Myesha D. Jenkins requires a $10 “donation” for her book reviews. Though I thought it was kind of backhanded and shady, I really tried to view her fee in a positive light and was desperate to have someone outside my “network” read my work. Who does anything for free except me, right. Ten dollars isn’t really that big a deal, right.
My friend, “Shay”, seemed very disappointed in me for paying her and thought I was rushing too much into trying to expose my work. I wish I’d talked to her before I did it so she could talk me out of it. To top it off, my friend, “C”, just told me that Jenkins rated me two stars on Goodreads. Of course, I didn’t know this until a few minutes ago because I wasn’t going to read the Jenkins review until I finished the second book. This has been a really bad day.
That week a lot of people hoodwinked me because I know how hard it is for Black women writers to get recognized, or read at all, and I was convinced the only way for me to get exposure was to push for it through any means possible, even using my birthday money to pay for this review. I probably lost like $50, including this.
If that’s really all she thought of the book, I accept that. But I feel a lot of regret and shame for paying her to read it. Its something I won’t be doing again, not with her or anyone else. I feel so stupid and embarrassed because that particular review (the only so far) wouldn’t be there if I hadn’t sought this lady out and paid her. It probably won’t be the last bad review and if people really think my work merits two stars or less they should be honest about it like her, but I shouldn’t be walking into two-star reviews, especially paying for them with money I don’t really have to spare.
Its better to let people come to your book of their own accord. Don’t pay them. Don’t coerce them. Don’t try finesse them into it. I knew that and still I let fear and misguided ambition lead me to do something like this.
Its done now. Lesson reinforced.
I have completed the draft of my second short story this year and will let it ruminate for now.
The first one I finished, Fire Ribbon
(which I mentioned without title in 18 Things This Creative Artist Has Done So Far This Year
) is a romantic/erotic romance fantasy short with three different endings and two different versions–the first version of the story has nameless characters with no dialogue, purely romantic with a fantasy element and takes place in a fictional town.
The other two stories start out similarly to the first in the same fictional town and are exactly the same until they diverge at the climax of the story and have different endings; it’s definitely erotic and romantic in nature with a kinky bite and delves more into the fantasy end of things with mysterious, magical characters that suddenly pop up together. So Fire Ribbon has two versions with three different endings. I was thinking about those old Goosebumps books that told you what page to turn to and it effected the plot and what ending you got! I also couldn’t which version of the story I wanted to write so I just wrote and kept them all.
The story I finished this past week is titled Purple Avatar: the rage. This short story/novella follows Micah Highlander, an ex-child soldier turned bodyguard for an escort service, as she guards her charge and secret love interest, Sable Kindes, living on a futuristic technologically advanced Earth unduly influenced by corporate interest and discriminatory body regulations. For a futuristic story, that’s certainly nothing new, right! Its themes are fat positivity, sci-fi/afrofuturism, erotic romance, and dystopian. It originally started out serialized as “Shihoin Avatar: the rage” on two other blogs of mine. After my blogs weren’t doing so well in terms of audience, I didn’t really think it mattered if I deleted them, so I did and I thought Purple Avatar: the rage would never be finished. Then, at some point after that, I made up my mind to finish every story I’ve ever written that has an ending or conceivable ending and that’s how I got to this moment where I can say I finished it! I think there’s a lot of room for more of the story, including Micah’s travels around the galaxy and her past as a conscripted cybernetic child soldier.