Over two weeks ago I announced the official release of my debut poetry book Black Girl Shine. As of today, nearly 50 people have gotten their hands on either an ebook or physical copy of my book--thank you!
In the spirit of letting you in on my publishing journey, I share more details below on how I got to launching my book.
Psst! My book is on sale now for 60% off (ebook) on Smashwords and 40% off (paperback) on Amazon.
THE WRITING JOURNEY
I began writing this poetry book unknowingly. As a writer, sometimes you just write to write. At one point, I realized that I was creating poems with a certain theme. That theme was very much of self-love and growth as a young Black woman. From there I decided to write this poetry book. To get my feet 'wet', I published a short version of this book on Wattpad back in 2017. I was 20 years old at the time.
I completed a first draft of the book about a year and a half later. From there, I sorted through the poems that would remain and the ones that wouldn't. I also started thinking about structure and how I wanted the book to flow in terms of breaking down my main theme into sections.
After that, I began the grueling process of self-editing. That was really hard because the poetry genre is particular in terms of not taking away too much for fear of changing the meaning/intention behind the works. To help with this process I hired an editor.
THE PEOPLE BEHIND THIS BOOK
Finding an editor was somewhat challenging. Not every editor works in the poetry genre. Additionally, it was important for me to find a Black female editor to preserve the integrity of my book. Once I found her (meet Ann Marie), we spent a couple of months editing the book and finalizing its structure.
At the same time, I worked with an illustrator (meet Rabi) for the creation of the poetry images. This process also took a few months. During this time, I designed my book cover using one of the illustrations, obtained ISBNs from Library and Archives Canada and hired a book formatter to create my final proofs (meet Jesse).
The rest of the work consisted of uploading my work to self-publishing platforms, creating a marketing plan, and finally, launching the book!
The entire process took a little over three years.
WHY BLACK GIRL SHINE?
While the title speaks for itself, and is very much about and for black women, I feel that the topics are beneficial to a wide audience. This can include men, women, other people of colour, poetry lovers and more.
Black Girl Shine is divided into five sections: Black Girl Magic, We The People, Royalty, From Within and Push & Pull. The following is a breakdown of what each section is intended to present to readers:
Black Girl Magic is about the journey of becoming comfortable in one's skin. It's about embracing Black beauty, having a voice in society and being unafraid to share that voice. This section is also on confidence.
We The People is the part where I attempt to illustrate fear, insecurities, uncertainty and microaggressions. At the same time, the section speaks on gratitude and rising above negativity.
Royalty is where I acknowledge the Black male figures in my life who've stood by me in times of hardship.The section begins with one of my favourite poems from the book, The King (excerpt below). Royalty also tells a tale of resilience.
From Within is the part that explores the themes of self love. It's where I talk about determination and fighting for your hopes and dreams despite potential hurdles.
Finally, Push & Pull is about the energy we give and take out of life. It's also on the importance of growth, creativity and love.
What's your favourite poem in Black Girl Shine? Let me know in the comments! If you haven't already, get your copy today.