Sunday mornings are usually my time for prayer and reflection, a time to meditate on the previous week and mentally prepare myself for Monday. This Sunday morning finds me propped up in a familiar position — at my dining room table, in front of my laptop, typing away. My neighborhood is quiet. Few cars whoosh down my block and past my window. It’s L.A., and a holiday weekend, so most people are sleeping in or heading to the beach. I’ve been wearing the title of self-published author for one full week now, and I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not on some extended vacation from my job. This is my livelihood now.
But what a week it has been. I launched the video promo for my new book Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage, and I purchased a van, my Beckyville Bookmobile, to drive from Los Angeles to Atlanta to get the word out about my project. I can’t wait to hit the highway. The adventure begins August 1, and I’ll keep readers updated every step of the way.
This is a grassroots movement.
Escape from Beckyville is not available in stores. I don’t have the backing of a major publisher or retail bookstores. The print copy of my debut collection of short stories goes on sale July 8, 2011 and is exclusively sold on nicolesconiers.com. The digital copy is available for immediate download on Smashwords and will be available on Amazon and bn.com later this month.
I’m excited about this new path my life has taken, but it’s actually two journeys: one, a woman who walked away from her job to write full time, and two, a woman who felt an urgency to present a funky and futuristic portrayal of black womanhood that was missing from the literary scene: dysfunctional, beautiful, complex and flawed characters grappling with issues of race, hair and rage.
I’m grateful for the support I’ve had so far. People have helped spread the word by posting the book trailer on their Facebook pages, have become a fan of the Escape from Beckyville page on Facebook or have simply encouraged me to stay in the race. As of this writing, the video has received over 200 hits on YouTube and I sold four books — two were digital downloads, and two were from readers who pre-ordered the copy on my website. Some folks would consider those numbers paltry, but I’m overjoyed. Every victory that I rack up is one small step for Nicole Sconiers and one dainty leap for self-published authors.
To say that I’m fearless is a mischaracterization. Even though I’m confident Escape from Beckyville will resonate with many readers, even as I network and ramp up my social networking engagement, I’m quite aware that my savings account is dwindling, that I’m relying on my dreams to sustain me. Some would say that’s a very risky space to inhabit, launching into the highly competitive literary ethers with no safety net. I acknowledge that this self-propelled voyage is impulsive, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Just opening my life up to the unpredictable means my blessings will come in unpredictable ways. Of the two readers who pre-ordered the print copy of my book, one was a friend who volunteers with me at a youth mentoring program, and the other is a woman I’ve never met from Charlotte, North Carolina. How she heard of Escape from Beckyville is a mystery, but it’s also confirmation that you’ll never realize the beauty of your dreams if you don’t take a risk.
Here’s to a fruitful Sunday, the beautiful close to a thrilling week, and to always taking the first step in faith.