I'm not a trend... I'm timeless.
Before my latest book went to the editor, I became somewhat overwhelmed with the lack of response when I asked myself the same question over and over, again.
“Will they get it?”
Not three times.
But, I continuously asked myself if my story would resonate with my audience and not because it is coded in a way that no one understands what the hell I’m trying to say. The actual reason behind my question was because my story, Pursing the Plug, is nothing like the writings on the walls these days. It isn’t fast paced and neither is it a product of the new age urban literature. Putting it plain and simple… It is not trendy.
In fact, the title of the book was initially, Heavy is the Crown. I’d titled this book by factoring in the plot and challenges the characters faced as well as their personalities. In conclusion, the title was updated to receive a better response from my audience. I’ll admit that I submitted to the trendy title phase that is currently in progress.
But, can I also admit that the thought is repulsive? I actually feel a huge sense of betrayal. When I sat for a few days and realized what I’d done by changing the title, a new question was birthed.
“For the sake of a sell are you willing to sell yourself out?”
While the title was amongst other titles on my ever-growing list of titles and it is not a bad choice at all, I’ve grown from that space. My goal is to progress in the industry amongst all other things. However, I’m a hoarder and I store all things related to my books, this title being one.
But, I won’t make this post about the title, because that is definitely not what it is about. I’m simply giving an example of how easily trends have taken the lead.
There was a time when I picked up books that were titled True to the Game, B-More Careful, Trophy Wife, Coldest Winter Ever… and the list continues. Believe it or not, every single one of them were urban. Vague. Sort of mysterious. One had to actually open the book to discover what was inside.
And boy oh boy were these books good. I’m sure you have possibly read one or two of them yourself. In fact, these stories are considered classics. They’re proven to live far beyond their writer’s career and sometimes relevancy. These books not only changed the game, but they started it, too. And all the while, each author remained true to themselves and their craft. There was nothing trendy about the books, the storylines, the covers, the titles or the characters. They held their own weight because of their individuality.
That is what they are considered and the only books I aspired to write. Classic as in longevity with a shelf life beyond that of regular produce milk. Spoiled quickly causing one to rush for more.
As a person, even before I get to gloating about being an author, I’m an individual. I was created to stand out and not conform. Let me quote a post that I placed on Facebook a few days ago…
To be 100% honest, it is rather easy to lose your individuality in an industry were trends sell. However, to keep it 100% real, if you follow trends instead of becoming your own, then I swear a reader won’t even be able to point you out in a lineup when asked who their favorite author is. Because everything begins to sound so mundane.
You’re not selling a piece of clothing or item that won’t have your name attached to after it is sold out. Books are meant to surpass you living, or that is my goal. Books will always have your name on them and they aren’t something that will just disappear. Unlike trends, they are here to STAY!
I refuse to fall into the trap. I’m not a trend… I’m timeless.
I’m not a trend… I’m timeless.
So, back to the first question. Will they get it?
I had to grow to realize that I am evolving and my novels will reflect my growth. I’m pregnant with my second child after 8 years, which has placed me in an entirely new space mentally, physically and emotionally. It is being portrayed in my writings and it is beautiful. Not only is this a factor, but I’m me.
I’m me! An individual who writes from the heart, not according to the latest trend. Everything about my stories offer the literary industry something that others don’t and that is my advantage as it is anyone else who is being themselves and not becoming a trend.
Because, one thing about trends… They fade. They’re only around long enough for the next entertainment to arrive. Trending isn’t my goal, maintaining is. Maintaining relevancy as well as my spot in an industry that God assured me I belong in.
So, to answer my second question. No, I’m not willing to sell myself out for the sake of a sell. Not anymore. Those days are gone, even though short while they lasted. I’m going to continue to write, title, release and promote from the most vital vessel in my frame… the heart. And if for one second something doesn’t feel or sound like Mercy, then it will never meet the public’s eye. Because if there is nothing else that I have learned is that who is for me will find me. My only job is to create, unapologetically.
I’ve spent years building a brand that I am proud of and it was only because of my individuality that I was able to do that. Not a whiff of a trend.
My only interest is to create timeless pieces that will exceed me after my death. I want to hear readers gloating about the joy my stories brought them all the way from my grave. If it is not too much to ask of my daughter and unborn, I would love for them to keep shelves and shelves of their mother’s books without feeling a sense of shame due to a title or storyline because I decided to go with what was popular during a small pocket of time. I aspire to be talked about in an amazing light by people of all kinds, whether it is a church deacon or a man behind bars utilizing my books to pass time. My apologies, but trends lifespan aren’t that long.
P.S. If you find yourself following the wave of trends, my advice to you is to find your footing and become the individual that you’re meant to be. Stand up and stand out. Write from your heart and not a place of temporary relevancy. It won’t last. None of it will. Think about the most memorable stories you’ve ever read. You still remember them because they were unlike anything else you’ve ever stumbled upon. That’s the magic. That’s your magic. Sticking to your code of honor and doing your thing.