for me.

  1. My obscurity frees me. I have a job that basically sort of pays the bills. So, I don’t have to eat shit when I freelance. I can say no and I have learned to say no. I had a piece that was commissioned and was a pretty good payday. After realizing that the editor and I were quite far apart on what we wanted. I let it go and put it on Medium.
  2. Speaking of Medium. The other edge of my obscurity is that, regardless of what folks say, 80% of my audience refuses to give my work material support. Folks don’t share, don’t clap on medium etc etc. I don’t know why. Some folks tell me to trust my community to come through and, well frankly most of the time they don’t. It hurts but whatever.
  3. I AM going to write the shit anyway. I’ve tried to stop but nah son.
  4. I am allowed to work this out however the fuck I need to.

Those things have led me into some stuff I’m VERY excited about and will share with y’all soon.

Overall 2018 beat the dog shit out of me. I wrote some of my best shit and it was lowkey sorta okay.

NOW. Over at medium behind the paywall but this is the friend link. A lesson on how I learned to write non-fiction.

Updates, Books and readings.

First up let’s talk about the books I’ve been reading. Yes Evil Empire affiliate links ahead.

BOOKS Y’ALLS!

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha) by Tomi Adeyemi. AHEM. Y’all. I will do a full dorktastic review after a reread but um. OKAY> AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHSHIT SON. If I’m gonna be fancy, this is the Diasporic Dream of Baby Potato me. If I’d had this book at a crucial point in my youth, I probably wouldn’t have given up all magical type literature for more than a decade. A complaint I’ve seen around is that it isn’t a complex plot etc and I think that is misguided. This is a book intended for teen readers so, adult epic fantasy lovers probably won’t like it. That said, I love this book. The magical systems, the world building, the evolution of the characters AND I HAPPEN TO KNOW THE NEXT ONE IS ON DECK. A really wonderful read, if you’re Black and know smol Black humans who like magic, get on this.

Zero Saints by Gabino Iglesias. I’m on my reread of this book so I can do a review and y’all. I think someone gave me a copy of this book and said, read this you’ll like it. I do like it. Gabino has a gift for coming out swinging and the pace is not fast but it feels relentless. It is dark and violent and there is grace in his characters. If you like it dark and violent and pretty, read it. Bigger review soonish. ALSO check out his work in a fave magazine of mine, Shotgun Honey.

Other book news I’m hype about. Y’all know I love me some Joe Clifford and I happen to know that his book Junkie Love has a fancy new print coming up in Sept with a whole new forward by another of my beloved writers Jerry Stahl WHO also blurbed Gabino’s book. I’m really hype for that.

What’s good lit world?

I’ve been reading some great stuff. I’ve made a habit of checking tweeter in the morning and y’alls I know so many fucking great writers.

Go read this by Kristin Chang in the Offing. It is so beautiful and just…I made a velociraptor noise while reading because WOW.

My friend Chiwan Choi wrote this and holy fuck it is beautiful. If you meet him, go to one of his events or just see him on the street you should buy him some cookies immediately.

Podcaster and all round bad ass homie Nia Levy King is running a fundraiser and please check it out. Donate, share it. These books are so important. This is vital work.

Y’all know that one of the few places I feel good about freelancing at is Wear Your Voice Magazine. My last piece there is one of the best I’ve written and they need help. Indie media is so important so again, check out their Patreon and if you can’t support, please for real y’all share the links.

Let me take a break here to say again.

It doesn’t matter if you can’t contribute financially. SHARE THE GODDAMN LINKS. It is free. It takes two seconds and if you knoiw 2k more people, or different people than I know, that is more eyes, more eyes means more opportunities for support so get on it.

What have I been doing?

WELL I have been a busy wee beast. I poeted at an event last night and it was really nice. I read at an event called Margin Shift and Y’ALLS! A thing happened for the first time. TWO PEOPLE there had seen me read previously. And said so. Also I talked to other writers/people about my work and stuff and didn’t pee myself or faint.

I sold some books, folks enjoyed the reading a lot. Overall it was on the way better end of reading in Seattle. I’ll write more about that later.

I had this wee witch poem published over at Yes, Poetry.

I’ve been using Medium as a bit of a clearing house of sorts for stuff I have in drafts, stuff living on my phone. Funnily enough. Now that I’m not doing any paid content, both engagement and readership has gone up. In March/April when I wasn’t really posting I had about 400 reads. Posting a few times a month, my reads are in the thousands.

So it holds up my point that a LOT OF PEOPLE including those who already pay for Medium don’t give a fuck about tossing me a few coins.

Sooo new stuff over there. Including a lil screed on how yes the fuck I will unfriend people over politics and I ain’t ashamed.

OH also earlier in the week I posted up a little essayish thing and free bite of the Daiyuverse. Go visit Bayou Cane, meet the St. Pierre family and get you some free shit to read today.

Last thing, as a way to encourage myself to do more digital arts, I opened a red bubble shop with a few prints. More are coming.

OH ONE MORE THING. Come sign up for my loveletter. It was a newsletter but mostly I talk about being a creative person, struggles, fun shit, tell you how much I love you. No spams. All ham. Loveletter link was busted and is all fixed up.

Dassit for now.

 

Updates, Stuff n thangs.

OH hey y’all.

I have SO MUCH NEWS Y’ALL.

If you’ve been rolling with me for a while you know sometimes I save up good news and then I throw it all at you like confetti. Get ready.

First up, Y’ALL Y’ALL Y’ALL!!! My baby is born!

Gasoline Heart my lil poetry book baby is available for pre-order. Looky here. She is so pretty and ugh fuck. Y’all.

ALl I could do when my publisher said it’s gone to print is respond as follows:

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH*gasp*AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Ahem. Holy shit. Holy shit HOLY SHIT.

If the FCC hasn’t burned the internet to the ground I am working up a virtual tour/readings and will let y’all know.

Ahem.

Next thing is, y’all I got one more publication for the year. It is a bucketlist item. I GOT PUBLISHED IN THE MOTHA FUCKIN WANDERER Y’ALL!!!!!!!!!!! See my poems here.

Y’all, most of my favorite poets are/have been in there. The poems published there were each rejected from a LOT of places, essentially thanks but no thanks rejections. Most of my poetry (in case you’ve ever wondered) has traditionally gotten that type of response from the pobiz. Thanks but no thanks, thanks but we don’t do confessional/personal/blabla. So this is huge for me. Especially with the baby on the way. I have an essay in the works about it but yeah huge deal.

What else?

My much rejected essay about some of my literary influences is up at Medium behind the paywall. Here’s a taste:

I did what I’d taught myself to do. I read every word JT wrote that I could get my hands on. I studied it, I read about it, I remember writing in a journal why I liked it, how I liked it. And then I wrote my very first personal essay. It was, of course a hot mess, scrawled in a red glitter Wizard of Oz diary. It was a gory blow by blow about a terrible relationship-ish situation I’d found myself in.

I wrote it with gusto and terror. I wrote about how, as terrible as being abused was, I was happy to be wanted sometimes. My language was simplistic, I relied heavily on using vulgarity and explicit sex to hide my real emotions. It took me several weeks to write and I was so proud of myself when it was done. I typed it up on a computer at the library and printed it out, I read it in secret late at night alone and hid it deep inside my mountain of things.

Find it here. Feel free to throw claps or pass it along to friends who are down with Medium paywall.

That’s pretty much it for pub news.

In side hustle news. GOOD NEWS!! Patreon decided not to go ahead with the terrible fee schedule change. SO that means, Imma be expanding that shit.

More about that in my end of year wrap post later.

You can read some standalone Daiyuverse here at wattpad.

Um yeah. I think that’s all in the news you can use.

I have been grinding in the background, trying to get ready for large life changes. Writing like a motherfucker.

Hopefully before the end of the goddamn year I will finish my new pro website AND shit.

As usual I’m flailing into the future fully hype and terrified.

That’s it for now. Coming soonish, my end of year wrap up, some news and whatnots. And I’m gonna do one last giant link list so y’all, drop them links to your stuff in the comments.

 

Writer Financials and other updates

My (currently 2nd most shared/reprinted article to date) piece giving White folks some boundaries about how they interact with POC on the internet got reprinted again. Check it out here. As expected, I’ve been called a racist, rude, crude, divisive and the ever so common claim that I hate White people or that my work is why somebody just won’t try to not be racist anymore.

I also posted up a freebie Patreon update which you can find here.

I have an October/witchy themed piece coming out in a new to me publication next month that I’m pretty hype about.

So let’s talk some stats.

Freelance shit:

  1. Four pitches sent.
  2. One acceptance.
  3. One rejection.
  4. One no response.

Literary shit:

  1. Two submissions sent.
  2. One acceptance.
  3. One still in process.
  4. Acceptance for a small anthology, a wee peom.
  5. In process, suite of poems.

Not bad given that I’ve been sick for almost a full month, my partner is still pretty much incapacitated so I have to do all his household stuff too.

Other stuff. I have 255$ saved towards moving.

My poetry book is close to being born.

Being that I’m hustling to save up to move, I redid my personal budget which for our purposes is money made through writing. That means freelance and patreon and eventually possibly sensitivity readings.

October is a big bills month.

WP 100
CC 25
Ginger 6.4
Office 9.99

This is the short version of my budget. This is 100 over what I’d anticipated, I forgot that my personal blog renews this month. Whatever.

If most of my patrons go through, I will about deplete those funds for the most part which sucks and makes me angry but yanno.

What else?

I have this new thing coming out and the new to me editor had a really great response to the piece. My last um, three new to me editors have all be very enthused and into my work. One of my problems with freelancing is just how ramped up my anxiety gets. When I am freelancing because I’m broke, any failure or rejection or non response from publishers and I put a lot of pressure on myself.

I’m a terrible boss. And rationally I know that I can’t do the shit I’m good at in that state of mind but, I often feel like I’m too poor to be so against being exploited or having my voice fucked with.

I’m still trying to learn how to balance my need to hustle on the please just pay me level and continue to hold my personal integrity.

Shit is hard as fuck.

That said, I have some time next week and will be writing like a mother fucker. I’m selling important to me work that is me unfiltered. I’ve been very very blessed to work with editors recently who have been supportive and really believed in my voice enough not to ask me to tone my shit down.

So that’s that.

Posting will likely remain light while I’m grinding. Y’all know.

 

Good News Everyone!

Oh hey you.

Been starved for some good news from your fave Indie writer?

FIRST up!

Check out that beauty! I have a new essay in Issue 3 of Witch Craft magazine. This one is a departure for me, it is about Blackness and witchery and a rejection of White washed witchery. Go check it out here and buy the issue!

Are you in Seattle?

Do you want to see me?

You have two chances in October. First, I’ll be facilitating a little workshop thing through Minor Arcana Press. I get to host a talk and writing session on..>DUNDUNDUN HORROR MOFOS!! Even if you don’t write horror come and check it out. We’ll have a little talk, a little write, some talk and stuff. Y’all know teaching writing is on my bucketlist and this is maybe a preview as to how I want to offer classes. Come on DOWN Y’all. RSVP on facebooks.

Can’t make it to that? Stay tuned because I will be reading the next day with some amazing QTPOC. So keep your eyes peeled.

In celebration of me getting to talk/teach about horror writing, I will post a few free flash/prompt type things so y’all can get your creepy on.

I will also for Spooktober, maybe keep the etsy store open and put together something special.

Hopefully if things continue going in a nice way, there will be some new and extra surprises towards the end of the month.

Come back tomorrow for talk about the Daiyuverse and stuff.

 

Promote ALL THE THINGS!

Oh y’all. Go get yourself some coffee and then come back because I have MANY things to show you. Per usual any Amazon links will be affiliate links.

Some of this stuff I bookmarked for this other stuff I asked for. All of it is awesome. Hand curated stuff to look at, read, buy and otherwise enjoy.

SO.

First up, my fave Milcah has announced they are relaunching their blog with a WHOLE NEW THING. I’m very excited about it and you can go read about it here.

Next, my friend s. j. bagley turned me onto a new project he got involved with called Thinking Horror. The blurb from Amazon:

THINKING HORROR: a Journal of Horror Philosophy is a nonfiction journal devoted to modern and contemporary horror literature consisting of essays, editorials, and in-depth interviews. The journal will be focused on the contexts and concepts of horror fiction.

I am SO FUCKING INTO IT HOLY SHIT. I just yeah. No for real go check it out at Amazon. I’ve been waiting since he announced it forever ago.

Next a new thing by someone I admire greatly. My friend Aaminah Shakur writing about art and watching you watch art. Y’all, their writing about art even when I don’t understand it just floors me. GO LOOK.

Now how about some poetry? My friend Noemi Martinez has a new piece up that I just love. Check that out here. Also check out Hermana Resist here. Fucking awesome.

My friend Lily has launched something really amazing. I can’t even…I mean. Okay, just go here to facebook (and like her page while you’re there) and look at her message pills. Buy some for someone because it’s a fantastic, loving idea. Lily is fucking magical.

This essay by Sarah Boyle at Gorgon Poetics, YASSSSSS. BURN IT DOWN! Um..that is how I express my love of this sort of thing. BURN IT BURN IT BURN IT!

How about more poetry? Hear my homie Kenzie Allen read her poetry and read the rest of this mag there is a lot of loveliness to be had. AND audio…I swooned.

A writer I adore is doing tiny letter. HOLY CRAP. GO GO GO and get letters from Mo Daviau. It will be great I promise.

WOW. Just going back and LOOKING at all these things is just making me do a little happy wriggle in my chair. I legit know the most talented amazing people in the whole world.

Ready okay let’s continue.

Next up I read this book by Ki Russell a while back and it just stayed with me. How to Become Baba Yaga by Ki Russell..it is just. It’s so beautiful and mystic. I love it so fucking much. Read it.

I came across this piece via my FB feed and it is really great. I am a black woman in the American south. And I’m not leaving by
Latria Graham. It just, yeah it gave me a lot of feels.

MORE POEMS. This time by the delectable Sonya Vatomsky. Their poetry is just…just buy the book.  Their book Salt is for Curing is just..yeah. Go. 

LOOK at how lovely Sarah Khan’s official website is.  Check the photos tab. The b/w shot of the stem and leaf is just..totally my aesthetic and I would put that on my wall.

You want to see some more stuff to check out? My homie Sara Habien does Notes from Elsewhere over at WordRiot and real talk I totally stole the format from there. Go check out more things.

Lynn B. Johnson has the Oldest Blog Alive. And I am so delighted by that. HOW can you not love that?

We have a shy poet in the house too. Bronwyn Petry  has a website and writes and edits and has one of my favorite names. I know that’s a weird thing to say but I think Bronwyn is just a really lovely name okay. Go show some love.

Let’s take a reading break and how about some art? I stumbled across Hal Rotting Graphics on Tumblr forever ago and I just..unf. I want ALL of the things and am probably going to snag a sticker pack for my laptop here soon.

Next up, nerds pay attention. Go like the page for American Witch comics. I AM SO HYPE ABOUT THIS!

Are you Canadian? In or around Toronto and into film? My homie Trista DeVries has somethin for you! Pretty cool magazine on the film scene.

Are you writing things? I have some stuff for my writing friends.

First up read and then submit to Dead Housekeeping. It’s just, heartbreaking and so good. I cherish it while I read it. AND if you’ve been here a while you’ve heard me say it time and again, COME JOIN US AT YEAH, WRITE.  No for real do it do it do it do it.

Need translation? Some bad ass poems? Non fiction? You need to meet Shabnam Nadiya. All the yes.

And we all need more amazing non binary trans-masculine types in our lives right? NO seriously, you do. Meet AJ Ripley and well, you’re welcome.

Listen to Gyda Arber talk about her new really cool project.  It is a podcast AND one you can download and listen to on the go. Fuck to the yes.

Now meet Stephanie Georgopulos. Freelance writer and she runs Human Parts. Awww, yiss.

Speaking of Human Parts, my friend Laurence Dumortier did this really great piece over there. Go read it. 

More stuff to listen to! Katie Klabusich hosts a podcast I really enjoy called The Katie Speak Show. I’m SO here for it. Bookmark, listen love.

More stuff? How about some real good nerd stuff? Via my homie  Alisha Karabinus and her academic team, ALL THE THINGS GAMING! Podcasts, videos awesomeness. If you are trying to get your nerd on in the context of amazing stuff like race and gaming, get it.

I also want you to meet Jen Selk writer and editor of awesome. Reviews, journalism, checkout her statement at the bottom of the page. TROLL BE GONE!

NOW okay this is pretty cool. Via Hanna Brooks Olson and Sarah Anne Lloyd, SEATTLISH. I didn’t realize I KNEW THEM. And that’s pretty fucking cool.

WOW this was a beast. Are you still here? Thanks for hanging out. I’ve been squirreling links away for weeks and I just get so excited about sharing my community with y’all. AND I don’t want you starved for great stuff to read and look at.

What about yours truly?

Well, actually naw. Check out the sidebar for my stuff. We’ll do me another day.

Except to say that I’ve been crocheting again after not doing it for a while and it feels great. I’m working really hard to work up the courage to sell some of my wares. Until then look at this beauty I’m working on now. I will be adding some gorgeous deep, vibrant teal and he’ll be done.

Thanks for reading and as always, if you have stuff you want to share with everybody, LEAVE THEM LINKS BOO!

shawl