I’m offering you the opportunity to publish your book in just six months through my L’Ouverture Fast Track Your Writing Career program, which takes you through each stage of the writing and publication of your book. At the center of Fast Track Your Writing Career is intuitive development of your manuscript, and if needed, a sustained, affirming 1:1 mentoring relationship with you to empower you to develop your voice. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much you’ll grow as an artist.
Fast Track Your Writing is tailored to your specific literary needs, is time-tabled to fit your schedule, and if you prefer to meet in person, can be held at the venue of your choice, even your own home, if you wish.
Fast Track Your Writing can include, as applicable,
Gathering information by means of interviews and/or library/archival/documentary research
Developing your book’s theme, thesis and structure (non-fiction)
Developing characters, atmosphere, palette, narrative voice and mood(fiction)
Editing, proofreading and formatting the manuscript for publication
Coaching you through the writing process as needed
Creating your book cover
Building the book in print and digital formats
Placing your book in distribution channels
Click on the headings below to be taken to a writing sample. Samples are for viewing only.
or the first timer, starting to write a book can be such a joyful, enthralling experience, she goes crazy and just writes and writes, but sooner or later, she should bring some discipline to the process. Click on the heading above to learn more about How to Write a Book in the Digital Publishing Paradigm.
LIKE A WARRIOR: Philosophy and Practice of Publishing a Book is a writer’s resource I’m working on which I hope will help independent authors navigate their journey from conception of a book project to its publication.
My purpose is to empower storytellers to be storytellers in our disruptive digital economy. To be a storyteller in this economy is to be able to craft a story or narrative and transform it into a unique product by which we can enhance people’s lives, make a good living, and ultimately, build wealth. When our own authentic work enables us to meet our basic needs, we can work without fear and with great effect. We’re able to enrich the lives of the people in our world, and maybe even change the world.
To make sharing this info easier, I’ve broken out the handbook into small sections you can access below in the list entitled 117 Tips for Becoming a Successful Author. When you click on a topic in this list, you will be taken to an article. I’m still in the process of activating these links, but if you continue to scroll down this page, you can read more excerpts from Write Like a Warrior, including We Are Storytellers and The Concept of Mastery. You would find this information valuable and rewarding
If you’re an author working on a book that’s important enough to you to engage your whole mind and soul,
If you think you’d like to produce a book that would bequeath positive value to your audience for generations to come,
If you seek the knowledge by which to unlock the constructs of the marketplace and enhance your understanding of the market forces by which you can make informed decisions,
If you’re seeking the means by which to prosper as an author.
Warning! This handbook is not a hack! It contains both philosophical and actionable knowledge which can help you become a successful author in this economy, and sets out the processes to follow along the way.
- Don’t wait for the right time to write your book – do it NOW!
- Tune into your spirit
- Write in your own voice
- Learn how to write
- Write the books you’ve always wanted to read
- Write down your purpose for writing your book
- Know your audience
- Know where to find your audience
- Research and create an audience profile
- Try to freewrite every day to compose your text
- Engage in freespeaking to compose your text
- Learn the grammatical rules
- Learn how and when to effectively break the grammatical rules
- Write in the active voice using action verbs
- Aim for a concise writing style
- Develop your own signature writing style
- Become a versatile writer
- Research your genre
- Don’t stick to one genre, try to write in a variety of genres
- Research the many storytelling styles from various cultures of the planet
- Experiment with new styles of storytelling
- Experiment with a variety of narrative styles
- Understand and fine-tune your own writing process
- Read biographies of successful writers for inspiration
- Aim to have at least one conversation with a successful writer for inspiration
- Inventory your human capital
- Connect with your inner warrior
- Let your writing contribute to good on the planet
- Delve deeply within your inner being for the knowledge you need to write
- Delve deeply within your inner being for the fortitude to write
- Develop the physical and mental stamina to write
- Think of yourself as a writer
- Define for yourself the meaning of success
- Create your vision statement
- Create a mission statement
- Attend readings and read your work
- Read your work aloud to yourself often
- Always consult a thesaurus and dictionary
- Consult the latest citation manuals and style guides
- Whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, place yourself at the center of your narrative
- Try to write at least one paragraph every day
- Step away from your work sometimes
- Write about a subject you know very well
- If you don’t know a subject very well, research it very well
- Keep researching and developing your subject matter until you become an expert
- Write with the intention of becoming an authority
- Don’t let fear cause you to develop writer’s block
- Develop SMART goals
- Reward yourself for reaching significant goals and milestones
- Read voraciously
- Buy many books; build your personal library
- Attend writing classes and/or writing workshops; there’ always something new to learn
- Build up an inventory of ideas by collecting notes about what you read
- Store your notes in hard copy and/or electronic notebooks
- Create a space just for writing
- Buy a good table or desk to write on
- Purchase an ergonomic chair for your desk
- Make sure natural light can shine on your desk, or buy a good lamp
- Buy a good computer
- Buy the necessary computer peripherals, including ergonomic products
- Get good writing and publishing software for book writing
- Stick with your writing through the years, for you’ll get better if you do
- Don’t dump your old drafts, for old drafts are often salvageable
- Keep a writing journal
- Eat lots of fruit and vegetables to nourish your brain
- Dump the coffee and drink nourishing herbal tea
- Have your eyes checked regularly
- If necessary, get a pair of reading spectacles to prevent eye strain
- Integrate exercise into your life because writing is a sedentary process
- Exercise to remain strong and healthy while you write
- Spend time in places which inspire you
- Give yourself time to think, give yourself time to dream
- Wherever possible, find a writing buddy
- Set up an independent publishing account with Ingram Spark, Lulu or another of your choice
- Set up an email marketing account with Mail Chimp, Infusionsoft or another of your choice
- Set up a blog/author site using WordPress, Wix or another of your choice
- Enter as many writing competitions as you can
- Write with the intention of producing a bestseller
- Speak about your work on social media to build your audience
- Make writing your book your number one priority
- Aim to make your writing your sole career
- Plan for a lifestyle in which writing is your sole career
- Discard the common story arc – there are many ways to tell a story
- Discard the old beginning-middle-ending story paradigm
- Invent a new writing genre
- Set up a sole proprietorship/LLC/non-profit to facilitate the business side of your writing
- Set financial goals for your book
- Learn how to raise funds to publish your book
- Explore funding options such as isusu, crowdfunding etc.
- Research grant funding for writers
- Learn about intellectual property and copyright law
- Attend book fairs
- As far as possible, meetup with and collaborate with other writers
- Join online and/or face-to-face writing groups
- Keep up with the writing and publishing technology
- Wisely choose the technology you actually need
- Start your book and finish your book
- Be aware that your book is not finished until your audience has received it
- If you don’t how to start your book, hire a professional writing coach
- Hire a professional editor to edit and proofread your book
- Hire a professional to design your book’s interior
- Hire a professional graphic artist to create your book cover
- Hire a social media professional to market your book through the social channels
- Hire a professional photographer to take a photo of you for your book and promotions
- Choose the right social media channels for your work and audience
- Create an independent publisher website with a unique domain name
- Get the best hosting plan for your independent publisher website
- Market yourself and your ideas while you write
- Market yourself through behind the scenes video clips
- Brand yourself by creating a competitive profile
- Brand your book through your social channels
- Brand your book through special events like launches, talk shows, news features etc.
- Talk about your work in a live video
- Blog about your book
- Research your distribution channels
- Create a writer’s press kit
- Create a book trailer
- Launch your book
ach of us is a compulsive storyteller. We tell each other stories every day, recount details of our lives to anyone who would listen, and urge others to tell us their stories.
When geologists study rock formations and document what they find, they tell the story of the planet. When astronomers probe space with ultra-powerful telescopes and try to explain what they discover, they tell the story of the heavens.
Through their research and the publication of their findings, sociologists, historians, archaeologists and political scientists tell the stories of communities, villages, towns, regions and nations. Biographers tell the stories of extraordinary people doing ordinary things and ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Priests and evangelists of all religions tell the stories of the gods and their exploits among humanity. Musicians tell stories in song, artists tell stories on canvas, dancers tell stories in movement. Even an object as mundane and utilitarian as the balance sheet tells the story of a company.
We’re born to tell stories, to listen to stories and to crave stories. That’s pretty much all we do, and may very well be the only thing we do, as if every action in which we engage results in a story. If an action does not result in an actual story, it seems to remain a story in potential, to be told, maybe centuries later, by another storyteller.
We tell the stories of our own lives, our families, our communities, our nations, cultures, planet, the heavens. The story is a medium of transmission. The transmission device is the storyteller.
When we tell our own stories we’re being self-aware. We’re reflecting upon our lives. The more critical our self-reflection – the more honestly we’re able to gaze into our own mirror – the more valuable our story will be. When I tell my own story with boldness and honesty, I add value to the life of the one who listens.
Storytelling is the way in which we are connected; it’s fundamental to the concept of humanity. In the twenty-first century, stories reach their audiences through multi-media digital channels and are stored simultaneously in multiple devices in much the same way they are stored within the collective unconscious. In our digital economy, storytelling occurs at the speed of light.
*Excerpt from WRITE LIKE A WARRIOR: Philosophy and Practice of Publishing a Book.
khentoolove was born and lives on the island of Barbados. He was educated at the University of the West Indies, Barbados where he gained the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and currently is a lecturer in management at his alma mater.
From an early age, Akhentoolove learned the importance of story telling in the development of communities. Ajani’s Wonderful Summer is Akhentoolove’s first storybook and embodies many of his life experiences as a child growing up in Barbados, which are still very relevant to global readers particularly youth up to 13 years old. These coming-of-age stories, set in the Caribbean island of Barbados, are about 11-year-old Ajani Clarke, his friends and his family. They particularly emphasize Ajani’s relationship with his father, Papa C, who provides Ajani with the love, knowledge and confidence he needs to nurture his dreams.
The boys of the Hilda Skeene Primary School in St. Philip, Barbados, had a great time as Akhentoolove read to them from his collection of short stories, Ajani’s Wonderful Summer.
would like to talk a bit about mastery. Let’s start with the dictionary definition. Mastery is comprehensive knowledge or skill in a subject or accomplishment; it is control or superiority over something. Our skill is the beginning of mastery, but not the end of it.
Mastery includes the continual development of our sphere of knowledge, the continual development of our insights into the environment, our continual improvement of the tools by which we reach and touch the minds and hearts of our audience. Mastery is also being self-aware. It’s a specific condition of our consciousness which has to do with why we write in the first place.
I’ve always considered writing a means to liberation – of ourselves as writers, and of others. Writing is a means to liberation because it’s a means of spreading knowledge. If knowledge is power – and I’ve never stopped believing that it is – then spreading it is one of the means by which we empower our people. And we have a large arsenal of tools which help us do just that.
But knowledge is also a weapon, and the storyteller’s skill in wielding her knowledge through mastery of her language and her business process is her fighting skill, the skill with which she wields her weapon of knowledge. Because – let’s face it – no one can or will succeed in the disruptive digital marketplace unless she is a skilled and aggressive fighter with well-sharpened knowledge and storytelling tools. This means, of course, that we must conceptualize knowledge in a finely-tuned manner, and we must be like surgeons in deploying it, and so we must not only seek to know, we should also seek to know what to know and how to know it. And we have a large arsenal of tools which help us do just that.
The key to mastery of author entrepreneurship in the twenty-first century begins with a clear purpose for writing and a sense of the importance of that purpose, couched in compelling, unique and original statements, followed by the diffusion of our statements to our audiences by use of the technologies of our choice. Though our skill is the beginning of mastery, we actually begin to practice mastery in our minds when we engage in power thinking.
Power thinking is conscious thinking. It is thinking for a purpose and with a purpose. Power thinking is particularly important now because of an emerging notion which appears to challenge the ascendancy of the human mind, a notion reaching us through the purveyors of the technology, and which is part of the very construct within which the technology operates. I can’t help but be somewhat amused at the idea being put about that a human construct such as artificial intelligence and its various mutations may be thought to be greater than the human mind which created it. But that’s what the capitalists are trying to sell us. The extent to which we buy into that notion is equal to the extent to which we achieve mastery or not.
There’s a reason I engage in power thinking, and that is because there’s a goal I want to achieve, therefore all areas of my being have to be poured into this goal. Power thinking is the overarching activity in which I engage at higher-level areas of my being, and which influences every aspect of my experience. Power thinking enables me to power through mental obstacles, as well as obstacles in the environment. Actually, it’s an entire cluster of thinking habits. There are four levels of power thinking that are important to the storyteller, and they are prayer, focus, knowledge and creativity.
Those areas of thinking at the top tier of power thinking are a particular type. One of them which comes to mind is prayer.
Prayer is a way of anchoring my thoughts and desires; of deeply connecting with the Great Creatrix, my source, the beginning of my being; of flowing within my unique purpose; of accessing truth and wisdom; of allowing my power, purpose, truth and wisdom to pour into my environment; of being a creatrix in my own right. I think prayer is the means by which I can write righteously, that is, authentically and truthfully, and for a purpose that transcends my own little vanities.
Prayer enables me to know beyond the shadow of any doubt that my words are crafted for a significant purpose, and will achieve that purpose. Through prayer, my mind becomes filled with brilliant ideas.
Creative thinking is an authentic connection with the deepest aspects of your own being, and a connection with your vision and your truth. I think that whatever you put your mind to do, if you do it with your fullest truthfulness, it will be unique, and will bear much fruit.
There are many areas in which you need to be knowledgeable, the most important being yourself, in as many aspects as you can access. It’s important to know where your intelligence lies and what kind of intelligence it is, or gift or talent, as some people call it.
It’s important to be aware of your current thinking habits. I’ve spent a long time thinking about my own thinking. I have been self-reflexive, and I think that’s another attribute of power thinking – being able to reflect upon your own thinking and your own thought processes. It requires a willingness to look into your own mind and into your own soul, and the reward is the cultivation of self-awareness.
Being introspective is a prerequisite to power thinking simply because it’s a conscious way of thinking. It is the opposite of allowing your thoughts to just go all over the place. Power thinking is continuing to cultivate a way of thinking with clarity. I see that as a very practical thing.
When I engage in focused thinking I’m contemplating my own strengths, those aspects of my personality that are genuinely mine, that define who I truly am.
Because I believe I possess these attributes, I am able to speak convincingly to myself. So when I say I am tenacious, I know it to be true. When I say I am persistent, I know that to be true. When I say I am determined, that also is true. I think the basis of power thinking is the truthfulness of my thinking. It’s me knowing who I am. It is therefore important to take an inventory of those things we know ourselves to be.
When your thinking is focused, you become incredibly hooked into what you are doing and are able to pursue what you’re doing over a long period of time. I consider this mental stamina to be a kind of renewable energy, energy which renews itself, meaning that you don’t actually run out of it, and even if you become a bit physically or mentally tired, you don’t lose momentum because the activity itself generates the energy you need to carry on. Your engagement with that activity generates the energy you need because you’re operating authentically in the area of your ability and intelligence, and that’s why it’s so important to live authentically.
*Excerpt from WRITE LIKE A WARRIOR: Philosophy and Practice of Publishing a Book.
ulture is the way people understand and respond to the statements and actions put out by a dominant power seeking to force allegiance to itself. The word culture is often associated with the arts, and according to most definitions I’ve read, is assumed to refer to a shared system of values.
For example, the West Indian historian and poet, Kamau Brathwaite, who is Barbadian, conceptualized a definition of culture which he prefaced with a definition of the poet. He said the poet
is a craftsprson, oral or literary, ideally both, who deal in metrical
and/or rhymical – sometimes riddmical – wordsongs, wordsounds,
wordwounds & meanings, within a certain code of order or dis/order –
what Antonio Benítez-Rojo calls creative chaos These word/sound/
meanings are caught out of the mind or moment’s sky as it were & et-
ched into the ground and underdrone of the poet’s/ of the artist’s cult-
ure. And from the ground of that culture is he/ she grown// is he/she
known// is he. she be/come
Having defined the poet, Brathwaite then defined the culture within which the poet works. Culture, he said,
is what the poet comes from and returns to over & over again &
in the end. It is his home, it is his drum, it is his dream: the shared
collective conscious (and unconscious) xperience of a people, with submer
ged underdrones – ghosts, spirits, sky-juices, ancestors, immemorial
Barbadian novelist, George Lamming, makes a link between culture as agriculture and culture as art, and defines culture as
the variety of ways in which men and women interpret and translate, through the imagination, the meaning of that material existence in the light of their experience: religion, philosophy, art and the institutions which mediate their daily lives.
I agree with both definitions of culture. I particularly like the subtlety and complexity of Brathwaite’s definition of the poet, specifically, his reference to the “wordwound” and the “code of order or dis/order.” I think they provide an excellent conceptual framework within which to begin a discussion about culture, one which can help us understand some of the phenomena which occurs in our communities today, including artistic expression.
Culture, however, is a concept which goes way beyond artistic expression. I define culture as the specific manner in which communities and individuals struggle against the inequitable power relations in force as a result of the impositions of a dominant socio-political power. The struggle can occur in response to military warfare (as in many parts of the so-called Middle East), economic warfare (as is happening in many countries in Africa), through economic and political oppression (as happens in communities in industrialized countries such as the USA) in addition to intellectual and artistic hegemony (as happens most noticeably in the West Indies). The manner in which the several aspects of hegemony or dominance impinge upon individuals and their communities and they manner in which people collectively deal with that struggle becomes the culture of those communities.
When culture is understood in diasporic terms – that is, when we understand that our culture stretches beyond our community or nation and resonates with cultures throughout the planet – establishing social and intellectual interfaces with and among diasporic communities may offer deeper and broader understanding of the many dimensions of this struggle.
For example, Black communities and nations throughout the world suffer from very similar maladies, and these maladies all have similar foundations in economic dispossession. There is a prevailing narrative which gives a name to economic dispossession. The name is “poverty,” and the narrative presents poverty as a naturally occurring, organic phenomenon. However, a closer look at some of these “poor” nations reveals that some of them are actually resource rich, whether the resource be oil, diamonds, gold, or food. To be continued…