Tooting, Beating, Patting

“Not to toot my own horn, but…”

“Don’t like to beat my own drum, but…”

“I’m not patting myself on the back, but…”


It just so happens that my turn to post this month comes five days before my very first picture book officially releases, and I’ve spent the last couple of weeks promoting heavily. So much, in fact, that my inner introvert nearly gags every time I have something new to share…and my sarcastic alter ego whispers jabs, arrogant comments such as the three listed above. 

What’s a very private, reformed loner, debut author to do?

Answer:  Suck it up and promote.


But it’s not just the debut author, or the established author that has to suck it up and “do”. It’s anyone who wants to transform a dream into a goal, then into reality. On the journey to achievement, there will be roads that are too difficult to cross without courage and agility; peaks far too high to reach without persistence and long-suffering; obstacles too big and too broad to surmount,  without equally heavy doses of self-confidence and self-consciousness. 

If you’re inclined to think to yourself, “I’m not a person who has those traits,”  I challenge you blindly follow this just-do-it method.  I bet you’ll find you have each of these traits, and then some.


Practical applications of the Suck It Up Theorem:

*You’ve written a story. You think it’s really good. But you’re worried it’s not good enough.  Suck it up and submit it!

*You submit your story…and it’s rejected. You’re so disappointed.  Suck it up and get it back out there or suck it up and get a professional critique or suck it up and join a critique group so you can get some feedback on how you might make it more marketable.

*You’ve received insightful advice, polished, and resubmitted your story. You’re getting positive feedback from editors/agents (maybe even some revision requests), but still no sale. It’s all starting to seem pointless. Suck it up and get real with yourself. Is this still a goal you really want? No? Then find a new goal. Yes? Then full steam ahead! Revise (again and again and again and again,  if necessary) and resubmit (again and again) until…

*YOU FINALLY GET A YES! You sell your book. And it gets published. And the economy is bad. And the marketing budget for your book is minimal…

SUCK IT UP! Self-promote, market outside-the-box, do the things that are necessary to make sure people know that you and your book exists.


Ummm…not to beat my own drum, but…

AROUND OUR WAY ON NEIGHBORS’ DAY officially releases on August 1, 2010!  You can order your copy now at your local bookstore, or online:


Also, if you’re in or around the Charlotte, NC area, my first local booksigning will be held on August 7 at Author Squad. For more information, click here.


Lastly, I’m one of this month’s guest authors in the Writers Against Racism (W.A.R.) Series at Bowllan’s Blog. Click here to read my interview.



From Booklist (July 2010):  As an African American girl bounces around her urban neighborhood celebrating Neighbors’ Day, when everyone comes together for celebration and community bonding, she shares her energetic and enthusiastic observations: “Blue sky, no clouds, / Summer heat, side street, / Whirling, whizzing feet. / Everyone is out to play / Today, around our way.” She is happily surrounded by a multicultural crowd playing double Dutch and basketball, eating ice cream and drinking sour lemonade, debating in the barber shop, and playing chess in the park; and as the day and the block party progress, there is more food, music, laughter, and friendship. The acrylic art is saturated with rich color, energetic movement, and abstract figures and shapes, all reminiscent of Jacob Lawrence’s art. Most scenes are double-page spreads that, together with the words, demonstrate the size and diversity of a joyful world.

From Kirkus (July 2010):  ‎”Blue sky, no clouds, / Summer heat, side street, / Whirling, whizzing feet. / Everyone is out to play / Today, around our way.” It’s a sunny, summer day—perfect for a block party. A pig-tailed protagonist heads home after double Dutch and dancing to help Momma cook. On her way she encounters some familiar sights: Grandpop at the barber’s, Raven painting a mural, a ball game at the center. In this lively and accessible poem, a multicultural community brings food, music and laughter to the streets to celebrate their neighborhood.



9 thoughts on “Tooting, Beating, Patting

  1. I agree 100%! And LOVE the tips for writers. We spend so much of our time waiting for others to talk about what we do, when it’s really up to us. When I think about the recent C-span booktalk with Zetta and the others, one thing that was mentioned – and resounds with me is – WE HAVE TO BUY THESE GREAT BOOKS!!! Keep up your fine work and toot, bang down walls, and yell it to the mountains! 🙂

    • Thanks, Amy. I’m receiving a real education in “outside the box” thinking. 🙂

      And you’re right about buying. I just spent part of my marketing reserves on purchasing great books by author friends.

  2. “Toot-tootily-too!”

    Congrats on the book and on your new found ability to suck it up, sister!

    I need to take a fewg reat big inhales myself, I think.


  3. Pingback: Toot, toot!!! « PEN TO PAGE

  4. YAYAYAY Tee!! I’m looking forward to getting my copy. I soooo wish I was going to be here on August 7th for your first signing. I hope you’ll have a book signing in Concord soon!

  5. Pingback: Around Our Way: It’s a Book Birthday! «

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