Monthly Archives: February 2014

THE RELENTLESS AUTHOR GOES CORPORATE: MANAGING THE SIDE HUSTLE

So you wrote a book, or two, or twenty, or THIRTY NINE (like I have) and you’re suddenly realizing that the book business is not giving you what you feel it owes you. After all, look at the mega-success of others who have made great strides in their respective industries, be it Basketball, the Movie business, Ministry or Politics… any of those industries earns you a round of applause for your great accomplishments. So there’s that instant gratification. But what applause do you get as a writer who’s efforts sometimes take years to be released, or who’s earned global acclaim, especially in this failing marketplace? Most writers won’t be featured on ABC World News, or on the cover of the New York Times Arts & Leisure section, or in Time Magazine. It’s just not realistic. So then, what realities will I realize as a writer? What are the possibilities if I’m not aggressive like Relentless is? What is the truth if I don’t land a 14 book/six-figure debut deal like Relentless has? What are my realities if I don’t live in New York where millions of people mill thru the streets, or if I don’t have the connections, the heart, the gumption like Relentless has? Am I just doomed after so many years in school and my greatest desire being a best-selling author?

Those real questions are about to be answered by real answers. Hold onto your hats…

If you are a writer you had better learn to master your craft. But not only that; you had better learn to be innovative and to network with others. Furthermore, you had better come out of that introverted shell that writers are so accustomed to, and you better interact with your audience on real tangible levels, because this is so much the virtual world where real people (YOUR READERS) are savvy enough to look for and want what’s real. You think you need only write the most polarizing commentaries to get attention? Think again. You think blogging until your fingers fall off is going to win you global acclaim? Think again. You think attaching yourself to celebrities is going to earn you equal billing? Think again!!!

This is your wake up call!
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And the truth is you’re not ready to stand in a foot of snow in a NYC blizzard to sell books. The truth is you’re not willing to stand in the 101° heat, soaking-wet to sell books in New Orleans. And I would imagine that 99% of you would never consider boarding prison buses to deal with, negotiate with and encourage women who are heading up to prisons to see their brothers, uncles and husbands. And even if you’re willing to do all of that, you still now need to bear the burden of an industry that has nearly gone belly up but for the advent of electronic publishing. Walmart has pushed the books to the back of the store across the county. Small book stores have folded and diversified to the point that they’re no longer a “book store” but a variety store. Electronic publishing is to the book industry what Napster and file-sharing is to the music industry. Just call it the death-knell. Most every publisher is lying to you about numbers, and like the existing book store shelf space, best-seller list positioning is purchased. And so in these challenging times you had better situate a “side hustle. “Furthermore, your side hustle had better be close to, if not a major part of the brand that you have begun in your writing career.
You see, if your side hustle is somehow attached to your book writing then you will sell books by default. Because of course you have ordered books from your publisher right? And you always have books in your bag, on your person or in your car trunk, right? Because, after all, we are not just writers but we are also marketeers correct? We are not only promoters but we are actually writing “what we know” and sharing experiences that might be of interest to others. Essentially we (more than everything else) are RESOURCEFUL, aren’t we? Did you just think you would write a book and that it would somehow fly into the hands of those who might be interested? The most successful authors are those who have careers. Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, George Stephanopoulos, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and a slush pile of sports legends are all best-selling authors by default. They have earned their audiences in whatever capacity, and their popularity has sold their message. Their message happens to be in a book. Sidenote, some folks share their message on CD or in newspapers or over the airwaves, on t-shirts, even. But, perhaps you are an author who shares their message through the vehicle known as the perfect bound book.

Well, if you look at these successful models then you understand that their foremost initiative is in their career while YOUR foremost mission or desire might be writing books. Did you ever consider flipping the script? Did you ever consider that whatever it is you master, (that very thing that you share in your books), just might be where your focus SHOULD be? And if your focus is on mastering your craft then quite frankly you will be a best seller in some way, shape or form. Even if you’re a best selling author on your residential street, that is an accomplishment. But I encourage you to make certain you have identified your purpose in life and books will sell by default.
Over a year ago I began East Atlanta Multimedia Inc., an institution that embodies all of my skillsets, including graphic design and book writing and book publishing and film and video production and audio production and brand building, event production and websites and on and on. Thank God I have mastered these various multimedia skills, because if I was to keep a roof over my head and clothes on my back and food in my mouth based on the mega debut book deal, the one that made history six or seven or eight years ago… If I was to count on my popularity in news features and radio features and TV features and the fame surrounding an author of dozens of books… if I was to rely solely on fans and awards and networking and hearsay and all of the hype that goes with being “and established author”… if I was to rely on all of that and didn’t have so many other skills to rely on, folks I might as well put a gun to my head. This world is ever-changing and no one/nowhere could be prepared for the very next thing to happen in life. You can try and forecast it, but that very next thing could very well impact the industry. That very next thing could impact your life, such as a divorce or a death, a car accident or some other life-changing circumstance. There’s an old song that says “you not you’ve got to know when to hold and know when to fold.
But my song is different: is goes: “you’ve got to be prepared for ‘come what may.’ And all day, that calls for a side hustle, a “Plan B” or even (in some cases) an “Exit Strategy.”

So master and incorporate your skill sets folks, weigh your options and get it together so that your revenue stream supports your passion. Your passion is tied to your purpose and your purpose is tied to your perseverance. Your passion, your purpose and your perseverance will carry you through any (or most) of life’s perils. i’m done here #Relentless
http://www.eastatlantamultimedia.net

Curt Boogie – A Dedication To My Friend, Curtis Southerland

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It was just a year ago that one of my best friends passed on. This is the first brother in my life who I cared so much about and who left me way too soon. Unfortunately, there is no family member or relative who I have felt a closer affinity to than my sister Julie and my good friend Curtis Southerland. From my perspective, I know that I am here to hold down everyone who has supported me through the years, everyone who has been consistent in the Gilmore grind, the 1000 Friends grind, the Superstar USA grind, and now this, my Relentless grind. Curtis Southerland, who I affectionately named “Curt BOOGIE” was one of the few who have been there by my side the longest. If my life was cordoned off into eras, there would be the “club era,” the “magazine era,” the “TV show era,” and the “book era.” I’m now here in the “Starbucks era,” started back in the Bronx, My. Vernon and Harlem; and Curtis had been there through all of my “eras.”Even though he was living up north and that I had moved down south we stayed in close contact. He let me know what he was doing and was critical about everything that I was doing and vice versa.He always encouraged me to stay on my writing We were brothers, always there for each other. And as I mentioned, no matter if I hit the lottery or whether there was a movie premiere or some big boom of success to come into my life, Curtis Southerland would be there to experience the joy. However, I guess I take it for granted that my good friends will be there when it all comes to a head. And that’s just not the case. My friend was taken way too soon. He was younger than me, very brilliant and a sort of young counsel. His funeral was the first funeral I attended as an adult. I never realized how short and how precious life was until I lost my friend. I struggle for air even now thinking about it, and I’m glad that you all cannot see me because I am stuttering, sniveling fool typing this. But to you who care I say, all those people that I touch through the years and how we “virtually” stay connected does not begin to reflect how grateful I am to you and how much this life means to me and how very important it is for me to bring the baton over the finish line in the most significant ways. I’m carrying the torch for you all. I am carrying the torch for my friends and loved ones. I am carrying the torch Curtis Southerland. they say you never know when it’s your time. But it’s way different to hear it and say it as opposed to experiencing it. Thank you my friend. ‪#‎relentless‬

Don’t Bother Writing (Unless Your Life Depends On It!)

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Yesterday a friend of mine expressed to me that she wanted to write stories. She also asked how she could reach a larger audience. (gee, I wonder what made her ask me that question?) #winkwink

Folks there are levels to success. But at the same time, we must realize that success is subjective.

Success for some people means expensive rims on their car or a shiny watch, or some kind of fancy name on their motor vehicle. On the other hand, some feel success is living off the land, in a cabin up in the woods where they might visit the grocery store once a week for a few items, right before they feed a mule and right after they’ve done their fishing for the week. Here’s the trick; if you have a dream of your own that you want to fulfill, then you’d better focus on meeting that desire, instead of being part of someone else’s. Because you’re giving your own precious time away. Right now so many millions of people are watching a football game, even while their dreams, goals and desires float off like vapor or else lay there unrealized. But lets also realize that many people would rather not experience massive success with the bright lights and their name up on billboards. many of us enjoy the simplicity of “following,” and being part of “the crowd.”Since I have experienced what I’ll call “semi-success,” as it relates to commercial appeal and celebrity-ish, I can tell you firsthand that it is overrated. When you get to that space where you are incredibly popular, that’s when you find yourself insulated from others. You can’t even walk to the local deli alone. People hound you; your privacy is extinguished, and eventually somebody says something foul, or 2 people are fighting over you, attracting a small crowd that eventually grows into a mob. And now there’s make-shift security rushing you to safety. The truth is that there is simply not enough time in the day to satisfy so many minds, bodies, questions and answers. You get stuck in front rows and in VIP areas and behind velvet ropes where everything is mostly phony and contrived; set up to be impressive to all of those onlookers. “Smoke & Mirrors,” I call it. But for a long time I have realized that the juice of life is amongst those people. The substance and the pain and the desire is amongst those “other” people. The fans. Those wanton souls yearning to achieve more and to come up out of the traps that they are stuck in.

Think about it this way, if you had 20 children in your house could you truly love them all the same? They would have to line up for hugs and kisses and food and to get their shoe laces tied… attention attention attention. Give one child more attention then the other and that is suddenly the “privileged” child. The less children you have, the more freedom you have, and the more you get to enjoy life and perhaps pursue your purpose in life. But those children bring with them a responsibility that weighs on your shoulders. Many of you know this so I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already understand. And so, look at success and the levels of success as those children that you give birth to. Sure you can give birth to a child but you also want to give exclusive attention to that child.
The “massive success” that you wish for? It is much greater and more richer an experience when it is tempered to a modest degree. I’m talking about remembering names and being able to hug people who admire your work. I’m talking about spending quality time with other human beings.

This cat I know who purchased a number of my books and sees me all the time said that I was “the most popular author in Conyers, Ga.” And he is most likely right, even though he was making a joke to say that I am not popular (at all?) in the global sense of the word or meaning. Hell, I could go to many a small town and be “the most popular author.” So, that was quite funny. I think about this equation sometimes, knowing that the field that I’ve chosen isn’t an easy one to earn popularity… it doesn’t come with the measure of popularity that, say a basketball star carries or a rap star enjoys. But thank God I have no craving whatsoever for that kind of success. I like my comfortable world and my peace of mind and my own massive levels of productivity. In the end, I will be judged, not by BS AfAm award shows where comrades in the industry pat one another on the back. Award shows (especially regarding writers) are ALL PAID-FOR APPRECIATION & ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. You will not receive one unless you PAY SOMEBODY, SOMEWAY/SOMEHOW. Dame Dash confirms this: 

Hollywood Walk of Fame/perfect example. Last I heard (and this was years ago), it was $1,500 to “get on.” I don’t need that kind of fame or branding. Instead, take account of my contributions to others. Such real involvement is gonna require exclusivity. Many a popular artist can never claim my level of contribution and daily engagement to community that I enjoy. They can go and bring a truck full of turkeys to a neighborhood or they could visit a hospital… Great publicity, all of it. But, they could never give the exclusive attention I give… the exclusive advice that I give, how I help people exclusively and consistently. With success, things become so large and get so out of hand at that point, you have time only for your own existence as well as the existence of your family and those in your close circle. You end up paying their bills and answering their questions and satisfying their needs so that they keep your machine running smoothly. Sometimes, doing all of this simply buys you friendship, love or a support system. You can’t even tell if they’d be there under other circumstances. That’s a whole different walk of life for me. I understand it, I have no problem with others experiencing it, but it is not for me. If I produce a book or movie that satisfies someone’s desire for entertainment, that is an achievement much less rewarding to me then, say using my popularity and personal energy to collect clothes and canned foods for those in need. Naturally, the book or movie would be documented and made known in the annals of history. Thats that superficial success. Because its noted and recorded somewhere thats supposed to “mean something.”

But the lives that I touch personally will grow and mature and live on thanks to experiencing me and my initiatives and my personal power and my intention to see them do better and live better. When I speak amongst community groups or school groups and raise their level of awareness by sharing my story and what’s possible for a person that is a recluse at the bottom of the totem pole… when I explain to them how I was able to lift myself up and move to the top of my field… when I share these experiences with others and see them grow and mature as a result of my wisdom, only then do I feel successful. A football game can’t do that and (let’s keep it all the way real) some song or rap tune can’t do it either.

So, success to me is not about numbers but about substance. No matter how much or how little money you make, how fancy or tattered your clothes are… no matter how many cars you have, or if you have no car at all, you have the same 24 hours in a day that I do, or that he does, or she does. You are THAT equal to the man living in a car, or the woman living in the penthouse, or that of some rich guy in some mansion on 500 acres. In fact, you make be just one paycheck away from that reality, one way or the other.

I hope that my friend gets her writing to a point that she masters the field she’s so into. And I hope that she finds her readership and I hope that they encourage her and inspire her and praise her as my readership does for my work. But ultimately, I’d be glad just to be one of hundreds or dozens who read her work since I know how brilliant she is and that others would be just as interested. To me, that wouldn’t make her anymore or any less successful in her life, whether she has the resources to promote the hell out of it, or not.

Just today a husband and wife had me captive within a half hour conversation/praising my work. He was getting on me (kidding, really) about how my book had his wife engrossed during their long drive to New York, and he was blaming me for how my book kept her glued to the pages instead of her watching the road and making sure that he stayed awake. There is no greater love than that! lol one more thing, success cannot be measured by popularity because many times popularity is a result of money spent and corporations pushing the project to make their profit. It could be simply “who you know.” How many singers and movies and books do we know that have been published and forged ahead past most every one of their comrades but for the dollars that were spent to promote them. How many of those projects was pure trash? There you have a half-assed writer or singer or performer, forged to the forefront where the public is brainwashed to believe that this is “great material.” #yawn So many movies that make it to Netflix that are absolute garbage as it relates to content and creativity and even the technical film work.There is NO MORE CENSORSHIP FOR QUALITY FILM! So many corny TV shows and music and albums… And yes, in my industry, there is plenty garbage that people see as books. and that garbage is right there on the shelves in Walmart. It’s as if the writer watched a TV show and transcribed what they saw with a few flips of the script.

Today success and achievement cannot be judged by people and how they are encouraged to spend their money. A dollar is NOT a vote, since hucksters (would-be authors) con people everyday into spending money for words and images on paper. A lot of times that can be manufactured by a simple relationship between someone who has the money and another person who has that awful content. Now there’s a “partnership” that wants to see the “content” in as many hands as possible, and they will create whatever noise necessary to make that happen.

So the answer again, is to master your craft be the best you can be at what it is that you do/enjoy that process and let the chips fall where they may. Find your audience, satisfy them and expect your greatness to be received however, whenever and by whomever. #relentless

— feeling blessed.