Every Six Months Or So I Write The Book
Upon the impending release of my seventh book, a few thoughts on pursuing a career as a self-published author
by Byron Crawford
I hinted in Friday’s edition of my free, weekly email newsletter, Life in a Shanty Town, that I had a big announcement coming today (and that it wasn’t anything gay). Because I don’t do anything other than sit around and listen to the Alex Jones Show and write books, you probably could have guessed that I’ve written another book.
You probably would have been correct. I’ve written another book. (I’ve yet to be kidnapped by the Illuminati, or else I wouldn’t be writing this. Duh!)
As of right now, you can only pre-order the ebook version and you can only get it from either Amazon or Smashwords. It’ll also be available at iTunes and Barnes & Noble and probably any number of other stores that carry ebooks, but it’s gonna take a minute, because those sites don’t let you upload your content directly. Someone else has to upload it for you, and they might be over in India, where it’s already tomorrow night. I’ll post links to other stores that carry it as they appear.
There is a paperback version, designed by Theotis Jones, the guy who does the showbills for the Combat Jack Show, but alas, they don’t let regular brothers from the streets put the paperback versions of their books up for pre-order, only the TIs. You’ll just just have to wait until 7/13 or thereabouts to place your order. I might send out another email as a reminder.
July 13th is roughly three years to the day after I dropped my first book, The Mindset of a Champion.
As discussed in one of the more self-indulgent moments of Infinite Crab Meats, a book full of gratuitous, self-indulgent moments (no Boutros), I finished “editing” Mindset in the wee hours of Thursday, July 12th, and uploaded it to Amazon. I was tired as a mofo.
Maybe an hour later, my old man stopped by my house with a chainsaw that he’d just bought (and later almost killed himself with), cut down a tree and forced me to carry it out to the curb. I woke up the next day feeling like I’d been severely beaten by Chris Brown and then I had to sit on a bus to Chicago for seven or eight hours.
I haven’t been able to afford to go to Pitchfork ever since, but don’t let that deter you from writing a book, if you think you might be interested in writing a book!
When I started working on Mindset, I didn’t have a plan for my career, so to speak, as an author. I didn’t even necessarily plan to publish it. I just wanted to see if I could write a book.
Turns out, it’s not so difficult to write a book. I wrote the whole thing in about six weeks and I probably spent about 12 hours editing it. There were things that had to be excised, either because I couldn’t quite get them to work or they didn’t fit with what became the book’s theme, some of which ended up — in slightly different form — in Infinite Crab Meats and NaS Lost. There may have even been a Mindset leftover or two in Kanye West Superstar.
But that was probably for the best. If you’ve never written a book before, and you’re writing something you plan to self-publish, i.e. something that can be anything you want it to be, I’d recommend writing something relatively short rather than trying to start out with War and Peace. The Mindset of a Champion is just shy of 50,000 words long. No Country for Black Men is about 64,000 words long, about the exact same length as NaS Lost.
Once Mindset dropped, I came up with a plan: I’d pursue self-publishing books as a career for five years, i.e. the same amount of time I was with XXL, or until I’d published 10 books, whichever came first. By then, I hoped to be making enough that I didn’t have to sweep floors, post garbage on my blog and what have you. If not, I’d have to seriously reconsider trying to write books for a living. At the very least, I might have to slow my pace some.
With No Country for Black Men, I’m now seven books and just about three years into my “plan,” if you count Writin’ Dirty, an anthology, and Beatings by Dr. Dre, a novella-length collection of essays. Let’s just say I’m less than halfway to self-publishing books as a full-time job, but who knows, maybe No Country will be the thing that puts me over the top.
I figured I might make some decent money from Kanye West Superstar, but it didn’t do much better than any of the rest of my books. There was supposed to be a Kanye album that dropped around the same time. So far it’s yet to be released. I’ve dropped two books since then. And the Mike Brown shooting happened maybe a week or two before it dropped. People had more important things to talk about than my Kanye book. Even I could hardly bring myself to give a shit.
Fortunately (but also unfortunately), I can’t foresee there being a lull in police shootings of unarmed black men between now and July — when I’m sure it’ll be hotter than a mofo, both literally and figuratively speaking.
No Country for Black Men might be my last book for a while, regardless of what happens, at least in 2K15. I’ve got a few more ideas for books, plus something I already wrote that I may or may not do something with, but I figure I’ve got the rest of my life to write books; I don’t (necessarily) need to write a new one every few months. I might just publish one per year from here on out.
Also, my little brother moved out, and I had to take a job in a warehouse to avoid having to sleep outdoors. It’s why I haven’t been able to send Life in a Shanty Town out until later in the afternoon on Fridays. (I tried sending one from my phone, but I couldn’t get it to work. I’m not that smart.) I’m more financially stable than I’ve been since I was like 29, but I don’t know if I could write a book with this schedule if I wanted to. Certainly, I couldn’t write one in six weeks.
I do have some ideas for articles I might publish on Medium, including one that could surpass that Dame article, which, truth be told, was kinda haphazardly thrown together over the course of two consecutive afternoons. It remains remarkably popular on the Internets though. It may have even surpassed Beatings by Dr. Dre (the article). I’d have to check. Both of them have been read by hundreds of thousands of people. If only I could get those people to cop the books!
I’d much rather just write books than shamelessly flog them on social media, not because I have any shame (obvs), but because I don’t like people and I especially don’t like people on social media. It’s why I’ve been able to be fairly prolific, and I’m sure it’s at least one of the reasons why I’ve yet to hit — or come anywhere near — the New York Times bestsellers list.
I should probably be more proactive about trying to get the word out about this book. As far as what form that will take, I’m not sure. I’m just making this up as I go along.
You can assist me in this matter by sharing the link to No Country for Black Men at Amazon, below, on any social media sites you might use and/or passing it along to anyone you think might be interested in reading it.
Also, if you’re on Goodreads, add it to your shelves under “want to read” (here’s the link), and send me a friend request or follow my reviews, if you haven’t already. I’ve reviewed a shedload of books there. I post links to the ones I especially like on my Pinterest.
Note: The preceding was copied more or less verbatim from a special Monday edition of my free, weekly email newsletter Life in a Shanty Town. If you haven’t already, sign up at tinyletter.com/byroncrawford.