The soul sista ice cream truck has arrived!
I still can’t believe that in less than a week, my mother, Lola, and I will be making our way across the U.S. in a van I’ve dubbed the Beckyville Bookmobile. I just picked up my dainty purple transport from L.A. Car Wrap, and I’m still getting used to driving her.
Even though I love my new ride, I felt self-conscious during the thirty-minute drive back home from the car wrap joint. As I cruised down the 10 freeway, folks were waving at me from their cars or slowing down to get a gander. I’m not complaining about the attention. When I first decided to self-publish Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage, the idea came to me to buy a van, trick it out and hit the highway to promote my book. Initially, my one scheduled stop was Onyx Con in Atlanta, a convention that features work from sci-fi, speculative fiction and comic book writers of the diaspora. But I wanted to expand my trip to include indie bookstores, community centers and whomever would have me in for a reading. Besides, with such divadelic wheels, it seemed like a crime not to travel as much of the country as possible.
Someone recently mused if the Beckyville Bookmobile and the T-shirts I’ve been giving away to promote my short story collection will overshadow the actual work. As indie authors, we have to get our books out there by any means necessary. It feels thrilling to have autonomy over one’s work, to create alternative avenues to traditional publishing. I’m passionate about sharing the stories in Escape from Beckyville, so I’ll do whatever it takes to spread the word — even if it means driving 6,000-plus miles in a purple chariot with my mom as co-pilot.
As the gate of my underground garage whined open, and I navigated the Beckyville Bookmobile to my parking space, the title of a Dr. Seuss book popped into my head: Oh, the Places You’ll Go! It’s fitting that the popular children’s book came to mind as I sat behind the wheel. My self-publishing adventures have been swaddled in childlike faith, forcing me to be supremely optimistic in the face of a recession, a cutthroat publishing industry and a dwindling savings account. If the only thing that comes out of this journey is a chance to bond with my mom during a 40-day road trip and see more of the country, I’m richer for it. It beats staying at home.