Tag: Black Writers

115 Tips For Becoming an Award Winning Author


Writing a good book is hard work, but knowledge makes the process easier. Here are some multi-dimensional actions you can integrate into your writing process that will take you closer to your goal of becoming an award-winning author.

  1. Don’t wait for the right time to write your book – just do it
  2. Write using your own voice
  3. Give yourself permission to write in your mother tongue
  4. Write the books you’ve always wanted to read
  5. Write down your purpose for writing your book
  6. Know your audience
  7. Research and create an audience profile
  8. Try to freewrite every day
  9. Engage in freespeaking to compose your text
  10. Learn the grammatical rules
  11. Learn how and when to effectively break the grammatical rules
  12. Write in the active voice using action verbs
  13. Aim for a concise writing style
  14. Develop your own signature writing style
  15. Experiment with a variety of narrative styles
  16. Understand and fine-tune your own writing process
  17. Read biographies of successful writers for inspiration
  18. Aim to have at least one conversation with a successful writer for inspiration
  19. Inventory your human capital
  20. Become a versatile writer
  21. Research your genre
  22. Don’t stick to one genre, try to write in a variety of genres
  23. Research the many storytelling styles from various cultures of the planet
  24. Experiment with new styles of storytelling
  25. Connect with your inner warrior
  26. Speak your truth
  27. Let your writing contribute to good on the planet
  28. Delve deeply within your inner being for the knowledge you need to write
  29. Delve deeply within your inner being for the fortitude to write
  30. Develop the physical and mental stamina to write
  31. Develop power thinking
  32. Discover the specific emotions which drive your writing
  33. Remain focused on your work
  34. Think of yourself as a writer
  35. Define for yourself the meaning of success
  36. Create your vision statement
  37. Create a mission statement
  38. Attend readings and read your work
  39. Read your work aloud to yourself often
  40. Always consult a thesaurus and dictionary
  41. Whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, place yourself at the center of your narrative
  42. Try to write at least one paragraph every day
  43. Step away from your work sometimes
  44. Write about a subject you know very well
  45. If you don’t know a subject very well, research it very well
  46. Keep researching and developing your subject matter until you become an expert
  47. Write with the intention of becoming an authority
  48. Learn about author entrepreneurship
  49. Get to know the storytellers’ marketplace
  50. Don’t let fear cause you to develop writer’s block
  51. Develop SMART goals
  52. Reward yourself for reaching significant goals and milestones
  53. Read voraciously
  54. Buy many books
  55. Build your personal library
  56. Build up an inventory of ideas by collecting notes about what you read
  57. Store your notes in hard copy and/or electronic notebooks
  58. Create a space just for writing
  59. Buy a good computer
  60. Buy the necessary computer peripherals, including ergonomic products
  61. Get good writing and publishing software for book writing
  62. Stick with your writing through the years
  63. Don’t dump your old drafts – they may be salvageable
  64. Keep a writing journal
  65. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables to nourish your brain
  66. Dump the coffee and drink nourishing herbal tea
  67. Have your eyes checked regularly
  68. Integrate exercise into your life because writing is a sedentary process
  69. Exercise to remain strong and healthy while you write
  70. Purchase an ergonomic chair for your desk
  71. Spend time in places which inspire you
  72. Give yourself time to think; give yourself time to dream
  73. Wherever possible, find a writing buddy
  74. Set up an independent publishing account with Ingram Spark, Lulu or another of your choice
  75. Set up an email marketing account with Mail Chimp, Infusionsoft or another of your choice
  76. Enter as many writing competitions as you can
  77. Write with the intention of producing a bestseller
  78. Speak about your work on social media to build your audience
  79. Make writing your book your number one priority
  80. Aim to make your writing your sole career
  81. Plan for a lifestyle in which writing is your sole career
  82. Improvise upon the common story arc – there are many ways to tell a story
  83. Discard the old beginning-middle-ending paradigm of the narrative
  84. Invent a new writing genre
  85. Set up a sole proprietorship or LLC to facilitate the business side of your writing
  86. Set financial goals for your book
  87. Learn how to raise funds to publish your book
  88. Research grant funding for writers
  89. Learn about intellectual property and copyright law
  90. Attend book fairs
  91. As far as possible, meetup with and collaborate with other writers
  92. Join online and/or face-to-face writing groups
  93. Keep up with the writing and publishing technology
  94. Wisely choose the technology you actually need
  95. Start your book and finish your book
  96. Your book is not finished until your audience has received it
  97. Hire a professional editor to edit and proofread your book
  98. Hire a professional graphic artist to create your book cover
  99. Hire a social media professional to market your book through the social channels
  100. Choose the right social media channels for your work and audience
  101. Create an independent publisher website with a unique domain name
  102. Get the best hosting plan for your independent publisher website
  103. Market yourself and your ideas while you write
  104. Market yourself through behind the scenes video clips
  105. Brand yourself by creating a competitive profile
  106. Brand your book through your social channels
  107. Brand your book through special events like launches, talkshows, news features etc
  108. Talk about your work in a live video
  109. Blog about your book
  110. Research your distribution channels
  111. Learn how to sell
  112. Create a writer’s press kit
  113. Create a book trailer
  114. Launch your book
  115. Bask in your success


Book Review: Ajani’s Wonderful Summer and the Imaging of the Black Boy

One aspect of the assault on the African family and on Black families has been the removal or lessening of the role of the father in the household.

The underachievement of boys in educational systems throughout the African diaspora, as well as the fact that the majority of perpetrators and victims of homicides, violent crimes and assaults in the diaspora are young men, are important issues that have been engaging the attention of people from all walks of life, for these are symptoms of crises occurring in Black communities and nation states.

Barbadian author, Dr. Akhentoolove Corbin, is concerned about the crises which exist in Black communities, especially as these affect Black boys. One of his major concerns is that many Black boys throughout the African diaspora grow up without a father figure in the house. We are well aware of this, for many of our Caribbean sociologists have drawn attention to this matter, and the absentee father has been one of the major themes of Caribbean sociology for a long time. Read More



Baldwin, Brathwaite and Walcott: Flights Crewmen


by Harold Adrian Beckles

“..Well is one trip/[chorus] de Caribbean man/on de same ship/[chorus] de Caribbean man/an’ is one race/[chorus, as above]/in de same place …,”

These words that mark the distinctive antiphonal dynamics of a highly popular calypso of some years past, as its Trinidadian performer made an appeal for Caribbean peoples to embrace a heightened intercultural Pan-Caribbean awareness that would be founded upon a greater popular agitation for regional re-federation at the political level. The question that emerges here, becomes this one: ‘What is this “one trip .. on de same ship,” when it is taken as the animating force that energizes the writings of a James Baldwin placed in conjunction with those of his West Indian peers Kamau Brathwaite and Derek Walcott?’

To a significant extent, the answer, as it applies to these three writer-academic, New World Africans, is, the sea.  For, according to St. Lucian-born poet and playwright Derek Walcott, “The sea is History” (derek walcott: poems  237).  The West Coast of Africa, Brathwaite’s “painfields” of the Caribbean, and the terminal ‘human marketplaces’ of the American southlands, were points that triangulated the European colonial powers’ operation of The trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

These geographical points also serve to interweave the contemporary voices of these three writers of the Americas, across the abyss of memory within which their common ancestral spirits, in turn war against racial amnesia to awaken their sons and daughters to a purposeful vision for their people’s future.

Geography has always been sympathetic to ‘island-boy’ maroons and runaways like Shabine, whom, as the principal narrative voice within Walcott’s long nation language poem entitled “The Schooner Flight,” has free license to island-hop from “Monos to Nassau” in search of meaningful, self-affirming cultural citizenship and a redefined sense of identity, whilst logging his observations in a diary of poems.  By the time Shabine the seaman has decided to desert his wife, Maria Concepcion, and quit the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago at the outset of the poem’s third movement, he has “..no nation now but the imagination.” (poems  220).  This mulatto sailor who embodies a Walcott-like persona, is a free spirit, because in the post-colonial modern era, the Caribbean people have wrested ‘sovereign’ control of their archipelago from its former Metropolitan colonial owners.

This liberty of movement exercised by the African of the Antilles “..who love the sea, ..” is almost wholly alien to that African who has been colonized within the Metropole of the United States of America from the “Mayflower’s” advent upon continental shores up to the present time.  In If Beale Street Could Talk, a novel that provides a graphically realistic and grim depiction of the extent to which the cancerous geography of the inner-city landscape both traps and preys upon the often defenceless African American citizen, James Baldwin dons both the tonality and emotional register of a female persona whose empowering love for her boyfriend, Donny, is communicated to the reader as possibly the only force under heaven that can liberate him from the debilitating, death-dealing violence of their Beale Street environment.

The poetry contained within her voice is the pained blues riff that screams against police brutality meted out by racist white officers; that screams against the raw injustice of an economic system that was established so as to exploit Donny’s ancestors, Donny himself, and his progeny for so many ages to come; that rails against Donny’s ‘Holy Roller’ mother who is a religious hypocrite, whilst bewailing the loss of Donny’s alcoholic father who ultimately commits suicide.

Beale Street’s confession, therefore, becomes her transcendent, revitalising love that bears public witness of her soul’s militant affirmation that her man shall live.  Only this “terrible cry” (to use a Baldwinesque construct) can save Donny from the hell that America has prepared for any black manchild’s consciousness from his day of birth, onwards.  At the novel’s conclusion, she carries — both exultantly and defiantly — the physical legacy of Donny’s refusal to be extinguished as a human being; that is, their unborn child that is thriving within her womb, even whilst Donny is held captive in prison.

Walcott has Shabine’s soul find a degree of solace and rest in the riches that he (Shabine) finds bestowed upon him by the primordial beauty of the Caribbean landscape.  His long poem’s concluding line states: “Shabine song to you from the depths of the sea.”  The symbolic viscerality of Shabine’s song that is rooted in the legacy of history, finds a harmonizing element in the life-giving insistency of Donny’s girlfriend’s witness, which, like a gospel shout that revitalizes both its bearer and its receivers, thunders upward from the deepest recesses of her soul.

This writer aspires to acquiring an informed, holistic, and creative literary vision that would seek to reconcile its attraction to works that, on a surface level of interpretation, are seemingly as diverse as the the writings of James Baldwin and Derek Walcott.  It is the unifying groundswell of history’s legacy to the New World African in the power of the sea, that must define the scope and character of his future contributions to a wider human culture.  In his essay entitled “The Caribbean: Culture or Mimicry”, Walcott addresses the primacy and vitality of this ongoing contribution in the following words: “..it is the black [man] who energized that [i.e., American] culture, who styles it, just as it is the black who preserved and energized its faith.  The most significant experience in America’s recent past is this revolution …(Walcott: “The Caribbean: ..”  26).  Within the context of the cultural ethos that is defined above, I, too, like these three writers, am an American.