Behind The Pen…LITERALLY….
It’s been three long but glorious months since I’ve penned a stamp for The Passport. I’ve had this blog for 4 years. That’s something worth celebrating at a later date. I pray that if you’re reading this that this stamp finds you in good spirits.
I pray that you’re doing well and everything is coming together as it should in your life.
Behind The Pen.
I said I was done blogging for awhile and truthfully, I still am but because Behind The Pen: New York was so…life changing I had to share my thoughts. If you’re familiar with my blogs, you know I’m long winded as hell so enjoy this stamp. LOL.
And as always…
Disclaimer: I wrote this for me but if you get something out of it then, that’s amazing. The Passport has a new stamp. Behind The Pen: Literally.
When I received the email that I had been cordially invited to attend BTP as a featured author I was like OMG. I was familiar with the event and I didn’t even think that the people who hosted the event even knew who I was. I think I called a million people like omg Love FREAKING Belvin and Takerra Allen are on this flyer. And not to mention, Nia Forrester, who is my all-time favorite author was on there as well. I just couldn’t believe it.
I was so amazed and proud of myself. Going independent as an author wasn’t the easiest thing to do and there were many sleepless nights starting off. I remember when I first started, I didn’t understand the importance of edits and my reviews suffered in the beginning. I remember literally losing my mind behind the edits of Stranger In My Eyes. It was all a lesson learned and I refused to give up. I was determined to win. I took my time with my releases and upped my marketing and branding. I only wrote when I felt led too and I ridded myself of the stress and headache that can sometimes come with trying to write a masterpiece. I let go of deadlines. Got off social media when I was penning a book and told myself to trust God and my gift…since then it has been up from there.
Every month, I’m still amazed at how well I am doing and I know that if it wasn’t for the support of my readers and having a kick-ass stellar team standing right next to me I wouldn’t have been invited to BTP.
So anyway, I emailed them back so fast and was like YES YES YES I will be there.
I’ma Libra so yall know I was like this has to be dynamic. Me and my friend came up with NAKOEXPO TAKES NEW YORK. My mother invited the whole damn family and I told all my friends that this was going to be a weekend celebration.
This was my first book signing and although I had written over 40+ books I could never find the time, the energy or muster up the strength to host an event for myself. I don’t do well with attention. I’m the awkward black girl with the huge personality but I don’t do well with everyone looking at me lol, and let me say this BTP freaked me out so bad.
After the event, I boo-hooed cried but we’ll get to that so yeah, I set out to plan this huge weekend.
Invited over 40 people, give or take.
Fast forward to this past weekend.
3 of my friends from Atlanta came. Some of my readers attended and I was so thankful to see familiar faces. About 6 of my family members and my mentee from college.
I almost let the lack of participation from the people I expected to support me turn me away from attending. So, glad I didn’t do that.
Behind The Pen was everything!!!
All the planning and panicking was well worth it.
The event was organized to a T and I was so thankful because yall know black people tend to not start on time and I was really nervous about the event being successful. I am pleased to announce that Behind The Pen exceeded all of my expectations.
So many of my readers came out from all over and it brought tears to not only my eyes but my mama’s as well. I think that touched me more than anything. My sister admitted that she knew I wrote books but she didn't think I was on the level that she witnessed this past weekend.
One of my readers was in her early 70s and she said that she came all the way from South Carolina just to hug me.
I’ll never forget that.
Behind The Pen was life-changing. I was able to hug my sister-friend for the first time, Chanique. The visionary behind my most successful series. She knows my life in and out and also styles me so to hug her in person felt so good.
I was able to take pictures... a million of them with readers that already had the Ebook version of my catalog but they doubled back and bought the paperback.
I was thankful.
I was able to sign my name with my ugly ass handwriting and that meant something to me.
People really wanted my signature. I used to claim when I was younger that people was going to want my signature one day and my God, He brought that vision to pass. I wish a few people was there to see it…
I was able to hear stories about my characters and how they resonated with souls.
I was able to hug my fellow authors and tell them that I was a huge fan of their work.
Speaking personally with Bailey West, Nia Forrester, Danielle Allen, my pen buddy, Domonique Thomas and telling Love and Takerra how much I truly look up to them was a memory that I’ll forever cherish.
Behind The Pen had me in knots and once the clock struck 4pm and I realized that I had sold all of my books with the exception of eight. I was so shocked.
We packed up and headed back to the hotel so that we could get dressed to celebrate a successful day.
In the Uber, my phone began to flood with likes, comments, and notifications from my readers posting that they met me and how happy they were to see me in person.
And it was then that I realized that I had stepped from behind the pen…literally.
We made it to the hotel and I told my friends and family that I needed a second to myself. I just needed to take it all in.
As soon as I fell into the chair in the corner of The Tillary hotel located in downtown Brooklyn I cried. I wept. I took deep breaths.
For me, I write from such a personal place. For the most part what I write is what I feel, what I’m going through, what I’ve experienced, what I want to see happen…whether it’s from an ex-convict such as Yara Moreland or a fashion designer, Nia Hudson. In some way or the other, my characters are me.
It took a lot out of me…Behind The Pen fulfilled me and left me empty at the same time…real shit.
I’ve literally been sleep since I made it back home. I got off social media for a few days to clear my head from the negative thoughts that I felt trying to creep in.
The event was amazing. I am so grateful to had been in attendance and at first, I was so frustrated I kept telling my mom ‘never again’ I said I wasn’t coming back before the event even started. I was so over it….everything seemed to go in the opposite direction of what I needed it to be… from people cancelling on me at the last minute, items that I ordered not arriving in time, my hotel room wasn’t ready when I arrived, the weather was iffy…literally, I can give yall a million complaints but once I made it to the event none of that mattered anymore.
I’m always telling people to count all things JOY but in that moment. In that very space I realized that God had truly been good to me. He blessed me with a gift. The pen.
Behind The Pen opened my eyes to a few things and that’s why I wanted to blog on my experience…
Proper planning is crucial no matter what you have going on. If you want something to be done right, do it yourself. I was so used to passing tasks on and these past few months my entire company has been in my hands and OMG I’ve probably cursed more than I’ve ever have in my life after this past weekend, I am more grateful for my gift, my brand and my business more than I’ve ever been in my life. I am so thankful for NAKOEXPO. Know your business, your customers, the analytics…everything…that relates to your coins, your vision, your purpose… know it like the back of your hand. It’s okay to have help, trust me I used to think I couldn’t do anything by myself but preparing for this trip showed me that if you just relax everything will work itself out.
At the same time, I say that to say that a support system is crucial. I cried a lot getting ready for this event. Had like two panic attacks and damn near broke my hand trying to punch my steering wheel from being extremely frustrated. I want to thank God for my amazing boyfriend, my praying mother, my friends that came, my author friends DT and Nazi, the admins of my groups on both FB and IG they all allowed me to literally get it all out. My sister stepped up to the plate and kept me sane while in NYC. It was her kind words that had me wipe my tears and enjoy the rest of the weekend after being overwhelmed with the amazing vibes from BTP. It’s always who we least expect to show up and show out for us and I realized that support is everything. There is no way in the world I would have been able to get through this weekend without my people. The makeup artist I paid cancelled 30 minutes before my appointment and I was just omg so dramatic and my friends calmed me down and beat my face. My outfit that I was supposed to wear, idk if my dogs peed on it or what but it reeked of urine..thank God I packed a back-up outfit. The shoes that I ordered were too small Idk why I didn't try them on before the event... Listen, when I say everything that could’ve went wrong that morning went wrong. It did. My banner and hashtag props never made it to the hotel… I was missing three boxes of books just all kinds of stuff and my mom kept telling me to relax. Support. Is. EVERYTHING.
He who angers us controls us. I’ve been hearing that my whole life. What does it even mean? Trust the timing of everything. Don’t react to what you can’t change or control. I’m in a new headspace and my eyes are on the prize. My plate is full and that’s how I like it. If it’s not bettering me I don’t have any time for it. Period. No more worrying!
Behind The Pen taught me to embrace life and life more abundantly.
Network increases your net worth. I absolutely despise events. I stress myself out too much to be super duper on the scene for that reason, I pretty much pass on almost anything that I’m invited too but Behind The Pen showed me that you gotta leave the house. How do you expect to get where you want to be if you don’t go nowhere. I made tons of connections while in NYC I know that God’s favor was upon me.
I want to encourage you that's reading this to reach for the stars.
Your time is coming.
Your season is coming.
You can’t measure your success with someone’s else ruler.
God has so much more in store for all of us, I truly believe that. I’m filled with so many different emotions right now and I know that it means a change is coming. A shift is happening.
This all started with a mustard seed.
I stepped from Behind The Pen…literally.
God bless you
Until next time,